“I believe that the training may be deemed as successful if the majority of participants leave with a greater understanding of development issues within their community, how to potentially go about addressing future issues and to accept that not all interventions can be successful”, says Greg Ducie, one of the mentors in the programme.
Seven teams of participants from South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Kenya participated when the program was launched in Johannesburg in November. Two of the teams, Gabarone and Lusaka, are from capital cities, the rest form regional capitals or rural areas.
The projects for change are focused on causes like improving access to clean, safe and adequate water for sanitation, and improving solid waste management.
Greg Ducie, with degrees in town- and regional planning, commerce and business management is one of the mentors. His PhD looked at the financing of sustainable cities in South Africa. He has worked in the private sector, local government and in higher education. He now lives in South Africa.
Tel us about your role as a mentor in this training programme.
“The structure of the training programme, wherein guidance and tutoring relates to a particular project within a municipality, enables mentors to more appropriately convey and provide approaches and knowledge that have a bearing on reality”.
Greg Ducie thinks that training programmes often are too generic in their approach.
“The mentor’s facilitative role in developing and implementing a project within a municipality, hopefully assists participants in gaining greater understanding on how development interventions within a municipality directly affect their constituents”, he says.
What challenges do you see?
“The success of any training programme is reliant on the willingness of the participant to engage and perform actions expected of them. No amount of training and exposure to development experiences will ensure success should a participant not be committed to the identified project within their municipality”.
This kind of mixed groups is a novelty in international training programs run by the ICLD. The concept of inclusive political leadership was introduced both at the individual and at the group level. The mentors are experts in fields ranging from local governance to gender.
What was your take from the meeting in Johannesburg?
“One often becomes inwardly focused when addressing development issues within one’s own country. Exposure to issues experienced in different countries enables one to more appropriately contextualize what real problems are”.
What inspired you?
“There appears to be genuine will and desire by a number of participants involved in the training programme to contribute to the betterment of their communities.”
Michael Oloko, a kenyan researcher, introduced his teams work to the participants and organizers. Their research is about models of collaboration between different actors for solving problems of service to the inhabitants.
The team of researchers that Mr Oloko belongs to also include researchers from Chalmers University of Technology and Gothenburg University in Sweden.
Greg, what expectations do you have on the programme?
“Although not quantifiable, I believe that the training may be deemed as successful if the majority of participants leave with a greater understanding of development issues within their community, how to potentially go about addressing future issues and to accept that not all interventions can be successful. Key is how one progresses from an unsuccessful intervention.”
What are the pros and cons working in mixed teams like in this programme?
“I don’t believe there are any cons to working in mixed teams. Being exposed to diversity is a key element in one contextualizing one’s understanding and future approach in addressing development issues within one’s community.”
The first group of this training programme will come to Sweden for two weeks intensive training at the end of April, beginning of May 2018.