ICLD launches a partnership with nine universities in Southern Africa

The aim of this deepened collaboration between ICLD and research institutions that are located in partnering countries is to enhance the links between researchers and practitioners. Academia has an important role to play in the development of policies that are relevant to citizens of local governments.

In line with the strategy adopted by ICLD to work closer with universities to enable support for the Municipal Partnership Programmes and the International Training Programmes in the countries of cooperation, ICLD has entered into MoUs with a total of nine research partners in Southern Africa.

In conjunction with this, ICLD hosted a kick-off of the collaboration that took place via Zoom on March 25th. It was a full-day workshop that included breakout sessions discussing ways of knowledge co-production, conversations linking universities to municipalities, and a panel discussion on human rights and democracy challenges at the local level.  

The purpose of the kick-off was to introduce the 30+ researchers and university representatives in attendance both to each other and to ICLD’s various initiatives. ICLD Secretary General Johan Lilja said, “This event is a way for us to get the municipalities in our Municipal Partnership Programme and universities from the same country to meet each other. MoUs with universities from the contexts where we would like to see development of local democracy is of utmost importance.”

Among the collaborative projects that ICLD wants to initiate are: 

  1. Scholarships and small stipends to Master and PhD students for conducting their research and writing their theses on topics relating to local democracy.  
  1. Involvement in data collection initiatives on the state of democracy at the local level.
  1. Joint seminars and workshops. 
  1. Involvement of researchers as external experts in ICLD’s programmes.
  1. Potential exchange visits for research purposes. 

After many years of close collaboration with officials, politicians, and municipalities around the world ICLD wants to leverage its networks to bring researchers and practitioners together.  

The partners are: 

  • Botswana: University of Botswana 
  • Zambia: University of Zambia; Copperbelt University; and the Southern African Institute for Policy and Research (SAIPAR) 
  • Zimbabwe: University of Zimbabwe; Great Zimbabwe University; Midlands State University 
  • South Africa: University of Johannesburg; Stellenbosch University; School of Government and Dullah Omar Institute, both as part of University of the Western Cape  


If you are a researcher in any of our partnering countries with an interest in the fields of local democracy and decentralization, send us an email to research@icld.se