Insights


Knowledge is Power, but Understanding is Everything

Recent Posts


Understanding the impacts of microfinance on women’s empowerment in South Africa

Understanding the impacts of microfinance on women’s empowerment in South Africa

Based on a study which Social Surveys Africa conducted in 2017-2018 with the IMAGE programme and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHMT), a new open access academic journal article summarises insights on the impacts of microfinance programmes on women’s empowerment and intimate partner violence.

There are conflicting views on the impact of microfinance-only interventions on women’s economic empowerment and intimate partner violence in low and middle-income countries. Evidence suggests however that when microfinance is combined with complementary programmes (microfinance plus) it may be effective for empowering women and addressing intimate partner violence. We conducted in-depth interviews with adult women in rural South Africa who had received microfinance loans for more than a year and had recently completed gender training. We explored women’s perceptions on income generation; the effects on their relationships, including intimate partner violence; their notions of power; and perspectives on men’s reactions to their empowerment.

Findings reveal that the notion of ‘power within the self’ is supported by women’s income generation, alongside a sense of financial independence and improved social support. Women reported increased happiness and reduced financial stress, although social norms and gender expectations about women subservience and male headship remain salient, particularly among older women. Furthermore, younger women appeared to tolerate abuse due to financial and caring responsibilities. These findings underpin the importance of complementary gender training programmes and of including men as participants for enhancing the effectiveness of economic strengthening interventions.

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Education


From ECD to higher and further education, we measure the quality and quantity of learning, continually adapting the assessment and measurement methods required

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Social Cohesion & Protest


We study social cohesion at the community level, seeking to understand the underlying causes, triggers and responses to unrest and the ways in which communities organise and govern themselves.

Poverty & Inequality


To reduce both absolute and relative deprivation, it is crucial to understand how individuals, families and communities experience deprivation in all its dimensions, and how different people and communities experience and respond to it in different ways.

Land & Housing


Land and housing are economic assets, spaces of social interaction, and points of identity and belonging. These dimensions, and more, inform our thinking about land tenure systems, housing needs assessments, settlement planning, infrastructure impacts, urbanisation & labour mobility, informal settlement upgrades and farm worker evictions.

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Farm Evictions Study

“Cutting edge new methodology to measure the prevalence & impact of farm evictions in South Africa.”
Book: “Still searching for Security” by Social Surveys and Nkunzi Development Association

Social Issues in Mining


Social Surveys has a 30-year track record in the mining sector, advising communities, mining houses and civil society partners on labour migration, housing needs, relocations, employee safety and productivity, protest risk and environmental impacts.

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Civil Society, Philanthropy, Giving & Volunteering


How do you understand the nature of civil society organisations, community-level philanthropy and the practices of giving and volunteering in African contexts characterised by informality, collectivism and deep mutual support networks?

The NPO Study

“First nationally representative study to determine size & scope of the NPO sector in SA – part of the Johns Hopkins NPO Project”
Book: “Size & Scope of the Non-profit Sector in South Africa” by Mark Swilling & Bev Russell-Rice

Health


from behaviour change communication to health facility capacity assessments, and from in-depth local pilot studies to large-scale multi-method impact evaluations, our work in health spans many subjects and methods

Youth & Employment


We seek to understand the full spectrum of ways in which people participate in the economy

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Methods and Field Notes


Quality in, quality out. Excellence in data collection and processing is fundamental to interpretation and insight with integrity.

Gender and Sexuality


To challenge homophobia, it is important to understand sexuality and gender issues

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Events


Events give us the chance to talk to new people. Talking is good! New people are good!

8th South African AIDS Conference

8th South African AIDS Conference

Social Surveys Africa Research Director Tara Polzer Ngwato presents at the 8th South African AIDS Conference in Durban, presenting methodological innovations in a study conducted with Genesis Analytics for the Soul City Institute on the long term impacts of...

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Democracy Works

Democracy Works

As part of our 30th anniversary celebrations, Social Surveys Africa co-hosted a debate with the Democracy Works Foundation entitled DEFENDING DEMOCRACY - INSTITUTIONS AND THE PEOPLE (7 May 2017, Women’s Jail, Constitution Hill, Johannesburg). The speakers were Dr...

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