As part of its focus on human security, the Southern Africa Trust (the Trust) has sought to understand the extent of youth violence and crime in the SADC region, as well as the underlying or contributing factors that can explain the levels of youth violence. To this end, it commissioned research on the extent and drivers of youth violence and the possible interventions that might be necessary to deal with this and related challenges, within a holistic understanding of the issue.
The research involved a review of literature pertaining to youth and violence in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), as well as a fieldwork component, which sought to assess youth violence in more detail within five selected countries – the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. The findings from both of these components were also shaped by inputs from three stakeholders – One Voice Mobilisation, the Southern Africa Youth Movement (SAYM), and the Youth Development Network (YDN) – during two stakeholder consultation meetings held at different points in the research and data analysis process.
In many respects this research is a starting point for understanding youth violence regionally. It is the first study of this type in the SADC region and the exploratory work begun in this research process should be complemented with further research that can establish regional trends more fully. What became clear in the research process was the complexity of youth violence, particularly when a holistic approach is taken to the issues that underpin its manifestation. Rather than providing quick answers about what might provide the most appropriate programming or policy interventions, the research uncovered a range of debates and issues that need to be taken into consideration in designing policy and programme initiatives in respect of youth violence. Some of these are presented in Chapter 4. This executive summary presents an overview of the key findings from the study, but should not be used in isolation for further planning. Programmatic and policy considerations need to take the full report into account.