DWF to launch Democracy Works Academy

Democracy Works Foundation enthusiastically announces the start of its latest project aimed at building the next generation of ethical and responsive leaders.

Democracy Works Foundation (DWF), in partnership with the In-Transformation Initiative (ITI), is excited to launch the Democracy Works Academy (DW Academy); a youth leadership, civic education and dialogue programme to inspire, empower and connect a new generation of South African change makers. The Academy is aimed at developing the capacities and networks of individuals who are committed to the development of an accountable, responsive and values-based South Africa.

The DW Academy will bring together leaders from community-based organisations, civil society and the public and private sectors over a series of residential seminars. The curriculum will give participants the appropriate tools to engage and respond to accountability and governance challenges of our democracy. Through a continuous learning approach, young people will have the opportunity to deep-dive into contextual case studies and participate in immersive learning experiences.

The programme delivers:

  • 30-40 Democracy Works Academy Leaders annually
  • A year-long civic education programme with 3 residential seminar weeks, Political Cafes and Democracy Dialogues
  • Discourse and learning with and coaching by political, social and economic leaders
  • Learning experiences in multiple locations across South Africa
  • A network of young ethical and responsive leaders with continued opportunities for collaboration and support from partner networks.

DWF Board Director Busi Dlamini shared:

“Healthy democracies are built by engaged citizens. A programme like the DW Academy will assist young people to build the networks they require to make a difference, to understand broader systemic issues and to build capacity to leverage existing tools and platforms to engage effectively within society.”

The academy will give young people the opportunity to be in conversation with key democratic leaders, artists, archivists, thought leaders, progressive business executives and journalists.

This initiative responds to the low levels of public trust in elected local and national leaders as well as the eroding trust in private and public institutions. Trust remains an integral component of healthy democracies, catalysing agency by citizens on the ground who can engage and participate in local as well as high-level democratic processes.

As part of efforts to continuously develop the participants, the DW Academy will establish a fund to support participants’ work that will contribute directly to the aims of a project in their communities. Participants will be able to apply for support following their completion of the programme.

Recruitment and application for the first cohort of the Academy will take place in early 2019. Follow Democracy Works Foundation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay informed about recruitment details.


Faith is a young South African passionate about building just and equitable communities. She is a Democracy Works Foundation Fellow and has worked as a Project Coordinator at the Institutional Transformation Office at Stellenbosch University. She is an Abe Bailey Fellow and an alumnus of the South African Washington International Program; a leadership development program dedicated to community engagement and the deepening of democracy in South Africa.  She holds a degree in Viticulture and Oenology and postgraduate studies in Marketing Outside of work.

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