LGBTI Political Leadership Learning Institute in the Western Cape

Cape Town – South Africa, February 2017 – September 2017


Triangle Project and the Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute are calling for applicants to the LGBTI Political Leadership Learning Institute in the Western Cape, which will take place in Cape Town, South Africa.  It will consist of five different three-day modules, from February 2017 through September 2017.  You can apply by clicking this link until the deadline of 23:59h SAST, January 29, 2017.  Further information is below.
The objective of the LGBTI Political Leadership Learning Institute is to provide the theoretical and practical content needed to strengthen LGBTI leadership and provide participants with the right tools to advance the equality agenda, through participation in the democratic process and the interaction with political institutions.
Triangle Project is a non-profit human rights organization offering professional services to ensure the full realization of constitutional and human rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons, their partners and families.
The Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute is a US-based non-governmental organization whose mission is to increase the number of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) participating in the democratic process by providing training and support in this process.

Why Political Leadership Trainings in South Africa?

The leadership trainings in South Africa are part of a larger project between Triangle Project and the Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute, aimed towards bringing the topic of political participation for LGBTI people in South Africa to public political agenda. The LGBTI Political Leadership Learning Institute will encourage political participation from LGBTI leaders and provide the theoretical and practical content to provide them with the tools to advance human rights and LGBTI equality through participation in the democratic process and the interaction with political institutions.
Although South Africa has made significant legislative advances regarding LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) rights, South African LGBTI people, due to several intersecting vulnerabilities, still experience a significant amount of inequality and violence.  LGBTI persons continue to face extreme forms of violence, which some data and anecdotal experience suggest is critically under-reported.  Brought about by Apartheid and Settler Colonialism, intersecting identities such as race, class, geography, and gender also play a significant role in the lives of LGBTI South Africans.
In order to advance towards equality and help to reduce this violence, it is essential to strengthen the capacities of LGBTI leaders so that they are best prepared to participate in the democratic process and hold public office positions. This will encourage a more fluid dialogue with political institutions.  Having more politically prepared LGBTI leaders will also help to position LGBTI equality on the country’s political agenda and more effectively address the violence affecting this population, both from civil society and from political institutions.
The existence of openly LGBTI elected officials produces a double effect on the population: on one hand, it is an awareness tool within state institutions, enabling other public officials to actually get to know LGBTI people as equals; and, secondly, it provides positive role models for young LGBTI people. The presence of openly LGBTI elected officials is also key to achieving social equality, as it allows there to be a voice in the room where decisions are being made.
This course provides effective responses to these challenges, strengthening the leadership of LGBTI civil society so that they are better equipped to confront the violence and inequality this population experiences.  Implementing a curriculum that combines theoretical and practical content, participants are provided with tools to become successful leaders, both in political and electoral processes as well as advocacy actions.

Participant Profile

Approximately 30 openly LGBTI leaders, at least 18 years of age, residents of South Africa, who understand the importance of political participation as a tool to advance toward equality, who are active leaders in their communities and/or workspaces, or who have interest in running for local office.
Triangle Project and Victory are looking for leaders preferably with the following profile:

  • LGBTI-identifying persons.
  • Resident in the Western Cape.
  • Interest in running as a political candidate at the local level.
  • Clear willingness to develop advocacy techniques to engage political institutions and political parties.
  • Recognized leadership and experience working with social and political organizations.
  • Commitment to participate in all the classroom and non-classroom activities.
  • Commitment to be present and participate in all three days of each of the five modules.

We especially encourage lesbian and bisexual women, queer-identifying persons, trans persons, intersex persons, persons of color, persons living with HIV, persons with disabilities, older persons that identify as LGBTI, and other underrepresented groups within the LGBTI community to apply.

Agenda and Methodology

The training consists of five modules, each module three days:
Module 1 – LGBTI Leaders as Change-Makers
Dates: February 24, 25, 26 2017
Objective: Strengthen the leadership skills required to become an openly LGBTI candidate and/or community leader that uses political participation to progress towards equality; and gain a deepened intersectional knowledge of the South African human rights situation.  Participants will gain a deeper understanding of their role as champions of change and how to successfully represent their communities.
Sections:A. LGBTI Political Leadership

  • Reasons to politically participate and obstacles to overcome
  • Breaking through: successful LGBTI political leaders
  • Learning how to navigate political parties as and LGBTI leader
  • Winning allies’ minds: Using data to offer solid arguments for equality
  • Winning allies’ hearts: Using values’ language

B. Understanding the needs of the LGBTI population in South Africa

  • Representing the LGBTI population and the whole community
  • Managing intersecting identities and privilege
  • Priorities of different identities within the LGBTI family
  • Laws and policies that effect LGBTI people in South Africa

Module 2 – South African Political Systems & Human Rights Mechanisms
Dates: April 21, 22, 23 2017
Objective: Develop a greater understanding of how political systems and human rights mechanisms in South Africa work and how to access and engage them to advance towards equality.
Sections:A. Political Systems in South Africa

  • South African political structures and electoral processes
  • Critical components for an effective democracy
  • Local level governments: structure, functioning, and opportunities to participate and run for office
  • Developing public policies
  • Examples of civil rights advancements through the South African political system
  • Political parties: how to break through

B. Human Rights Violations & Protection Mechanisms

  • Apartheid and colonialism: effects on human rights
  • Race, class and LGBTI: Intersectionalities of discrimination
  • Specific cases of human rights violations
  • National and international human rights mechanisms: advancing equality for LGBTI people
  • LGBTI rights within the overall human rights framework

Module 3 – Advocacy, Communication and Messaging
Dates: June 23, 24, 25 2017
Objective: Develop key communication and interpersonal skills for political leadership, specifically when lobbying political institutions or political parties on LGBTI issues, and delivering a clear and concise political message to a variety of audiences.
Sections:A. Public Speaking Skills

  • Public speaking techniques
  • Maintaining your message and persuading your audience
  • Body language and appearance
  • Debate techniques
  • Journalistic interviews

B. Networking and Interpersonal Skills

  • Conflict resolution
  • The art of meetings
  • Communicating with people of different ideologies than yours
  • Building coalitions with other groups

Module 4 –Electoral Campaign Techniques
Dates: August 11, 12, 13 2017
Objective: Provide the tools and skills necessary to carry out a successful electoral campaign as and openly LGBTI candidate.
Sections:A. Candidate and Campaign Training

  • Creating and maintaining a campaign plan
  • Building the campaign message
  • Identify voter targets
  • Voter contact techniques
  • Campaign financing
  • Public image
  • Campaign staff and volunteers
  • Building alliances

Module 5 – Southern African Regional Civil Society Forum
Date: September 16, 17 2017
Objective: Reflect upon and deepen the understanding of the important role of LGBTI participation in the democratic process.The forum will have the following goals:

  • Identify progress, challenges and best practices in the processes of political participation of LGBTI people, as a tool to advance towards equality
  • Encourage LGBTI political participation in Southern Africa
  • Reflect on the role of LGBTI leaders building a more inclusive and equal society for everyone
  • Open the dialogue for political participation of LGBTI people in the region with some major political actors, such as political parties.

As a final follow-up activity, participants will be invited to attend a Southern African Regional Civil Society Forum.  LGBTI leaders, political party members, and out politicians will be invited to attend the event held in Cape Town, South Africa.  The forum will consist of two full days of panel discussions, workshops, and breakout sessions all surrounding issues of political participation as a tool to advance towards LGBTI equality.
The forum will serve as a leadership development activity for participants, who will be able to exchange ideas and best practices with leaders throughout the region.  They will also be able to expand their networks and increase their visibility as a leader in their community.

These trainings will apply classroom teaching strategies mixed with interactive modules, and subsequent monitoring and support for participants. Each session will have a central theme, with South African or Southern African consultants as trainers. In some sessions, there will be interventions by other experts who complement the expertise of the consulting team. Those attending the course will be divided into groups and each night will complete a number of tasks as a team.
Though the course content is unique to this Learning Institute, Victory has implemented similar courses internationally in collaboration with their partner organizations in Peru, Colombia, Honduras, the Balkans, and most recently the Dominican Republic and India.
At the conclusion of this process, the participants will have reinforced the following abilities:
Confidence in their political and social abilities to participate in the democratic process and/or interact with political institutions as an LGBTI leader.
Ability to formulate an agenda for the inclusion of the needs and demands of all intersectional identities within the LGTBI population within the framework of the democratic process.
Understanding of the political process, political institutions and political and communication strategies to: participate effectively in electoral processes, to carry out advocacy activities from civil society, and/or to run for elected office – all the while with the aim of advancing towards LGBTI equality.
Public speaking and how to manage various forms of media, which will allow them to reach their political and advocacy goals, both with allies and opponents.

Application, Deadline, and Scholarships

Deadline: Sunday, January 29, 2017 23:59 SAST
Participant selection: January 30 – February 3, 2017
Scholarship acceptance communication to applicants: Monday, February 6, 2017
Applications should be completed online, according to the instructions listed in this link:
Applications will be evaluated for admission by an Advisory Committee composed of the team of convening organizations and other allied organizations in the process.
The organizers will provide full scholarships to participants. These scholarships will cover food, materials and accommodation in a shared room. Scholarships will also cover ground transportation in economy class for those residing outside of the city of Cape Town, according to the fixed amount established by the organizers.  Local transportation will not be paid for participants residing within Cape Town, nor any other type of expenses that have not been mentioned above.