“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.”
Black Sash employs a comprehensive and holistic, evidence-based approach in all the work we do. Through gathering data, leading advocacy initiatives, and educating the public, we work tirelessly to ensure a basic social protection network for the most vulnerable in South African society.
Black Sash makes use of a diverse range of activities designed to monitor and understand societal issues within South Africa. Black Sash makes use of Community-Based Monitoring methods like digital and paper-based surveys, case studies, and focus groups. Black Sash also engages in participatory action research, which incorporates interviews, additional focus groups, and specialised case studies. In addition, the active Helpline serves as a vital tool for identifying trends and extracting case studies.
Community Based Monitoring
The Black Sash has been involved in Community Based Monitoring (CBM) for the past 19 years. Our CBM model recognises that communities, citizens, and public service users are active holders of fundamental rights, and not merely passive users of public services. Independent CBM provides tangible feedback to government departments to improve service delivery. Good service delivery is also acknowledged. This model offers the opportunity for civil society and civil servants to work together to build a capable state.
Black Sash does this in partnership with credible community-based organisations also referred to as Community Partners (CPs) across the country. A Memorandum of Understanding is concluded with each CP and intern, detailing the scope, deliverables, and ethics.
As part of its access to justice programme, the Black Sash runs a national paralegal Helpline whereby members of the public have access to free paralegal
services via telephone, short message system (SMS), and social media platforms such as WhatsApp. Clients are able to send a no-cost “please call me”
request to the Helpline, and a Black Sash covers the cost of the call.
With our solid foundation of data through our evidence gathering methods, Black Sash advocates for social protection at various levels. Our advocacy efforts take place at national, local and regional levels, addressing both wide-reaching policy issues and localised social concerns. Black Sash coordinates campaigns to raise public awareness and garner support in implementing human Rights for all.
Basic Income Support
Black Sash has been one of the lead organisations calling for basic income support for people aged between 18-59 with no or little income and the large sector of South African society who have not qualified for social assistance. Stakeholders we engaged with included the South African Council of Churches (SACC), the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac), the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU), the Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute (SPII), Women on Farms and #PayTheGrants. Black Sash has also coordinated regular meetings of Civil Society Stakeholders are open to organisations who support the extension of the COVID SRD Grant.
Black Sash is deeply committed to educating all those who live in South African about their human rights. Black Sash coordinates information sessions, produces and disseminates rights-based materials, and operates a helpline for public use. To bolster the efficacy of our work, we host capacity-building workshops at local, regional, and national levels, empowering individuals and stakeholders. We continue to take significant strides in advancing human rights and fortifying social protection mechanisms.
Dullah Omar School
The Dullah Omar School was conceptualised in response to the need to formalise and standardise the paralegal sector at community-based advice offices. The inaugural Dullah Omar School was held in Johannesburg, in March 2015, and provided a significant learning platform to more than 120 participants from Community advice offices across all the provinces in South Africa.
The school is now institutionalised as an ACAOSA programme, and Black Sash has moved into the role of education and training partner.
Black Sash Khulumas
Khulumas are part of our campaign to stimulate discourse and promote an active citizenry capable of holding government to account to help to ensure effective and efficient service delivery. Through regular Khulumas, we deepen our understanding of issues such as inequality, poverty, the economy, the roles of government and business in human rights, budgeting, resourcing and pro-poor policies.