Components of the programme

The different phases and components of a Municipal partnership are:


The purpose of the one-year inception is to anchor the partnership in each organisation, form a steering group and to plan a capacity building project for democracy development. During the inception, the partner organizations can carry out mutual partner visits funded by the programme, to learn about each other’s context, situation and mandate, identify common challenges as well as what the partners can exchange based on each other’s strengths and weaknesses.  The objective at the end of the inception is a completed project and steering group proposal.

The role of the inception team is to anchor the partnership broadly in each organization and to plan a future project for local democracy through involving the relevant stakeholders. The team shall consist of two politicians (majority and opposition respectively) and two civil servants from each local government partner, among whom one is the coordinator and the main contact person to ICLD. ICLD also encourage representatives from relevant CSOs in the inception team.

It is mandatory to use ICLD Project planning tool during the inception.

More about how to apply for an inception


ICLD funds 1-3 year projects with the objective of organizational capacity development, generating impact within the ICLD’s democratic core areas of equity, participation, transparency and accountability.

The project application must have been preceded by the partners completing the ICLD Project planning tool to identify objectives as well as potential exchange and learning. Throughout the project, the partners can carry out mutual partner visits for capacity buildning though peer learning.

The role of the project team is to run the project operationally and implement its activities. The team shall consist of 3-5 civil servants from each local government partner, among whom one project manager, who is the main contact person to ICLD.  ICLD also encourage representation from civil society organisations relevant for collaboration with the local government, in the team.

A Project must always have a related steering group, se below.

More about how to apply for a project

Steering Group

A project shall always be overseen by a steering group. The role of the steering group is to steer and support the project by ensuring:

  • Anchoring and continuity: Continuously ensure that the collaboration/partnership and the project have the necessary support in the organization and broad support among both politicians and staff.
  • Governance: Provide guidance, advice and support to project participants in the implementation of the project so that it leads to democratic capacity development in line with your objectives.
  • Quality: Monitor the project activities and results as well as the steering group’s own work and activities.
  • Human rights, gender and climate mainstreaming: Ensure that human rights, gender equality and environmental/climate perspectives permeate all aspects of the project.
  • Sustainability: Ensure progress and promote necessary political decisions to ensure that project results such as new knowledge, skills and methods are documented, and implemented in the organization, to sustain after the project has been completed.
  • Dissemination: Early in project implementation, plan for how to share project results internally, as well as disseminate externally to promote impact at societal level.

The steering group shall consist of two elected representatives, from majority and opposition respectively, and one-two decision-making civil servants from each local government. Among these one is the coordinator employed by the local government, and the main contact person to ICLD.

The Steering group, like the project team, is expected to carry out partner visits for capacity-building.

More about how to apply for a steering group


The purpose of the Expansion is to broaden an existing collaboration with another/new project, and to involve relevant stakeholders in the project planning. The objective is a completed project and steering group application.

The expansion assumes an existing Steering group and runs for six months from the date of approval of the application/signing of the agreement, and the funding allows for two international visits between the parties, one in each country.

The expansion team shall consist of four participants from each local government partner, among whom one is the coordinator and the main contact person to ICLD. ICLD also encourage representatives from relevant CSOs in the team.

It is mandatory to use ICLD Project planning tool during the inception.

More about how to apply for an expansion


The role of the dissemination is to carry out activities in cooperation with local government associations, CSOs or other stakeholders, to disseminate democracy development results outside the municipality or region where the result has been achieved. The aim is to increase the proportion of local governments in the ICLD’s prioritized countries reached by strong and sustainable results, thereby generating regional or national added value and promote impact on societal level.

The team shall consist of 2-3 people from each local government partner as well as external participants from e.g. local government associations or NGOs, among whom one coordinator who is the main contact person to ICLD. A dissemination application shall always be preceded by a dialogue with ICLD. ICLD can also engage in and promote dissemination activities.

More about how to apply for a dissemination

Exchange and peer learning

Exchange and peer learning are at the heart of your partnership. The purpose of peer-learning in ICLD municipal partnerships is capacity-buildning through transfer of knowledge, skills and experience from one local government to another, and vice versa, mainly through international visits. These visits should be well planned and contain elements that encourage peer learning, friendly benchmarking to inspire change, or other forms of peer support such as mentoring, site/study visits, peer assessments and work shadowing. Read more about these in ICLD toolbox Peer learning in partnerships.

ICLD funding allows mutual international visits each year. A partnership can plan for visits for the group as a whole, or a smaller number of team members travelling on a couple of different occasions, as long as it promotes good results in the partnership and fits within the budget frame. Therefore, when planning the international visits, who shall travel when, and what they will do it is important to: 

  • Be clear about what you expect to learn from each other and what skills of your partner you can benefit from.
  • Be clear about what methods to adopt and how you will engage with each other in the learning process.   
  • Always pay attention to political and logistical challenges.  
  • Allow time aside to allow yourself to reflect on what you are learning.   
  • Ensure that the learning gains of individuals are communicated back home.

When selecting participants to the teams

Note and consider the following when selecting participants:

  • What mandate, qualifications and personal qualities do you need among the participants to fulfil the role of the team and contribute to the purpose? You are asked to motivate selection of each participant.
  • Teams should be gender balanced. Diversity is encouraged in all aspects.
  • All participants must agree to abide by the ICLD Code of Conduct.
  • The inception consists of international travels and work away from home in a new environment.
  • In case of necessary replacement of any participant, you must motivate this to ICLD together with a proposal of new participant. ICLD must then approve the replacement and a new updated form of the full team must be submitted. ICLD does not reimburse costs related to other people than the ones on the approved list.

Participant lists