Democracy Development Program Stakeholder’s reflection session

This reflection session was held at DDP House on the 24th July 2018 and it was attended by the more than 20 civic educators trained by the organization.

The main goal for the reflection session was to assess the extent the pilot was effective in communicating civic education knowledge to ordinary citizens across various parts of KwaZulu-Natal province where the project was implemented.

The objectives of this program include:

  • To assess the extent to which the Democracy and Civic Education (DCE) project has contributed towards enhancing citizens understanding of active citizenship and their role in advancing citizen engagement in their own communities.
  • To stimulate reflections and learning among civic education facilitators, including learning from any failures and challenges experienced during implementation of project activities.
  • To identify, formulate and share good practices, lessons and strategic, actionable recommendations on both programmatic and project management aspects, which can inform the development of current and future DDP civic education projects.

In the past 2 months, this program has seen more than 20 civic education dialogues conducted in different areas in the KwaZulu-Natal province.

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Councilor Jonathan Annipen of the Minority Front has been attending and participating in a series of DDP interventions. And he shares how the relationship with DDP has enabled his leadership as a politician and as a citizen.

The DDP interventions (programs, dialogues, workshops etc) has helped shape my thinking. It has enabled me to think outside the box. To use innovative ways to get the message across. The programs have taught me to come down to where the people are and feel. It has enabled me to better communicate with ordinary citizens as well as represent them better. It has taught me that the greatest leader is the one who serves.

I have discovered that people are tired of empty promises. They are disillusioned by political personalities that are all talk and no actions. I discovered too, that it is only possible to gain trust of the electorate by proving that you are different from the rest, to achieve this one must do something different. That means look at this citizen as a potential voter, woo them by meeting them at the point of their need. Maybe more importantly treat them like you really care about them and not just about their vote. I promise you they will never forget you. Infect you will become the topic of discussion (In a good way) everywhere they go.

One of the lessons he learnt from previous leaders include taking time to listen to these residents. They share more than just billing queries or grant enquiries. They share their personal challenges. Even if you are unable to resolve their problems you can lend a listening ear and that may make all the difference. Then, never disrespect another leader to gain points. People will never respect you. Discrediting others and character assassination boils down to cheap politicking. What we need is honest, hardworking leaders who will stay the long hall.


A more strategic partnership to strengthen our democracy

By: Jais Mbewe 

With the end of apartheid in 1994, most civic organizations and regional organizations went into sleep. However, due to the changing nature of the challenges which are now mostly the lack of proper understanding by the citizens of how democracy works; a significant problem is consistently posed, of how the citizens can hold its government accountable and most importantly is how people can put a demand on the constitution for proficient service delivery.

This new situation means that civic organizations or NGOs are more and more beginning to reconsider how best to meet the challenges that South Africa is faced with and Partnering is one vital thing that should be prevalent. 

On April 3, 2018, DDP conducted a three day stay-in workshop with its partners at Blue Marlin Hotel to specifically strengthen partnerships and train facilitators for civic education dialogues. It was such an excellent workshop of skills enrichment of how to facilitate a dialogue and a practical display of how to do it by Mr. Brian Bhengu.

It suffices to mention that Spring-Board Ministries has immensely benefited from the programs by DDP. Ours is to advocate for safer communities with a strong bias towards the rights of children through programs, research and writing material that enhances child development. However, we have been able to reach more adults through the children.

It is common knowledge that facilitating a dialogue that involves children can be quite challenging; it is much easier to do the obvious which is to sit them down and give them a lesson.

On the contrary, we have learnt the art of conversation, which is Listening – Reflect – Enquire – Speak.

“Ukushisa Impepho” translated as burning incense is the Zulu phrase which has become synonymous with Protest activity. The phrase denotes people burning tiyers and property for attention from those who are perceived to be far from the people they govern. This model has been a feature of the South African space for decades.

 It goes without saying that protests are a great tool in creating awareness and highlighting issues faced by our communities. However, it is easy to mobilize people to march without a plan for what happens next and how to keep protesters engaged and integrated in the solution finding process. We need to strive to have both, marches and sober and yet robust dialogues that speak directly to the challenges and the short comings that we are faced with as a nation. There is a great need for our nation to learn the art of conversation.


This is a Non-Profit Company with just over two years in existence. However, they are hitting the ground running. They are already working with local communities and their impact is felt.

By: Sihle Phungula 

 “We look beyond our lack of funding but partner with private sector, government and civic groups such DDP in our efforts to drive change. To date we have assisted unemployed youth secure learnership programs, skills training and continue to conduct job preparedness trainings and many other initiatives that seek to advance the lives of disadvantaged youth.”

In keeping with DDPs mission to strengthen democracy our organization has been committed to the realization of this goal through inspiring youth activism. This has seen us undertaking concerted community mobilization campaigns in effort raise political consciousness and inspire active citizenry.

Members of our organization now feature regularly on community forums such as Operation Sukuma Sakhe War rooms and clinic committee. In the OSS war room, we have come out strongly to criticize the dysfunctional and ineffective nature of this forum. We even went to the lengths of escalating these issues to relevant authorities within the municipality. Gradually, we are seeing changes in this forum and indeed the presence of youth is felt. Furthermore, members of the organization now sit in the Clinic committee, to give effect to the department of health’s initiative of promotion of youth friendly services.

Over the years NGOs continue to be charged hall hair fees when facilitating community upliftment programs. After examining municipal bylaws, we realized that this was a rather unfair practice and negotiated that there should be a waiver of these fees particularly for unfunded organizations. We continue to disseminate this information to other organizations within the DDP network partners.”. At the recent IDP Budget hearing hosted by the mayor we raised issues that relate to youth representation in both governance structures and administrative leadership, Skills development and need for ward councilors to support civic society instead of view them as detractors.

Our organization is committed to making government, policy makers and other local authorities realize that youth matter and should be a priority. ‘’ You cannot talk about us without us.’’ DDP continues to contribute immensely to capacity building of our organization through regular workshops and forums that increased are levels of civic education but also broaden our network.


The workshop focused on the art of leading people through processes towards agreed-upon objectives in a manner that encourages participation, ownership, and creativity from all involved.

By: Daniel Dunia and Sthabiso Mdledle


The Africa Solidarity Network (ASONET) recently hosted a training for social cohesion practitioners at Isipingo on the 12-14 January 2018.

The aim of the workshop was to train participants on how to demonstrate competency in community-based social cohesion as well as produce facilitators who will promote human rights and social integration messages in communities throughout KwaZulu Natal.

According to the organiser and facilitator Daniel Dunia who is also the main founder of ASONET, the workshop achieved a number of outcomes. These include enhanced understanding of human rights and importance of social cohesion as enabled the Constitution.


“The workshop ensured enhanced awareness among youth about the importance of active citizenship in contributing towards inclusive community development irrespective of their nationality, ethnicity, and social status,” said Dunia.


He said that this intervention has helped strengthened interactions between migrants and their hosts (South African) black and white in communities where they reside.  


“Demonstrated by an enhanced understanding of the importance of social cohesion and learning to work hand in hand in building a socially-cohesive community as partners”, said Dunia.

According to Dunia, a follow up workshop will be held towards the end of March 2018, as Train the Trainer workshop.