Putting the ‘People’ in People’s Parliament: Lessons, Challenges and Successes from a Four-year Civil Society Project to Increase Engagement in the Legislatures [25 November 2021]

We invite you to join us in conversation with other civil society organisations and elected representatives on the successes, challenges and lessons the Putting the ‘People’ in People’s Parliament project (PPiPP) has learnt over the last four years. The conversation will focus on some of the structural issues that have surfaced through implementing the project and we will consider these in terms of future work by CSOs and legislatures to strengthen and deepen our legislatures’ performance of their role in democracy.
  • What DOI Event
  • When 25 Nov, 2021 from 09:00 AM to 01:00 PM (Africa/Johannesburg / UTC200)
  • Where Zoom (Virtual meeting)
  • Contact Name
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While various PPiPP partners will make brief inputs on our experiences and lessons, we hope to create and facilitate a participatory and conversational space that includes the voices of other CSOs as well as elected representatives.


The Putting the ‘People’ in People’s Parliament project (PPiPP) was led by five organisations: the Dullah Omar Institute, Heinrich Boell Foundation, Parliamentary Monitoring Group, Public Economic and Environmental Research Centre, and the Public Service Accountability Monitor. These organisations worked with a number of CSO partners and activists at national level, and in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape to increase engagements with national Parliament and these two provincial legislatures.

The four year implementation took place within a longer timeline of actions by Parliament Watch (ParlyWatch) members since 2014 and a wider range of CSOs since the People’s Power, People’s Parliament conference in 2012.

PPiPP's starting point was that even though there are many weaknesses in how the legislatures function, their intended role is worth fighting for in our constitutional democracy.

The project brought a range of organisations and activists together. We found that there is no ‘single story’ to tell - the diversity of contexts, geography, and resources meant that different partners had very different experiences of accessing and engaging with the legislatures. Similarly different legislatures brought very different issues that need to be navigated by civil society in order to obtain information and participate in their work.

Both the ECPL and WCPP leadership were receptive to our interventions, which helped us to achieve some of our goals, however, it didn’t necessarily result in success in our overall intention to build more permanent systems to link people and organisations from across the country meaningfully with committees in the national and provincial legislatures.


  • Providing and accessing information to enable advocacy for social justice.
  • Different experiences of access to committee meetings for engagement and informing advocacy.
  • Expanding and capitalising on the framework and constitutional requirements for legislatures and public involvement in public finance and budgets.
  • Protecting the gains in access resulting from the C19 move online and addressing the increased inequalities of access that have resulted.
  • Resourced CSOs fill the gaps in legislatures roles – should they?


Following registration, participants will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.


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This event is made possible with funding support from the European Union and the Heinrich Böll Foundation.