The final workshops in mid-June marked the successful completion of ICLD and UNCDF’s programme “Public Financial Management and Local Economic Development”, also called “Finance”.
The primary goal of this advanced International Training Programme (ITP) has been to empower municipal officials with comprehensive skills in financial management and local economic development, thereby enhancing their ability to contribute effectively in their roles.
The programme has leveraged the experiences and expertise from both Sweden and Swedish municipalities, as well as the collective knowledge and insights from the participating countries. The hybrid ICLD-UNCDF ITP methodology has been specifically designed to facilitate capacity development for senior-level managers, empowering them as change agents to drive institutional and policy reform processes aimed at bringing about substantial transformations within the local government sector.
A joint venture
The programme has been a joint venture for 12 years (8 cohorts) between ICLD and UN Capital Development Fund. Mr Dmitry Pozhidaev, Head of the Uganda Country Office at UNCDF, summarized the successful collaboration throughout the years:
“One of the remarkable attributes of these projects is their long-lasting impact, which extends well beyond the conclusion of the change initiatives, and their ability to produce systematic change. They are characterized by their ability to sustainably continue even after the project timeline has ended.”
Training in public financial management and local economic development
The programme has provided training in public financial management and local economic development, serving as valuable tools to reinforce local democracy. Participants have been afforded the opportunity to tackle challenges from their respective local governments, receiving expert guidance, mentorship, and knowledge-sharing from professionals, mentors, and peers representing diverse local governments. They have learned how to identify, design and implement change projects with the full participation of community members and other key stakeholders in driving change. This has contributed to designing and testing models that can be replicated in their municipalities through the change projects including addressing issues of inclusion and gender.
The role of the municipalities in creating an enabling environment for participation, good governance and financing local development was simplified through the identification of a common problem as a key motivating factor in local development. The programme has contributed to sharing of knowledge in particular through the Swedish phase, regional workshops, mentoring and South-South collaboration.
The Pemba story
This eighth and last cohort (2022-2023) consisted of seven teams from Uganda, Zambia and Tanzania who have successfully carried out various projects and initiatives aimed at addressing different challenges and promoting development.
One of the team members represented Pemba Town Council in Zambia. They displayed great enthusiasm for digitizing the operations of their local government, leading them to undertake a project focused on utilizing digital tools to enhance service delivery. As a result of their efforts, a digital strategy specifically tailored for Pemba Town Council was developed and subsequently presented to relevant stakeholders.
Team Pemba themselves describes the desired impact of the project:
“With a digitized system, our local authority will be efficient in service delivery as the local citizens will easily access services, applications and any other information from the comfort of their homes or whatever location they are in with internet access, making the whole process very convenient and less cumbersome.
The project will enhance the participation of the citizens in the development agenda of the district and local authority. Through enhanced participation, we expect the trust levels to go up due to increased transparency & accountability. Students, women, youth and men, WDCs, Govt depts will easily access information about the district.”
Connecting researchers and practitioners
As ICLD is committed to fostering collaboration between researchers and practitioners to ensure that strategic decisions are informed by the latest research, ICLD facilitated a connection between the Pemba team and a group of four researchers with diverse backgrounds but a shared interest in digitalization and local democracy.
Following productive discussions between the Pemba team and the research team, ICLD made the decision to provide funding for a research project that aimed to bridge the gap between researchers and practitioners. The project focused on finding solutions for improving service delivery to citizens through the effective use of digital tools within the local government context.
All projects in this cohort of the programme are highlighted at UNCDF’s website:
Team Kibaha – Improving Inclusive Access and Effective Use of Loans
Team Mukono – Promoting quality management for Small Medium Enterprises
An unexpected outcome of the latest cohort of the programme is that Makerere University has expressed interest in the programme’s methodology:
“What was picked from this training programme is the mode of delivering the courses/methodology of mentoring, coaching and giving assignments, using change projects and field visits instead of the usual lecture classroom approach,” says Jenifer Bukokhe Wakhungu. Deputy Director (a,i) at UNCDF.