Democracy, Rights and Governance Portfolio, June 2013 


USAID promotes improved rule of law and respect for human rights in Southern Africa.  The program works to expand competencies, develop networks of human rights and rule of law defenders, and promote democratic principles and practices.   In South Africa, USAID is supporting South Africa’s leadership in advancing stability in the region and addressing the critical human rights issue of gender-based.

Southern Africa

In Southern Africa, multi-party democracy has more popular support than any other form of governance. Yet democratic values and practices remain shallowly rooted, and progress toward open, transparent governance is slow. USAID strengthens the legitimacy and capacity of key governmental institutions and develops the capacity of civil society groups and regional organizations to promote democratic values and practices. USAID is building the competencies of electoral officials to support free, fair and transparent elections across the continent, and has certified officials from 20 countries and regional institutions.  Specific support to Lesotho is helping that country achieve consensus through the first coalition government in its history.

Effective judicial systems and strong civil society provide balance to executive branches. USAID supports a regional network of judges, lawyers and activists who are effectively advocating for all persons in society. They facilitate rule of law and the protection of individual civil, political, economic and social rights.   USAID is also supporting the rehabilitation of victims of torture in South Africa through more effective and rigorous psychosocial services.  Clinical evidence and best practices are shared across the region to put an end to torture in all its forms.

South Africa

USAID works with the South African Government to address the crisis of rape and gender based violence.   The USAID-funded Thuthuzela Care Centre network provides support for rape and sexual assault survivors, offering the medical, legal, and psychological services necessary for justice and healing. Since 2009, USAID has helped to establish services and staff forty rape crisis centers across the country.  In a second phase of partnership, USAID is establishing new centers, providing support for 24-hour services, and educating thousands of community and health care workers to prevent and address gender-based violence effectively.

USAID is also supporting South African leadership to promote lasting  development solutions in other developing countries.  Through an innovative government-to-government partnership, USAID enhances South Africa’s national capacities to deliver demand-driven technical assistance, exchange programs and capacity development through the National Treasury’s International Development Cooperation arm.  As South Africa emerges as a donor in its own right, decades of experience and lessons learned from USAID shape a new legacy for South Africa as a leading African nation that is able to advance stability on the continent. 


Last updated: December 03, 2015