Democracy, Human Rights and Governance


Malawi women voting
Women Vote in Malawi's 2009 Presidential Election

In Southern Africa, multi-party democracy has more popular support than any other form of governance. However, democratic values and practices remain shallowly rooted, and progress toward democratic consolidation is slow—possibly even regressing in some countries. USAID aims to strengthen the legitimacy and capacity of key governmental institutions and build the capacity of civil society groups and regional organizations like the Southern Africa Development Community.

Rule of Law and Human Rights

We help equip regional organizations to advocate for the protection of human rights. In 2012, USAID programs trained lawyers, judges and justice sector personnel throughout the Southern Africa region on judicial independence and human rights. We also supported major legal aid and law clinics and provided grants to local organizations, resulting in improved protection under the law through fair proceedings. For example, in a landmark victory for the rights of women and people living with HIV, the Southern African Litigation Centre successfully argued before the Namibian High Court that the forced sterilization of HIV-positive women was a violation of the constitution. We also support access to high-quality rehabilitation services for victims of torture, as well as national and regional advocacy for adopting best practices in torture prevention and care.


In elections and political processes, we support the training of election management bodies through a partnership between the University of South Africa and South Africa‘s Independent Electoral Commission. Following landmark elections in Lesotho that established a coalition government, we recently established a unique consensus building program in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program.    


Last updated: December 02, 2014

Share This Page