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The Community Work Programme (CWP) is a South African government programme that provides an employment safety net. It aims to supplement existing livelihood strategies by providing a basic level of income security through work.

The CWP was started to address the high unemployment in the country and contributes to key strategic goals of government in addressing poverty and unemployment. It is based on the recognition that policies to address unemployment and create decent work will take time to reach people living in marginalised areas with few opportunities. The CWP does not replace government’s social grants programme but supplements this.

What makes the CWP different is that it is also a community programme. The work must be ‘useful work’. It must improve the area and the quality of life for the people living there. It also includes training people. People living in the area help to decide on the kind of work that is needed, and what is most urgent.

The CWP was started as a pilot project in late 2007, initiated by the Second Economy Strategy Project, an initiative of the Presidency based in TIPS. The programme was then implemented under the auspices of a partnership between The Presidency and the Department of Social Development, which constituted a National Steering Committee to provide strategic oversight to the programme. The National Steering Committee was expanded in 2009 to include representation from the Departments of Public Works, Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, and Treasury. The roll-out of the programme was project managed by TIPS in partnership with two Implementing Agents, Seriti Institute and Teba Development.

During the year to March 2010 TIPS continued to work with the Presidency and Department of Social Development in the initial roll out of the CWP. During this time it was decided that the CWP should become a fully-fledged government programme and the programme has been based in the Department of Cooperative Governance (DCoG) since April 2010. TIPS continued to provide technical support to DCoG until September 2011.

T I P S  G I S  M A P P I N G