Letsema Centre for Development and Democracy, hereinafter called Letsema Centre is a multi-disciplinary socio-politico-economic policy and democracy research organisation which enhances the deepening of democracy both within South Africa and abroad. Founded in the year 2008, Letsema Centre is a non partisan and non governmental organisation. Letsema Centre operates on the principle that building local knowledge of democratisation and good governance is the most effective means of allowing institutions and communities undergoing democratic transition to successfully manage this change over the long term, as well as being able to effectively respond to crises. Letsema Centre works extensively with local partners to provide both the pedagogical experience, expertise and practical experience necessary to assist in the development of local democratic values programmes.
Letsema Centre focuses on research, mutual learning and developmental programmes designed to increase indigenous capacity to produce debates and disseminate research about democracy. Letsema Centre is also a part of global learning cultural exchange and a host organisation for an international volunteer learning partnership between non-profit organisation in South Africa, and counterparts from Brazil and Germany and involving mainly youth (and adults) volunteers interested in exploring different local initiatives impacting on the socio-politico-economic challenges and thereby achieving sustainable livelihood.
Letsema Centre is guided by five pillars: undertaking social research; implementing capacity building development projects; partnering for global learning; publishing lessons learned and experiences of volunteers and strengthening grassroots democratisation. Letsema Centre works jointly with individuals or institutions locally and abroad on projects of mutual interest that contributes to democratic governance, to commit to local partners to establish democratic capacity (a process which takes years) and to use this experiences to teach the lessons learned to others.
Concept and Philosophy
The philosophy behind the establishment of Letsema Centre was brought about by the need to develop citizenship initiatives around the concept of public work. At Letsema Centre we understand public work as a sustained, visible, serious effort by a diverse mix of ordinary people that create things of lasting civic or public importance. Letsema will therefore be critical in grassroots democratisation and developing the necessary human capital that will produce well informed society and give us the necessary advantage particularly in and around Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality.