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How do we reduce GBV?

The Cleaning Fix, a new initiative, has one answer. And it’s so promising it came third in the SAB Sharp Awards for solutions to GBV this year.

As 16 Days of Activism turns the lens to Gender Based Violence, it’s helpful to highlight solutions as well as problems. The Cleaning Fix is one solution.

It is well-documented that ‘intimate-partner violence’ is the most common form of GBV. Women living on the margins of society are most at risk, as all too often they are economically dependent on an abusive partner. This can leave them with no options and nowhere to turn to ensure their own safety and the safety of their children. 

Decent work for unemployed mothers

The Cleaning Fix is an online platform that connects unemployed mothers to domestic cleaning work. Launched in 2021, the venture is an initiative of social enterprise Fix Forward. In 2020 Fix Forward ran a COVID-19 relief campaign for refugee mothers, raising funding to support 300 families with grocery vouchers for 6 months. 

“As the campaign came to an end we began asking ourselves what a longer term, more sustainable solution might look like,” explains Fix Forward CEO, Joshua Cox. “We decided to establish The Cleaning Fix – to connect unemployed mothers with cleaning work, and provide them access to psycho-social support and personal development opportunities.” 

Since March 2022, the mothers who get work via The Cleaning Fix earn 100% of the customer booking fee. Customers can also opt in to contribute towards transport costs. As a result, the cleaners can earn two to three times the minimum wage for domestic workers. 

An eco-system of support 

Creating meaningful opportunities for people to thrive means providing more than employment. Following the Fix Forward model, The Cleaning Fix has begun extending other forms of psycho-social support. These include:

  • Financial literacy training
  • Trauma counselling
  • Life coaching

“Our goal is to see the women on our platform becoming financially independent, giving them more freedom to make choices that protect their well-being, and that of their children,” explains Cox. “We’ve already heard stories of women on our platform leaving abusive partners and filing restraining orders, now that they are able to support themselves. Once they are in a reasonably stable, secure environment it opens up space for them to pursue bigger dreams.”

The Cleaning Fix currently serves the greater Cape Town area. In the next 18-24 months the service will expand across the Western Cape and roll out nationally. 

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