SOUTH AFRICA HOSTS MULTI-STAKEHOLDER CHARTER AFRICA DIALOGUE AT HISTORIC CONSTITUTIONAL HILL

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Following the fruitful Charter Project Africa Multi-Stakeholder National Dialogues held in Botswana, Zambia, and Tanzania from May to July, Democracy Works Foundation (DWF) is hosting the final leg of dialogues and workshops in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The Dialogues have highlighted the state of democracy in each host country through research presented by Afro Barometer and other stakeholders. Afro Barometer research reveals that “African citizens remain committed to democracy and democratic institutions. Across 34 countries surveyed during Round 8 in 2019/2021, 68% say they prefer democracy to any other system of government. Large majorities reject military rule (74%), one-party rule (77%), and especially one-person or “strongman” rule (82%)”.

Motheo o Mosha Society and The Clicking Generation from Botswana, Zambia Governance Foundation and Lobby and Youth Advocacy Program 2050 from Zambia,  African Child Projects and Tanzania Youth Vision Association from Tanzania had the opportunity to debate and probe the research insights against their lived experiences, challenges and successes.

The dialogues have highlighted that with the rapid advance in digital technology and an appetite for democratic governance, democratic leaders and institutions must implement digital-fit initiatives for a more significant impact. For this reason, the Charter Africa Project aims to use digital democracy technologies to strengthen participatory democratic governance systems in African Union member states through the African Governance Architecture (AGA) and to promote the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG).

The project has facilitated collaboration between African Union policymakers, national policymakers, and civic initiatives to jointly address the challenges of democratic governance through the multi-stakeholder dialogues and bilateral engagements hosted in the past months.

The two-day event in Johannesburg will commence with a public dialogue at the historic site, Constitutional Hill. Constitution Hill is a living museum that tells the story of South Africa’s journey to democracy. The site is a former prison and military fort that bears testament to South Africa’s turbulent past and, today, is home to the country’s Constitutional Court, which endorses the rights of all citizens.

The public dialogue on day 1 will centre on Using the ACDEG for advocacy, a presentation from the Charter Project’s South Africa grantee, followed by a panel discussion with notable South African political actors on “The Added Value of Citizens Participation: Enabling and supporting youth and women to participate in democratic governance.”

The second day is a closed workshop where South African grant recipient African Youth Development Fund from South Africa will present their Democratic Governance Initiative and engage in workshop sessions, including the topic  “Leveraging Civic Technology and Digital Engagement to Enhance Citizen Engagement and Accountable Governance.”

Nompumelelo Sibalukhulu, Programme Manager, stated: “Thus far, the dialogues around the region have exposed us to gaps in digital democracy and how citizens use digital spaces for their own agency. Above all, we have unpacked what the African Governance Architecture (AGA) and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG) are and the resources available to Civil Society Organisations to help amplify their citizen’s voices. We hope the strategies and plans developed during the workshops will be used, tested and refined as a long-term tool for our grant recipients. We know that the networks and relationships formed will go a long way in forging collaboration within and across the different countries.”

Through the Charter Project Africa, which is aimed at promoting the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG), DWF is continuing to deliver on its vision of strengthening democracy across the African continent.

Check the DWF and Charter Project Africa social media pages for #CharterAfrica updates.

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About the Charter Project Africa

The Charter Project Africa is a pan-African project that focuses on the commitments contained in the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG) – the African Union’s principal policy document for advancing democratic governance in African Union member states. The project promotes using civic technology to amplify citizens’ voices in African Union member states; Botswana Benin, Cabo Verde, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, and Zambia – as well as at regional and continental level. DWF is implementing the Charter Project Africa in Southern Africa, targeting Botswana, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia. The consortium comprises AfricTivistes, Code for Africa (CfA), Gorée Institute, European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM) and European Partnership

 

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