City Awarded the Impumelelo Award
The German Government, who fund the project, visited Khayelitsha last week and praised those involved in the project for the great successes achieved thus far. Khayelitsha Sub-Council Manager, Councillor Stuart Pringle, extended his praise as well. "We are thrilled to receive this award in acknowledgement of such an important project. Its success points to the need for similar projects and initiatives," said Councillor Pringle.
The Impumelelo Innovations Award Trust evaluates numerous public sector projects from across the country each year to reward innovative projects that aim to enhance the quality of life of poor communities.
The Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading (VPUU) project was initiated in 2006 by the City of Cape Town in partnership with the German Government, through the German Development Bank (KFW). It sought to develop the community of Khayelitsha in a way that would reduce the crime that plagues the area. Khayelitsha is considered one of the most dangerous areas in Cape Town, with one of the highest crime rates in South Africa.
The VPUU project aims to not only reduce crime and increase safety levels in Khayelitsha, but to upgrade neighbourhoods, improve social standards and to introduce sustainable community projects to empower the local residents. It focuses on the improvement of four areas, namely Harare, Kuyasa, Site C/TR section and Site B to create safe areas for thousands of people.
In May last year, two new community buildings, a park and a sports complex were opened in Harare, one of the worst crime spots in Cape Town. These developments formed part of the first stage of the five-year VPUU programme.
Since the City's introduction of this programme, various safety initiatives have been implemented, which include the construction of Active Boxes (24-hour recreation centres which help to improve the safety of a specific area), and the opening of a gender-based violence satellite office in partnership with Mosaic. In addition 2662 volunteers conduct patrols in the area (by February 2010, roughly 41 234 patrols had been carried out).
The VPUU team has also played a leading role in partnership with the City's Library and Information Services Department in the design and development of a new community library in Harare which is due for completion later this year. This community library will incorporate a dedicated section for early childhood development, offices for local None Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Civic Organisations, reading and study rooms for students, and a community meeting hall. The early childhood development section has been called 'Funda Udlale' which means 'learn and play' and will operate as a hub which serves the care-givers and children from formal and informal crèches in the broader community of Harare and Kuyasa.
The project is monitored and evaluated on an ongoing basis to assess both the actual reduction in the number of crimes, as well as the public's perception of crime and safety. An indication that the project has been successful is the fact that the public's perception of safety in their area has risen on a scale of one (1) to ten (10) from two point eight (2.8) to four point three (4.3) (with one (1) being totally unsafe and ten (10) being totally safe) in the three (3) years since the project's inception.
Importantly, the VPUU project also seeks to improve the social circumstances that may lead to crime and to empower the residents of Khayelitsha to become economically independent. A number of artisans and businesses have been established or supported, including welders, informal traders, mosaic artists and contractors. This has helped to provide an income and formalise industry within the area.
Some of the initiatives of the project include free legal aid for civil matters in partnership with the University of the Western Cape (UWC), cultural development through the construction of sports, computer and music centres such as the 'Love Life Centre', and local economic development through assisting the Nlazane Traders' Association and spaza shops across Khayelitsha. A total of one thousand four hundred and seventeen (1 417) residents in the area have received training courses, ninety two (92) people have attended conflict resolution training and more than eighty (80) community projects have been funded. In addition, the project now supports thirteen (13) crèches in the area.
One of the reasons behind the VPUU programme's success is the establishment of partnerships at all levels, including Local, Provincial and National Government, the various line departments within the City, the community, NGOs, the private sector and funding and other support agencies.
The VPUU programme has shown that it is possible to achieve sustainable and integrated development though effective partnerships. The key partnership - with the community - must be underpinned by trust, accountability, a set of principles and a developmental approach.
One of the most significant aspects of this initiative is that similar projects could be initiated in other high crime areas and it is more likely that initiatives such as this will be more effective than simply hiring more police to patrol an area. The ongoing monitoring and evaluation process undertaken by the community carried out by the project makes it easier for other groups to replicate, as it can outline both best practises, as well as initiatives which were unsuccessful.
City of Cape Town
Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading
City of Cape Town
Tel: 021 400 4576
Cell: 084 220 0037