Utilising a modified Capability Approach framework to review a sustainable retail skills training programme for survivors of violence in South Africa

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 16:15
Oral Presentation
Laura VAN RAEMDONCK, University of Antwerp and University of KwaZulu-Natal, Belgium
Mariam SEEDAT KHAN, Dr, South Africa
Peter RAEYMAECKERS, Prof, Belgium
Loveness J. NYAKUJARAH, UN Women SAMCO, South Africa
Serene KHADER, CUNY Graduate Center and Brooklyn College, USA
Otae MKANDAWIRE, UN Women SAMCO, South Africa
The study reviews a specific sustainable retail skills training programme for survivors of violence in South Africa. A detailed analysis of this programme seeks to understand if and how adding sustainability and a competition and showcase component to a retail skills programme contributes to reducing violence against women. The programme is fulfilled by Edcon, South Africa’s leading non-food retailer. Edcon has partnered with the United Nations entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women, the Government of South Africa’s Department of Social Development, government shelters in three South African regions, and non-governmental organisations. Despite the fact scholars have identified the benefits of public-private partnerships for the success and sustainability of socio-economic empowerment programmes for survivors of violence, there has been limited empirical evidence that demonstrates how to implement partnership programmes and how to design them in ways it includes non-economic dimensions, such as gender inequality. In order to measure the programme’s impact, the study applies the Capability Approach, a normative framework that measures quality of life. By modifying the Capability Approach’s key concepts such as ‘capabilities, agency, aspirations, and dignity’, new conceptual insights emerge about how interventions affect these aspects, how these aspects affect each other, and how they manifest in women’s adaptive preferences. Ultimately, the way in which the programme outcomes are interrelated with these key aspects is identified. Based on the findings of this study, holistic programmes that bridge intertwined socio-economic problems are recommended. Remarkably, through consciousness raising, shared skills learning, mentorship, and self-esteem enhancing elements, the programme effectively generated ‘hope’ and significant ‘retail, business, and life skills’. This shows how traditional sewing programmes can be adjusted to enhance the gender dimensions of empowerment.