Tangible results are showing how collaborative initiatives can be expanded across South Africa.
Queen Silvia of Sweden has held talks with Institute for Security Studies (ISS) senior research fellow Dr Chandré Gould during a visit to violence prevention projects in South Africa supported by the Queen’s World Childhood Foundation. Gould is among the founders and directors of the Seven Passes Initiative, which for ten years has supported parents and children in the small Western Cape village of Touwsranten.
The initiative is recognised as an important multi-faceted violence prevention project. It works with parents, children and youth to nurture healthy relationships, support educational development and provide opportunities for young people to get work experience. It is building an evidence base for the expansion of violence prevention programmes to communities across South Africa.
Seven Passes collaborates with the ISS and psychologists from the University of Cape Town. It also participates in the national Dialogue Forum, which is convened by the ISS and brings together government departments, academics and civil society organisations committed to building a society free of the damaging impact of endemic violence.
The World Childhood Foundation established by Queen Silvia supports both the Seven Passes Initiative’s positive parenting programmes and the Dialogue Forum. The forum has built a growing interdisciplinary community which understands the importance of violence prevention and works collaboratively to find ways to take successful programmes to scale.
We could show Queen Silvia that her World Childhood Foundation’s investments are producing results
Participation in the forum by South Africa’s national treasury has led to a new line item for violence prevention in the national budget, and it has given rise to the South African Parenting Programme Implementers Network.
Queen Silvia and members of the foundation’s board were welcomed to Touwsranten by Seven Passes director Wilmi Dippenaar and her team before touring the community, playing with children and talking with parents and teachers at the local school.
The parenting programmes in Touwsranten were developed for low-resource communities and include home visits that promote mother-infant attachment, and book-sharing initiatives aimed at toddlers. Parents are helped to create a warm and consistent environment for their children. ‘We were able to show Queen Silvia that the investments by her World Childhood Foundation are producing tangible results and creating momentum for the expansion of violence prevention initiatives nationally,’ Gould says.
She shared her research findings, highlighting that violent adults are the product of children who experience violence and neglect. ‘Grappling with the challenge of endemic violence is an essential part of overcoming the harms of our past to build a unified and prosperous society,’ she told the queen and her board members during a lunch she prepared and served at her home.
‘If we want our country to be safe, we have to start paying greater attention to children’s needs. That means creating an enabling environment for love and warmth to replace anger, conflict and self-hate. It means building healthy relationships, between men and women, parents and children. The World Childhood Foundation understands the positive power of good relationships and how important it is to nurture and support them.’