The Open Society Foundations’ Crime and Violence Prevention Initiative (CVPI) is premised on the view that the criminal justice system alone cannot curb violence. Addressing violence and crime requires an integrated, long-term approach that addresses the root causes and drivers, in addition to law enforcement and criminal justice sanctions. The CPVI is initiating program activities in Mozambique, Kenya, and Namibia and in Latin America with plans to move into Tanzania and into Eastern Europe, drawing off of experiences in South Africa and in Latin America and the growing body of evidence being built by among others the World Bank and the World Health Organization that support integrated approaches to violence prevention and safety promotion.
The CVPI, in partnership with the Law Programme at the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) is currently in the process of building the foundations for a violence prevention initiative in Mozambique and is currently implementing a program along four tracks: (A) the development, in partnership with the Mozambican Ministry of Justice, of a National Crime Combating Strategy that includes a prevention component, (B) the collection of sound baseline information on the crime and violence situation in Mozambique, (C) the testing of crime and violence prevention approaches at the community level in partnership with Fomicres and Rede Came, and (D) the formation of a cadre of in-country policy makers and practitioners who can drive the prevention agenda going forward through the implementation of a crime and violence prevention training course in partnership with the Department of Sociology at Eduardo Mondlane University.
Escalating levels of violent crime are a serious threat to human development, democratic institutions, and governability throughout much of the world. Criminal justice solutions are the usual national response for a host of reasons. In Mozambique, as in many countries in Southern Africa, accurate crime statistics are difficult to obtain and the pervasiveness of crime and violence is difficult to quantify. For the majority of Mozambicans, access to formal justice is non-existent; police stations and courts are too far away to reach, and they lack the financial means to pay for legal representation and other associated costs.
Data from a survey conducted by the Mozambique National Institute for Statistics asserts that only approximately 10% of all crime is actually reported to the police. Additionally, the community courts that are closest to the people do not form part of the judicial court system and as a consequence they are underfunded and their contribution very frequently disregarded. There is also a scarcity of information based on victim surveys.
Strategy and Methodology
OSISA and the CVPI’s strategy for implementing the Crime and Violence Prevention Initiative in Mozambique revolves around five key objectives:
- To assist the Mozambican Ministry of Justice to finalise its new National Crime Combating Strategy and ensure that it includes a prevention element alongside the law enforcement and criminal justice interventions;
- To conduct baseline research at the community and national levels to help identify and inform priority program activities;
- To establish a core of violence prevention professionals in Mozambique that can advocate for a comprehensive response to crime and violence that incorporates law enforcement and prevention activities;
- To test strategies and interventions at the local level that can be scaled up over time; and,
- To build upon, and contribute to, promising practices in violence prevention worldwide.
In order to achieve these objectives, the CVPI is supporting a range of activities detailed below:
Activity 1 – Assessment of Crime and Violence Prevention in Mozambique (completed) – The CVPI supported an initial study of crime and violence prevention in Mozambique which was shared with a group of key civil society and government stakeholders in November 2011. The report, available in both English and Portuguese, will be published in early 2012.
Activity 2 – Developing the National Crime Combating Strategy (ongoing) - The Mozambican Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is currently developing its new National Crime Combating Strategy. The initial strategy had a strong emphasis on crime combating and law enforcement. During 2011 OSISA/CVPI worked with the MoJ to review the document. In 2012 OSISA/CVPI, using the findings from the review, will assist the MoJ to develop a more comprehensive policy framework which will enable it to address crime in a coordinated manner drawing on the resources of all government agencies, as well as civil society. The purpose of this exercise is to shift the emphasis of the draft policy from reactive "crime control" which deploys most resources towards responding after crimes have already been committed, towards proactive "crime prevention" aimed at preventing crime from occurring at all. It is envisaged that the final draft will be ready for release in November 2012.
Activity 3 – Community Safety Audits (ongoing) – The CVPI/OSISA is supporting the conducting of community safety audits in three communities in Mozambique, chosen because of the presence of key implementing partners as well as being indicative of communities throughout the country. The CVPI/OSISA is supporting two well known Mozambican NGOS to conduct these audits; REDE CAME (Rede Contra O Abuso de Menores) and FOMICRES (Forca Mozambicana Para Investigaciao de Crimes e Reinsercao Social), as well as a South African organization, Greater Capital, to provide technical assistance.
The sites selected for the safety audits are Bairro Ferroviario (KaMavota Municipality district of Maputo City), Posto Administrativo de Cafumpe (Gondola District in Manica Province), and Bairro de Natite (Municipality of Pemba in Cabo Delgado Province). Representatives from FOMICRES and REDE CAME will visit the sites from March 2012 to June 2012 to conduct key stakeholder interviews, household interviews, focus group discussions, and community mapping as part of a broad data collection process.
The safety audit teams will be meeting with a broad range of actors including government officials, community leaders, civil society representatives, religious groups, schools, private sector representatives, social activists, health centers, and community radio representatives, amongst others. Data from the sites will be gathered and analyzed and then shared with the community in the second half of 2012. Data from the audits will also inform the development of the National Crime Combating Strategy.
Activity 4 - Community Safety Plans – Design and Implementation (second half of 2012/2013) – Once the safety audits are finalised, the program will move to the safety plan design stage, in which communities, in partnership with local government and relevant government Ministries, will begin to identify solutions to the crime and violence problems based on the priorities identified. In addition to helping to design the plans, CVPI will provide support in advocacy and networking in order to help communities lobby for support from the government and other relevant sectors. OSISA will not fund the roll out of the plans in tier entirety, but rather help the communities to identify existing sources of funding. OSISA/CVPI might make a series of small grants for specific social interventions that are identified as part of the safety plans, although it is important to note that this support will be modest.
Activity 5 – Crime Prevention Training Course (ongoing) - In parallel to the community work undertaken above, the CVPI is working with the Sociology Department at Eduardo Mondlane University to design a community crime and violence prevention training program targeted at both mid-level government officials and NGO leaders that is scheduled to be delivered during the second half of 2012. This educational element will be critical in order to help inform key actors as well as bring together government and civil society actors around crime and violence prevention issues. Additionally, the CVPI/OSISA is negotiating with the World Bank to translate their School-Based Violence Prevention toolkit and the E-course on Urban Violence Prevention into Portuguese. Currently, an arrangement is in place for the CVPI/OSISA and the World Bank to cover the fees for those partners wishing to undertake the e-learning course.
Partners in Mozambique include FOMICRES and REDE CAME.