Key Individual:
Democracy Works Foundation

Who can benefit from this study?
Technical people
Civic Tech initiatives

Organisation responsible for case study:
Name: Democracy Works Foundation

Org. type: Non-Profit

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Providing tools to build resilient democracies

Post Status: Complete
Main Project Location: Johannesburg
Project country/countries: South Africa
Project dates: 2014 –
Last updated: 31 October 2023

Brief overview of the Case Study   

“Democracy Works Foundation (DWF) is a Southern African non-profit company focused on democracy development in the region. With headquarters in South Africa, DWF works through its country offices to provide tools to develop resilient democracies.

As an independent foundation, DWF builds and promotes inclusive, equitable and sustainable consensus democracies. They do so by providing tools, platforms and content to strengthen democrats, democratic culture and democracy institutions.

DWF opened its doors in 2014 in response to the weakening of public institutions, corruption and declining public participation in South Africa as well as concerns about democratic and development progress in post-liberation Southern Africa.

DWF works on the supply and demand side of democracy. They operate across several programmatic areas:

Monitoring: they collect data, do research and provide analysis on the state of democracies.
Institutions: they support the capacity of democracy institutions to fulfil their mandates.
Citizens and leaders: they train future democrats to drive change.
Climate and democracy: they strengthen the capacity of communities and democracy institutions to prioritise climate change initiatives.
Culture: they provide platforms for democratic engagement to cultivate new ideas for democracy.

Additionally, the Foundation provides advisory services on good governance and social impact and functions as a fiscal host and fund manager.

They believe that democracy is always a work in progress. It is often challenged and never complete. DWF is uniquely placed to continuously invest in and nurture resilient democracy and development.”

The challenge or problem

It has been empirically observed that democracy and democratic institutions in Africa, and Southern Africa in particular, have gradually begun to weaken.

The solution that was implemented

In order to combat weakening democracy, tools and skills about the building of resilient democracies need to be publicised and brought to the fore. Democracy Works Foundation seeks to do this by equipping organisations and members of civil society with these.

What results were achieved?

DWF has successfully built a network of likeminded individuals and organisations, all of whom seek to propel forth its mission.

Lessons and recommendations

Democracy Works aspires to contribute in raising the voices of the South in international platforms, in which experience and lessons on democracy are shared. These experiences will be drawn upon to invest in building stronger South-to-South platforms to link the deepening of democracy with building more equal and just societies.

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