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Fund in Action: South Africa

United Nations Pilot Project for Strengthening Migrant Integration and Social Cohesion through Stakeholders’ Engagement, Socio-Economic Activities and Countering Anti-Migrant Narratives in South Africa

Soccer Tournament, South Africa, Photo: ©IOM

As the main country of destination for migrants from the southern African region and beyond, South Africa faces challenges of integration and social cohesion, with a recent history of xenophobic violence. The Joint Programme sought to shape the public narrative on migration and promote tolerance and evidence-based discussions by implementing targeted engagement and facilitating participation of government counterparts, migrants and host communities, through community-level peace and socio-economic activities.

The Joint Programme enhanced national and local systems and capacities to prevent and respond to xenophobic violence and support its victims. In addition, through a collaborative effort with the Department of Social Development, the Joint Programme conducted a mapping exercise to identify historical hot spot areas prone to xenophobic activities. 

  • Over 200,000 individuals received legal, psychosocial and administrative support through a web-based platform. 

  • 7 community peace initiatives were identified and implemented with a keen focus on addressing violence in a sensitive manner. 

  • 11 training were delivered to government and community peace-building mechanisms to enhance migrant and refugee integration and social cohesion through community dialogues, in Gauteng, Kwa-Zulu Natal and Western Cape provinces.  

The Joint Programme is dedicated to promoting social inclusion and peaceful coexistence in South Africa. To achieve this, the programme promoted positive narratives by drawing from the knowledge of ongoing initiatives focused on social cohesion and engaging in consultations with community representatives and other key stakeholders. The Joint Programme also facilitated access to socioeconomic opportunities through “social mixing” approaches that brought together individuals of different nationalities to exchange views, share experiences and create a common culture of acceptance, irrespective of origin. 

  • 940,000 community members were reached through awareness-raising campaigns and socio-cultural activities on social cohesion and countering xenophobia.  

  • 35 media campaigns on migration and human rights and 96 briefing sessions and local level dialogues among migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers were conducted. 

  • 1,940 community leaders have actively participated in the events and training programmes related to migration and xenophobia issues. 

  • 4 local peace award ceremonies were held, and 3 women peace clubs were created. 

  • 21 vocational training programmes, including sewing training, were conducted for vulnerable groups.  

In order to better understand the root causes and dynamics of crisis and violence, and to strengthen response in the three provinces, the Joint Programme carried out joint initiatives among government, UN, civil society and research and academic institutions.  

  • A mapping of existing early warning and rapid response mechanisms for the prevention of racism, discrimination, xenophobia and violence was conducted; and tools to monitor online hate speech and identify communities at risk were developed. Based on these mapping and tools, 6 policy recommendations were developed to be implemented. 

Food Distribution, KwaZulu Natal Province, South Africa, Photo: ©IOM

The Joint Programme, in collaboration with the Department of Social Department, eThekwini Metropolitan municipality and the Refugee Pastoral Care organisation identified South Africans, migrants and refugees who were still affected by the severe flooding and landslides that happened in April and May 2022. A total of 250 families benefited from the food parcels as part of providing relief after the disaster that damaged the KwaZulu Natal province. 

South Africa, Photos: ©IOM @fade2black

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*References to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of United Nations Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).