Community work programs are a social responsibility and a financial initiative undertaken by government to provide employment in a manner that benefits the whole community.
South Africa has a high unemployment rate. Most unemployed people are willing to work, and some are skilled and educated. The fault lies not with them, but with the lack of available job opportunities available.
Community work programs are viewed as a temporary solution to the unemployment problem. It aims to provide a reliable income in the temporary capacity. Participants involved in community work programs, work approximately 6-8 days a month. This is intended to provide financial support and assistance while the participants search for permanent employment.
Community work programs employ people to work on projects which benefit the community, examples of a community work program includes: agricultural projects, construction, road reparations and garden maintenance.
In Pefferville, there are active community work programs where participants work on repairing water pipes, storm water drains and fences. They also focus on maintaining facilities at public schools. In other regions there are community work programs that focus on education and healthcare.
Community works programs are a successful social responsibility initiative providing the employees of this program with much needed income. However, question of whether or not community work programs are a good investment or not arises.
Before we can determine whether or not community work programs are a good form of investment from a local government perspective, we must ascertain what a good investment entails.
The answer as to what makes a good investment varies, but there is one common thread among all good investments. This is that a maximum return is to be made from the initial investment. Another way of phrasing it, is to allow one lump sum of money to generate a continues stream of money or return.
Within the sphere of local government, it is important that investments made produce good returns so that the community can benefit holistically. Investments made by local government that yield profitable returns assist with easing the popular economic problem where there is limited funds required to sustain a growing supply of community needs. Good investments from local government are from a financial management which ensures future revenue.
Local government also have social responsibilities to take care of, such as lowering unemployment, maintaining roads and infrastructure and also keeping community parks safe and clean.
Provisions need to be made in the local government budget in order to fund these social responsibility initiatives which are aimed at improving the daily lives of the community. Community work progams is intended to be a fusion of two local governments responsibilities, working together to improve the community.
The intended purpose of community work programs is to reduce the unemployment rate performing comminuty services, thus killing two birds with one stone. The tasks assigned to these employees, would have probably been outsourced to private companies if the community work programs were not in place. These companies would most likely charge a higher fee. By making use of community work progams, the government saves money which would have been otherwise spent on an outsourced company.
The employment rate would remain the same if an outsourced company was used. Community work programs empower unemployed workers by not only providing them with an income. But also a sense of achievement and involvement in the community. In many cases it gives employees a sense of self- worth and pride. A higher employment rate, in theory, leads to lower crime rates and thus less pressure on police. The ripple effect is evident.
Which brings us back to our initial question, are community work programs a good financial investment? The answer is visible in the ripple effect. The budget of the local government would have a division for reducing unemployment, and another for maintaining infrastructure and yet another for social responsibility. Community work programs bring the divisions together under a single cost structure. The financial implications of this, is reduced cost and an improved community. Not only does community work programs allow local government to save, but also improve the community. The returns from community work programs are not only financial, but make a difference in the community as a whole, creating a positive ripple effect.
Proper financial management depends on a number of factors.
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And here is a good video covering public finance