DAG, a leading NGO in the urban sector, was established in 1986 when a group of built environment professionals and development practitioners came together to establish an organisation offering technical and professional advice to Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and community groups threatened with forced removal in Cape Town. DAG has three integrated programmatic result areas - participatory urban governance; housing and human settlements; and capacity building. These are implemented through a seven-step methodology: building strategic partnerships; citizen mobilisation; capacity building; research; advocacy/lobbying; demonstration projects; and learning from practice.

Our legal status

  • DAG is a Non-Profit Company without Members (Registration number: 1993/006859/08)
  • DAG is a registered Non-Profit Organisation (Registration number: 006-194 NPO)
  • DAG is an Approved Public Benefit Organisation with South African tax exemption (Registration number: 930016961)

Our Staff and Board

As at March 2014, DAG had 22 permanent staff members (55% female and 45% male); 72% of DAG staff members are black; 60% of DAG's Board of Directors is black, 40% of who are female. As a learning and capacity building organisation, DAG offers numerous internships to young graduates who work alongside our staff on dedicated project teams to gain hands on experience in the urban development sector.

Our programmes

By its very nature, DAG’s work is predominantly oriented towards the most vulnerable and marginalised people in society, i.e. those earning less than 250 GBP per month who qualify for the PHP housing subsidy. With an unambiguous pro-poor agenda, our programmes and projects seek far-reaching integration (class, ethnicity, gender and youth), improved accessibility (access to public transport, employment and other higher order amenities and facilities), sustainability (city compactions /densification, triple-bottom-line approaches and ecological sensitive design) and democratic urban governance (improved processes around citizenship and participation). Our programmes are designed to effect redistributive justice, the reversal of apartheid spatial patterns and planning practices and exclusionary land management, so that all South African citizens, especially the more marginalised urban citizens (particularly vulnerable groups and women) can claim a ‘right to the city’ that translates into more vibrant, re-imagined human settlements and equitable access to social, economic and cultural opportunities in post- Apartheid South Africa.

DAG’s former dual programmatic focus - developing affordable housing through a community-driven housing process in Khayelitsha and the widening of spaces for citizen participation in the democratization of urban development and the governance of cities with a pro-poor agenda - has been expanded into three inter-linked programmatic areas since the beginning of 2013: Participatory Urban Governance; Housing and Human Settlements; and a Capacity Building Programme.

Awards and Recognition for DAG’s Contribution to the Urban Sector Include:

  • 2007: DAG was nominated by the Department of Trade and Industry as one of South Africa’s Top 300 women empowerment companies in its sector.
  • 2005: DAG was selected by the Department of Trade and Industry as one of South Africa's Top 300 companies in its sector in 2004/5.
  • 2004: DAG's People's Housing Process (PHP) programme was selected as a best practice in the prestigious UN-HABITAT and the Dubai Municipality Best Practice Awards 2004. The Dubai Municipality selected The Kuyasa Fund as a Good Practice. DAG was selected by the Department of Trade and Industry as one of South Africa's Top 300 companies in its sector in 2003/4.
  • 2003: DAG received a silver award from the Impumelelo Innovations Award Trust for the way in which the People's Housing Process (PHP) was implemented in Khayelitsha in the HOSHOP, Masithembane and Sinakho Ukuzenzele projects. The National Department of Housing listed the Masithembane PHP project as a best practice in the department's best practices handbook. DAG's video on redeveloping hostels won a Silver Award in the Social Awareness category at the National Television and Video Association of South Africa (NTVA) 25th annual Stone Awards.