Tackling marginalisation, exclusion and inequality

Course addresses key social challenges in southern Africa

Richard Lee's picture


Strategic communications for WWF

September 17th, 2012

With inequality and its attendant social challenges growing across southern Africa, the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) and the Centre for African Studies at SOAS are launching a new and critically important course in Lusaka – Policy-making to challenge social exclusion, inequality and marginalisation.

The week-long course runs from September 17-21 and aims to provide policy makers and development and human rights practitioners with additional skills to support their work with marginalised communities.

The specific objective is to create a cohort of policy makers and senior leaders within national and regional NGOs, policy institutes and government agencies, who are equipped with both the theoretical framework and the practical tools to give impetus to efforts to address social exclusion, marginalisation and inequality - the depth of which is highlighted in OSISA's landmark book Tearing Us Apart: Inequalities in Southern Africa.

This course involves deepening participants’ understanding of social exclusion and marginalisation, by providing a theoretical framework that explains the process by which certain groups are systematically disadvantaged.

Furthermore, the course will look at the ways in which systematic discrimination – on the basis of ethnicity, race, religion, sexual orientation, descent, gender non-confirmation, age, disability, HIV status, migrant status or where people live – has shaped certain communities’ social prospects, access to services and ability to mobilise in defence of their rights.

The particular focus of the course will be on how social exclusion impacts on access to health, education and legal services.

Since discrimination occurs in public institutions, such as the legal system or education and health services, as well as social institutions such as the household, the course will focus on the ways in which these institutions either challenge or deepen social exclusion.

The course will use a number of innovative mechanisms to facilitate this discussion, in order to equip policy-makers and those who work to influence policy outcomes and social programmes, with the skills to better identify the drivers of social exclusion, and the mechanisms for addressing it.

A particular emphasis will be on:

  • A human rights frameworks for protecting the rights of marginalised people; and,
  • Policies and programmes that seek to address the challenges of marginalised groups in a long-term and systemic manner.

The course will use case studies from southern Africa to demonstrate policy successes and failures. Furthermore, the course will use participatory methods to ensure that participants are able to apply the theory of social exclusion in a practical and hands-on manner.


  • 1 Hood Avenue/148 Jan Smuts; Rosebank, GP 2196; South Africa
  • T. +27 (0)11 587 5000
  • F. +27 (0)11 587 5099