Stronger Communities & Civil Society

To foster resilient communities and engaged societies, PADF partners with civil society organizations to strengthen their capacity to better respond to community needs. We believe that addressing community needs and increasing citizen participation in civic matters are fundamental for a healthy democracy. Over five decades, PADF has successfully developed and strengthened more than 2,000 community-based groups, NGOs and municipalities in the region, enhancing their capacity to support local communities.

Enhancing Democratic Values and Civic Practices

PADF encourages greater learning about democratic values and human rights through formal and informal training and activities that engage a cross-section of the population, among them youth, women and vulnerable groups. Our initiatives leverage innovative techniques including arts, social media tools and other interactive opportunities to promote discussion and collaboration. PADF also works with journalism students, citizen journalists, and professionals to foster better journalistic practices, promote balanced and objective media coverage of critical issues, develop innovative media outlets and increase awareness of the importance of the role of free media in society. 

Human Rights

PADF has a long history of strong support of human rights. For decades, the Foundation has carried out programs to support victims of violence, combat human rights abuses and provide opportunities for greater equality to Afro-descendants, indigenous people, internally displaced persons, and other vulnerable groups. As a result of our work to strengthen government entities and local civil society organizations, PADF has greatly impacted women’s rights, violence reduction and monitoring, social rights, access to justice, rights of free association and the rights of historically excluded minorities. 

Empowering Civil Society, Communities and Social Entrepreneurs

In the last 50 years, PADF has strengthened the capacity of more than 2,000 civil society groups. And that work continues today. Throughout the hemisphere, PADF is actively strengthening local non-governmental organizations and municipalities by working side by side to combat human rights abuses, prevent human trafficking, promote media freedom and address other issues. This approach has developed much needed leadership and improved local capacity to tackle community challenges. PADF also trains local leaders in critical areas such as planning, management, fundraising and citizen participation, and provides technical assistance and other resources. This helps communities tackle local problems with efficiency, effectiveness and transparency, enabling grassroots democracy to grow.

Fostering Participation and a Culture of Lawfulness

PADF is keenly aware that strengthening the social fabric is a key part of promoting respect for law. By fostering the participation of families, government officials, law enforcement and civil society, our programs teach communities that each member has a personal role in creating and overseeing the implementation of the laws, and preventing crime and corruption. PADF, therefore, believes in working with children and youth, because school-based programs have a ripple effect, influencing not only students, but also teachers, parents, local government officials, neighborhood associations and the community at large.

Supporting the Inter-American Democratic Charter

PADF is a support mechanism for the Inter-American Democratic Charter, which was approved by Organization of American States members on September 11, 2001. In this role, PADF works to strengthen nonpartisan civil society, community groups and the private sector as fundamental pillars of democracy and to nurture greater pluralism and participation in OAS member states. 

Over time, PADF has helped NGOs form alliances with municipalities, government agencies and corporate and private donors to develop micro-enterprises, provide employment and technical training, improve basic services, facilitate citizen participation in community-action programs, and aid victims of natural disasters and humanitarian crises.

PADF remains committed to working in a nonpartisan manner with local civil society groups that represent all segments of society and social movements, in accordance with the principles of the Inter-American system.  It does not work with political parties or foundations and NGOs affiliated with them.