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Reducing Violence in South Africa: Resourcing Violence Prevention

Author: Carmen Abdoll and Yusuf Mayet
Date: 2017-12-15

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Government budgets are much like household budgets. In households, we make decisions about how to allocate limited income to buy food, pay for education, transport, childcare and so on. In the same way, a government needs to make decisions about how to allocate funds to buy various public services. As in a household, priorities normally dictate where the government spends funds. These decisions are particularly difficult when there are many demands on a shrinking income: this is the challenge we face in South Africa today.

This policy brief provides an overview of how budget decisions are made by government. It reviews opportunities for and challenges to funding programmes aimed at preventing violence against women and children (VAWC). It suggests that, due to pressure on the fiscus, a unique approach will be needed to advocate for funds for this important work.

In the current constrained economic climate, funders (including the government) are looking to invest in programmes with the highest returns. This poses particular challenges for violence prevention. Recommendations from this policy brief are:

  • Prepare for better days – collect information on programmes that can be taken to scale.
  • Create short-term outcome measures that fit within funders’ budget cycles.
  • Keep violence prevention programmes on the political agenda so they are seen as core and additional funds are reprioritised from non-core areas.
  • Know what is important for a successful budget bid and be ready when bids for additional funding are next considered.
  • Strategise about how to influence processes and people who have direct involvement in budget allocation decisions.

Guard against having funds reprioritised away from violence prevention by showing efficiencies and willingness to save and adapt to circumstances.