Social Employment: Building Communities That Work
‘Social Employment’ is a new take on an old idea.
In response to the pandemic, South Africa’s Presidential Employment Stimulus has already created public employment opportunities (or ‘public works’) for over 400,000 people. Now, a ‘Social Employment’ strategy is also being launched. It supports local organisations to create work for the common good, in support of community-driven development.
The approach assumes that particularly in disadvantaged communities, there is no shortage of work to be done to address local challenges – and that sometimes, unemployment is actually their underlying cause. Why not close this loop? When communities are asked, they have no shortage of ideas for work that can be done. Placemaking, care, roof gardens, collation of social histories, community music, dance and drama for all ages and much more.
How could social employment support community development in your context? And which ‘at-risk’ groups could you target?
Programme Lead: Presidential Employment Stimulus/ Support to the South African Presidency
Dr Kate Philip is the Programme Lead on the Presidential Employment Stimulus in South Africa. Against the backdrop of the pandemic and its associated job losses, this stimulus has rolled out mass public employment programmes as well as livelihood and enterprise support measures. Since October last year, over 300,000 young people were placed as school assistants throughout the country, subsistence farmers received production input vouchers, environmental programmes were scaled up and over 30,000 people in the creative sector received support to create new work, amongst other programmes. Dr Philip also played a lead role in the design of South Africa’s Community Work Programme, which employs 240,000 people. Through the ILO, she supported the Government of Greece in the design of an employment programme at the height of the Greek crisis. She is author of ‘Markets on the Margins: Mineworkers, Enterprise Development and Job Creation’ (James Currey, London, 2018).