SAWID adopts psycho-social models that attempt to reduce dependency on others for sustenance and livelihoods, overcome feelings of shock, fear and helplessness, focus on options, implications and potential outcomes and seek to address immediate individual needs. To achieve this, SAWID's intervention applies direct human interventions by training key individuals in psycho-social approaches and assigning them to individual families to facilitate the household intervention, thus strengthening the resilience, thinking and problem-solving skills that the families need to survive and graduate from poverty.

Psycho-social interventions strengthen the capacity of individuals and communities to cope with stresses, particularly those associated with poverty, conflict and violence. It addresses people’s well-being by focusing on their sense of value for self and others. Women and girls find an opportunity and space to break the silence about isolation and personal internal conflicts, are able to express themselves, finding a sense of solidarity with other women and learning new skills. SAWID integrates this awareness through mainstreaming a psycho-social approach and applying it to how its programmes are designed, implemented, monitored and evaluated. 

Transforming youth community members into resource persons for communicating and counselling on poverty and development within community members is often a complex task.

Capacities of the SAWs are built through a combination of structured; formal in-class training sessions and on-the-job support by the supervisors and program managers. The completion and graduation follows a process of a series of assessments, verification and evaluations by the Health and Welfare SETA and Quality Assurance Authority. As a legal requirement, the Social Auxiliary workers who wish to practice the profession have to register with the South African Council of Social Work (SACSS) and for them to remain registered they must participate in Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

The aim of the CPD is:

  • Building knowledge and skills
  • Keeping practitioners abreast of developments in their field 
  • Promoting confidence in practitioners’ abilities to provide a high standard of services 
  • Maintaining professional standards; and
  • Promoting excellence

Duties of the Auxilliary Social Worker

  1. Community and family profiling: The profiling process involves family identification, verification and household assessment. Pre–identification is done by the ward committees, use of hospital and Social Development records; physical verification and a scored questionnaire. This process may last up to 6 months.
  2. Development of a personalized and relevant work plan according to each family’s reality. The family and their SAW prioritize the family’s goals, create a family development plan and establish concrete commitments that the members must fulfil in order to improve their quality of life. By including confidence-building activities that introduce the SAW to the family’s history and current situation, the SAW gains a personal and integrated knowledge of their situation. 
  3. At the end of the intensive work phase, the family and their SAW will evaluate their progress towards the completion of the minimum conditions. If the family has not completed the 10 minimums, the SAW will continue working with and guiding them. If the family has met the conditions, they will then sign a commitment contract in which they make concrete commitments designed to sustain the progress that they have made. In both cases, the personalized intervention will last 36 months (3 years) with each family.
  4. Organising families into self help groups through social mobilisation. The SAW’s initiates and sustains the process of social mobilisation for poverty eradication by formation, development and strengthening of self help groups (SHG). The entry points for organising are the issues that are key to poverty eradication. There are different entry points for different SHG depending on the local situation. 

Reasons for the participatory approach

Families participate in the programme voluntarily and the programme is not imposed.

  1. To ensure that accountability and responsibility reside in the beneficiary families. An underlying principle of sustainable development is the empowerment of individuals to take charge of their own development. 
  2. To engender ownership. Families identify their needs and set their own objectives and participate in the decision making (planning and management of the family plan).
  3. To enhance the lobbying power of families and communities. Poor people tend to be voiceless or have a weak voice in decision-making on issues that concern their lives. When mobilised and supported, families are able to lobby government and development agencies for developmental support that is relevant to their needs and circumstances, rather than supply driven interventions.
  4. To harness family initiative and strengths. 
  5. To enhance motivation and enthusiasm. 
  6. To broaden family support and maximise the impact of development. Intervention levels start from an individual through to the communal level.


SAWID Development Goals 2003

devgoals Download our original document on SAWID's development goals.

India Brazil South Africa Women's Forum Report

IBSA snippet

The mission of the IBSA Women's Forum is to facilitate joint efforts and collaboration by the three countries in order to transform women's lives. 

> Download the document

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