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This U4 Practice Insight seeks to communicate the experiences and lessons learned by a governance specialist during three years of advocacy work to promote the ratification of the African Union Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance. It is intended to serve as a practical example of civil society and democracy advocacy at work in less than ideal situations. The campaign which had to rely mainly on personal engagement with key stakeholders offers special insights for donors and aid practitioners promoting democracy and good governance. It  draws on concrete experiences of working with both francophone and anglophone bureaucracies and demonstrates by example the importance of building relationships. If applied and implemented rigorously, the Charter can radically change the socio-political and economic circumstances by providing a solid platform upon which to engage in promoting democracy and good governance. In view of corruption being more a symptom rather than a cause of dysfunctional socio-economic and political contexts, the Charter holds promises for overcoming the status quo and dealing with the roots of corruption.