Fellow: Nomzamo Gcwensa
Grant Year: 2020
Location: Diepsloot, Johannesburg, Gauteng Province, South Africa
Organization: The Bold Empowered Affirmed Revived (BEAR) Foundation
Project title: Diepsloot School Safety Accountability Structure
Project summary: According to the South African Democratic Teachers Union, there are approximately 72,000 monthly incidents of school-based violence nationally. This is despite the enactment of the National School Safety Framework in 2015 which provides strategic guidance to national and provincial education departments to address the violence occurring within schools—including a guarantee that psychosocial support teams would be provided across all schools. However, the BEAR Foundation has discovered disproportionate implementation of psychosocial support teams and no district-wide accountability mechanism in Diepsloot schools. As a result, BEAR is advocating for the Department of Basic Education and Directorate of School Safety to assign Senior Education Specialists to work with the Community Safety and Directorate of Psychosocial and Care Support to develop a sustainable local accountability structure. This structure will help ensure improvement, consistency, and accountability of school-based support teams as an addendum to the National School Safety Framework Policy, in order to reduce and prevent school-related-violence at 9 primary and 4 secondary schools by August 2021. Within its first year, 4,522 primary and secondary female students will gain access to psychosocial support services across Diespsloot. Overall, approximately 9,000 students will be positively impacted and the BEAR Foundation aims to reduce school violence by 10% in the pilot year.