Our primary platforms for peer learning and exchange are our Reference Groups. These are practitioner-based groups with areas of common interest area (communities of practice), and significant expertise and responsibility. They come together to improve their practice and address key emerging challenges and opportunities. Some reference groups are permanent and meet regularly, while others may be convened on an ad hoc basis to deal with a specific urban issue. The following reference groups are currently active:
In 2004, the SACN Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) Reference Group was established in collaboration with the Department of Public Works (DPW). The relationship between the SACN and the DPW has been instrumental in mobilising the SACN member cities to contribute towards creating employment as part of the EPWP. Since then, the EPWP has established itself as a key programme in all of the member cities.
The reference group consists of the key officials in the cities who are responsible for the implementation of the EPWP in their respective cities. Reference group meetings are held regularly and provide a valuable forum where the national department can interact with the member cities to discuss a range of issues relevant to implementing the EPWP in the cities.
The focus of these engagements ranges from the sharing of information and best practices to discussing how specific challenges could be collectively resolved. The continued existence of the reference group demonstrates its relevance and usefulness to participants.