Poverty & Inequality Initiative (PII)
The Poverty & Inequality Initiative (PII) was set up at UCT to tackle the question of why, in a country of rich resources, poverty and inequality are persisting and even, in the case of inequality, deepening.
The PII comprises high-profile members from diverse disciplines. It aims to identify all major role players inside and outside the university, including academics, research groups and NGOs who are doing poverty-alleviation-related work, be it in policy or at intervention levels.
The group, under the chairmanship of Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Crain Soudien, met Minister Trevor Manuel of the National Planning Commission (NPC) to present its ideas and to discuss possible synergies with government. The result was the establishment by the Vice Chancellor of the fourth of his institution-wide, multi-disciplinary, initiatives dedicated to addressing critical social challenges. In addition to the support of the NPC, the Vice Chancellor was also able to persuade the Carnegie Corporation of New York - main funder of the two earlier Carnegie Commissions/Inquiries into Poverty in South Africa - to support this initiative both by providing significant seed money and by allowing the university to use the Carnegie name.
In this process the original UCT initiative has become a national venture with the aim of drawing in serious research and ideas from universities around the country as well as from other relevant institutions, including different levels of government and NGOs with solid experience in the field.
Emeritus Professor Francis Wilson was appointed Pro Vice-Chancellor for Poverty and Inequality until September 2012. His main responsibility was to organise a national conference, the Carnegie III Conference on Poverty and Inequality - Phase 1 to inform and influence the work of the National Planning Commission. In preparation for this he worked on identifying all research across faculties at UCT that are relevant to this theme, and developing a research agenda for the next few years.
Download the podcasts of the various sessions at the Strategies to Overcome Poverty and Inequality: Towards Carnegie 3.
UCT news articles:
Action, not numbers, focus of conference - 4 September
Combined efforts can curb poverty, Motlanthe - 10 SeptemberOnward and forward - 17 September
PII Project Database
Conference pools SA insights into poverty
Monday Paper article 20/8/2012
Poverty project aims high
Monday Paper article 7/5/2012