Programme objectives

Leadership in Local Governance

The main objective of this training programme is to improve local and institutional governance. This will be achieved through exploring ways of making local governance in the involved municipalities equitable and inclusive.

The participants will work on a change project together during the training and implement a strategy to make the municipality equitable, participatory, transparent and accountable. By strengthening the capacity of selected teams and by strengthening the networks available to them, the overall objectives of the training are to deepen democracy, create space for participation and dialogue, increase service delivery in deprived neighborhoods and through this, reduce poverty.

Local government officials and politicians on the local or regional level are increasingly identified as key players in development and democratization. In decentralization countries the local government is responsible for providing the lion´s share of services to their citizens. Local political leaders operate close to the citizens and their decisions influence the everyday lives of people. The civil society organisations can be grass root organisations such as youth groups, resident associations, workers associations or other community-based organisations. They may also represent groups of urban poor. This creates a unique opportunity for participatory practices and the co-creation of politics between citizens and local political leaders. However, top-down responses are often used even as they are proved to be inefficient to address the complex socio-environmental problems of our time.

Participants in the programme and their respective local governments/organisations will build capacity by primarily building resilience and improving the delivery of critical services, strengthening their institutions by focusing on inclusive political leadership and the cooperative work of elected political leaders, local government officials and civil society and by designing and implementing their of projects. The programme is designed for those who are motivated and have a mandate to contribute practically to the change adaptation and mitigation. The ultimate beneficiaries are the general public, through improved policies, strategies and programmes designed to create inclusive and equitable societies in a sustainable way.

› Valuable exchange of knowledge and experiences
› Extended regional and international networks
› Improved skills as a “change agent” in initiating and implementing instituational change
› Skills and abilities to communicate and advocate on issues of inclusive governance
› Support to improve participation, equality, transparency and accountability in the local governance.

Expected outcomes include:

  • Increased knowledge and skills about citizen dialogue mechanisms, democratic political leadership and inclusive governance to cocreate a more inclusive social contract. 
  • Improved capacity for coherent integration of the SDGs into local planning and policymaking.
  • Enhanced skills and methods to co-create solutions to improve the wellbeing of the urban poor.


The programme has a strong focus on democratic political leadership and inclusive governance.

What we will offer:

  • Training in leadership, strategic planning and communication
  • Exposure to different political experiences
  • Two-day study-visit in a Swedish municipality or region
  • An opportunity for the participating municipality to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)
  • Citizen´s dialogue


  • Through various trainings, lectures and workshops
  • Identification of challenges and finding solutions to issues faced by local government officials
  • By offering strategic support and coaching from ICLD staff and their mentors
  • In sharing of professional obstacles and successes in an inclusive environment

Change projects

Each team is expected to formulate and implement a so called “Change Project” as an integral part of the programme. The project should address a real issue of concern to the team, thus contribute to translating the theoretical content of the training programme into capacity development and institutional change. An outline of the Change Project shall be submitted as part of the application, and plays a key role in the selection of participants. Teams that can show how the Change Project will make a real positive change and contribute to their deliveries will have an advantage. Teams are encouraged to send several participants working together on a bigger Change Project or building on previous participants´ work on consecutive programmes. The Change Project requires strong commitment and involvement of the local community members in terms of general support, allocation of time and budget, as there is NO funding available from ICLD for project implementation.