Poverty and Inequality Initiative

Dates: August 2013 – July 2018

Funding: UCT VC Chancellor’s Strategic Initiative (and others)

SALDRU people: Murray Leibbrandt (PI), Justine Burns, Emily Frame, Ariane de Lannoy, Francis Wilson

The Poverty and Inequality Initiative launched by UCT in 2011 is a broad initiative with two aims:

  1. To consolidate, strengthen and maximise the usefulness of the research taking place within UCT on poverty and inequality.
  2. To launch a national initiative on strategies to overcome poverty and inequality that included the research community along with those inside govermental and non-governmental organisations who are making and implementing policy.

SALDRU’s involvement

SALDRU involvement in supporting this initiative was formalised early on with the appointment of Francis Wilson as the Acting Pro Vice Chancellor, Poverty and Inequality, and through our involvement in the committee (the Poverty and Inequality Planning Group) that advises the intra-UT prong of the initiative. Francis had particular responsibility for launching the national initiative with a national conference in September 2012. This conference identified the scope of the initiative and the national Carnegie3 process now fully underway with the national structures to oversee the initiative.

In August 2013, Murray Leibbrandt was appointed as the Pro Vice Chancellor, Poverty and Inequality, working under the DVC Crain Soudien. He is tasked with directing the intra-UCT programme on povery and inequality and working with Francis Wilson in supporting the national initiative. The administrative hub of the initiative is housed within SALDRU, with Haajirah Esau as Project Manager. Masana Ninga, Emily Frame and Ariane de Lannoy are PII researchers, There are two special initiatives under the intra-UCT programme with Ariane de Lannoy heading the UCT youth project and Justine Burns heading the UCT social cohesion project.

For more information, visit the PII website and the C3 website

From Evidence to Policy – Innovations in Shaping Reforms in Africa

21-24 July 2015

Poverty and Social Impact Analysis (PSIA) is a versatile approach to assess the distributional and social impacts of policy reforms on different groups, with emphasis on the poor and vulnerable. This analysis offers insights into different policy options, supports the decision making process, can help mitigate potential negative impacts and identify pathways to more inclusive reforms.

This learning event brought together policymakers, academics, civil society representatives, and development partners to discuss innovations in the use of evidence to inform policy design in Africa. The event featured:

  • 2-day conference (July 21-22) with keynote addresses, presentations and panel discussions, including examples of reforms in health, tax reform, agriculture, subsidy reform, social protection and utility price reform.
  • 2-day training (July 23-24) on methods and tools for PSIA with presentations, case studies and hands-on activities, and ample space for peer learning and interaction among participants.

This event formed part of the knowledge activities supported by the PSIA Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) in the World Bank.

Presentations from the event are available on the PSIA Online Community platform here (for the conference) and here for the training.

Developing Indicators for Youth Well-being

This is a project of the PII that has been ongoing since January 2014


PIs: Murray Leibbrandt, Ariane de Lannoy

Researcher: Emily Frame

Partners: Statistics South Africa, Western Cape Department of the Premier, Code for South Africa and City of Cape Town

Funders: Cape Higher Education Consortium and City of Cape Town Joint Research Programme, DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Human Development


Concerns around large groups of ‘socially excluded’ youth dominate the public and policy discourses in South Africa. Available research points to the large numbers of young people who remain unemployed, with poor educational outcomes and low skills levels, possibly engaged in substance abuse or gang related activities,  living in informality and “trapped” on the outskirts of the country’s cities. However, little coherent understanding exists about the realities that shape young people’s lives, how they change over time or differ from one community to another, and about the way in which youth still manage to make positive decisions in their specific contexts. This lack of understanding severely constrains the ability of policies and interventions to break into these vicious cycles and optimally support youth in their attempts to forge positive and transformative pathways.


This project draws on a number of data sources to develop a dashboard of local-level indicators that measure key dimensions of youth well-being in South Africa, with the Western Cape as a first pilot area. The aim is to contribute new knowledge and insight about how young people in the country are experiencing life by offering a tool for assessing their individual outcomes and environmental influences at a small area level and over time. Ultimately, it is anticipated that the indicators will provide a strong evidence base to inform youth-related policies and interventions implemented at the sub-municipal or local community level.

Output: A Multidimensional Poverty Index for Youth
As part of the indicator project we have constructed a Multidimensional Poverty Index for youth, applying the Alkire Foster method and the Census 2011. The index is intended to complement the dashboard of indicators by offering a single summary measure that captures the multiple deprivations experienced simultaneously by poor youth.

Output:  The Western Cape Youth Explorer

Output: Policy Brief for Youth in Cape Town