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Who we are


The Equality Collective is an activist and community-centred law project based in the rural Eastern Cape. It is innovative in the advancement of access to justice, builds the capacity for collective participation and action and shares research and learning to create a more just and caring society. 


Our vision is to see thriving rural communities collectively participating in a just and caring society. 


Our work centres our rural communities and their lived struggles. It prioritises the needs of marginalised communities, especially women and children.  

The Equality Collective is an embedded community organisation. It is an organisation committed to meeting the immediate needs of its community members as well as building the capacity of community members to shape their lives and the world around them. Part of its job is to build and network power in support of campaigns for greater socio-economic equity. The Equality Collective’s campaigns are based on extensive research and expert analysis committed to improving the socio-economic conditions of deep rural communities. 

The Equality Collective promotes the rights in our constitution with an understanding that reliable access to quality socio-economic rights will advance greater equity in South Africa. 

Many of the problems we are tackling in our communities are ubiquitous (poor service delivery and failing municipalities). What makes the Equality Collective unique is that it seeks to improve the quality of livelihoods in its rural communities by working together with traditional leaders, community leaders, community members, researchers and the government. We help build consensus and understanding of challenges identified, offer well-researched solutions and, most importantly, we support avenues for people to participate in the democratic system. 

The Equality Collective began its work in 2020 and today, the Equality Collective runs human rights training workshops, facilitates paralegal services and helps coordinate two sizeable campaigns to advance the rights to early childhood development and the right to water. It is also conducting leading research in both areas. 

Our model for collective advocacy sees us acting as a small dynamo by providing secretariat, research, and monitoring support to the campaigns where we work in a coalition or alliance and where we assist with both coordination and implementation of our joint strategy. In other words, the Equality Collective is a powerful backbone organisation that always works in a ‘collective’ across all its campaigns.


The Equality Collective model for collective advocacy towards a just and caring society:

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  1. Collective advocacy starts with awareness campaigns that have a broad focus while also targeting specific, important role players. As awareness of rights grows, some individuals and groups will be motivated to take action.

  2. Individuals and groups who want to become advocates are trained, coordinated, and supported to take collective action and to use the democratic processes available to them.

  3. Any collective advocacy is steered and directed by a strong and engaged group of partner representatives that actively engages to coordinate, advance, and support the objectives and activities of a joint strategy.

  4. Secretariat and backbone support is provided to ensure that collective advocacy remains organised, focused, and on track. Currently, the Equality Collective fulfils this role in all its projects.

  5. Research and social monitoring ensures evidence informed awareness campaigns, advocacy actions, and legislative proposals.

Values and practices

At the Equality Collective, our core values shape our approach and define our culture:

  1. Autonomy: We champion self-management, enabling each team member to take initiative and manage their workload effectively. Our culture of co-creation and trust encourages personal growth and flexibility, measuring success by outcomes rather than hours.

  2. Accountability: Responsibility is key in our work. We commit to fulfilling our duties, honouring our commitments, and maintaining clear, honest communication. Regular feedback is integral to our growth and taking responsibility.

  3. Love: Our work is grounded in respect, kindness, and consideration. We listen attentively, create just and caring spaces, celebrate achievements, and foster connections within our team, community members and with our partners.

  4. Excellence: We strive for excellence through thorough preparation, professional execution, and a commitment to innovation. A growth mindset and evidence-based research guide our pursuit of organisational competence.

  5. Collaboration: Collaboration is at the heart of our approach. We co-create solutions with stakeholders, advocate constructively, and prioritise cooperation over competition, building powerful coalitions that share our vision.

  6. Substantive Equality: Guided by the principle of substantive equality, we actively address the root causes of inequality. Our practices include community-centered activism, acknowledging diverse backgrounds and experiences, and creating inclusive, equitable teams. We are thoughtful about the demographics of our partners and those we showcase in relation to our work.

These values not only reflect who we are but also guide our actions and decisions as we work towards a just and caring society.

Key Documents:

  1. The Equality Collective Strategy 

  2. The Equality Collective Theory of Change

  3. 2021 Annual Report 

  4. 2022 Annual Report

The way we work:

The Equality Collective believes that through building collective power together with constructive advocacy we can transform systems and build a more equal South Africa. Our way of being requires extensive consultations, relationship building and supporting transformative coalitions of power. We work deeply in a traditionally neglected, defined geography in the Eastern Cape, layering a fabric of organisational support and advocacy across multiple-issues. 

What does working at the Equality Collective look like?

At the Equality Collective we believe that: 

  • If you need something, ask for it.

  • If you have something to share, share it. 

  • We recognise that we all come from different ages and experiences and are at different stages of our lives.

  • We are committed to helping each other to succeed and thrive. 

  • We want to build an environment based on trust, respect, deep listening and accountability. 

  • We want to create an environment where everyone is committed to self-leadership and can grow and learn from each other. 

  • We celebrate, acknowledge and support each other.

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