The aim of this study is to explore the importance of community based social mobilisation strategies
in advancing human rights, in particular, strategies that could be used advance exercise of the right to
legal capacity for persons with psychosocial disabilities in the face of societal barriers in the African
context. The results of the study are aimed at providing useful and practical considerations in
addressing the gap that exist in human rights implementation, between the promises of the law and
its impact in reality.
To this end, secondary desk top data was collected from existing text on the CRPD, mental illness and
social mobilisation strategies. The latter was based on an analysis of the mobilisation strategy
employed by Tostan in West Africa to successfully challenge female genital mutilation/cutting. Primary
data was obtained through focus groups held in Lusaka and at Nsadzu Mental Health Rehabilitation
Centre in Chadiza, in rural Zambia.
The significance of legal capacity in Zambia was established and three main categories of concern
emerged as barriers to the exercise of legal capacity: a) lack of state and community based supports
and social networks; b) inadequate training of health and justice system officials; and c) stigma of
mental illness and stereotypes. The benefits of social mobilisation in addressing these barriers are
manifold, as demonstrated through the Tostan model.
Mini Dissertation (MPhil)--University of Pretoria, 2017.