Livelihoods and Self Reliance Project

UNHCR has entered into a partnership agreement with Hand In Hand Southern Africa (HIH) to implement the Livelihoods and Self Reliance Project for the Refugees in South Africa. The project is being implemented in Johannesburg and Pretoria from May 2017 to 31st December 2017. The Livelihood project will support refugees with Advocacy and lobbying, Self-employment support, Employment support including interventions to promote social cohesion in targeted communities.


Any person interested in participating in the project must meet the following criteria:

  • Must have a valid Section 24 Refugee Permit and/or RSA ID issued by the Department of Home Affairs
  • Must be between 18 years and 45 years of age
  • Must be residing in Johannesburg or Pretoria for the duration of the project
  • Must not have been supported by UNHCR under the previous livelihoods projects
  • Must demonstrate commitment to fully participate in the project activities during the project implementation period
  • Persons with Asylum seeker permits or permanent residence permits do not qualify
  • For self-employment support, candidates must have been operating a business for a period of at least a year

PSG Project

The Peer Support Group Strengthening project has been implemented by Hand in Hand Southern Africa under funding from UN Women in partnership with the UNDP New World initiative. The project which was designed to build key life skills and business skills of Peer Support Group members was implemented between March and December 2015 in Gauteng and Mpumalanga. The project was designed to support 42 Peer support groups with potential for growth identified from a pool of PSGs formed under the Empowerment of Women entrepreneurs project (EWEP) implemented under a partnership between UN Women and the 5by20 programme.

The project was motivated by the problem of untargeted, uncoordinated support and poor mentorship provided to women cooperatives and the need implement targeted interventions and document the same. The focus has thus been on selecting peer support groups and providing them with capacity development designed to strengthen their capacity to plan and work together towards a common goal. Interventions were groups specific in order to address localised challenges. Group cohesion and a clear strategic direction were expected to assist the groups to grow and access additional support from other stakeholders thereby enhancing their sustainability. The programme team identified a number of challenges facing the groups and key among them were group conflicts, lack of market, lack of financial management and team spirit. A number of modular based trainings were conducted to capacitate the group members coupled with regular mentoring and coaching sessions to ensure that all acquired skills are implemented.

A number of stakeholders were called on board to assist the groups with group based requirements and needs for now and even after the project has ended. As of the end of the project, behavioural change continues to be noticed from different groups indicating that the project intervention has had positive results.

Southern Tribes

HiH formed Southern Tribe Crafts in 2013, which is a network of HiH SA enterprises and groups of women who specialize in arts and crafts income generating activities. The aim of the network is to enhance the Arts and Crafts sector through the facilitation of access to local, regional and international markets. HiH SA realizes that women are not only making good quality crafts for local markets but can also attract foreign buyers in international markets as well.

Through funding received from donor partners, we have been able to facilitate the development of arts and crafts enterprises in terms of business skills training and development of the businesses. Although craft production appears to be a significant source of income for women, the reality is, running a successful craft enterprise presents many challenges for women. Challenges such as access to markets, access to raw materials, saturated markets, low demand for craft products and competition; are some of the realities preventing most craft enterprises from thriving and hence vigorous initiatives are needed to enhance the industry to thrive.