2024 Democracy Award—Waey Organization

The Waey Organization works to strengthen and develop the capabilities of Sudanese citizens and empower young leaders in Sudan through diverse networks, dynamic training, and a commitment to dialogue. The organization also works on promoting active citizen participation and enhancing the capacity of youth and women to take positive and effective roles in their communities. Since the start of the war in Sudan in 2023, Waey has mobilized to respond to the conflict. Waey’s established, on-the-ground networks have allowed them to counter armed groups’ efforts to control humanitarian assistance and fuel ethnic tensions to recruit fighters by pivoting to provide humanitarian aid and psychosocial services while supporting grassroots emergency responders across the country.


Zahra Hayder, Founder and Executive Director, Waey Organization

Zahra Hayder is the founder and executive director of Waey Organization. In addition to this role, she works as a facilitator and trainer on topics such as civic education, anticorruption, community mobilization, advocacy campaigns, and coalition building. A lifelong activist, Hayder played a pivotal role during the 2018-19 December Revolution by helping design the strategy of the Sudanese Professionals Association, which became the public face of the Revolution, and by co-authoring the Declaration of Freedom and Change, which was released in January 2019 and crystalized the vision and demands of the nascent uprising that eventually led to Omar al-Bashir’s ousting after 30 years in power. Hayder was a founding member of the African Coaching Network in 2017 and is a member of the Africans Rising Movement. She has also worked with the United States Institute of Peace and co-authored the report “Sowing the Seeds of Nonviolent Action in Sudan” with Freedom House’s Sudan project, the Regional Center for Training and Development of Civil Society (co-recipients of NED’s 2020 Democracy Award), and the United Nations Mission in Sudan.