Diakonia - People change the world
Democracy in Burkina Faso: the women left their homes at 4 am to be at their first democratic citizens’ forum on time. Before leaving they had prepared food for their families for the whole day.


Democracy is the form of governance that best expresses the fundamental ideas in the Bible regarding the equal worth, rights and obligations of all people. Truly just and sustainable development is only possible if rights holders themselves have power over their own future.

Changing power relations

We do the main part of our work at local level by supporting partner organizations to enable people living in poverty, particularly women and young people, to organize, change power relations and ensure qualitative participation in decision-making processes.

On issues such as legislation, decentralisation, accountability and anti-corruption, the democracy work at local level is linked to that at national level. Diakonia also works with similar processes to enable rights holders and partner organizations to offer their input at regional and international level.

Shrinking space

When governments are incapable or unwilling to protect or fulfil rights, listen to their citizens or put mechanisms for dialogue and negotiation into practice, they may try to hinder and control civil society measures. During 2010 the space for action afforded to civil society started shrinking. Diakonia monitors this trend in relation to CSOs and works to reverse it.

The development opportunities of developing countries are often strongly affected by the rules, regulations and policies of international institutions. In practice, most developing countries have limited space to influence decisions regarding them.

By supporting partner organizations and as an advocacy actor in our own right, Diakonia will work to increase the transparency and accountability of these international institutions and private actors.