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Case study: Assessment of after school programming at low and no-fee schools in the Western Cape

By Case Study, Education

From January to March 2019, we worked with Western Cape Government’s Department of the Premier and After School Gamechanger to conduct a research assessment of after school programmes at schools. The education/youth development project was funded by The Western Cape Government.

classroom after school

Project Outline

The After School Game Changer programme was one of seven interventions or “game changers” identified by the Western Cape Government that were seen as most likely to improve opportunities and address some of the greatest challenges facing the citizens of the Western Cape. The Game Changer programmes were: skills development; energy security; high-speed broadband;  eLearning; after-school activities; better living models; and alcohol harm reduction.

They were implemented by the Department of the Premier between 2015 and 2019 and have since been absorbed into their respective line departments.

The After School Game Changer was implemented in some of the 1059 no- and low-fee schools in the Western Cape province. This programme has since been incorporated into the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport as the After School Programme Office (ASPO).

The After School Game Changer worked to increase the participation of learners from no- and low-schools in after school activities, ensuring regular attendance by significantly improving the attractiveness and quality of such programmes for learners. By 2019 the target was to get 112,000 learners participating regularly in quality programmes – 20% of learners in no- and low-fee schools. This was a joint Game Changer in partnership with local government, provincial government departments, and a number of NGOs. The Mass participation; Opportunity and access; Development and growth (MOD) Programme was the flagship after school programme run by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS).

Between 2015 and 2018, baseline assessments were undertaken of all 181 MOD Centres and 93 After School Partial Care sites. These assessments were aimed at determining the scope of after school programmes offered at each school, run by the school and its staff, as well as by external organisations. In 2019, the After School Game Changer commissioned another assessment with the aim of measuring the progress in a sample of Western Cape schools with regard to After School Programmes (ASPs) against the baseline assessments conducted in 2018.

The main assessment question was “What is the status of facilities/centres that provide school after-care services as part of the After School Game Changer programme compared to the situation at the time of the baseline assessment?” Two further key considerations were considered: “To what extent are the schools developing and sustaining a culture of after school programming?” and “What does an after school programme at a no- or low-fee school ideally look like?”

Development Works Changemakers (DWC) was contracted to conduct this assessment in January 2019.

Project Deliverables

Project deliverables were:

  • Assessment visits to 112 low or no-fee schools in eight districts around the Western Cape.
  • The production of 112 school reports covering a large range of issues relating to each school’s after school offering.
  • A comprehensive summary report outlining the methods used and the key trends from the data coming out of all 112 assessments.
  • A PowerPoint presentation on the results

client testimonial

Our Approach

DWC assembled a team of experienced researchers who were specifically trained over a two-day period by the lead DWC researcher in all aspects of the fieldwork and data gathering protocols, tools and processes. This team of 12 individuals traversed the province, conducting site visits at each of the 112 schools.

All schools were informed of the research by the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) ahead of the visit. But actual visits were unannounced so that the researcher could see the most natural scenario at a school, rather than a pre-arranged display of after school activities. Researchers spent up to five hours at each school, interviewing key individuals, and observing ASPs.

Detailed interviews were conducted with at least three key individuals at schools with insight into the ASP. These interviews were done through a set of carefully designed questionnaires which were developed using Survey Monkey and loaded onto a tablet device. Surveys were tailored for different interviewees such as Principals, ASP coordinators, teachers and NGO partners. Researchers conducted each interview with their tablet device and uploaded the completed surveys to the cloud as soon as it was over, using data loaded on each device. Quality checking could thus happen very quickly, with the lead researcher monitoring the uploaded surveys as they came in and providing feedback to the researcher.

In addition to the interviews, where possible, at least two after school activities were observed during visits. A detailed observation form was also loaded on the tablet device used by the researchers. These forms were completed during observations and also uploaded to the cloud for checking and analysis.

The project was conducted under considerable time pressure. School visits were conducted concurrently by the 12 researchers, and as this data came in, another team of four researchers analysed the data and wrote each school report up, following a detailed standard report structure. These reports were then edited and streamlined by the lead researcher and another member of the research team.

The lead researcher then analysed the overall data from the 112 Principal/coordinator surveys, as well as data relating to each school’s ASP contained in the school reports. This analysis informed the overall summary report.


This assessment was of high value to the After School Game Changer and its partners. It provided a comprehensive picture of what ASPs are happening at low and no-fee schools in the Western Cape and showed what an after school programme at a low or no-fee school can look like. The assessment provided 112 high quality and comprehensive reports on schools across the province, which show the range of activities and how schools have overcome difficulties to run ASPs.

The reports also allowed a broader analysis of what is happening in each district, based on the sample included in the study. It showed trends, such as districts with higher numbers of good ASPs, where schools focussed in their ASP offerings, as well as common challenges and gaps. The assessment showed that no-fee schools can offer ASPs, but it also showed the conditions under which these can thrive, and what is needed for success in this endeavour.

The assessment also is a resource for the ASPO as it seeks to involve schools and the WCED in a conversation about what can be done to improve after school programming at schools, and what support the WCED can provide in this regard.

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Dancing Jerusalema: We are inspired by the spirit of the COSUP team in Mamelodi Pretoria

By Community, Evaluation

We watched the COSUP team in Mamelodi dancing Jerusalema. And we left inspired.

In our recent reflection on the highlights of being a researcher and evaluator, we shared how our work gives us the opportunity to get a glimpse of a wide range of real-life situations. Often these situations are defined by conditions that are not optimal. And where real and seemingly insurmountable challenges occur. Often, in these situations, we find the most inspiring glimpses of hope and joy. These moments show the passion and resilience of actors in the development space.

Read more on our newsroom

COSUP Project

We are currently conducting work which has introduced us to the Community Substance Use Programme (COSUP). COSUP is an evidence-based drug harm reduction programme, which is implemented by the City of Tshwane’s health department, through a partnership with the Department of Family Medicine from the University of Pretoria.

This programme is ground-breaking, as the first comprehensive drug harm reduction programme in the country. Programmes that focus on substance use often focus on prevention strategies and demand reduction, or law enforcement aimed at supply reduction. Harm reduction is an essential component of a comprehensive response to drug use. It is embedded in a human-rights approach which departs from traditional punitive approaches. It recognises the humanity, dignity and rights of persons who use drugs.

Read. more about how COSUP gives hope to substance users

Dancing Jerusalema

As part of our engagement with COSUP, we conducted a virtual site visit to one of the COSUP facilities in Mamelodi, Pretoria. Through this site visit, we gained a deeper understanding of where and how this dedicated team provides professional services to drug users in the community. As well as how they do this with the highest level of compassion and care.

A delightful add-on to our data-gathering was a fun video the team shared with us. It’s not directly related to the focus of our data collection, but very relevant in showing us the team spirit and energy of this team, who are doing often difficult work under challenging conditions. We are inspired by the COSUP team.

By Fia van Rensburg

Case study: Assessment of impact of online courses on digital finance services practitioners

By Case Study, Evaluation

From October 2018 to March 2019, Development Works Changemakers completed their assessment of the Impact of Digital Frontiers Institute (DFI) Online Courses on Practitioners in the Digital Financial Services (DFS) Sector.

The project was funded by FSD Africa, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Omidyar Network, covering a geographic scope of Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Rwanda, and Uganda.

DFI assessment

Project Outline

DFI aims to develop the capacity and enhance the professional development of DFS professionals working in the private, public, or development sectors. By closing the DFS capacity gaps currently experienced in developing markets, the organisation, in the long term, aims to accelerate financial inclusion.

To achieve this DFI provides online training and education courses. Consisting of seminars through a built-for-purpose online campus. These primarily focus on foundational DFS knowledge and skills, but also include areas of leadership development and change management.

Additionally, DFI facilitates a network of professionals, or communities of practice (CoP) which include in-country face-to-face meetings of DFI students and DFI-affiliated professionals, as well as the moderation of online meetings through DFI’s built-for-purpose digital network and series of global seminars. DFI’s first full year of courses was in 2016.

In 2017, DFI undertook focus group research to understand the impact one of its foundational training courses, the certificate in digital money (CIDM), was having on alumni and their organisations. Data was collected from Zambia, Rwanda and Uganda. In 2018, Development Works Changemakers (DWC) was commissioned to undertake follow-up data collection.

Unlike the 2017 data collection, DWC’s assessment considered the impact of all DFI’s online training courses and specifically focused on the extent to which DFI funders’ M&E indicators were being achieved.

The primary purpose of this assessment was to

1) assess the extent to which DFI funders’ M&E indicators are being met; and

2) assess the impact DFI training courses have had on participants, their organisations and the industry to date.

In-country visits for primary data was collected from five DFI markets in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), namely Mozambique (Maputo), Malawi (Blantyre), Zambia (Lusaka), Rwanda (Kigali), and Uganda (Kampala).

Project Deliverables

  • Development of primary data collection tools including a survey for practitioners, and interview and focus group discussion (FGDs) guides for practitioners, CoP facilitators, line managers and HR managers, and institution representatives.
  • Final reports including 1) an overall executive summary; 2) an overall introduction, method, a summary of secondary survey data (collected by DFI at six and 18-month follow-up) and recommendations; and 3) individual country reports for the five aforementioned countries, reporting the achievement of indicators and the perceived impact of the courses.
  • Infographic per country depicting the number of students trained, number of training attended, number of participants in this study and findings per indicators and in terms of overall impact.

Our Approach

The assessment responded to a select list of key indicators of interest. The extent to which these indicators were being achieved in the five markets was explored by a combination of cross-cutting data sources and data collection instruments.

The combination of data collection sources and tools aided methodological and data triangulation, which further allowed for the verification of data and a more textured, comprehensive account of DFI’s impact. A mixed-method approach was utilised. This incorporated both qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis methods that were inclusive and complementary.

This approach allowed for data gathering in multiple ways and the team was able to elicit a variety of perspectives on DFI courses and impact.

Secondary data was collected via

1) a document review of previous DFI reports; and

2) analysis of programme monitoring data, namely six-month and 18-month ex-post survey which are administered to CIDM graduates only.

Primary data was collected from evaluation participants from four target groups namely

1) practitioners (who completed DFI training courses/in the process of completion);

2) line managers and/or HR managers (individuals who oversee/manage the practitioners or are involved in recruitment and/or development within their companies);

3) CoP facilitators (individuals who facilitate the in-country CoP meetings); and

4) institution representatives (Individuals who work for key institutions within the DFS sector and could provide broad insight into the DFS market/sector within their country).

Data was collected from these participants using an online survey for the practitioner and line manager/HR managers respectively, and FGD/interview guide for practitioners, and an interview guide for line managers/HR manager, CoP representatives and institution representatives. Surveys were administered online on Survey Monkey (and administered in-person in-country to gather more responses) and participants were incentivized to participate with the offer of discounted courses with DFI.

FGDs and interviews were conducted primarily face-to-face in each of the country capitals. The practitioners were invited via email to a CoP meeting, where DWC team members conducted the FGDs. Practitioners in FGDs and in surveys provided the contact details of their line managers and/or HR managers. DWC followed-up with for interviews and CoP facilitators made themselves readily available. And also assisted in arranging interviews with individuals in major institutions, including government ministries, banks, and interbanks.

The evaluation team analysed both primary and secondary data that was collected using ATLAS.ti for thematic analysis of the qualitative data and Microsoft Excel for descriptive statistical analysis of quantitative data.


The assessment provided a valuable opportunity for DFI to take stock of its achievements since 2016. The assessment provided DFI with insight on the extent to which their set indicators were being met. As well as where gaps exist, areas for improvement or best practices that could possibly be expanded upon in different countries.

It also provided insight into the value of and impact that the course may be having on individuals and in their companies. Based on the findings, several recommendations were made, that if implemented, could improve the DFI courses going forward.

Recommendations focused on improving CoP attendance and morale, amendments to and additional DFI courses, identifying local partnerships to reduce costs and increase reach, course support, and monitoring and evaluation (M&E). M&E recommendations noted the challenges experienced with data collection and made suggestions for follow-up data collection in 2019 and 2020.

DWC also suggested that the report be used as a tool for learning. Not only for DFI’s internal planning but for each country’s alumni and CoPs. Specifically, the initiatives being developed in different countries and the achievements that they had should be shared with alumni and CoP facilitators, who may be able to learn how to implement initiatives themselves. This led to the development of infographics per country. Showing how each country fared against the indicators and what overall impact was reported per country.

The infographics can serve as marketing tools of how participation in a course can add value to one’s personal and career development. And as a learning tool for other countries. Especially in terms of launching their own formalized CoPs.

We’d love to work with you

We hope that by showcasing our case studies with you, that it shares insight into the areas of expertise that we have experience in. If you have any questions about the research, evaluation, monitoring and development industry, feel free to contact us.

Photovoice: a participatory action research methodology

By Research

Photovoice is a participatory action research methodology that has the potential for empowering participants. It has been used successfully for gender empowerment and holds potential as a methodology for research and evaluation within the social justice evaluation branch and the transformative paradigm.

Photovoice can be used in research and evaluations which aims to make the voices of any marginalized group heard. How the COVID-19 Crisis Shows We Need More Feminist Evaluation. The infographic below provides a summary of the important features of Photovoice and highlights the importance of implementing the method systematically if the desired results of empowerment and social change are to be achieved.

Origins of Photovoice

It’s founded in a history of photographic approaches to auto-ethnography and activism. Photovoice blends a grassroots approach to photography and social action. It builds on Paulo Freire’s methods of empowerment education.



It’s Participatory Action Research…

RESEARCH is aimed at answering QUESTIONS…

Photovoice inquiry is guided by over-arching FRAMING QUESTIONS that focuses the inquiry…

Key Characteristics of Photovoice

  • Active participation by those who would be “research subjects” in traditional research
  • Power relations between researchers and “research subjects” are totally different
  • Ideal for co-creation
  • Makes it possible for beneficiaries or programme implementers to tell their stories through their own experiences
  • Enables people to record and reflect on community strengths and concerns  
  • Honours and values the subjective experiences of people
  • Provides an opportunity for a “community” (e.g. a beneficiary group or work team) to reflect back to themselves
  • Facilitate analytical discussion of social conditions / programme benefits
  • Promote knowledge and critical dialogue about community issues and their impact on individuals

Reach and inform policy makers to bring about change.

Effective PAR requires that all four elements are present. It comes together like this: “Participation by stakeholders in a process aimed at the advancement of knowledge through a systematic research process that results in action for social change on the part of the stakeholders” (Chevalier & Buckles, 2013 in Liebenberg, 2018).

(Source: Liebenberg, 2018: 2)

Photovoice can be used for feminist evaluation – in fact, it was inspired by feminism. It can be empowering, but using Photovoice is not a guarantee for empowerment.

To make Photovoice meaningful, it is essential to follow a systematic process that does not end with the collection of rich narrative data, but which goes further than focusing on discourse. Photovoice goes into “the realm of perception, experience and spatial and embodied ways of knowing the world” (Gubrium & Harper, 2013, p. 71in Liebenberg, 2018 ).

Photovoice process

Source: Liebenberg, 2018: 4

What do you need to do Photovoicing?

Photovoice draws on mechanisms such as photography and collaborative discussion of meaning, that have the potential to face in-depth exploration of lived experience that is often taken for granted.


When doing Photovoice, provide an explanation to participants on HOW photovoice works:

  • What is Photovoice and how does it work?
  • Why are we using this methodology?
  • How will be using the story?
  • Who will be doing it?
  • How will it be done?

The relationship between Photovoice and Social Change

The SHOWED diagram illustrates the relationship between knowledge development and social change:


By Fia van Rensburg


Budig, K., Diez, J., Conde, P. et al. Photovoice and empowerment: evaluating the transformative potential of a participatory action research project. BMC Public Health 18, 432 (2018).

FLIPHLIPHTML5. (n.d.) Activity. Photovoices.

Hannes, K., Parylo, O. 2014. Ethical Considerations from Participants in a Photovoice Research Project. International Journal of Qualitative Methods. Volume 13 Issue 1, February 2014 page(s): 255-274.

Liebenberg, L. 2018. Thinking Critically About Photovoice: Achieving Empowerment and Social Change. International Journal of Qualitative Methods. Volume 17, Issue 1, February 2018.

Simmonds, S., Roux, C., ter Avest, I. 2017. Blurring the Boundaries between Photovoice and Narrative Inquiry: A Narrative-Photovoice Methodology for Gender-Based Research. International Journal of Qualitative Methods. Volume: 14 issue: 3, 2017, page(s): 33-49

Case Study: IREX – Evaluation of Mandela Washington Fellowship Programme (YALI)

By Case Study, Evaluation

. With significant years of experience, we’ve been showcasing some of our case studies in various niches of the development, evaluation and research space.

From December 2018 to June 2019, we provided a final impact evaluation for the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX). The project was funded by USAID and the geographic scope covered 49 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

The final impact evaluation of the USAID-funded, Africa-based follow-on activities of the Mandela Washington Fellowship (MWF) Program is focused on leadership development.

Project Outline

The Young African Leaders Initiative was launched in 2010 by President Barack Obama. As a signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders. The Fellowship commenced in 2014 as the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). It is aimed at empowering young leaders from Africa (between the ages of 25 and 35), building their skills to improve accountability and transparency of government, start and grow businesses, and serve their communities. Consisting of academic coursework, leadership training and networking.

The Fellowship is implemented by international non-profit organisation IREX, as a cohort-based program, with six (6) annual cohorts for each calendar year from 2014 to 2019[1]. The program consists of attending a US-based leadership institute and the Mandela Washington Fellowship Summit. Some Fellows also have the opportunity to participate in a professional development experience in the U.S.

The United States-based activities are funded by the U.S Department of State. Managed separately from the Africa-based activities, which are funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This evaluation was focused on the Africa-based USAID-funded component only.

Steps in the programme

During the course of their stay in the US, each Fellow is expected to put together a Leadership Development Program  (LDP). They finalise when they complete their Leadership Institute and share online for comment and peer review. The LDPs form part of the USAID-funded component of the program. Over time, it was voluntarily adopted by US-based institutes. LDPs are distributed at pre-departure orientations to connect the US-based and Africa based parts of the programme. And to guide with the implementation of their US-based learning when they return to their home countries.

ghana drone shot

Upon returning to their home countries, Fellows continue to build the skills they have developed during their time in the United States through support from US embassies, the YALI Network, USAID, the Department of State, and affiliated partners[2]. Through these experiences, Mandela Washington Fellows are able to access ongoing professional development and networking opportunities. As well as support for their ideas, businesses, and organizations. Fellows may also apply for their American partners to travel to Africa to continue project-based collaboration through the Reciprocal Exchange Component.

The Africa-based activities are designed to support Fellows as they develop the leadership skills, knowledge, and attitudes necessary to become active and constructive members of society. They may also choose to participate in a number of USAID-supported follow-on activities, including professional practicums, mentorships, Regional and Continental Conferences and conventions, Regional Advisory Boards (RABs), Speaker Travel Grants (STGs), Continued Networking and Learning (CNL) events, and Collaboration Fund Grants (CFGs).

To assist with the implementation of these Africa-based follow-on activities, IREX has collaborated with three regional partners in Southern Africa (The Trust), East Africa (VSO Kenya), and West Africa (WACSI).

Project Deliverables

The purpose of this final impact evaluation of the USAID-funded, Africa-based follow-on activities of the Mandela Washington Fellowship (MWF) program was to determine and portray the emerging results of the program and to inform current and future youth leadership programming.

The deliverable was an impact evaluation report that answered the following main evaluation questions:

  1. What is the impact of follow-on activities on male and female Fellows’ skills; knowledge; and attitudes necessary to become active and constructive members of society; compared to those men and women who did not participate in the follow-on activities?
  2. How has the program impacted practices of male and female Fellows in supporting democratic governance through improving the accountability and transparency of government in Africa?
  3. Has the program helped male and female Fellows to start new businesses? To what extent has participation in the program helped Fellow-led businesses expand and become more productive?
  4. How has the program impacted on male/female Fellows’ identification with, and participation in community challenges/social responsibility?
  5. To what extent is the network for Mandela Washington Fellowship male and female alumni who collaborate on issues of democratic governance, economic productivity and civic engagement a self-sustaining network? How have USAID-funded follow-on activities contributed to this?

In addition, cross-cutting themes that had to be considered included: empowerment of women and other marginalised youth, including the disabled and LGBTQI, to address inequalities and development challenges; increase of youth participation overall, with an emphasis on how these empowered youth can contribute to their countries’ development; and the establishment of significant partnerships with the private sector to leverage resources, increase impact, and enhance sustainability of planned activities.

kenya nightscape

Our Approach

The evaluation adopted a mixed-method approach. Gathering both quantitative and qualitative data from a large sample of Fellows who had participated in and those who had not participated in Africa-based follow-on activities. Quantitative data was gathered through an online survey from 1292 Fellows, 35 percent of the total Fellow population. Qualitative data was gathered through one-on-one interviews. Conducted either face-to-face or via Skype, with Fellows and program staff and partners, or through focus group discussions with Fellows, during country visits to six African countries.

In this way, a wide range of stakeholders was included in the evaluation. Quantitative and qualitative data were cleaned, transcribed, analysed and incorporated into the findings of the evaluation. Both quantitative and qualitative data was also gathered from secondary sources, including literature on leadership in Africa, and a range of sources provided by IREX on the Africa-based follow-on activities. In addition to the main report, five case studies were produced, highlighting specific programme outcomes.


The value of this evaluation was two-fold. It showed that the aims and methods of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, including the Africa-based follow-on activities, are highly relevant and in line with literature and best practice on youth leadership development in Africa. It also contributed to the body of knowledge of (youth) leadership development programmes. Specifically those based on the ethos of a values-based servant and transformational leadership.

The evaluation showed that the MWF is highly relevant in fostering individual, group and community values within young people. So that they can become true leaders in their own sectors and communities. In addition, the evaluation showed how these young people solidify their leadership roles within their own careers and sectors at a crucial time when they are progressing. Thereby becoming more respected and influential in their workplaces and communities. And more active in society.

The Africa-based follow-on activities enabled Fellows to solidify the knowledge and skills gained in the US, to ground and root the US-based learning, and helped Fellows put their new knowledge into practice.  The program has strengthened significantly many of the values that the Social Change Model (SCM) of leadership focuses on. Especially the consciousness of self, congruence commitment, collaboration, and also, common purpose and citizenship. Not only of home countries but also of Africa in general.

The evaluation showed that amongst other gains, experiential learning through participation in follow-on activities promoted innovative thinking, facilitated shifts in attitudes towards gender roles, rights and sexuality, and motivated Fellows to engage in social entrepreneurship.

Client testimonial

“Development Works Changemakers was selected from a competitive pool of applicants. One of the aspects of their proposal which stood out was their focus on applying an inclusivity lens to their approach. As well as their demonstrated understanding of the leadership field. And, more specifically, their knowledge and experience with leadership in the African context, in addition to the participatory methodology proposed. Once the evaluation got underway, the timeline proposed was adhered to, despite some difficulties with timely responses from key informants.

Development Works Changemakers sifted through an enormous amount of program document data. They collected and analyzed information from program participants and stakeholders. And worked collaboratively with us to surface the most useful data points and findings to highlight program impact and challenges. Their research was insightful and grounded. Where possible with relevant outside data sources that triangulated findings or demonstrated the nuances they found were unique to our circumstances.

The finished report highlighted the most important findings for our research questions. It provided as much detail as could be extrapolated from the data available. Particularly blending the quantitative and qualitative data findings into a cohesive narrative. Development Works Changemakers were professional, insightful, thorough, and responsive to feedback.  I would highly recommend them for a range of evaluation and assessment work.”

– Cheryl Schoenberg Deputy Director, Leadership Practice IREX, and Former Chief of Party for the Mandela Washington Fellowship

Development Works Changemakers Evaluation

Over the next couple of months, we’ll be showcasing more of our case studies. Highlighting the various methods of our approach.

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[1] This evaluation excludes the 2019 cohort.

[2] YALI has also established four Regional Leadership Centres (Ghana, Senegal, South Africa and Kenya), and a number of satellite centres, to offer leadership training programs to young leaders between the ages of 18 and 35. The four RLCs are based at higher-education institutions in their host countries.


Development Works Changemakers: Women’s Month Collage Challenge

By Gender

In the last week of Women’s Month, make your own collage and share on your social media platforms. Scroll down to the end of this blog for our Women’s Month collage. We challenge you to make your own collage and share it on social media platforms.

In honour of women

This month we would like to honour women for who they are. Just as they are. Women should be able to be themselves, whoever they are, where they are. Women are not a homogeneous group, and we should celebrate women and the diversity of women across society, irrespective of class, age, race, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, career choice, personality type, body shape, and whatever aspect of their lives you can think of.

There is a huge misconception that because women’s rights are entrenched in our Constitution, women are equal now. Women are far from equal in our society, and the vulnerability of women has been under the spotlight in recent years and more so recent months given the ongoing issues of vulnerability. Various surveys and reports have highlighted women’s vulnerability in terms of employment and income, physical safety and emotional wellbeing. It is clear that while there is equality between the sexes on paper, real-life experiences of women prove to be less rosy.

The reality of being a woman

The reality is that women’s unequal status in society goes much deeper than constitutional rights. Inequality is systemically entrenched in culture, societal norms and religion. We still live in a society where a significant portion of society has very fixed ideas of what women should think, do and how they should behave. Many still raise their children with gender-stereotypical expectations. In some cultures, women are valued less than men, and often discussions on gender equality and women’s rights are dismissed or regarded as unnecessary.  The term “feminism” continues to make people uneasy and is widely misunderstood. (feminist evaluation Archives)

Some still confuse Womens’ Day with Mothers’ Day. In some countries the tradition is to give women flowers – a nice but misplaced gesture. Women’s Day and Women’s Month is not about being pink, cuddly and motherly. It is about women’s rights and the opportunity to fully exercise those rights. When gender equality eludes us, families are weakened, societies are fragmented, and the world as a whole loses out on the full potential of all human beings.

Our Women’s’ Month Collage Challenge

This is our Women’s Month collage. In the last week of Women’s Month, make your own collage and share on your social media platforms.


5 Reasons why women’s equality is good for all

Knowledge is power.

Number 1

In developed countries, women receive more college degrees. This helps to bridge the gap between male and female CEOs and political leaders. This may mean having more educated people in power. Although there are still vast gaps between the number of men and women in top business positions, women in business have demonstrated that they are an asset as managers, investors, and leaders.

Number 2

Countries that actively include women in the workforce have more economic growth than countries that don’t. The World Bank found that for every 1% increase in the population of girls educated, a country’s GDP increases by 3%. When economies grow, there are more employment opportunities, social services, and development for everyone to enjoy.

Number 3

Companies managed by women report more motivated workers and higher productivity than those managed by men. Though the reasons why are still contested, a Gallup poll found that individuals with female managers were 6% more engaged than those with male leaders. Similar studies have found that women may be more affirming. And check-in with their employees more often than male managers do, which results in motivation, interest, and higher productivity.

Number 4

Women are smart investors, and studies show that they make better financial decisions than men. A seven-year study found that single female investors and female-led investment groups outperformed their male counterparts when it came to stock picking.

Number 5

Countries that educate women have better economies, healthier citizens, and less violence than those that don’t. Evidence shows that when girls are educated, economies improve, both because of their new ability to enter the skilled workforce and because educated women raise educated children. Investing in women is investing in the future economy and workforce. Beyond the financial motivations, each additional year of girls’ education lowers infant mortality by 5-10%. The amount of families in poverty also decreases, as educated women wait longer to get married and have fewer children.

5 Reasons Why Women’s Equality Benefits Everyone – Futures Without Violence

By Fia van Rensburg

Case Study: UNODC – Baseline, endline and impact evaluation of the LULU programme

By Case Study, Evaluation

At Development Works Changemakers, our passion for change can be seen in our several case studies. The Baseline, Endline and Impact Assessment of the Line Up Live Up (LULU) Programme in South Africa began in May 2019 and was recently completed in January 2020.

The client, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), worked with the Western Cape Government Department of Cultural Affairs and Sports (DCAS) to provide baseline, endline and impact assessment. Focusing on the area of Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain in the Western Cape, the following findings were recorded.

children in a classroom

Project Outline

The  Line Up Live Up (LULU) programme is a sport-based life skills training curriculum developed to improve youths’ knowledge/awareness, perceptions, attitudes, life skills and behaviours to build resilience to violence, crime and drug use. The programme is designed to be delivered over 10 sessions to male and female youth, between the ages of 13-18 years.

Each session includes interactive sports-based activities, interspersed with reflective debriefing spaces in which life skills are imparted. These sessions are envisaged to lead to various outcomes, which in the long-term include youth engaging less in risk and antisocial behaviours and demonstrating resilient behaviour.

The LULU programme is being piloted in Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Peru, Palestine, Tajikistan, Uganda, Uzbekistan and in 2019, it was piloted in South Africa. In South Africa, the programme is run in cooperation with the Western Cape DCAS as part of its flagship MOD afterschool programme.

In 2019, DWC was commissioned to conduct a baseline, endline and impact assessment of the LULU programme in nine schools in Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain, two high-crime areas in the Western Cape, South Africa. The purpose was to assess only the short-term outcomes (knowledge and perceptions) and selected medium-term outcomes (attitudes and behaviours) of the LULU programme. The findings of this study are intended to be used for cross-country comparisons, and for informing programme improvements.

Project Deliverables

As part of the assessment, DWC produced:

  • Adjusted data collection tools that were provided by UNODC and adapted to the South African context and made more youth-friendly; these included a baseline/endline survey for youth, a self-reporting survey for youth participating in LULU, and focus group discussion (FGD) guides for youth, coaches, area managers and DCAS management.
  • A literature review focused on the context of crime in South Africa and the Western Cape province specifically, Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain profile; policy and other approaches to tackling crime in South Africa; and the sports-based life skills approach international and local examples.
  • A baseline report outlining participating learners’ profile (including demographics and experiences of family/home life, school and community) and outcomes of interest prior to launching the LULU programme in schools
  • An endline report comparing baseline data to endline data to assess changes in the outcomes of interest following the completion of the LULU programme; and
  • An impact report, building on the endline report by additional discussing lessons learned and recommendations.

An executive summary report and summary report of the final impact report.

Our Approach

The assessment followed a mixed-method approach, which combined qualitative and quantitative data analysis in order to bring a robust and credible set of findings to the report.

A non-equivalent, multiple group time-series design was employed, whereby data was collected at baseline before the programme commenced and at endline once the programme concluded. Data was collected from learners from 9 schools across Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain and collected from:

  • Learners who participated in the LULU programme (treatment group)
  • Learners involved in the afterschool MOD programme (control group I); and
  • Learners who do not participate in any afterschool activities (control group II).

While the initial design of this evaluation assumed all LULU learners would have attended all 10 sessions, this was not the case. Due to the high proportion of learners who did not attend all sessions, all learners were still included, but additional analyses were incorporated to assess the extent to which attendance at 1-6 vs 7-10 sessions influenced outcome indicators.

Secondary data was also collected through a literature and programme document review. Primary data was collected using surveys and focus group discussions (FGDs) provided by UNODC, which were adapted by DWC to be more child-friendly, include colloquial language, ensure that all outcomes were adequately measured by adding additional questions and to shorten the surveys to keep learners interested. In terms of primary data collection:

  • Baseline survey data was collected from 724 learners (313 LULU learners; 204 MOD learners; and 207 non-intervention learners);
  • Follow-up endline survey data was collected from 658 learners (262 LULU learners; 195 MOD learners; and 201 non-intervention learners);
  • Endline self-administered survey data was collected from 210 LULU learners; and
  • FGDs were conducted with a) 8-10 learners from five schools, respectively; b) 16 coaches from all nine schools; c) four Area Managers covering the two Metros and d) two DCAS programme management staff.

Ethical approval from a research ethics committee was granted for this evaluation. The programme and the study itself were constrained by a highly limited timeline, which impacted the implementation of the programme. The study period and school timelines forced the programme to be implemented within a five-week period rather than 10-weeks, which limited the programme’s dosage and duration.

The study period also did not allow sufficient time for LULU participants’ learnings to be fully absorbed and advanced. There were also issues with programme fidelity, and most learners did not attend all 10 LULU sessions as required. These issues made it challenging for outcomes, and especially the more medium-term outcomes of attitude and behaviour change difficult to achieve. These challenges were highlighted for consideration for when findings of the study were interpreted.

Data from primary and secondary data collection were analysed using Atlas.ti for thematic analysis for qualitative data, and Microsoft Excel and IBM SPSS for quantitative data to conduct both descriptive and inferential statistics.


The evaluation produced valuable information, including significant lessons learned and recommendations on the LULU programme that may help inform the improvement of the programme going forward in South Africa; lessons and recommendations included the need for key stakeholder buy-in, longer and more intensified coach training; support to coaches and area managers, and the need for psychosocial support for both learners and coaches.

Further, those short-term outcomes that were achieved can provide evidence to potentially support funding and buy-in for the ongoing implementation of the programme in the future. Finally, the data can be used for comparison with the other programme implementation pilot countries, and lessons learned from this assessment can guide programme implementation and the study thereof in these other countries going forward.

Overall, given the difficulties faced, the programme and its implementers/managers should also be commended on the outcomes realised; what was achieved suggests that had the programme been implemented as intended (in terms of dosage, duration and fidelity) and under the right conditions (with full attendance by all learners and enough time for change to manifest within the study period), further outcomes could have been achieved.

Development Works Changemakers Evaluation

Over the next couple of months, we’ll be showcasing more of our case studies and highlighting the various methods of our approach.

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Gender Rights and Our Democracy

By Gender14,476 Comments

In the past few weeks South Africa was shocked by the ugly face of violence boiling over in a spate of GBV and Xenophobia – a volcano spewing out deep-rooted hatred and violence. Hard-won freedom and ideals of equality, for which many people lost their lives, with a rainbow nation a distant memory.

In this collage, we look at root causes of GBV juxtaposed with the DWC team’s reactions and pledges to be the change we want to see in our country. Here we look at gender rights and our democracy

The Freedom Charter and gender rights

The Ideals of the Freedom Charter have been encapsulated in the Bill of Rights of the South African Constitution (Act 108 of 1996), as “a cornerstone of democracy in South Africa”. It “enshrines the rights of all people in our country and affirms the democratic values of human dignity, equality, and freedom.” Sadly, more than 20 years later, we are still struggling to make these values real for all who live in South Africa.

“We, the People of South Africa, declare for all our country and the world to know: that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white, and that no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of all the people…. our country will never be prosperous or free until all our people live in brotherhood, enjoying equal rights and opportunities… we pledge ourselves to strive together sparing neither strength nor courage, until the democratic changes here set out have been won.” – The Freedom Charter, 19551

The roots of gender-based violence

GBV tree

Image credit: UNFPA

definition ofmisogyny

Gender-based violence is rooted in disrespect for human rights, abuse of power and gender inequality. Social and cultural norms, values and beliefs about women’s place in society, and life in general, play a role in how women are perceived and treated.

Considering that “the relationship between a woman and her husband/partner is the closest and most trusted that a woman should have in her life”, market research company, Ipsos polled South Africans on the dynamics between man and wife and if it is necessary for a woman to “obey” her partner or husband. The results are startling: women themselves are upholding paternalistic values that give men the power, which good men don’t abuse, but others do.

(See article on the woundedness of men in a violent society)

pyramid of misogymy


“I don’t know what kind of man commits such crimes against women. What frame of mind is he when he commits those crimes?

— Keitumetsi, Caller

“The answer is men like you and me commit crimes against women, not monsters or aliens.”

— Eusebius McKaiser, Presenter

ipsos quote

The above quote is taken from a press release

Violence pyramid

Most South Africans are deeply troubled by the manifestations of misogyny on the apex of the “violence pyramid”. This includes homicide, sexual assault, and physical assault. This pyramid also resembles what the violence volcano is spewing out in our beautiful land, which should belong to all who live in it.

While the current focus is on the top of the pyramid, solutions to change the situation lies at the base of the pyramid: our values and beliefs. That what is not always visible, but which is clear from the Ipsos poll on power relationships between men and women. Good men will not abuse the power women give to them in a paternalistic society. But we also live in a violent society which unfortunately breeds violent men (who are often themselves victims of violence).

We need to be much more conscious of the base of the violence pyramid. We need to be vigilant of early signs of disrespect for women’s rights and dignity. The joke we often ignore is not innocent, neither is the leering, or sexual harassment. These things make us uncomfortable as women. However, sometimes we ignore it because we do not want to be rude, cause trouble, or be branded as a feminist. But we should stop doing this. If we don’t we are active enablers of the dynamics that feed GBV.


Source for pyramid image here

*Note that the violence pyramid is also relevant to other forms of human rights violations

Sexual violence

Sexual violence starts with established attitudes and beliefs about women, importantly that women are simply not equal to them. This grows into verbal expressions of feelings of superiority. Often the water is tested with jokes, stereotypical statements, sexual harassment and bragging about marginalising women. This sense of entitlement festers and can move up to the stage where women are de-humanised, followed by physical violence. Beliefs that is is within their right and power to use sex as a means to control women come to the fore. Physical abuse follows, and the pain inflicted is justified by thoughts that the woman did something to deserve the assault. There is no sense of responsibility or recognition of wrongdoing.

Fear, our constant companion

Women in South Africa do not feel, and are not safe. They are not only victims of intimate partner violence, but they are not free to walk safely. Women cannot safely be wherever they want to be, when they want to be there. Fear is a constant partner for women. Sometimes hovering under the surface, often tangible, a visceral companion permanently resident in every fibre of our bodies.

This story, as related by radio talk show host, Eusebius McKaiser illustrates how women in South Africa are stripped of their freedom to live freely.

Source for the quote here

By Fia van Rensburg

Resources for gender rights and our democracy

Feature image credit: Aluta Continua exhibition, Slave Lodge