Dear SLF members, supporters, followers and others,
Welcome to the end-2016 Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation newsletter! We are certainly in interesting global times, with much change and uncertainty in both South Africa and the world. That said, SLF has had a highly successful year of research, engagement and innovation across its range of projects. We are now over 15 full-time staff members; we have expanded our Board membership in a process of bolstering good organisational governance; and we have had a wider range of projects, programmes and impacts than ever before! Hopefully this account gives a flavour of our work over the last three months:
In October, Andrew Hartnack presented the findings of the REAP alumni workplace study at three high-level symposiums in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban. The work was well-received by the many educationists, funders and civil society representatives who attended these events. Hartnack has since had an Op/Ed on the key findings from this important research accepted for publication by The Daily Maverick in December.
Our Heart of the Matter project, dealing with heart health in Delft, wrapped up with a well-attended engagement event at the Delft Civic Centre. Later in November, also at the Delft Civic Centre, we concluded our YOLO_ekasi project with a Photovoice exhibition. In a related event, SLF's Nathi Tshabalala hosted a vibrant pool competition in Gugulethu, in order to support SLF's programme of action research in safety promotion. A fourth significant final event was for our Participatory Monitoring and Accountability (PMA) project, which culminated in November in a series of film screenings and public engagement events, as well as the release of the PMA National Report (also featured in linked article below).
The Rasta herbalist digital stories produced as part of the Making All Voices Count project were also showcased at an event at the Labia Theatre in Cape Town, where a public audience was invited to attend. Of the 50 attendees, we met representatives of the Rasta community, herbalists, conservation officials, academics and members of the general public – all of whom greatly enjoyed the stimulating interaction and sharing of herbalist stories on the big screen.
Data from the flagship Formalising Informal Micro-Enterprises programme has been anonymised and is pending public release soon. This is important for other researchers and the development of broader research capacity beyond our own, and also for use as primary evidence in policy decision making. In an extension of the FIME project into the new Unlocking Land for Micro-Enterprise Growth (ULMEG) project, we undertook research of high street dynamics in Katutura, Windhoek. Exhibitions of this work will take place in early 2017.
Our work with the Centre of Excellence in Food Security has produced two drafted publications which will soon be published in Development Southern Africa. We have also produced submissions (one national, one provincial) for liquor policy framing discussion with respect to informal trade. Furthermore, Andrew Hartnack and Rory Liedeman’s article on the factors contributing to informal enterprise failure was published on the Research Project on Employment, Income Distribution & Inclusive Growth (REDI 3x3) website in October. In late November, Andrew Hartnack presented this paper at the national poverty conference hosted in Pretoria by REDI 3x3. He is also drafting a short article on the findings to be published by ECON 3x3 in December.
Looking ahead to 2017, beyond the current project portfolio, SLF has been contracted by the South African Competition Commission to conduct a nationwide informal economy grocery retail study in early 2017. Working in all nine provinces we anticipate interviewing up to 2,000 township food retailers on matters of trade and enterprise competitiveness. Adjunct to that work we will we investigating a range of food security and sovereignty matters in conjunction with the Centre of Excellence in Food Security, and also partnering with Good Governance Africa in a microenterprise census in rural Eastern Cape. Also new in 2017 will be a study into the methods and efficacy of projects which deal with school dropouts, enabled by a grant from the DG Murray Trust, which will build on the REAP alumni study of 2016.
Lastly, some farewells and welcomes. We would like bid to farewell our colleagues Nabeel Petersen and Dillon Wademan, who have respectively gone on to new work, studies and adventures. Their contributions were highly valued and they will both be greatly missed. At the same time we welcome Camilla Thorogood and Mapaseka Dipale – both of whom will be working in the SLF Competition Commission national study of informal economy grocery retailing. Mapaseka is an IT boffin and will assist in developing a range of new research tools, whilst Camilla (who is also a postgraduate student at the Centre of Excellence in Food Security) will be working towards synthesis of the data collected in this work.
Enjoy perusing the linked content below, and best wishes for the summer holiday season!
Words by Dr. Leif Petersen and Dr. Andrew Hartnack