DAG’s Community Capacity Building and Coalitions programme aims to support civil society members, community activists, and community leaders from across Cape Town and other cities to strengthen their capabilities, rights, roles and responsibilities to participate in relevant urban development processes affecting them, in turn challenging the systemic barriers reinforcing spatial segregation and inequality in our cities. The programme employs four key strategies.

The first strategy entails building the capacity of civil society members, community activists, and community leaders through a multi-module action learning course known as the Active Citizens Training Course (ACTC) to catalyse advocacy efforts around spatial justice and socio-economic rights.

The second strategy focuses capacitating young urban professionals so that they are well equipped to join our efforts to build more socially and spatially just cities. DAG partners with local and international universities, and runs several internship programmes.

The third entails providing tailored socio-technical support to community-based organisations and coalitions in order to assist them in advocating for access to land, housing, and other socio-economic rights.

The final strategy includes the hosting of urban forums and dialogues with civil society leaders and activists, where collective advocacy efforts around pertinent land and housing issues are fostered. Together, the four elements of this programme seek to increase access to justice and socio-economic rights for marginalised urban citizens.

Read more from DAG’s Community Activism and Social Justice Publication


Active Citizen Training supports community based leaders across the city to understand, debate and discuss their land and housing rights.  Through targeted learning, community leaders are supported to strengthen their organisations by identifying well-located vacant land, basic infrastructure, economic opportunities and buildings for improving their neighbourhoods and communities. The programme will be facilitated using action learning and participatory approaches that will build alliances, capacity and confidence of community leaders, activists and change agents who will work with DAG in co-ordinating research, policy and advocacy and lobbying.


Active Citizens Training Course (ACTC)
• From 2019 to 2022, DAG enrolled and capacitated 125 participants from 62 neighbourhoods through the Active Citizens Training Course.

To participate in the programme, contact us


Women making her-story in community development
Today we honour and celebrate Lungiswa Ntshuntshe, a vibrant Active Citizens Training Course (ACTC) participant and Chairperson of Mandela Park Back-yarders, a community-based organisation in Khayelitsha. Lungiswa is a remarkable young community leader and activist who is standing up for what she believes in and making the voice of her #community heard through advocating for decent housing and basic services for back-yarders living in her neighbourhood.


Socio-technical support is an approach to providing a combination of organising and technical support to communities. As DAG, we understand that the approach to development is as much infrastructural and technical, as it is about people and community networks. DAG works on a requested basis and customises its support for the type of need. Most frequently, DAG is requested for support around evictions, identifying and developing proposals for parcels of land and unpacking the development process to community networks.

Socio-Technical Support (STS)
• Between 2019 and 2022, DAG provided support to 28 community-based organisations and coalitions in their efforts to fight for their land and housing needs.

DAG: COVID_19 Relief Aid 2020
Our organisation has been directly involved in relief aid to ensure that communities have access to #food, clean & safe #water & #sanitation and people remain informed and supported during this challenging period.
Watch Video

Urban Forums and Dialogues (UFD)

DAG plays a key role in bringing together civil society stakeholders and community leaders to collectively advocate for city-wide joint submissions on urban land reform processes, urban policy development processes, district planning and other local planning processes

In 2020, DAG launched the Urban Forums and Dialogues as strategic discussion platforms, where those working in the land and housing sector may deliberate challenges and opportunities towards urban spatial transformation. The Urban Forums / Dialogues  are aimed at enabling civil society stakeholders and community leaders to collectively advocate for joint submissions on urban land reform processes, urban policy development process, district planning and other local planning processes. At least twice a year DAG hosts an Urban Forum/Dialogue which brings together civil society organisations to debate and discuss key developments in the land and housing sector

Urban Forums Impact

  •  From 2020 to 2022, DAG actively engaged 337 civil society stakeholders and community leaders through 5 Urban Dialogues.
Urban Professional Development

DAG’s Urban Professional Development programme aims to support up-and-coming urban professionals in their training and capacitation, and particularly to help them understand the realities faced by most of South Africa’s urban residents. Significant emphasis is placed on developing more socially conscious urban professionals that are equipped with the tools necessary to bring about long-lasting and pro-poor change.

We have been partnering with the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Global Citizenship team for the last five years. The programme aims to equip mostly engineers and other built environment students with the necessary information and skills to become active and engaged citizens. DAG understands that doing so, requires constant engagement with those professionals in all sectors, governmental, non-governmental, institutions and private firms as well.

Some of the ways we influence urban professionals are through the following:

  • Working with young urban professionals through the Global Citizenship Programme and UCT Community Development MPhil, see Resources – Programme Information hyperlink
  • Involvement with the UWC programme
  • Guest lecturing at various universities on urban development matters
  • Municipal Officials training at UCT

Since 2015, DAG partnered with a range of local and international academic institutions to support young urban professional capacity building, including the School of Engineering and the Built Environment; Development Planning Unit (DPU) at the University College London, University of Fort Hare; Stellenbosch University School of Public Leadership; London School of Economics; UNISA International Honours Programme (USA) and the University of Fort Hare. In addition to a number of guest lectures and interviews with students, DAG partnered with the Centre for Innovation, Learning and Teaching (SILT) at UCT on the Civil Engineering Social Infrastructure, a one month winter school course, to host the community engagement process of the module, including exposure learning opportunities and site visits to projects on the ground. DAG played a specialized role in facilitating and coordinating the exposure learning opportunities with four CBO partners. DAG also partnered with UCT on the MPhil programme in Urban Infrastructure Design and Management: Community Development module. Throughout the years DAG supported the capacity building of some 200 young urban professionals.

Thank you for your upload