Southern Africa
Switzerland's International Cooperation 2013-2016
Swiss Development Cooperation in Southern Africa
Domains of Intervention and Projects
Call for Proposals
Southern Africa 
SDC – on location worldwide
Black Sash

Project synthesis

The Black Sash is a trust organisation, which provides para-legal advice to disadvantaged individuals, groups and communities. The Black Sash works through provision of legal services, research, legislation monitoring, publication, training, campaigns and networking.


The goals of Black Sash are:

  • To offer para-legal services to individual, groups and community organisations. Para-legal interaction with these involves giving advice, joint problem solving, conflict resolution, mediation, referral to other professional and supplying information.
  • To empower all of those with whom Black Sash works by providing them with the information that they need in order to make decisions.
  • To analyse and research the main causes of Black Sash client problems, and to use this analysis and research in order to affect the policy and legislation which will address the causes of these problems.

Target group

The Black Sash provides education and advice to approximately 40'000 people annually, who are part of the most disadvantaged. Black Sash services are focussed to respond to the need of the poor, especially women, the unemployed, the children, the disabled.

Activities and Expected Results

The Black Sash addresses the issues of access to justice and respect of socio-economic rights. It focuses its interventions on social security, transformation rights, state institutions supporting democracy, the para-legal movement and access to credit for the poor. The main areas of involvement are:

  • Changing legislation: to contribute to comprehensive, progressive, social security policy legislation and regulation in the areas of child support, retirement provision, unemployment provision and disability provision.
  • Improving administration of government: to contribute to honest and efficient government administration in the delivery of social security rights to people. The Black Sash will focus on the administrative justice and the legislation on access to information
  • Informing, conscientising, mobilising and organising beneficiaries: to assist targeted beneficiaries in the development of their own mechanisms, to address their own social security problems and needs, with less reliance on the Black Slash.
  • Impacting on budgetary processes: to intervene in the budgetary process to influence a shift in the governments spending priorities towards social security.
  • The Black Sash is women human rights organisation, which was funded by a group of women activists. It is non profit making, non-party political and works to secure the recognition and protection by law of human rights for all. In 1958 the first Black Sash para-legal Advice Office was opened in Cape Town.

Project duration

The Black Sash was funded in 1955. SDC has been supporting it since 1989.


The Black Sash has an annual budget of about R 7 million. SDC has contributed to about R 3.6 million since 1994. In 1999, an SDC endowment fund was established to replace the regular funding. The funds capital amounts to R. 8.7 million and is expected to produce annual revenue of R. 1 million.

Geographical area

There are nine Black Sash Offices in South Africa, situated in Cape Town, Durban, East London, Grahamstown, Johannesburg, Knysna, Pietermaritzburg, Port Elisabeth and Pretoria.

Contact address

The Black Sash
12 Plein Street
Cape Town
South Africa
Ph. 021 461.7804
Fax: 021 461.8004

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The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is a part of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs
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