2019 Democracy Works Academy in motion

Democracy Works Foundation (DWF), in partnership with In Transformation Initiative and supported by KPMG South Africa, is set to launch the Democracy Works Academy (DWA).

The Academy is a youth leadership, civic education and dialogue programme. This programme will host three residential seminars and be supported by an online learning tool. Both are designed to empower and inspire potential young leaders with critical skills and knowledge in becoming active citizens and transformative leaders.

In doing so the Academy is working towards building the principles of an accountable, transparent and values-based South Africa. The DWA aims to recruit a diverse cohort of young people that represent South Africa. Applications for the Academy are scheduled to open on 18 March 2019. Applications are open to young people between the ages of 19-24 living in the Free State, Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West Provinces.

The concept of the Democracy Works Academy was born in a democratic, caring and values-based system that is core to DWF and underpin a deep commitment to social justice.

The Academy is a recipient of the KPMG Anti-Corruption Fund. This followed a DWF initiated conversation with KPMG in 2017 to utilise the fund as a means of benefiting South African society and supporting civil society through the creation of a youth leadership development programme focused on accountability.

DWF was launched in response to the weakening of public institutions, growing corruption and stagnant and unethical leadership in South Africa. The DWA aims to contribute to building a democratic culture within society, institutions and public representative organisations.

DWF has a strong track record in promoting accountable, transparent and just democratic values through programmes such as Passing the Baton which brought together leaders in negotiating the democratic transition in South Africa in the early 1990s, together with young activists from civil society to learn from each other and to understand how South Africa’s democracy was negotiated in order to understand how peace was achieved and what further work needs to be done to complete the transition.

DWF’s Civil Society Participation in Provincial Legislature (CSPPL) programme, is aimed at establishing and improving engagement platforms between selected civil society organisations (CSOs) and the Portfolio Committees for Health and Community Safety in Limpopo, Northern Cape and the North West provinces.

DWF also focuses on democratising political parties, strengthening party leadership and collaboration between governing parties, opposition parties and civil society in Southern Africa through its regional programmes such as the Southern Africa Political Parties and Dialogue Programme (SAPP&D). The programme is implemented across five SADC countries: Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Zambia and eSwatini. 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.

Through this exciting new initiative, the Democracy Works Academy will contribute to building a network of engaged, young civic leaders who are active in their communities. It is imperative to foster the talent of South Africa’s youth and enable them to demand a transparent, accountable, values-based South Africa.

Olmo is Executive Director and co-Founder of Democracy Works Foundation. He has worked as a political networker, analyst, social entrepreneur, development practitioner and innovative manager on issues of human rights and democratisation in both Africa and Europe. He has spearheaded various leadership, democracy building and conflict resolution initiatives, in addition to managing funds dedicated to strengthening the role of civil society, political society and media through cross-sector approaches to deepening democracy.

His key interests lie in civil society sustainability and funding mechanisms for governance, human rights and democracy work in Africa and the global South, conflict management, institutions, leadership development, technology for development and climate and environmental issues.

Olmo leads the DWF Team on a day-to-day basis. Besides DWF's regional board, Olmo also sits on the DWF Malawi board.

To read publications by Olmo von Meijenfeldt on our website please click here. To view his tags please click here.

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