- Organize committees in buildings to run meetings, unite residents to promote their issues and ability to influence decision-making and stimulate timely and effective implementation of developed plans and actions;
- Coordinate, facilitate and train committee members to be empowered and skilled for participation and representation of their communities with legal/advocacy organizations and in meetings with the city;
- Empower more women, through focused trainings/meetings to overcome fear, denial and stigma and start fighting against women’s abuse and xenophobia, and to actively participate in actions concerning their own issues and along with their communities
- Mobilize leaders/communities for united participation in mass marches and meetings to politicize inclusivity in the city as a critical issue;
- Regular participation in meetings organised by the city of Johannesburg or by councillors;
Outreach, community education and mass mobilization.
Through the Outreach desk, ICRC coordinates its engagements with affiliated community organizations. The work of the desk ranges from:organizing regular meetings between ICRC team and ten democratically organised committee members to consult and take collective decisions regarding burning issues facing the communities. Facilitating education programs such as workshops and activist capacity building on key capabilities such as Grassroots democracy building, legal rights and advocacy training as well as topics on local government legislation, policies and processes and their role in improving their living condition through meaningful use of participation spaces. Conduct, in conjunction with buildings’ committees, participatory research with residents living in abandoned buildings to support a better-informed information base regarding poor people in the inner city, and develop more usable knowledge to promote, strengthen advocacy and engagement by communities. ICRC and its partners (SERI, Planact, CALS) pushing hard for meaningful engagement with the City and other decision makers. Organising of Mass meetings involving residents, the ICRC team, as well as democratically organised committee members, to agree on concrete measures to improve living conditions.
Women’s Empowerment Desk
One of the core commitments of ICRC is to make interventions that promote the rights of women and supports women’s’ leadership at all levels of society, particularly in community organisations. In pursuit of this objective, during the month of March 2011 the ICRC launched Rivoningo Women’s Forum (“The Light”). Rivoningo symbolizes a platform where women from different countries living in the inner city of Johannesburg get together, share their stories and get assistance for the difficulties they are facing in terms of violation of women’s rights. Since 2013 RWF is conducting a sewing project, the project teaches women how to sew wonder bags and bead work etc. Our ultimate aim is to run a well-resourced centre for women, including migrants and insecure tenants in the inner city of Johannesburg (CBD) as a focal point of activity that mobilises and strengthens women’s initiatives and those of the affected.
Litigation and Legal Advice Desk
The ICRC litigation and legal advice desk which provides paralegal assistance to the inner city communities. It assists in disputes between landlord tenants. The desk’s key function is to use the application of the law as a tool for advocacy and lobbying authorities to provide access to social services, economic opportunities and affordable housing. The desk is the first point of contact between affected communities and based on the merits of the legal matter, refer community members to partner organisations which offer pro bono legal representation for communities who are under threat of evictions.
State of the Buildings Desk
Residents and their families (with advocacy support from the ICRC) have used a combination of activist action and South African Constitutional as well as other legal instruments to successfully resist efforts at evicting them since 2006. Over the years, the relationship has become characterized by preference for dialogue with City authorities and relevant stakeholders regarding what needs to be done to improve the well-being of residents, repair the physical integrity of the buildings, as well as enhancing the cultural heritage value of the site. Since 3 of the 5 buildings have been recognized for their significance to the heritage of the suburb of Bertrams. Beyond this, the improvements may contribute to minimizing the health hazards induced by the excessive neglect. After a series of engagements, ICRC in partnership with technical partner organisations: PlanAct and 1 to 1 Agency for social engagement, facilitated dialogue with the residents of the five buildings of the Bertrams Priority Block.
Addressing the local Human Security Needs of Inner city residents.
The ICRC Outreach Desk is an effort at providing a comprehensive response to the above-mentioned insecurities through a multi-dimensional intervention along four Human Security Dimensions: Economic security Food Security, Environmental Security, Gender and identity:
- There is a high incidence of unemployment.
- The ICRC DIY Building Improvements & community led design project will provide a safe & healthy environment, supporting alternative economic opportunities for the residents.
- Many of the inner-city communities working with ICRC have very low household income levels. This status results in many social exclusions including lack of access to information and training.
- There is a lack of educational opportunities for unemployed youths living in the inner city.
- The ICRC DIY Building Improvements & community led design project will arm residents with the vocational and management skills to continue caring for their buildings.
- The ICRC DIY Building Improvements & community led design project will provide residents the opportunity to grow their own foods using ecologically sound methods and experimenting with indigenous food crops.
- The most economically vulnerable residents will have an alternative food source even without sufficient income.
- The ICRC DIY Building Improvements & community led design project will provide a wide range of opportunities to learn practical skills & to combine these with a better understanding of the political economy that shapes their lives
- Due to the poor condition of the buildings, this creates environmental and health hazards. Leaving residents vulnerable to eviction & displacement.
- Due to the unsafe conditions of many inner city buildings, this affects the quality of life and well-being of all residents.
- Educational performance & outcomes of inner city children is also affected by the state of the living environment, thus repeating the poverty trap.
Gender and identity
- Lack of relevant knowledge combined with poor living conditions, increase the incidences of conflict & gender-based-violence.
- Across all the Project intervention components, the issue of questioning and challenging presumed gender norms will be raised
- To create a safe and dignified environment for the residents of Bertrams Priority Block, especially the children ages 4-20.
- To support the resident’s efforts of securing sustainable livelihoods
- Enhance the heritage significance of the Priority Block for the local history of Bertrams.
- To provide other ICRC activists and residents living in ‘bad buildings a possible model for participatory development they can apply to improve their own buildings and communities.
- To build the capacities and capabilities of the community of the Bertrams Priority Block to offer more programs and opportunities in the arts to the youth of the areas adjacent to the Block.
- To reduce the amount of crime & lack of safety in the community
- To lessen the divide between the well-off residents of Bertrams
- To raise the family income levels of the families in the area