UNHCR: Call for expression of interest (Social Cohesion Project)

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
Please note: this opportunity closing date has passed and may not be available any more.
Opportunity closing date: 
Wednesday, 24 February, 2021
Opportunity type: 
Call for proposals


Project Title and Identification: Promoting social cohesion in communities hosting refugees and asylum-seekers in South Africa

Project Location: Eastern Cape Province

The purpose of this Call for Expression of Interest is to identify and select a partner to implement a Social Cohesion Project in Eastern Cape Province on behalf of UNHCR South Africa. The selected partner will handle the day-to-day activities related to the management and implementation of the project for the benefit of persons of concern (PoCs) that include refugees, asylum-seekers and stateless persons to UNHCR and the communities they reside in, under the overall coordination and management of UNHCR.
UNHCR South Africa is looking for a partner that is able to implement social cohesion and re-integration activities, as well as carry out community mobilization and sensitization campaigns to promote social cohesion in Kwa-Zulu Natal. The partner will be expected to liaise with various stakeholders.
Organisations/institutions with expertise, experience and capacity in social cohesion assistance programmes in urban settings are invited and encouraged to apply.
The Concept Note should be concise and contain clear information, not exceeding three (3) pages.
Interested organisations are requested to submit a Concept Note using the attached template by 24 February 2021.
Submissions will be accepted only through the UNHCR’s partner portal at: www.unpartnerportal.org

Brief background of the project:  

South Africa is party to the 1951 Refugee Convention, its 1967 Protocol, as well as the 1969 OAU Convention Governing Specific Aspects of the Refugee Situation in Africa. The country has a liberal asylum policy; the South Africa Refugees Act of 1998 incorporates all the basic principles of refugee and asylum-seeker protection, including freedom of movement, the right to work and access basic social services. However, refugees and asylum-seekers are not always able to fully enjoy some of these rights because of practical challenges, now exacerbated by the COVID 19 restrictions, including non-recognition of refugee and asylum-seeker permits either to access services or to integrate cases into local charitable and government social service programs. UNHCR advocates for their integration, while continuing to provide short-term material assistance to persons with specific needs among refugees and asylum-seekers. Refugees and asylum-seekers reside mainly in urban areas throughout the country making it challenging to reach those with the most critical specific needs.
The main target groups of people of concern planned in 2021 under the South Africa operation are refugees and asylum-seekers fleeing persecution and conflict. The majority originate from Zimbabwe, Somalia, Ethiopia, DRC, Rwanda and Burundi. According to the Department of Home Affairs, for 2020, there are around 266,000 people of concern in the country.
Recurring attacks and violence against foreign nationals in South Africa are deeply rooted in socio-economic challenges such as poverty, unemployment and income inequality. The social cohesion programme will benefit refugees and asylum-seekers as well as their receiving communities. The majority of persons of concern originate from Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia.

Goal/Objective, Expected Outcome and Main Activities:

Overall strategic goal:

  • Addressing violence and insecurity and promoting social cohesion 


  • Social cohesion and integration of refugees and asylum-seekers in hosting communities improved

Expected outcome:

  • Strengthened tolerance towards refugees and asylum-seekers, peaceful coexistence and integration

Proposed activities:
Boost resilience in vulnerable communities:

  • Risk situation and relationships between stakeholders are realized – (i) organize security mapping to identify places facing and prone to social cohesion challenges and assess risk situations; (ii) expand existing networks and relationships between stakeholders.
  • Safety in communities improved – (i) establish community support groups consisting of South Africans and refugees and asylum-seekers; (ii) train community support groups in conflict management and peacekeeping; (iii) assist community support groups in developing community peace plans / preventive guidelines per community; (iv) support stakeholders engagement (SAPS, schools, hospitals, business forums, NGOs, ward councillors, churches and community policing forums etc.) in taking action collectively for peaceful coexistence; (v) build networks with and liaise with SAPS and Community Development Workers (CDWs) to mitigate potential security threats.
  • Communication platforms developed – (i) organize regular meetings with representatives of provincial and local authorities, refugee communities and relevant stakeholders to respond to local tensions; (ii) coordinate community meetings comprised of South Africans and refugees and asylum-seekers to share security issues (iii) establish methods through which refugees and asylum-seekers can immediately access and share security information.

Strengthen the capability of communities and community members to enhance social cohesion:

  • Mutual trust and cultural tolerance between communities are built and equality in common spaces is ensured – (i) organizing sport / recreational activities aiming at interaction between South Africans and refugees and asylum-seekers; (ii) managing sustained dialogue sessions with South African and refugee community members, learners at schools, youth, business leaders, etc.; (iii) develop a dialogue manual and train dialogue facilitators, enabling outreach to South Africans and refugees and asylum-seekers; (iv) conduct sensitization campaigns on Human Rights Day, Africa Day, World Refugee Day, etc.
  • Community members are sensitized to refugee rights and responsibilities – (i) provide Training of Trainers for community support groups on refugees’ rights and responsibilities in order to educate community members; (ii) refer refugees and asylum-seekers to UNHCR legal partners for advice; (iii) disseminate information and knowledge about refugees rights and responsibilities through local media and communication tools; (iv) monitor and evaluate the results of media communication projects and take follow-up actions.
  • Capacity building for South Africans and refugees and asylum-seekers to obtain economic opportunities – (i) build and expand networks with UNHCR livelihood partner, vocational schools, financial institutions, key business leaders and business associations; (ii) link applicants to relevant organizations and institutions; (iii) organize guidance sessions and workshops on business skills, labour market, microfinance, social entrepreneur and social enterprise etc., in collaboration with financial institutions and relevant organizations.
  • The Social Cohesion Strategy (2019 – 2022) represents the basis for the Call for Expression of Interest.
  • The strategy has three (3) key Objectives, i.e. Objective 1: Support the government authorities in addressing protection issues including support to the National Action Plan to combat Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance; Objective 2: Boost resilience in vulnerable communities; Objective 3: Strengthen the capability of communities and community members to enhance social cohesion.
Intended Population of Concern: 
Refugees, asylum-seekers and local population
Project Period (estimated start and end dates of project): 
1 April – 31 December 2021
Submission Deadline:             Date Decision Results to be Communicated to Applicants:
24 February 2021 26 March 2021

Selection Criteria: 

Choose relevant criteria Criteria Description Assigned Weighting
X Sector expertise and experience:  
Experience and capacity in implementing social cohesion interventions especially in implementing activities described under the section “Goal/Objective, Expected Outcome and Main Activities”
X Institutional capacity for services, proposed approach, solutions, methodology and outputs:
Monitoring and evaluation capabilities
Research capabilities on social cohesion 
Working with refugee populations
X Human resources, finances and budgeting:
Human resources (with emphasis on social cohesion capacity, experience)
Additional funding received by the organisation
Experience in finance management
Procurement policy
Budget management
Audit results of previous projects 
X Governance:
Board, general assembly meetings and oversight
Partnerships with government and other agencies
Management structure
Internal controls and segregation of duties
X Cost effectiveness:
Level of direct costs and administrative costs imposed on the project in relation to project deliverables.  
X Experience working with UN Agencies / UNHCR:
Experience working with UN Agencies /UNHCR in global and/or local partnerships 
Knowledge of UNHCR policies, practices and programmes, including an understanding of and ability to work within UNHCR’s funding limitations and associated inherent risks.
Additional Information: 

Proposal should bear in mind existing refugee protection mechanisms, including formal laws and policies designed to protect refugees, as well as informal community-based protection efforts. Proposals should be designed to support and strengthen existing systems and mechanisms rather than developing parallel systems that may not be sustainable over time.

Issuing UNHCR Office UNHCR South Africa 
Contact Address Waterkloof House, 209 Waterkloof Road, Brooklyn, Pretoria
Full name and title, Head of Office Leonard Zulu, Representative
Name of UNHCR Office UNHCR South Africa Multi-Country Office (SAMCO)
Date 18 January 2021

For further information please contact: 
Ms. Vongaishe Mujuru

Click here to access - UNHCR: Call for expression of interest (Livelihood Project) advert.

NGO Services

NGO Services

NGO Events