“We also sponsor a case study where CEM students were sent to the participating municipalities to evaluate if the goals of the programme regarding the reduction of air pollution, energy saving as well as water- and waste-management have been implemented,” says KAS programme officer Christina Teichmann.
She says that, although the report has not been published yet, many visible results can already be reported, such as the municipality of George that is building a new municipal building taking energy-saving considerations into account or the case of another municipality which changed the manner in which it handles waste.
“We generally cooperate with local partners which have the capacity and expertise to ensure the sustainability of our programmes. Partners include tertiary-education institutions, political parties, government, parliament, NGOs, civil society organisations as well as the media,” explains Teichmann.
The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, named after the first chancellor of postwar Germany, is a German political foundation with the goal to promote and foster democracy through political education and training.
Because conflicts are not contained by international borders, KAS does not only operate in Germany but worldwide. Like the other German political foundations, KAS receives its funds from the German parliament.
“The South African office is the biggest on the continent and we established another office in Cape Town two years ago, aimed at strengthening ties with parliament,” Teichmann avers.
KAS has also been running a political leadership course in conjunction with the St. Augustine College of South Africa. The one-year certificate course, which focused on communication skills, political theory and party management, was attended by political party representatives from across the political spectrum. “KAS believes that opposition plays a vital role when it comes to running a sustainable democracy,” she adds.
The organisation also does extensive research in various areas of concern, and one such project was a comparative study of the land-reform issues in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Australia.
Since 1999 KAS also funds a scholarship programme, which has been run by the South African Institute of International Affairs (Saiia) in conjunction with the University of the Wit-watersrand (Wits).
The scholarship provides talented students who are South African citizens with the opportunity of enrolling for a Masters degree by course work in International Relations, Political Science or Journalism at Wits, while simultaneously doing an internship at Saiia.
“The programme is output-focused and the interns are assigned to mentors who encourage them to write articles for Saiia’s various publications and the newspapers,” she enthuses.
The internship provides the students with methodological and writing skills which will assist them in their future careers.