A research project has been set into motion in the North West Province to gain insight into the perspectives of gays and lesbians living in rural areas, reports Behind The Mask.

The project is being undertaken by the University of South Africa (UNISA) and Gay Umbrella, a LGBTI organisation.

This research project aims to help organisations ascertain the needs of LGBT people in these often neglected areas, which would inform future programs and projects.

The project is funded by the South African Netherlands Research Programme on Alternative Developments (SANPAD), a unique collaborative research programme financed by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and began in February 2009 with a week-long start-up workshop.

It is set to continue in July 2009, where data will be collected from LGBT people in the form of questionnaires.

The project will be completed in 2010, when researchers will report their findings.

“All of this will in the end be of benefit to LGBTI individuals and hopefully, will lead to a more active cohesive gay community”, said Gay Umbrella chairperson Mildred Maropefela.

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