A research study on Refugee and Asylum Seeking Representative Structures and their Communities in South Africa

Understanding and identifying the functions, roles, responsibilities, accountability and decision-making processes within the representative structures of any community is important, but especially critical among marginalized populations, for whom these structures may be the only source of support and representation. Knowledge of the different aspects of these structures allows for informed decision making about what to harness and prioritize in order to strengthen them. Yet, most of the existing studies in South Africa do not provide sufficient knowledge or insights about the representative structures and communities of refugees and asylum seeking populations in the country. Accurate and up-to-date information on Refugee and Asylum Seeking Representative Structures and their Communities in South Africa are required by UNHCR, Government Organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs, CBOs, FBOs) involved in the protection of, and assistance to, persons of concern in the country.

The specific objectives of this project are:

  1. To provide an overview of existing communities amongst the population of concern;
  2. To map refugee and asylum seeker representative structures and responsibilities as well as analyse on the degree of representativeness and legitimacy as per defined criteria and as viewed by constituencies;
  3. To undertake an inventory of community-based protection and solutions initiatives for self-help by persons of concern, including an analysis on whether persons of concern use local social support structures in an organized manner and/or effectively participate and/or are represented in such structures;
  4. To obtain ideas and guidance from refugees and asylum seekers on how to build legitimate representation and strengthen community-based protection agency; and
  5. Based upon the findings, to produce recommendations for a community representation and engagement model in South Africa.

Team coordinator: Dr Mulugeta F. Dinbabo  email: mdinbabo(at)uwc.ac.za 

Tags: community    leadership    protection    refugees    representative    South Africa