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July 2000

AIDS and Development

David Everatt has prepared the following research paper for the National Department of Public Works to present at the International AIDS Conference.

Introduction and overview

The National Department of Public Works (NDPW) has commissioned a series of Community Profile surveys. The surveys, conducted by Strategy & Tactics, are based on random samples drawn within a 10km radius of projects that have been implemented on behalf of the NDPW. These are predominantly rural areas, with some peri-urban centres included as well.

The surveys cover a wide range of issues. The surveys have been conducted on a bi-monthly basis over the last six months, with surveys completed in KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and Northern Province. This paper is drawn from the survey results from these three provinces - which are also the three poorest provinces in South Africa.

Is HIV/AIDS an issue for people?

Respondents in all the provinces were given the same list of possible social issues and asked to tell us if these were problems in their community. The table overleaf highlights two key issues: firstly, HIV/AIDS is not regarded as a critical problem in any community (although the prominent position of health may include some AIDS-related concerns). Secondly, people in different parts of South Africa - while sharing the attributes of being rural and living in deep poverty - have different perceptions of the state of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Just over a third (36%) of respondents in KwaZulu-Natal regard HIV/AIDS as a problem in their community, dropping to one in ten in the Eastern cape (10%) and one in thirty three (3%) in the Northern Province. This may reflect two factors:

w the high level of HIV/AIDS work that has taken place (and continues) in KwaZulu-Natal, compared with other provinces; and

w the differential state of the epidemic with its epicentre in KwaZulu-Natal, and Northern Province still on the increase in terms of full-blown AIDS and AIDS deaths.

AIDS sufferers and AIDS deaths

We asked two specific questions regarding HIV/AIDS, and both gave rise to shocking responses. Firstly, we asked whether respondents had heard of anyone suffering from AIDS in their community. Then we asked whether respondents knew of anyone who had died of AIDS in their community.

Responses are dramatically different across the three provinces. This provides different windows of opportunity. In KwaZulu-Natal, the focus should be on helping those - mainly older women - who will be largely responsible for the home-based care that is the main response to the epidemic at the stage of full-blown AIDS. Preparations must also begin now for a sudden increase in AIDS orphans (some of whom will be HIV+) in the province. Who will bring them up? Who will pay for food, clothes, schooling and so on? Will any form of assistance (financial, psychological, emotional, and so on) be available for those having to care for the children?

In the Eastern Cape, the epidemic is slowly spreading, and education and awareness raising is still important. In the Northern Province, interventions may still be able to slow the epidemic before it reaches saturation point, which appears to be the situation in KwaZulu-Natal.

In every case, the results carry a clear warning for government: what is the meaning of sustainability in the context of HIV/AIDS? Programmes such as the Community Based Public Works Programme, provide communities with clusters of assets which in turn are meant to provide socially and economically sustainable inputs to impoverished communities. But with AIDS deaths increasingly accounting for working age people, who receive most of the training needed for operation and maintenance; and with the concomitant decline in economic activity, what is the future for these community assets - and the communities themselves?

KwaZulu-Natal

Forty-eight percent of respondents in KwaZulu-Natal said they had heard of someone with AIDS (we specified AIDS, rather than being HIV+) while 45% had not (the remainder were unsure).

In all, 49% of female respondents and 46% of male said they had heard of AIDS sufferers in their community. Younger respondents were less likely to have heard of AIDS sufferers: 42% of those aged 18 to 25 had done so, compared with 50% of those aged 56 and above.

The epidemic seems to have taken root in rural areas - 50% of rural respondents had heard of AIDS sufferers in their community, compared with 31% of urban respondents - although people with full-blown AIDS may be sent to older relatives in rural areas to take care of them. This latter point needs further investigation: if true, it will place greater stress on the already stretched rural infrastructure and household resources and thus greater stress on assets provided by government via programmes such as the CBPWP. Respondents who had heard of AIDS sufferers were unevenly spread across the three District Councils, as reflected in table two.

Respondents from Uthungulu seem to have been more exposed to AIDS sufferers than those from other District Councils. Whether this derives from exposure, knowledge or the courage to face the issue cannot be gauged from the survey data.

The second HIV/AIDS question asked whether respondents had heard of anyone who had died of AIDS in their community. Many people try to hide the HIV+ status of those infected with the virus. In addition, deaths are often attributed to the presenting disease such as TB or pneumonia. In other words, there is considerable scope for denial about HIV/AIDS. In this context it is notable that one in every two respondents (51%) told us they knew of someone who had died of AIDS in their community.

Men and women were equally likely to know of AIDS deaths in their community, but as we saw earlier, older respondents were more likely than their younger counterparts to know of AIDS deaths. Rural respondents (52%) were again more likely than their urban counterparts to know of AIDS deaths (38%). Responses also differed by District Council, following the same pattern as we saw earlier: 63% of Uthungulu respondents knew of AIDS deaths, true of 48% of Ilembe respondents and dropping to 31% of those from Ugu.

Some respondents complained about the lack of information about HIV/AIDS when discussing the main problems facing their community. There should be space for the CBPWP (and other government interventions) to include an HIV/AIDS communication component in all its phases of implementation, as well as educational work among the local people employed to work on the project.

Eastern Cape

A quarter (26%) of respondents said they had heard of AIDS sufferers in their community, and the same number (27%) said they knew of people who had died of AIDS in their community. This differed across the province.

Urban respondents (42%) were far more likely than their rural counterparts (24%) to tell us they had heard of AIDS sufferers in their communities, although few other demographic differences emerged. The same was true when respondents were asked if they knew of anyone who had died of AIDS in their community.

There is an axiom among some AIDS researchers, that denial of AIDS remains steady until AIDS deaths are so widespread that denial is itself denied by reality. This may be what is happening when we compare KwaZulu-Natal - where half of respondents knew someone who had died of HIV/AIDS - with the Eastern Cape. Has the massive focus on HIV/AIDS in KwaZulu-Natal raised awareness and consciousness, and left people unafraid of acknowledging AIDS? Has the disease has a distinct geographic profile that leaves the rural hinterlands of KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape very different (and presumably linked to transport routes, the migrant labour system and so on)? Answers to these questions must be determined, and government programmes should be re-designed accordingly.

Northern Province

One in ten (9%) Northern Province respondents told us they had heard of AIDS sufferers in their community, and 8% said they knew of people who had died of AIDS in their community.

Northern Province is larger, less densely populated, and with fewer truck routes (and without harbours) than either the Eastern Cape or KwaZulu-Natal, which may have impacted on the development of the epidemic. The finding signals the massive amount of work that must be done to raise the risk-assessment of AIDS among ordinary citizens in the Northern Province. It also suggests that appropriate interventions should be undertaken while the epidemic is still taking hold of the province - and before AIDS becomes as inescapably part of the social landscape as it is in KwaZulu-Natal.

Conclusion

Attacking and defeating poverty is a cornerstone of government policy. Rural areas comprise a key target for such programmes. However, results from these three Community Profile surveys commissioned by the Department of Public Works suggests that rural areas are already witnessing high levels of AIDS-related deaths.

However, infection rates seem uneven and the epidemic is at different stages in the rural areas of different provinces. This in turn suggests that different types of intervention are required in different provinces.

What is clear is that the rural development strategy will face its greatest challenge in incorporating HIV/AIDS into every aspect - from planning to implementation to operation and maintenance - in the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

 

Efficient and Effective Justice via e-Justice

Matthew Smith has been working with the Department of Justice to develop a programme logframe and roll-out plan, as well as designing an M&E system, for the e-Justice programme launched in June.

e-Justice

The Department of Justice’s e-Justice Programme will radically transform the justice system as we know it South Africa. It is at the cutting edge of technology, a multi-year programme designed to support fundamental reforms necessary to establish a more fair, accessible and efficient system of justice in South Africa.

The role of S&Tin the programme has been to facilitate the Project Cycle Management workshop at which the four projects that make up e-Justice developed their implementation plans. Furthermore, S&T have been facilitating the development of the financing proposal for the major funders, namely the European Commission and the Royal Netherlands Embassy. This proposal includes an outline of a monitoring and evaluation system for the programme, which S&T have designed.

The programme

The e-Justice Programme has set itself the task of re-engineering the court process by utilising appropriate enabling technology, including e-Commerce and Knowledge Management. But it is not just about technology. A significant proportion of the programme will be spent giving people the skills to use the technology efficiently. The aim is not to "automate inefficiencies", but rather to provide an effective department that plays a meaningful role in combating crime and upholding the Constitution.

The proposed interventions by the Department of Justice will be supporting the following government priority objectives:

  • Improved access to court case files for all parties involved
  • Effective case registration and mailing system in the courts established and made operational
  • Effective court management information system established and operationalised
  • Access to information database for all users of the justice system established and operationalised
  • Effective planning and management of the Court Administration Development programme ensured
  • The significant improvement of the Guardians Fund and Maintenance Grant system to ensure that the Justice System no longer marginalises children and women.

 

Client Satisfaction Tool Proves Its Worth

Matthew Smith has been working with the Health Systems Trust to design a ‘Client Satisfaction Tool’ - a mechanism for patients to rate their health care facility. He reports on the second phase of the pilot study.

The second phase of the pilot study, in which S&T have been testing the Client Satisfaction Tool (CS Tool) it designed for Health Systems Trust (HST), was successfully completed in June 2000. Readers may remember that at the end of last year S&T performed pilot studies at two peri-urban hospitals, one in Kokstad and the other in Upington.

In the first phase, S&T tested the CS Tool it had developed for HST. The instrument asks a series of questions to gauge the perception clients (or patients) have of the hospital. The answers are then grouped under common themes (such as access, satisfaction, reliability, responsiveness and empathy) so that he hospital can measure what the clients think of the hospital; and the hospital can ultimately set itself some performance targets that it can work towards.

Allowing patients space to comment on and rate health care facilities may be a critical step in achieving a better health care system. As we become ‘clients’ to be served, rather than ‘patients’ to be worked on, so hospitals and clinics may develop a more appropriate working relationship.

In the phase that has just been completed, some minor adjustments were made to the instrument, which is why it was decided to pilot the instrument again, using the same sites. As in the first phase, S&T were present at both hospitals to ensure the administration of the instrument was done along the strict guidelines governing this type of study – permission was sought from each patient, confidentiality was assured and no member of the hospital staff was involved in the process to ensure the integrity of the study.

Results

The results of the pilot study were very encouraging at two levels. At the level of the instrument itself, they demonstrated that the tool is both reliable and valid. At the level of the perception of the client, the instrument highlighted which aspects of the service provided by the hospitals need attention and which aspects are satisfactory. A final pilot study will be performed at each site. In preparation for this, S&T has developed a short manual for the hospital management to guide them through the whole process of administering the CS Tool. Once the third pilot study has been completed, and the data analysed, a full report on this project will be available.

 

Research and a Learning Government

David Everatt looks at the role of research in development and its implications for delivery.

An increasingly common complaint made by some researchers is that too much research work is applied, and not enough aims to generate ‘new knowledge’. There is some truth to this, and it reflects a series of related factors:

  • the focus of government on delivery rather than the ‘luxury’ of non-applied research;
  • the failure of the HSRC and other research funding agencies to tackle the issue of research funding creatively;
  • choices by donors;
  • the failure of research NGOs and consultancies to generate research designs that attract funds;
  • and, finally, the rush of academic researchers into the arena of consulting to top up their salaries.

It is insufficient to complain that too much research is applied as if that is a cause: it is the result of choices made by researchers, donors and government. The way to break out of it is to design better non-applied research projects.

But the main response to the assertion is that it reflects considerable ignorance of the mechanics, value and relevance of applied research. Those of us involved in applied research are fully aware of how much new and applied knowledge the research generates. A more appropriate criticism may be that those involved in applied research don’t publish enough.

S&T has designed monitoring systems for a series of anti-poverty programmes, including the Consolidated Municipal Infrastructure Programme, the Community Based Public Works Programme, the Poverty Relief Programme, e-Justice, the Labour Market Skills Development Programme and others. At first glance these may appear to be mechanical performance and progress monitoring systems. In reality, however, they are fascinating records of delivering anti-poverty programmes in deep rural areas; they measure and analyse the roles of women, youth, traditional leaders and other key local players; measure changing levels of poverty and the effect of government’s development interventions; and much more.

Applied research, in short, is a powerful mechanism for uncovering new knowledge. In a society as deeply ignorant about itself as South Africa, applied research provides a powerful tool for uncovering new knowledge that in turn can assist in poverty alleviation strategies.

However, this begs the question: is government interested in learning what researchers have to tell them? Are monitoring systems and other applied research mechanisms a requirement or an instrument for learning?

The second five-year term of the ANC government is dominated by President Mbeki’s desire to ‘deliver’, which has been widely hailed. At the first Cabinet meeting after the election, tardy Cabinet Ministers were seen literally sprinting up the stairs of the Union Buildings, terrified of being late for the new President. The focus on delivery is evident in most departments.

However, few people have stopped to ask: delivering what? in what ways? The emphasis on delivery is in danger of becoming a numbers game, proving that so many roads or houses or dams have been built - regardless of basic developmental concerns. If this trend continues, monitoring systems – designed to measure attacks on poverty – will become mechanical exercises counting units not measuring empowerment and the war on poverty.

We know it all

The danger of research (of any type) failing to inform government is reflected in the rhetoric of the civil service. Since the new government took office, the ‘line’ coming out of many government departments – particularly those focusing on delivery – is "we know what we’re doing – we just need to refine it a little bit and then monitor it". This is worrying.

As soon as anyone involved in development delivery believes ‘we know it all’ they are in serious danger of failure. Communities are not static entities to whom blueprints can simply be applied – unless we wish to re-learn the lessons of failed development from virtually every developing country in the world. Development is slow. Communities have to be reached, brought on board and participate fully. Something that works well in village A may fail in village B, mere kilometres away.

A learning government

We all want a government that realises the value of research, both applied and more academic in orientation. On the one hand, the challenge lies with the research community to demonstrate that quality work adds value. The damage done by a poor piece of work such as the study on racism in the media commissioned by the Human Rights Commission is enormous, and puts us all on the defensive, trying to ‘prove’ that methodologically sound research is of real value.

We have to come up with research designs that are relevant and attractive to donors. In turn, we have to develop conclusions that can be communicated to government, civil servants, NGOs, communities and others. The onus is on us – as it should be – to demonstrate that good research is a valuable investment.

But there is an urgent need for government to be reminded that the war on poverty is a developmental exercise, and that research has an important role to play. We are very far from ‘knowing it all’ and research is a critical tool in helping us learn more about delivery and poverty.

However, the first year of the Mbeki government saw speed become more important than quality. We know good development can’t happen quickly. The critical issue facing the government is which will they give way on – development or speed?

 

A Centre for the Study of the Non-Profit Sector in South Africa

Gerald Kraak, formerly Deputy Director of Interfund, has managed the process towards creating a Centre dedicated to studying the non-profit sector, raising standards and building its capacity. He tells us the results of the year-long process.

Background

The idea of setting up an entity to promote the study of the non-profit sector in South Africa was floated at a workshop held at the Graduate School for the Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand and attended by academics and NGO research bodies in April 1999. Despite concern by some of the research NGOs that the entity might compete for existing research resources there was general agreement that an entity should be established which serves as a strategic focus for research on the sector. The workshop elected a Steering Committee to take the process further by proposing a model for the entity. The committee was also mandated to consult more widely with organisations, institutions and individuals beyond Gauteng and to seek their endorsement. The Steering Committee elected to appoint a consultant to field support for the Centre and Josette Cole of Social Development Trends was duly contracted to carry our the consultancy. She presented a report on her interim findings in November 1999.

The substantive findings of the consultancy were presented at a follow-up workshop held at the Graduate School on 25 March this year and what has now provisionally been titled the "Centre for the Study of the Non-Profit Sector" was given more shape and form.

Key findings

In the course of her consultancy Josette made the following findings

  • Contrary to the conventional wisdom a great deal of research is taking place on the non-profit sector in South Africa; the problem is that researchers are not in contact with each other. In fact many researchers are better connected to international research networks on the sector than local counterparts
  • The problem therefore is not the dearth of research buts its lack of visibility
  • There was almost unanimous support for an entity which would act as a strategic focus for research in the sector, that linked researchers to each other and that gave study of the sector a higher profile.
  • There was general agreement that while there was wide-ranging and extensive research on the sector it someTimes New Roman lacked intellectual rigour

Proposed model

  • The Steering Committee’s proposed model for the entity was presented to the workshop and after some debate, endorsed.
  • The Centre will be a modest structure staffed by a co-ordinator (champion), an administrator and a bibliographer/webmaster.
  • The co-ordinator will seek to map existing knowledge, identify gaps and omissions, and promote networking amongst researchers (inter alia through seminars and conferences); s/he will seek to link research needs to research providers; s/he will publicise and manage the proposed research fund
  • The administrator will be responsible for the day-to day management of the centre
  • The bibliographer/webmaster will develop a comprehensive bibliography of historical and contemporary research on the sector and make it accessible on a public website. The website will also serve as a link point between researchers in the field and will host list-serves and e-mail groups
  • The Centre will host a research fund in terms of which awards will be made to encourage new and innovative research on the sector
  • The Centre will be assisted by an Advisory Board; sub committees of the Board will establish criteria for awards by the research fund and approve applications for funds. A second sub-committee will assist in the development of a course in non-profit sector studies at existing institutions

Key principles

The Centre will be a modest structure which concentrates on mapping and building knowledge and facilitating further research and contact among researchers; it will not carry out or commission research in its own right

The Centre will make additional resources available for research rather than compete for existing resources

  • It must be national in scope
  • It should be flexible and accessible and responsive to a changing research environment
  • It will link academic and applied research
  • It should promote excellence and rigour
  • Its mission is to legitimate study of the non-profit sector as a valid discipline
  • It will encourage empirical and theoretical investigation of the sector
  • It will seek to capture the historical memory of the sector
  • It should create a space for reflection on the unique experience of the sector (particularly in the political transition)
  • It should link local research to regional and international counterparts
  • It should provide both material and virtual outputs
  • It should capture indigenous theories and solutions to development practice

The research fund will be used to encourage new and innovative research. Among the criteria for support will be a proven commitment to building research capacity and the onward transfer of skills and knowledge (this might be done through a requirement that recipients of awards commit to teaching a course, run a series of seminars on their findings and seconding interns to their research programmes). Applicants must also include strategies for the effective dissemination of findings

The Centre will facilitate the development of courses in non-profit sector studies at existing institutions and technical training for NGO staff.

The programme will be implemented over three years

Outstanding issues

The workshop struggled to define the strategic focus and remit of the research which would fall under the Centre’s rubric; there was no consensus on how the non-profit sector should be defined and which categories of associational life should be included. It was decided that this should be left to the Centre to define once it was established

  • The size of the research funds and the limits on individual awards
  • Whether the Centre should publish its own journal or co-operate with an existing initiative such as Development Update
  • The location of the Centre

The way forward

The Steering Committee met on 16 May to take forward some of the decisions made at the workshop and to act on recommendations in Josette’s draft report. The Steering Committee decided to ask the consultants to develop some criteria (including diversity) for members of the advisory board. Organisations which were consulted in the course of the consultancy will be asked to nominate board members. The Steering Committee will select and appoint members on the basis of the criteria and then disband itself.

I have been asked to develop a proposal and outcomes for the Centre. Once this has been done, there will be a public call for interested organisations and institutions to tender to host the Centre. This will help resolve the question of location; the co-ordinator will then be recruited through a combination of public advertisement and head-hunting.

 

Evaluation of Rural Anti-Poverty Programme (RAP)

Jowie Maluaudzi describes the evaluation of RAP-85 just started by S&T.

David Everatt, Moagi Ntsime and Ross Jennings, partners at S&T, have accumulated a wealth of experience and knowledge in evaluating Public Works Programmes in South Africa which they bring into this evaluation. David, Moagi and Ross played key roles in the evaluation of the Community Employment Programme (CEP) and subsequently the Community Based Public Works Programme (CBPWP), both in partnership with the International Labour Organisation (ILO). As a result of the evaluations, there was a realignment of the CBPWP. The NDPW shifted from funding stand-alone projects in rural areas to providing clusters of projects that would lead to sustainable economic activities in rural areas, a process that required detailed targeting of poverty pockets. The NDPW initiated the Pre-Implementation Task Team (PITT) to map out the realignment of the programme and undertake targeting of poverty stricken areas. Moagi and David participated in the PITT process. Ross and Moagi have been serving on the National Programme Management Team providing monitoring and evaluation capacity and advice.

On the 19th of November 1997, government approved an allocation of R300m for Rural Anti-Poverty Programmes. An amount of R85m (28%) was allocated to the NDPW for job creation through infrastructure delivery in the rural areas. A directive from the Department of State Expenditure for the funds to be committed by March 1998 necessitated the adoption of a fast-track implementation process by the NDPW.

S&T has been commissioned by the NDPW to evaluate the implementation of the Rural Anti-Poverty Programme (RAP) 1998, specifically the effectiveness of the programme in light of the "fast-track" process. The purpose of the evaluation is to assess the effectiveness of the fast-track process in achieving the objectives of the CBPWP which include community empowerment and the creation of sustainable livelihoods. We have adopted a multi-faceted research strategy to achieve this purpose.

A review of relevant literature including internal policy and discussion documents on realign-ment and fast-tracking, RAP progress reports and the programme closeout report. David and Jowie are responsible for this segment to be completed by the end of June 2000.

In depth interviews (IDIs) with key players in the implementation of RAP-85. The IDIs will facilitate open discussions on how the processes unfolded, problems experienced and successes. Conducted by Jowie and David, they will be completed within first two weeks of July.

A sample of workers in all three provinces will be drawn for the survey. A questionnaire will be designed to gather data on biographical, life circum-stances, experiences in the project, community empower-ment as well as knowledge and attitudes to issues like HIV/AIDS. The survey is scheduled for completion by the end of September 2000.

Case studies of a cluster in each of the three provinces will be conducted from the middle of July 2000. The aim of the case studies is to take a detailed look at a cluster, investigating all the processes and interactions amongst the various players in the programme and the commun-ity as well as empowerment and sustainability issues. Case studies are not representative of the general picture but provide detailed information and nuance that will enrich the research process, findings and recommendations.

An audit of projects in all clusters in the three provinces will form the last segment of the research strategy. The audit will collect data and visuals on the projects, the condition they are in and whether or not they are in use. The audit will be completed in the middle of September 2000,and will form the basis of an eletronic project mapping system.

For each of the segments a top-line report highlighting the main issues will be produced. A final report will consolidate reports from each segment and draw conclusions and recommend-ations for the NDPW.

 

I’m no lawyer (thank God)

I am no lawyer - who admits to being one nowadays? - but surely we all have the right to watch and/or hear the cross-examination of Hansie Cronje as he answers the numerous questions that his second - or is it third? - confession has raised. Judge King had sought to dredge up some case from Canada to substantiate the decision not to allow for public broadcast of the cross-examination. Rather than looking for precedents elsewhere, we should be setting one here ourselves! Thankfully, wisdom prevailed and we could all gaze at Hansie, Advocate Bitohi, or rows upon rows of grey men in grey suits - depending on your preference.

The TRC has partly revealed the levels of deception that marked our past. Our present society is based on a constitution that is the envy of many developed countries. The right to information is an important part of our constitution. So too, is the right to be innocent before proven guilty. Don’t get me wrong - I don’t believe Hansie should be publicly hanged immediately (although my drinking buddy, Bantu, holds firmly to this belief). But surely we can make our own minds up by watching and listening to the man, seeing his facial movements and body language as he answers questions. Why was this even an issue for the learned Judge? It was difficult to brush aside the widely held belief that the UCB wants to pin everything on Hansie and clear everyone else, and more secrecy would help.

Putting aside the argument that Hansie was an important ambassador for our country and ultimately accountable to the country, what I cannot understand is how the confession of someone like Hansie can be broadcast, but the cross-examination cannot. As I said, I am no lawyer…

Mad or just sports mad?

I have argued elsewhere that the South African public is sports mad. And this, despite the fact that the concept of transparency does not seem to permeate any of the major sporting codes. Maybe yet another legacy from the apartheid days is our preoccupation with conspiracy theories! Face value has very little meaning here.

And yet I believe that openness is exactly what the South African public needs when confronted with sport and information about sport. The administrators prefer to run their affairs like the private sector where decisions and deals are made in smoke-filled rooms, forgetting that we - fans and supporters - are the real power behind any sport. It would not take long for television to turn away from sponsorship if the backdrop to the event were rows and rows of empty seats.

We need to inculcate a climate of transparency - and that means information-sharing and dialogue. Decisions and deals must be open to public scrutiny (especially when they are crooked!). From cricket to rugby to soccer, we need to move away from control by the cabal or lager (the closed circle, not the beer!). The government undoubtedly has a role in creating this climate and in monitoring the performance and conduct of the various sporting codes and their respective personnel.

 

Youth Summer School

S&T recently organised a Youth Summer School at Rhodes University on behalf of the International Sociological Association’s "Sociology of Youth" committee, of which David Everatt is Vice-President for sub-Saharan Africa. S&T Research Manager Jowie Mulaudzi, who helped organise the workshop, reports on what happened.

The summer school was held at Rhodes University and hosted by the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) between the 25th and 29th April 2000, and supported by a grant from the Royal Netherlands Embassy. Participants came from Belgium, Botswana, the United Kingdom, China, Namibia, Mozambique, the Russian Federation, Slovakia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, and represented three critical areas of youth development:

  • policy-makers and implementers,
  • practitioners, and
  • researchers.

Together, the participants reflected on the experiences of young people under various systems and stages of transition in their countries and regions in the last two decades. These span young people’s experiences of after various forms of authoritarianism - apartheid, communism, colonialism, military dictatorship and, some argued, Thatcherism. Discussions covered issues of war and conflict, repressive and oppressive systems and their relation to modernising society. Similarities and differences in the experiences of young people and those of the critical role players emerged.

  • Youth development, policies and programmes in a modernising society like China seem to be defined to a large extent by the social problems of the "only-child", a result of China’s one child population policy. Youth activists in the United Kingdom focus their energies to drive a meaningful youth development agenda in a society where young people are faced with the highest rates of unemployment for its young people.
  • Yet young people and society in post-communism societies of the Slovak Republic and Russia grapple mainly with "generation-gap" issues magnified by life experiences that are defined by glaringly different social values, norms and systems. In post apartheid Namibia and South Africa, young people who had been well organised in the fight against the repressive and oppressive system, suddenly had to contend with and even redefine their social roles, find a place for themselves in "normal" society amidst limited economic participation.
  • Post war Zimbabwean and Mozambican youth are seen as part of a broader community which is facing the challenges of reconstruction and development. There seem to be little scope for defining youth development as a specific area of focus beyond the huge development needs of society as a whole.

Accordingly, the experiences of young people and therefore policies, programmes and development agenda seemed to be determined by historical processes that a country went through as well as current socio-economic and political contexts. Participants agreed that whilst such processes and contexts translate into peculiar problems and challenges, there were common issues and problems attributable to the challenges presented to young people in the various stages of the path of transiting into adulthood.

The lack of or limited youth research activities especially in Southern Africa, the high and increasing rates of unemployment HIV infections amongst young people were some of the manifestations of uneasy transitions for young people. Measures taken by societies to define and support young people through the transition or intervene where problems exist were identified as important in developing an environment supportive of positive pathways for young people. In this regard it was interesting to note the concept of "intergenerational contract".A social contract where the younger generation supports the older generation by contributing to retirement schemes, it can potentially be used by young people could leverage the support of the older generation beyond the seeming lip service paid to youth development.

In seeking common ways of dealing with youth development in a holistic manner, attention was placed on the role of policy makers, practitioners and researchers. Focusing on common areas, discussions were held to seek criteria for holistic, organic youth development that looks at young people in an integrated manner. A lot more questions were raised than answered in the short period that participants had to get to know each other, the situation in their countries and come up with solutions.

Participants agreed on a need for more focused, co-ordinated and meaningful interaction between policy-makers, practitioners and researchers in driving the youth development agenda in their respective focus areas, countries and regions. Beyond this, there was agreement on the need to share experiences and define common projects that would be of mutual benefit to the countries involved.

A concrete proposal and outcome of the summer school, was the formation of a Southern Africa Chapter of Research Committee 34 which should look at co-ordinating research efforts in Southern Africa, foster regional co-operation as well as international links. S&T will play a co-ordinating role in getting this off the ground, in preparation for the 2002 ISA Congress in Australia, and then four years later in South Africa.

 

Colin Relf: an Englishman abroad

All the S&T partners had the privilege of working with Colin Relf, an internationally renowned evaluator and programme manager. When we were awarded the RAP-85 evaluation by the Department of Public Works earlier this year, our first thought was: ‘How do we get Colin involved?’ Sadly, this won’t be possible. Nonetheless, I hear Colin’s voice - usually reminding me not to commit some elementary error - every day as we focus on public works and eradicating poverty, two issues close to Colin’s heart.

Colin, a partner in the UK company IT Transport, was our counterpart from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in two successive evaluations, firstly of the Community Employment Programme (in 1996) and then the full Community Based Public Works Programme (CBPWP) (in 1997). Colin had spent most of his adult life working in virtually every developing country, first as a road and transport specialist, then moving into labour intensive methods and a broad range of related disciplines. He had worked for most of the multilateral institutions, and also spent a year and half seconded to the Department of Public Works. Sadly, that proved to be one of Colin’s last postings: he returned to England where his health, always weak, failed.

An engineer by training, Colin was a powerful evaluator, amassing enormous amounts of data and sifting carefully through them for insights. Working together - at any hour, since Colin would happily phone me late at night as a new idea struck him - we were able to help the Department of Public Works refine the CBPWP delivery strategy from stand-alone assets to the cluster approach, now the norm and widely replicated. Colin also suggested the combination of a normative and application-based approach, allowing the Department to target communities unable to apply to the programme for assets. When Colin made statements - such as his judgement that the CBPWP was probably the best public works programme in the world - they carried the weight of years of experience and they were listened to.

Unfailingly polite, unfailingly English, Colin made hard work into good fun. His contribution to the development of public works in South Africa was singular and enormously influential. His contribution to my personal and intellectual development - learning new techniques, unpacking complex issues, developing recommendations that made developmental (not just political) sense, never letting go of tricky issues or difficult interviewees - was similar.

Colin was smart, witty and erudite. He is the only person I know who managed to use the word ‘happenstance’ in a report that sought to be accessible, and got away with it. He didn’t suffer fools gladly, but would share his ideas, papers, books and time with anyone who asked. I still have a book on my desk, and scribbled on its cover it says: ‘Please return to Colin Relf’. How I wish I could. Colin was a great friend, of myself and of South Africa. He is sorely missed.

Colin Relf died at home in Bradford-on-Avon in June 2000 after a long battle with diabetes.

 

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