Introducing the Southern Africa Political Parties and Dialogue Programme

Democracy Works Foundation is pleased to announce its new partnership with the Centre for Multiparty Democracy-Malawi (CMD-M) and Freedom House Southern Africa (FH-SA) on the Southern Africa Political Parties and Dialogue Programme (SAPP&D). Supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the programme is being implemented across the five SADC countries of Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Zambia and Malawi.

SAPP&D seeks to strengthen the democratic structures and institutions of political parties in these countries, to better respond to and represent the needs of citizens, particularly in the areas of water and energy resource management. In this way, the SAPP&D Programme also aims to contribute to the realisation of SADC’s Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Strategy and Action, SADC’s Regional Water Infrastructure Programme. It also seeks to the deepening of democratic governance in the region.

Whilst Southern Africa is a region with great potential it is also a water scarce one. The ever-increasing impact of climate change on these countries and the region presents many challenges, among them water and energy challenges, which impact the region’s capacity for development to improve peoples lives. Access to clean and sustainable water and energy resources lies at the root of efforts to alleviate poverty for the region’s population.

Greater influences and active engagement in policy-making by political actors as well as local communities are central to building inclusive, sustainable and accessible national water and energy resource governance mechanisms. For this to happen, political actors and local communities need to have relevant knowledge, information, tools and instruments that can assist them in devising, implementing and overseeing targeted policies that are likely to improve water and energy resource management in their respective countries and communities. This is the primary aim of the Southern Africa Political Parties and Dialogue Programme (SAPP&D).

The programme seeks to strengthen the ability of political parties to develop and implement participatory policies around access to sustainable water supply, clean water, and clean energy, using evidence-based knowledge, while at the same time enhancing a democratic political culture that supports the meaningful participation of women, youth and marginalised individuals.

 

Shannon Bernhardt has significant experience in programme management, leadership and youth development, curriculum design and strategic management. He previously served as the Program Director at the South Africa-Washington International Program (SAWIP), a non-profit development program that aims to support students from the Universities of Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Stellenbosch and the Western Cape to become servant leaders and engaged citizens in their communities. Prior to this, Shannon worked at the University of Cape Town as a student development co-ordinator; responsible for oversight student organisations and development agencies, grant making and skills development. He is also an experienced civic skills facilitator and coach. Shannon holds a Bachelor of Social Science Honours in Political Communication and is currently pursuing a Master of Philosophy in Higher Education. His research interests include civic education, democratic consolidation and youth participation in politics.

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