Democracy Defenders Accelerator | DDA
DDA homepage | Programme | Application process
Democracy is in danger, and urgently needs people to defend it.
Our 10-month civic leadership programme for young activists will help fight the democratic decline.
20 Jan - 17 Nov 2023
Mix of remote (online, every two weeks) and face-to-face (Estonia, 27 March - 5 April 2023)
Free, except travel and visa costs to enter Estonia
Young civic activists, primarily from Indonesia, USA, Albania, Georgia, Estonia and other EU/EEA countries.
View the recorded info seminar for interested applicants, partners and media that took place on 1 November.
Why Defend Democracy?
Over recent years, rising inequality, war, natural disasters and the Covid 19 pandemic have spurred the decline of democratic governance around the world.
But everywhere we look, inspiring activists have been standing up for human rights and environmental protection — demonstrating the vital importance of civil society in these challenging times.
To support and empower even more people to take action in the face of the democratic decline, we have developed the Democracy Defenders Accelerator. This 10-month programme will bring together young activists from diverse backgrounds to learn, exchange and grow together.
And together, we will become the defenders of democracy.
Democracy Defenders Accelerator
Applications are now closed.
What is the DDA?
The Democracy Defenders Accelerator aims to create a world in which active young citizens are empowered to defend the principles of an open society, democratic values and a well-functioning civil society.
In this immersive, hands-on programme, participants will learn how to design and deliver civic engagement projects and practise participatory leadership skills — through both the running of a fictional organisation and real-life projects. The entire ten-month learning process will be supported by mentors and facilitators.
The four main goals of this programme are:
- Open Society and Democratic Values: Discuss and explore democratic values, as well as potential threats and opportunities to democracy in international contexts.
- Empower Civil Society: Design highly innovative, bottom-up civic engagement initiatives. Gain the confidence to test these ideas in real life to solve communities’ issues on a local, national or global level.
- Qualitative Participatory Leadership: Learn about participatory leadership principles and values by practising leading a (fictional) organisation.
- More Collaborative Decision-Making: Learn different decision-making methods to be able to make better collaborative decisions.
The DDA consists of 160 contact hours, made up of workshops and mentoring sessions:
- 20 online training sessions, held every two weeks, 20 January - 17 November 2023.
- A 10-day Democracy Defenders Bootcamp, held in person in Estonia, 27 March - 5 April.
What’s the Timeline?
The DDA is divided into four phases, following design thinking principles.
Phase 1 | Research
Defining the problems for the civic engagement projects
20 Jan - 24 March 2023. Online.
Phase 2 | Bootcamp
An immersive 10-day Democracy Defenders Bootcamp in Estonia
27 March - 5 April 2023. Offline in Tallinn, Estonia.
Phase 3 | Implementation
Implementing the civic engagement projects
21 April - 8 Sept 2023. Online.
Phase 4 | Impact
Measuring the impact of the civic engagement projects
6 Oct – 17 Nov 2023. Online.
Who is the DDA for?
The DDA is aimed at active citizens and community leaders, aged 20-35 with a strong interest in open society, democracy and civil society.
The programme's target countries are Indonesia, the United States, Albania, Georgia, Estonia and other EU/EEA countries. However, participants from other countries will also be considered.
What will it cost?
The DDA is free of charge, except for the cost of travel and visas to attend the Bootcamp in Estonia. All other costs (such as accommodation, meals and transport during the Bootcamp) will be met by the organisers.
Attendance & Training contract →
How to apply?
Willing participants apply to the DDA through a competitive selection process.
Applications for the 2023 DDA are now closed.
For further information, please download the DDA Applicants Infopack.
Feel free to contact Agustina Iskandar Crombach, DDA Participant Onboarding Lead, with any questions:
Follow our social media to stay informed! Links in the banner below.
The DDA is financed by the ACF Fund and the Citizen OS Foundation. ACF's operator in Estonia is Open Estonia Foundation in cooperation with the Network of Estonian Nonprofit Organizations (NENO).