How to start and sustain a community dialogue to solve local problems

This guide is for Community development practitioners, community leaders, non-governmental organisations working with communities, development partners interested in collective problem solving to prevent violence and strengthen accountability.

13 MAY 2024  

Since 2015 the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) has established and convened platforms for dialogue between government, researchers, bilateral development agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and communities to find solutions to high levels of violence in South Africa. The dialogue processes, at national, provincial and community levels, have been formally evaluated and assessed to identify lessons for practitioners interested in creating space for dialogue to increase safety and prevent violence.


This guide emerged from the experience of the community dialogue that started in 2021 between the communities of Touwsranten and Hoekwil in the Southern Cape. The monthly dialogue meetings bring together people from Touwsranen and Hoekwil, adjacent communities divided by Apartheid-era spacial planning. The aim of the dialogue it to build a safe and prosperous community for all who live in the areas, and to build bridges across lines of race, class and nationality.


The guide is intended for individuals and organisations who wish to initiate dialogue in their own communities to solve local problems.

Anyone seeking more detailed knowledge and experience can contact the Justice and Violence Prevention Programme at the ISS.


How to guide prepared by Andisiwe Makwecana, Barbara Holtmann, Chandré Gould and Matodzi Amisi.

For additional resources on the community dialogue:

Violence Prevention


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