About us

Set up in 2003 as a living memorial to the life of campaigning journalist, Donald Woods


Our mission is to focus on the most alienated, least supported people living furthest from the road, clinic or utilities, empowering local residents and building foundations for real and lasting improvements in infrastructure, healthcare, education and skills development.


Our vision is for people in the most remote, rural, under-developed communities in South Africa to access opportunity, realise their potential and flourish.

How we work

We work closely with local communities, traditional leaders, local and national government to develop programmes that are impactful, effective and which meet the specific needs of the communities we serve. Our programmes succeed because we invest time and resources in creating meaningful partnerships, and work closely with local communities from the inception of these programmes to ensure holistic buy-in.

Because the communities in which we work have suffered long-term under-development, our health and education programmes run alongside numerous initiatives that help build and strengthen communities in other ways. By empowering communities, we can ensure that our programmes are sustainable and have long-term efficacy.

The most effective programmes are those which are run by local communities themselves, for their own benefit. Thus, we design programmes that, after an initial start-up and development phase, can be transferred directly to these communities so that they are able to take ownership and make these programmes their own.

Our programmes are results-driven and outcomes-focused. As such, each programme has built-in measurable outcomes, that are assessed and reviewed regularly to ensure maximum effectiveness.

While we design programmes that draw on tried and trusted methods of delivery and sustainability, we do not assume to impose fixed solutions. Rather, every programme is unique and is open to adaption to changing needs and conditions on the ground as required. None of our programmes are static, rather,  as our programmes grow, they evolve and adapt continuously to adjust to varying conditions.

Our commitment to the region in which we operate is long-term. As such, our programmes benefit from long-term strategic planning and a bias towards finding enduring and sustainable solutions.

Our Patrons

The DWF is proud of our work record and our achievements over the years.

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Our Ambassadors

National and international individuals who have committed long-term support to the Foundation.