Community Participation is core to successful safety interventions!

When local residents are activated as citizens in their neighbourhoods, they become agents of change and co-decision-makers in violence prevention. Together with an active citizenry across various sectors, government is able to implement appropriate, feasible, protected interventions more effectively.

Local leaders and residents bring expert perspectives on what makes the most sense in their neighbourhood, and this is invaluable in the intervention co-design process.

When local community members are part of integrated, area-based teams from beginning to end, community priorities inform the design and all team members are better equipped to deal with the challenges of violence prevention.

As we have found in our experiences and exchanges this year, finding ways to foster local ownership of violence prevention interventions can lead to greater care for public spaces, build social capital, and even sustain social interventions after funding and service provision end.

Giz has developed a comprehensive toolkit for safety planning:

The “Toolkit for Participatory Safety Planning” was developed by the GIZ Inclusive Violence and Crime Prevention (VCP) Programme together with the South African government and civil society partners.
The Toolkit provides an overview of the situation regarding violence and crime in South Africa and offers a comprehensive conceptual framework for a systemic approach to violence prevention, the causes of violence and crime and the creation of behaviour change in young people as well as significant others that influence them directly or indirectly.

It consists of an introductory chapter and five sections that provide a range of tried and tested tools and methods to pick-and-mix according to your needs and specific context.

Tackling violence in South Africa: Background and Concepts

This introductory chapter provides an overview on the situation of violence and crime in South Africa, as well as into core concepts of violence prevention.

Setting the Scene for Participation

This section provides participatory tools that introduce basic concepts of violence prevention that can be used as icebreakers and sensitizers leading up to workshops for data collection, analysis and planning of safety measures.

Collecting Data and Information

Tools provided in this phase support the conduction of a situation analysis to obtain information about the specific conditions, cause of violence and risk factors together with the community you work in.

Analysing the Safety Situation

Building on the data generated in the previous phase analyses of actors, sectors and levels of violence can be carried out using participatory tools. The results of the analyses can be utilized as a baseline study for monitoring and evaluation of the measure. It helps identify strategic starting points for prevention activities.

Planning Safety Initiatives

This phase provides process-oriented planning tools for safety measures. Together with the workshop participants, the results from the analyses are used to identify partners and establish objectives of the measure in terms of desired behaviour change among young people and intermediaries.

Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation

The last section of the toolkit provides tools to support the monitoring and evaluation of the outcomes achieved by your activities. The aim is to engage the community in assessing behaviour change achieved by the intervention and its impact on the resident’s perception of safety.

Credit: Images and Text from 
https://www.saferspaces.org.za/learn-how/entry/building-safer-communities-toolkit