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| 10 Year History
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Directors reportThe process of writing a ten year review gave us an opportunity to reflect collectively on just how far both IPT as an organisation and South Africa as a Nation have come in the turbulent years since 1990. As individuals we vary in service between 10 and 4 years and so reflection for each of us has been different in emphasis and context.
It is important to say "thank you" right at the beginning. Our work has been largely funded and we would like to say how grateful we are for the commitment and confidence that funders have shown to our work with rural communities, schools and the police service.
When we began in 1990 schools were segregated and a political settlement was being negotiated, there were fears of the "right wing" threat and concerns about so many things which never happened.
Our school work was difficult, the notion of "cross cultural" weekends in 1990 was alien and threatening. We spent many hours persuading reluctant teachers to allow pupils to attend multiracial weekend workshops and often found concerned parents lurking at the venue in the evening, on the pretext of bringing a "forgotten toothbrush" in order to check on their childıs safety. When schools integrated we spent the first week observing the process and were delighted with the tolerance and ease with which desegregation was achieved.
At the time the province was also characterised by exceptionally high levels of violence and, in addition to our work in schools, we soon became involved in providing conflict resolution training to political party women and youth in the north and south of the province. The experience gained in this difficult task deepened our long term understanding of the complexity of both the region, and rural issues that face it.
Since 1996 we have provided training and facilitation to the South African Police Service and have focused much of our attention on achieving an improvement in the level of service to victims. South Africa has some of the highest figures for violent crime in the world, and the level of support for victims is notably low. Through our interventions in stations, rural and urban, evaluations have shown improvement in the level of service to victims as well as enhanced station dynamics.
In the year 2000 we continue to work in one of the most rapidly changing and challenging environments in the world. We have responded and adapted to changes in the external environment and now describe ourselves as a facilitation, training and research consultancy which seeks to assist organisations, both public and private, with the conflicts which arise during transformation processes. A large portion of our work is still funded, but we find ourselves under increasing pressure to become self sustainable as foreign donors either prioritise very poor countries, and South Africa misses the category, or bilateral agreements are signed.
With the second democratic election in 1999, South Africa is seen as a miracle nation, and therein lies the challenge. For while South Africa is a rich by aid standards, the rural poor, the township schools, and the marginalised who are our recipients, remain on the fringes of a society where relatively few are affluent.
We want to continue our work at both the micro level with these disadvantaged groups and at the macro level by helping major public service organisations redefine and realise their strategic priorities. An ability to work at both levels is in part the uniqueness of IPT. Should donor funding decrease we will be forced to focus on income generating work which our experience has shown tends to be concerned with short term gains rather than long term transformation. This will severely threaten our capacity to deliver services which have a long term impact and benefit.
Thank you again to everyone for their support, our loyal Trustees, dedicated staff and our funders.
Rural Conditions in KwaZulu-Natal
Politics in KwaZulu-Natal
1990: The Independent Projects Trust opens in Umbilo Road, Durban with core funding from Alusaf in Richards Bay, and the objective of providing cross-cultural and lifeskills workshops to youth in underfunded schools. We also offer conflict resolution training for organisations and communities.
1993: High levels of violence demand a response and the IPT begins to work with rural communities engaged in political conflict. Training staff concentrate their efforts in rural KwaZulu-Natal which culminates in the opening of an Empangeni branch office, funded by the Royal Netherlands Embassy and US Aid.
1994: We open a small operational unit in Ulundi to facilitate work with traditional leaders and rural community members, particularly around the period of South Africaıs first democratic general elections.
1995: We open an office in Port Shepstone as training expands into the politically volatile area of the southern KwaZulu-Natal coast and launch the SMART programme provincially, which eventually provides training to scores of schools in KZN.
1996: Gender awareness and sensitivity issues are incorporated into all our training programmes owing to the particular inequalities and challenges facing women and the great need for these to be addressed.
The IPT also begins to work with the South African Police Service which is undergoing a major transformation process. We undertake conflict management training workshops for all station commissioners in KwaZulu-Natal province.
1997: A research department is added to monitor our programmes, disseminate our findings, and to monitor, assess and explain conflicts. The first, of what will become a regular series of Background Briefings is held for the press, consular officials, non-governmental organisations and other interested parties. It is at one of these later briefings, entitled "Violence in Durban Schools", that the Community Alliance for Safe Schools (CASS) is initiated.
1998: We are appointed to a committee intended to advise the Culture of Learning, Teaching and Service (Colts) campaign at the national education directorate level, which leads to the IPT producing a strategic plan to implement the COLTS philosophy
1999: Two unique products are launched by the IPT - one is "Peace Begins with Me", a primary school teaching aid developed in partnership with the Media in Education Trust and designed to provide teachers with the means to impart the skills of conflict resolution and peacekeeping. The second is the guide Protecting Your School from Violence and Crime developed through the CASS initiative.
The first edition of insight@ipt, our web based publication is released with the aim of generating discussion and debate on various issues, primarily in the fields of education and safety and security.
Based on an initial meeting with the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) during attendance at the 4th International Conference on Peacemaking and Conflict Resolution in Belfast, the IPT initiates an exchange between the RUC and the South African Police Service around issues of change management.
2000: Our commitment to rural communities is further supported through a grant from Charles Stewart Mott Foundation for a two year research project to analyse the relationship between traditional authorities and democratically elected government structures.
Education Since our early beginnings in April 1990, a substantial portion of our work has always been within the education sector. Our earliest interventions involved the hosting of cross-cultural weekends for youth through the Unity Through Youth (UTY) programme. Over the next four years we became involved in training, curricula development and lobbying around peace education, actively participating in the Forum: Educating for Peace, a national forum which was officially launched at a conference hosted by the IPT in August 1995. As a result of this, our work with the Department of Education became more proactive and by the end of 1995 we were providing training in basic conflict management and mediation skills to teachers, school pupils, interested parents and members of school governing bodies. This programme, SMART for Schools Mediation and Reconciliation Training, focused on the provision of communication skills, assertiveness training, building co-operative behaviour and supporting Peer Mediation in more than 60 schools in the province. Research into the efficacy of the schools programme began in 1997 and an evaluation was conducted with 10 schools in the Durban area. This research found that although most of those participants who had been through the conflict resolution training thought it had been useful on a personal level, the programme had not had any measurable effect on the high level of violence within the schools. Further research indicated that this was because the violence was largely caused by external gang activity on the school premises. While gang-related violence was the number one problem in nine out of the 10 schools in the study group, in three areas in particular, rape, theft and intimidation were also rife. In all but one school we found that security measures were seriously inadequate. This research helped to redirect our earlier efforts. It became clear that while we should retain our conflict management skills training we should suspend our efforts to create peer mediation structures, rather focusing on an approach which contributed to the creation of schools safe from external threats of violence and crime. Peer mediation would have to wait until the school environment was able to provide support for such a system.
A Combined Effort to increase School Security These high levels of violence in schools in the Durban area made the IPT realise that it was important to foster a multi-agency approach to fight school-based violence and crime. With this in mind we took a leading role in organising a response by key role-players. We shared the research findings at the first in a series of highly successful Public Information Briefings beginning on November 18, 1997. In attendance were representatives of some forty different organisations from both the government and private sectors. It was as a result of this first meeting that the Community Alliance for Safe Schools (CASS) was founded, consisting of government, non-government, community-based and voluntary organisations working together to fight violence and crime in schools. The ongoing activities of CASS are facilitated and administered by the Independent Projects Trust with funds accessed through Interfund.
Our initial work with the police was conducted in this context when, in 1996, we provided training in conflict management skills to all KwaZulu-Natal Station Commissioners. This early work was followed by numerous projects run in partnership with the SAPS and aimed at improving service delivery and supporting the transformation process being undertaken by the SAPS. Over the years our work has expanded and while we continue to provide skills training and facilitation around the building of dialogue and improving service, we also provide police management with access to research and analysis. For instance, in 1999, we completed an audit of external training service providers to SAPS within KwaZulu-Natal on behalf of the Provincial Commissioner and have also provided a series of maps of police areas and station details.
Work with community policing forums
A pilot project has been completed in four police stations in KwaZulu-Natal and two in the Eastern Cape. The project was supported by ongoing data collection and research to evaluate the impact of our intervention on actual service provision. Our November 1999 issue of "insight@ ipt" has victim empowerment as its focus.
Royal Ulster Constabulary / South African Police Services Exchange
The first phase of the engagement consisted of a visit to South Africa by key members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary's Change Management Team for "engagement" sessions with the South Africa Change Management staff. These sessions provided first-hand insight for the RUC team into the challenges and pitfalls which the South African police faced and will assist them to define and shape their own process. The second phase of the exchange continued with a visit to Belfast in March 2000 by key SAPS personnel involved in the South African Police Services change management process and we are confident that this process will continue to yield long term benefits to the SAPS in KwaZulu-Natal, as well as nationally and also to the RUC.
Our work within rural communities has also involved extensive liaison with traditional leaders and in March 1996 we provided conflict management skills training for a group of amakhosi, representing diverse communities from KwaZulu-Natal.
A key concern within all our projects has been the development of community skills and resources which ensures that a conflict management capability remains within the community. In response to this concern a "train-the-trainer" workshop for 14 aspirant community trainers was held in August 1996 in the Empangeni area in order to ensure sustainability within those communities once funded interventions ceased.
Another project which arose from this commitment was our Audio Project, a project emanating from the numerous requests we received from rural and semi rural communities for training in conflict resolution skills. Unfortunately, we had a limited capacity to provide this service to so many people and so the Audio Project was born - a radio drama in Zulu which would provide both entertainment and education around conflict management skills and processes. The IPT contracted Vuleka Radio to develop a 30 part drama series which aimed to illustrate effective conflict resolution thinking and practice. Our extensive collective training and facilitation experience, complemented by self-analysis of our work, informed the process, establishing guidelines and providing philosophical and methodological input into the development of the story. The situation and characters were applicable to an African context and the story moved from urban to rural settings in order to address the real issues that both face. In late 1998, after two years of development, the series was aired on Ukhosi FM Radio.
Our focus during the 1999 / 2000 period has been around the Port Shepstone region, especially within the areas of Murchison, Bhoboyi, Bomela, Nyandezulu, Bambayi, Shobashobane and Izingolweni. A large percentage of our interventions have been through the UGU Regional Council Structures, where councillors have facilitated our work with local development groups.
International Peace Research Association
Peace Begins with Me: an easy to use teaching tool for educators of intermediate phase children. The material comes in the form of a stand alone flip-chart style lectern with 20 lesson which are flipped over daily or weekly to cover conflict management skills for grades four to six. This programme, which fits into an outcomes based learning system, was developed in conjunction with the Media in Education Trust.
Protecting Your School from Violence and Crime: a book which provides guidelines for the development of a school based strategy for a safer school. The book was developed for school governing bodies and school management and reinforces the need for collaborative processes.
The publication is available at no cost from our web site which provides regularly updated information about work undertaken by the Independent Projects Trust.
Other research publications:
Bishop Rubin was ordained as a deacon in 1971 and as a priest the following year at St Paul's Church, Durban. He served in five Durban parishes with a three year interval at St James Church, New York before becoming Dean of Pretoria in 1994 and then returning to KwaZulu-Natal as Bishop Suffragan. He was enthroned as the ninth Bishop of Natal in February 2000. The chairperson of the board of Trustees is involved in many non-governmental organisations and has a great desire to champion social justice and transitional procedures.
Dr Devi Rajab
lole Matthews, a conflict management specialist and experienced training facilitator, has designed numerous training programmes around themes such as peer mediation, victim empowerment, school safety, gender equity and participative management. lole co ordinates the implementation of projects within the organisation.
Anell Beckhari, an attorney with a background in Human Rights, provides support on issues pertaining to law and government to ensure that our implementation strategies conform to existing legislation and policies. He also acts as facilitator on many of our programmes with the South African Police Service.
Mpume Jiyane, an educator with extensive experience as a facilitator in programmes designed for the police and education sectors. Mpume is also actively involved in developing training programmes for the organisation.
Dr Richard Griggs is a social scientist who previously lectured in the Department of Environmental and Geographical Science at the University of Cape Town and now heads the IPT research department.
Vaterie Smith co ordinates the IPT school safety programme and provides key support to the Community Alliance for Safe Schools through administration, production of regular newsletters and the facilitation of the network.
Pearl Mackie, accountant and administrative manager, provides the organisation with the skills needed to ensure financial accountability as well as ensuring long term sustainability of the organisation.
Noma Chiliza, qualified as a journalist and now maintains our press clipping system as well as fulfilling reception duties and assisting the administration department when needed.
Hendrew Lushozi has been with the IPT since its inception and provides support to the administration department.
Ellen Mbele is a community worker with a background of administration experience and a Public Relations qualification. Ellen co-ordinates and facilitates our conflict management and schools programmes in the greater Port Shepstone area. Independent Projects Trust
Edmund Mthuli, an experienced facilitator, conducts life skills workshops in various communities as a contribution to peace making, poverty alleviation initiatives and community development.
Zwelihle Memeia and Dingani Mthetwa, are contract researchers conducting research on the interface between traditional leaders and elected representatives at local government level. Also, responsible for mapping out alternative models of cooperative governance at municipal level.