All Projects

Grass-roots community action platform

Grass Root Nation NPC

Project type Innovation 

Country South Africa 

Support 40,000

Country Engagement Developer Deborah Byrne

“Experience in many contexts has shown that when provided with the tools to organize, women in marginalized communities very often become leaders.” — Grass Root Nation NPC

10,000 users

is the target for the Community Action Platform

Start date
April 2015
End date
December 2016
Period: 21 months


South Africa has among the highest rates of inequality in the world, with the gaps in education, sanitation and employment rates highlighting the divide between not only rich and poor, but also between areas within the country.

The country's civil society is strong, but with an increasing reliance on technology and social media to link individuals and groups in collective protest, the voices of rural people, marginalised groups and communities that have no internet access- or cannot afford access - are in danger of being sidelined.


Using a simple and low cost mobile platform - which is available, critically, in a wide range of local languages - Grassroots is helping communities organise, mobilise and link up with civil society groups. The team provides both the mobile tool and also face to face training in communities, with individuals, community leaders and with civil society groups.

The principle behind the project is that by combining face to face training and a system linking marginalised communities with civil society groups and provincial and national level they can help ensure everyone has a chance to participate in debates on how South Africa is run.


Grassroot Nation is a new organization, established in March 2015 and bringing together a wide network of civic technology activists and CSOs. For this project, the team are partnering with civil society and local organiser, including Better Education for All (BEFA), the Right to Know Coalition and the Thembeihle Crisis Committee, who work with marginalised communities in both urban and rural areas.