The Democracy Development Program has since 1993 worked tirelessly to build a culture of human rights and entrench democratic principles through its programs and various initiatives. The evolving socio-economic landscape dictated that as a learning organization, we now and again reflect on our work and adapt our programs to meet the pressing challenges and prevailing political and socio-economic conditions of the time. Our primary focus has always been to empower and educate citizens so that they can be able to hold those in power accountable through active citizenship and accompaniment. In the process, we nurture leaders who can lead social change and advocate for active citizenship throughout our society.

About the DDP School of Political Education and Leadership

The DDP School of Political Education and Leadership is a leadership capacity-development initiative aimed at enhancing the political knowledge and leadership capabilities of emerging leaders aligned with the DDP’s mission of deepening democracy in South Africa.  As the Democracy Development Program (DDP), we realize that political education is essential to sustain our constitutional democracy. Sustainable democracies around the world thrive on an informed citizenry, supported by an ethical political leadership that facilitates the lived values of democracy in individuals, organizations, and communities. These values then give rise to new norms and practices in DDP’s constituencies which support equality, power sharing, active citizenship, and social justice. This initiative is about ensuring the lived values of democracy are passed to the next generation of leaders.

The Rationale: Why the School of Political Education and Leadership?

South Africa is at a crossroads. The majority of South Africans are concerned about the state of politics in the country and the rapid deterioration of the democratic wins gained in 1994. Moreover, political representatives are distant from the electorate and no longer represent their interests. Additionally, the uncaring and corrupt political elite is uninterested in changing their behavior. Furthermore, most citizens are becoming despondent about their future given the magnitude of the crisis facing the country, and the deepening of social injustices. As a result, most citizens are losing hope in the vision of an equal, safe, and prosperous future in which their full human potential can be realized. This situation calls for a new cadre of leadership that can take the lead in advancing responsive politics, one that respects the interests of the citizenry. South Africans are yearning for a nation where equality, power sharing, and social justice are upheld as a norm. The DDP recognizes this call to action that demands a new cadre of leadership that will give meaning to the promise of our Constitution. The establishment of this capacity development initiative is in response to this call.


A Centre of Excellence for Political Education and Active Citizenship in South Africa.


Nurturing community builders and political leaders promoting social change in South Africa.


  • To deepen participants’ political awareness of various schools of political thought and economic systems and how they all intersect in shaping societal politics. 
  • To enhance participants’ political and civic leadership capabilities.
  • To empower participants with critical thinking and political reasoning skills as well as communication, observation, and problem-solving skills.

Target Group

The school targets 20 champion partners of DDP who are actively working in their communities, and in the networks that they are a part of. Moreover, they have proven experience in community development and leadership.

The Structure

The DDP School of Political Education and Leadership is a year-long capacity development initiative with two main schools, namely, the Summer and Winter schools. The schools will run for a week, covering a range of specific modules.

Mode of Delivery

The content of the program will be delivered via targeted capacity development training and transformational dialogues in communities.

The Expected Outcomes

  • A cadre of young political leaders taking the lead in advancing responsive politics and accountability of political parties and civil society in South Africa. 
  • A network of young political leaders passionate about the lived values of democracy, including social justice, equality, power sharing, the rule of law, political accountability, and active citizenship in South Africa.

Contact Persons

For more information about the School, visit our website at: https// 


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