Who We Are
The Institute for Social Cohesion & Skills Development ("the Institute") was founded in 2013 and was subsequently registered in Cape Town with the Department of Social Development as a Non-Profit Organisation. The Institute was established to provide practical solutions to critical risks and needs of vulnerable, marginalized and hard-to-reach population groups in South Africa. These risks and needs include, but go beyond, local protection and access to basic social services. Since its inception, the Institute has been managed by a professional team of young changemakers who have extensive experience in social cohesion, crime prevention, migrant and refugee protection, anti-xenophobia, peacebuilding, GBV prevention and human rights projects. The senior management team of the Institute consists of a Mandela-Washington Fellow and an alumnus of United States International Visitors Leadership Program.
We are on a mission to protect and promote the rights of migrants, refugees, GBV survivors, LGBTIQ people, women and girls in high-risk communities of South Africa and thereafter facilitate their access to local protection and basic social services.
Social Justice │ Human Rights │ Integrity │ Accountability │ Good Governance
The Institute avoids duplicating existing efforts to assist vulnerable groups, and avoids creating parallel structures of service provision, by partnering with existing Community-Based Organisations (CBO’s), Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO’s), youth associations, community structures, private entities and local/ government authorities to protect and promote the rights of migrants, refugees, GBV survivors, LGBTIQ people, women and girls. The Institute employs a community-based, rights-based and gender-sensitive approach in its programming. The real impact of programme activities is regularly monitored and thoroughly evaluated through impact assessment techniques and other participative monitoring and evaluation tools.
Migrants │ Refugees │ Asylum Seekers │ Women-at-risk │ Girls │ LGBTIQ People │ GBV Survivors │
Youth in and out of school │ Community Leaders │ Local Authorities │Government Officials │
Community Based and Civil Society Organisations
Hate Crimes Working Group │ Safer Spaces │ Anti-Racism Network │
Consortium for Migrants and Refugees in South Africa │
Western Cape Network for Community Peace & Development
Senior Management Team
Mr Ntlangu is not only a former police officer in the crime prevention unit of the South African Police Service (SAPS), but is also a former legal advisor and immigration consultant in the private sector. He joined the NGO sector to work for an implementing partner of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) where he directed social cohesion projects in Eastern Cape and Western Cape Provinces of South Africa. Driven by his passion for social cohesion and human rights protection, Mr Ntlangu was invited to co-found the Institute and lead its strategic operations in Cape Town. He now assumes the position of Managing Director at the Institute. Mr Ntlangu is a United States IVLP alumnus and is a graduate of the University of Cape Town in public policy and legal studies. At the Institute he specializes in crime and xenophobia prevention, migrant and refugee protection, social cohesion and peacebuilding, and advocacy & human rights protection.
Bulelwa Alucia Mdleleni
Executive Operations Coordinator
Ms Mdleleni is a graduate of the University of Cape Town and completed courses in Understanding Human Rights, Understanding the Rights of Women and Girls, Community Organizing for Action and Workforce Collaboration and Development. She is also a Mandela-Washington Fellow who, during her fellowship at the United States of America, completed training in leadership in civic engagement at Kansas State University and also completed a programme in Refugee Family Strengthening at Jewish Vocational Services. At the Institute Ms Mdleleni is generally responsible for staff capacity development; operations management; systems development and coordination of organisational projects such as community dialogues; GBV prevention and response interventions; and social cohesion campaigns.
What We Do
We are specialists in human rights, social cohesion and peacebuilding projects
Community-Based Protection & Solutions
We have a community-based prevention and response mechanism to xenophobia, homophobia, GBV and human rights violations
Under the Community-Based Protection Programme we provide the following activities:
Mental Health & Psychosocial Support (MHPSS)
We have an integrated intervention for protecting vulnerable, marginalized and hard-to-reach population groups
Under the MHPSS intervention we provide the following activities:
The current human rights, social cohesion and GBV situation in South Africa
While South Africa has strong constitutional protections for human rights, public confidence in the government’s willingness to tackle human rights violations, xenophobic violence, homophobia, GBV, corruption and respect for the rule of law has eroded.
For example, throughout South Africa, identifying as LGBTIQ is an extreme source of stigma and alienation. Many families find extreme difficulty in dealing with sexual violence, and the assault of a family member can be a source of stigma and shame, disabling familial support for survivors. Due to the stigma of being an LGBTIQ survivor, family members may be particularly unable or unwilling to provide support, and stigma can have a powerful silencing effect on the individual and create an additional barrier to reporting sexual violence.
Concerns remain about police brutality, the treatment of migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers, and recurring outbreaks of xenophobic violence. While a National Action Plan to combat xenophobia, racism, and discrimination was launched, it fails to address a key challenge fueling the problem: the lack of accountability for xenophobic violence.
Furthermore, nationwide protests took place in the country following the killings of multiple women and many instances of gender-based violence. The violence spurred an #AmINext movement where women on social media called out their alleged abusers. Protesters called for a national emergency and expressed anger over the government’s failure to better protect women.
South Africa continues to play an important but inconsistent role in advancing the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. Its commitment to human rights and international justice in its foreign policy practice remains in question.