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Strengthening Capacity of Local Authorities

28 juli 2020

CARE Nederland and The Hague Academy for Local Governance (THA) believe that successful inclusive governance (IG) involves working with actors on both sides of supply (state) and demand (citizens and civil society). In 2019, together they commissioned a review of THA’s approach to capacity strengthening of local authorities used in the Every Voice Counts programme. The approach includes training and coaching, helping to move beyond once-off knowledge transfer to longer-term capacity strengthening.

The main lessons learnt that the review highlights are:

  • Relatively long periods of time between trainings may have resulted in a loss of knowledge and lower accountability and responsiveness. Therefore, the trainings should be no more than six months apart with consistent follow-up on action plans by a responsible, legitimate, and trained party.
  • The approach of focusing on short-term and realistic action plans ran the risk of low accountability traps in some districts and communes. This means that only very local level problems were addressed in the action plans because they seemed the most achievable. INGOs and CSOs need to develop IG programming from the bottom up, get public authorities and local communities to work together to define a vision for IG, and highlight where IG programming needs to deliver.
  • The greatest impediments to authority effectiveness in worse-performing areas were (1) a lack of financial (rather than human) resources to reach and include marginalised groups and (2) an incapacity to shift formal rules. Champions should be identified and magnified within and between communities, and funding should be aimed at supporting authorities that are able to model, promote, and engage within and between communities.

Click below to read the learning brief with recommendations.