Capacity Building for Democratic Local Governance - Principles and General Procedures
Some basic principles of capacity building:
Capacity building is a comprehensive instrument and a long-term process. A variety of inter-connected instruments and interventions need to be undertaken, including:
Stakeholders targeted by capacity building and the focus of the interventions:
In order to provide an input into the national level policy debate and to promote the institutionalisation of proven approaches, feed-back on programmes experiences is given to national level government agencies, working groups and technical committees.
Systematic capacity building process:
Practice has shown that a systematic approach for training and capacity building is important. First and foremost an analysis has to be followed by the establishment of the necessary training capacity (steps 1 and 2). Thereafter, the facilitators provide training or capacity building services for the various different groups or stakeholders (stakeholders a-e). While steps 1-2 follow each other the training and capacity building services for the stakeholders should be viewed as a modular process. It is not necessary to train or capacitate all stakeholders this will be dependent upon the local context. The process can be undertaken in parallel or step-by-step.
Figure 1: Systematic process for´capacity building
Step 1: Contextual needs assessment:
Without knowing exactly what is needed as far as capacity building is concerned, a programme to improve the capacity is unlikely to be properly targeted and focused. This method refers to capacity building for good local governance. The elements that make up good local governance are illustrated in figure 2.
Figure 2: How capacity building is expected to contribute to good local governance
Step 2: Establishing team of professional facilitators:
Establishing a team of professional facilitators possessing sufficient knowledge, skills and confidence to handle the challenges in promoting democratic and good local governance based on participatory and adult learning approaches forms the second step in the process. The formation of groups of professional facilitators at the local level is one way of ensuring that professional training and advisory services can continue to be offered once the development programme has ended. Such a corps of local trainers is all the more important in rural areas where professional expertise is rare. While training either professionals or trainers (through training of trainer courses), emphasis needs to be placed on building their capacities for process moderation within the context of the political reform processes. Reflection teams or small work-groups are established to exchange experience, discuss issues and monitor the progress made on assignments given by the trainers.
Undertake training and capacity building for......
a. Local self-government:
b. Women councillors / elected representatives:
Specific interventions for women councillors/elected representatives are
Photo 3: Challenge of getting women interested in local governance at a network meeting interested in local governance
The forums provided for the women councillors builds a strong self-help/ self-learning approach. Women are expected to develop their own strategies to deal with the day-to-day problems arising from their performance as women in public office. Supplementary training on communication, negotiation and leadership skills and/or decentralisation and local governance issues also should be provided.
Photo 4: Challenge of getting women interested in local governance
Photo 5: ....once interested then how to effectively interact in a male dominated council.....?
c. Networks / associations of local self-governance:
Increasing the level of confidence of local self-government to handle their new roles and responsibilities or increasing their bargaining power towards other (government) stakeholders cannot be achieved by training alone. This requires assistance to local government stakeholders to form networks/local government associations is a logical development of the capacity building process. An alternative approach to training that has proved successful in a number of countries is the formation of networks or associations. The networks and associations can take the form of informal platforms or formal local government bodies. Generally, the associations are established at the district or provincial level. Objective of the associations is to increase the representation of local self-governments in higher level political and developmental decision making processes as well as to increase their bargaining power. The impact has been that more external resources could be accessed by the associations and used directly by the local-self governments.
Methods and approaches for developing the institutional capacities of the forums/associations range from: formation and registration of the associations, development of a code of conduct / rules and regulations, provision of advisory services to strengthen the self-learning and problem solving skills of association members, assistance to the formulation of a vision, mission statement and strategy, advisory services for the development of the internal organisation and administration of the association, approaches to strengthen their bargaining power for better access of external funds, developing democratic and transparent decision-making procedures for the allocation and disbursement of resources as well as training in project proposal writing.
d. Intermediate level stakeholders (district & province):
Provincial level stakeholders, particularly when appointed by central government, often have little knowledge on the decentralisation reform process and local governance issues. In practice they often do not have the capacities to re-orient their functions in accordance with the newly established decentralisation structures; they have limited skills to solve emerging problems related to decentralisation and limited capability to coordinate development activities in a transparent, accountable and responsive manner.
e. Civil society representatives:
Active civil society participation is a precondition for democratic local governance and effective decentralisation. NGOs and CBOs can play important roles as advisers, partners in development planning and implementation, communication channels, advocates or monitoring agents for local governance. Civil society organisations can mobilise and empower communities and in particular disadvantaged groups to undertake joint activities and to articulate their needs and interests.
Photo 6: Village council meeting: typical monologues
Photo 7: Men dominating meetings
Training and discussion topics include:
Important legal aspects guiding the reform process;
At the community level positive experiences have been made with regard to capacity building of village networks. These networks are useful in order to communicate citizens’ concerns and interests to elected representatives as well as to ensure that local needs and priorities articulated by the citizens’ are taken into consideration.
Additional methods that augment the capacity building process include: