The Finding Ways to Walk Together initiative in South Africa which started last year is a partnership between the Shared Societies Project of the Club de Madrid, the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) and Idasa as local partners, and a core group comprising the Letsema Circle, Dynamic Stability, the Harold Wolpe Memorial Trust, and the Africa Centre for Dispute Resolution of the Stellenbosch University School of Business.
The initiative aims to build a critical analysis of the quality and impact of current dialogue efforts; what the cumulative effect of these dialogue efforts is; and how dialogue can achieve system level impact. Where is dialogue working and not working and why? How can we improve the quality of conversations and interaction in order to jointly tackle the huge challenges such as inequality and improving the standard of education?
Initially designed as a one year initiative, the initiative set out to convene four regional dialogues and a national level dialogue which is planned for the 25-26 of July 2012.
The first of the series of dialogues was held in the Western Cape in October 2011 which was an open-ended dialogue about the quality of dialogue in South Africa. Our most recent was held in the Eastern Cape on the 2nd to the 3rd of March with a specific focus on education. The Eastern Cape dialogue brought together learners, teachers, principals, civil society, business, and academia. The highlight of this dialogue was bringing and amplifying the voices of the learners which are so often left out in mainstream dialogues.
The next series of regional dialogue will be held in Limpopo on the 29th of March which will focus on unemployment and poverty; and a Free State youth dialogue will be convened on 31st May – 1st June.
A national dialogue will be convened on the 25-26 July 2012 in Johannesburg to bring together the recommendations from the regional dialogues.