The Sihleng’imizi Family Programme has continued to yield positive results since the initial study – which focused on families from Johannesburg’s poorest areas – was conducted in 2017. Sihleng’imizi (“we care for families” in isiZulu) is designed to complement and scale up the positive benefits of South Africa’s Child Support Grant, and to strengthen disadvantaged families to improve child well-being outcomes. A follow-up evaluation has shown that participants continued to apply Sihleng’imizi’s lessons almost a year after the formal programme was completed. All three waves of the evaluation were explored in a 2020 article by Professor Leila Patel and Professor Eleanor Ross (Visiting Professor of Social Work, University of Johannesburg), published in Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal.
To ensure that people far beyond the initial study group can harness Sihleng’imizi’s lessons, the Centre for Social Development in Africa has created a manual for facilitators and a workbook for families. Both have been produced under a Creative Commons 4.0 licence so that they can be widely used and shared. The manual and workbook are complementary: as with the original Sihleng’imizi programme, facilitators and families are encouraged to work closely together throughout the process. The beautifully illustrated, interactive publications contain information about alternative forms of discipline; the importance of caregivers offering homework and reading support; accessing social support services and developing family support networks. There are fun “homework” assignments, and families are encouraged to set goals as they progress through the workbook. Ample space has been provided for families’ own sketches, stickers and ideas.
The workbook and manual are currently only available in English and will be released shortly.
Both the manual and the workbook can be downloaded from the CSDA website. There is no cost involved in downloading and using these documents.