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Spotlight on Participation Junction

There is a clear need to support the many poor communities who want to participate meaningfully in decisions affecting their lives, and who have something to say about service delivery and the increasing threat to life-sustaining resources. Participation Junction encourages communities to actively hold government to account and also works in support of officials as they adopt new approaches to decision-making, monitoring and service delivery in alignment with the Constitution.

In early 2006 Participation Junction emerged in response to the gap left by Contact Trust. Contact Trust had contributed to strengthening participation in policy issues over a period of 7 years. Contact Trust’s governing board regretted the closure of the organisation, as they believed it still had a purpose, but they had not raised sufficient funds to continue.  Participation Junction is built on the collective lessons learnt, the experiences and the insights gained during the Contact Trust era.

The mission of Participation Junction is “to build a culture of participation in the development, implementation and review of public policy and legislation”.  Participation Junction is focused on strengthening democratic governance, especially in the area of decision-making that affects food security, land and human settlements. Participation Junction’s niche lies in advising both civil society and public officials on the tools of effective political engagement.  We accompany affected groups through service delivery reviews and legislative/policy development processes. 

Through the continued financial support of the Heinrich Böll Foundation, Participation Junction strengthens civic capacity by:

1. Monitoring the legislative process around issues of sustainable development;
2. Conveying this information, via our Special Alert Service and Advice Line, to those in civil society who are directly affected by such legislative and policy developments;
3. Promoting effective participation in policy-development and law-making processes through mentoring, leadership-training, and capacity-building workshops; and
4. Building relationships between government and civil society, through the facilitation of community involvement in public hearings and consultation processes with legislatures and government departments. 

Participation Junction’s work among legislatures, government departments and civil society organisations has given us valuable insight into the obstacles to effective participation, and what stakeholders need to do to strengthen public participation. Participation Junction continually explores ways to support our mission by identifying potential funders and preparing proposals for new projects.  We invite interested stakeholders in government, the media and civil society organisations to contact Cherrel Africa, the Director, on 021 797 1072 or cherrel@participation.org.za, to discuss our programmes or visit our website (www.participation.org.za) to obtain more information about our work.

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