Forskningsprojekt status: Avslutad

Interrogating the inclusion and participation of vulnerable groups in Zimbabwe’s local democracy

Regional focus: Zimbabwe

Time: January 2020 – June 2021

This study interrogates how different categories of vulnerability, and the physical, cultural, political and socioeconomic environment converge to influence inclusion and participation in local democracy.” Says Bernard Chazovachii from Great Zimbabwe University who is leading the research project.


The popular voices of women, children and youth, the elderly, cultural minorities, and differently abled persons are subdued in local governance power-politics without recourse to law and policies. Concomitantly, vulnerable groups’ participation in local governance and access to basic needs and services remains insufficient. A gap in empirical studies thus far speaks to the need to examine the extent to which available mechanisms are (in)adequate to facilitate the meaningful participation of marginalized groups in local democratic processes. Similarly, there exist a paucity of studies that implore vulnerable groups to add their voices on how they find the available mechanisms useful, and also shedding their experiences in local democracy participation. This study is dedicated to fill this research gap. This study has the potential to reveal policy and legal gaps that undermine both the resemblance of best international governance practices as well as increased participation of marginalized groups in local governance.

Research questions

  • What are the legal and policy frameworks for the participation of vulnerable groups in local governance issues?
  • What are the institutional practices for inclusion and participation of vulnerable groups in local government processes?
  • What are the experiences and perspectives of vulnerable groups in local democracy?
  • Which strategies can be adopted by policy makers for effective inclusion and participation of vulnerable groups in local democracy?

Research team

Bernard Chazovachii, Acting Dean of the School of Social Sciences, Great Zimbabwe University

Cowen Dziva, Lecturer for Nehanda Centre for Gender and Cultural Studies, Great Zimbabwe University

Sakhille Phillina Mukaro, Environmental Health Officer, Chiredzi Rural District Council

Manasa Sibanda, Chairperson of the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, Great Zimbabwe University

Mavis Thokozile Macheka, Lectuerer, Great Zimbabwe University

Linet Sithole, Chairperson Department of Private Law, Faculty of Law, Midlands State University

Josiah Taru, Lectuerer, Great Zimbabwe University

Ellen Gozo, Chairperson Department of Rural and Urban Development, Great Zimbabwe University

Morality Policies and the Prospect for Inclusive Citizenship in Decentralized Indonesia: A Study of West Java

Regional focus: Indonesia

Time: January 2020 – July 2021


This project aims at explaining why cities have become exclusive against minorities, while others stay relatively inclusive by carrying a comparative study on policy-making processes in nine cities in West Java, Indonesia. West Java demands particular attention not only due to the fact that it has the largest population and voters, but also because it hosts several cities that have turned hostile against marginalized communities, especially the LGBTQ and faith-based minority groups. Exclusionary policies against these groups are often framed as “morality policies” and this research employs surveys as well as case studies to identify the factors that encourage local governments to (or dissuade them from) adopting exclusionary, “morality-framed” policies against minorities. Given the province’s centrality to Indonesian democracy, such knowledge is important as it will also help to determine the necessary elements of inclusive cities where minorities should be treated as equal citizens, which is beneficial for future advocacy.

Research questions

This research wants to examine why some cities in West Java turned exclusive by adopting or maintaining an exclusionary bylaw or policy against minorities, while others have not done so. It is expected that a knowledge on such policy-relevant issue may help in future advocacy for inclusive cities. This project would like to know whether morality framed, exclusionary policies are more likely to be adopted/maintained by cities that have a particular citizens’ value and less informational barriers that may encourage them to participate in policy-making processes that have something to do with their core values at the attitudinal level, and by cities that have strong partisanship and party competition at the institutional level— including to what extent such variance at the institutional level is informed by different practices of decentralization.

Research team

Wawan Mas’udi, Senior Lecturer, Vice Dean of Academic and Student Affairs, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences (FISIPOL), Universitas Gadjah Mada

Erwan Purwanto, Senior Lecturer, Dean, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences (FISIPOL), Universitas Gadjah Mada

Ayu Rahmawati, Lecturer, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences (FISIPOL), Universitas Gadjah Mada

Ulya Jamson, Lecturer, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences (FISIPOL), Universitas Gadjah Mada

Fuji Prastowo, Lecturer, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences (FISIPOL), Universitas Gadjah Mada

Whose voice matters for what? Local government inclusion and social accountability in post-conflict contexts

Regional focus: Kenya and Lebanon

Time: January 2020 – December 2022


While long-standing debates in the field of development have promoted participatory and inclusive
approaches, post-conflict contexts offer additional challenges through continued divisions along
former warring lines. As divisions also infiltrate the local level and its policy-making, local participation
does not necessarily offer an answer to issues of voice and inclusion at the local level. This project
compares local inclusion in Kenya and Lebanon, two post-conflict contexts divided along ethnic or
religious lines. The aim of the project is to identify who has voice and over what in local policy-making
and to explore what challenges and opportunities exist for local inclusion in post-conflict recovery.
Thereby, we will pay particular attention to local groups excluded from local power and resources.
The project generates new findings on how local inclusion and participation is hindered or enabled,
and what it means for post-conflict societies continuously divided along ethnic or religious lines.

Research questions

  • How do local communities participate in local policy-making in Kenya and Lebanon?
  • How do local communities exercise influence in local policy-making in Kenya and Lebanon?
  • How do post-conflict opportunities and challenges impact local inclusion and social
    accountability in Kenya and Lebanon?

Research team

Hanna Leonardsson, Assistant researcher, School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg

Jean-Bosco Habyarimana, Lecturer and researcher, Centre for Conflict Management, College of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Rwanda

Through inclusion and transparency, to equity and quality. Improvement of the local budget processes in North Macedonia

Regional focus: North Macedonia

Time: January 2020 – June 2021


The objective of this project is to investigate how equitable, inclusive, transparent and accountable Budget processes are at local government level, and at the same time to propose measures to improve them, and through that, to contribute to the development of local democracy in North Macedonia. The project will be implemented in four pilot municipalities from different regions, with the ambition to expand to all 81 municipalities in the future. The project involves conducting an initial citizen survey in the four municipalities, analysis of the survey with respect to the questions of interest, fieldwork with the municipalities and the citizens in order to improve the state of affairs, second survey in order to assess the results at the end of the project, development of web platform for presenting local budgets and engaging citizens during the whole process and development of an index for assessing municipalities with respect to equity, inclusion, transparency and accountability.


  1. Greater transparency leads to greater citizen satisfaction with the quality of the local services,
    especially for marginalized groups.
  2. Greater inclusion leads to greater citizen satisfaction with the preparation and realization of local budgets, especially for marginalized groups.
  3. Greater openness of local governments leads to greater transparency and inclusion of citizens in the budgetary process.

By testing these hypotheses the study aim to identify viable public policies which will contribute towards
greater inclusion of citizens, especially marginalized groups, in budget processes which will lead in
envisioning and implementing citizen-centered projects and initiatives by the local governments.

Research team

Dragan Tevdovski, Co-founder of ZMAI (Association of Young Analysts and Researchers) and professor at the Faculty of Economics, Ss. Cyril and Methodious University, Skopje

Branimir Jovanovikj, Researcher, ZMAI

Viktor Mitevski, President, ZMAI 

Ljupco Kocarev, member of the Academy of Sciences and Arts of North Macedonia

Tanja Tomic, Social Inclusion Expert

Elena Trpkovska, Budget Expert

Viktor Stojkoski, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Economics Skopje

Nena Manchev, Researcher, ZMAI

Goran Mojanoski, Senior Associate, Ministry of Finance / ZMAI

The Role of Social Norms in Fighting Corruption in Local Governments

Regional Focus: Vietnam
Sustainable Development Goal #16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
Time: December 2018 – October 2022

The overall aim of the project is to further contribute to the understanding of dynamics that underlie corruption, and the significance of local informal social norms, in relation to international anti-corruption conventions and national law, when building counteraction strategies on a local level. The overall aim raises the following core project objectives:

To systematically review the scholarly literature on corruption from a multi-level perspective (global, national and local), with the purpose of underlining the importance of a local approach.

To conduct an ethnographic case study of informal practices and anti-corruption efforts concerning schools in a specific city in Vietnam.

To apply participatory design principles, involving a school in the selected district, when developing an anti-corruption intervention that can serve as a model for counteracting corruption on local levels in different countries. The intervention design will be informed by the literature review and the ethnographic case study.

To assess the intervention design by applying and testing it in multiple locations/countries. The intention is to make use of the ICLD network of participants, in Municipal Partnerships and International training programmes, for this part of the study. The assessment will involve both indepth interviews and surveys.

To create teaching materials, based on the findings of the overall project, that can be used within the ICLD International training programmes and in other contexts where anti-corruption efforts on a local level are in focus.

Societal Relevance:
In Vietnam, the corruption maintains a substantial issue and impacts life of families on all levels of the society. Many children and their parents are exposed to the informal structures during the school years. According to a newspaper article from 2011, 62% of parents participating in a survey admitted having used either money or personal contact to register their children in desired schools. (Dinh-Cu, 2008; Dan Tri, 2011; Phuong, 2017) This project will conduct a review of all relevant literature, legislation and other policy documents in relation to the intervention and make it applicable within the ICLD network of participants in the Municipal partnership and International training programmes.

Måns Svensson, Associate Professor at Lund University, Sweden.

Andreas Mattsson, lecturer and program director at School of Journalism at Department of Communication and Media, Lund University.

In collaboration with a local researcher in Vietnam.

Legitimacy, urban planning and sustainability in Russia and Sweden

Regional Focus: Russia and Sweden
Sustainable Development Goals: #11 and #16
Time: August 2017 – December 2018

The project seeks to examine the processes of urban planning in Sweden and Russia, with a focus on the input, control and output legitimacy of that process. The concept of input legitimacy will be examined through an examination of the actors in the processes of urban planning. Control/throughput legitimacy will be examined through examination of the processes of urban planning. Output legitimacy will focus on the policy outputs of the process.
Through paired comparison of different examples of urban planning, this project will give insight into the quality of governance at the local level. Moreover, the focus will be on the politics and processes behind sustainable planning and development in a number of comparable regions in each country. Finally, the project will also be capacity-building, building on existing networks and fostering new ones between scholars and local government units in Sweden and Russia.

Research Questions:
What are the generating factors and challenges faced by each city or locality?
What are the belief systems, modes of reasoning and configurations of interests underlying planning in the Russian and Swedish contexts?
What are the processes of citizen involvement? How are issues as gender equality, ethnic diversity and individual functional variation included and represented? What mechanisms ensure that such interests are carried over into the overall comprehensive plan?

The project will focus on comparing the governance and outputs of Russian and Swedish planning processes in comparable contexts. The case studies will be conducted in Swedish, Russia and Denmark. In Sweden the project will look at the cities of Stockholm, Malmö, Kristianstad, Åstorp Region, Jokkmokk municipality, and Kiruna. In Russia, the cities and regions of St Petersburg, Ekaterinburg, Petrozavodsk, Aramil (Sverdlovsk province), Nizhny Tagil (Sverdlovsk province), Kostomushka (Republic of Karelia) and Murmansk province (Lovozero district). In Denmark the city of Hørve (Ordsherred municipality, Denmark).

Prof. Bo Petersson, Global Political Studies, Malmö University
Dr Derek Hutcheson, Global Political Studies, Malmö University
Dr Marina Nistotskaya, Quality of Governance Institute, Univ. of Gothenburg
Dr Lina Olsson, Urban Studies, Malmö University
Anne Faurskov (non-academic practitioner), Principal, AFARkitektur (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Prof. Dmitrii Goncharov, Higher School of Economics, St Petersburg
Prof. Inessa Tarusina, North-Western Institute of Management, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA)
Prof. Elena Trubina, Historical Sociology, Urals Federal University
Dr Elena Tselishcheva, RANEPA, Urals Institute of Administration
Dr Elena Tsumarova, Petrozavodsk State University
Evgenia Likhovtseva, Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)
Anna Zamareva, St Petersburg State University

Transforming the city from below: Localizing Grassroots initiatives, institutional entrepreneurship and inclusive urban governance

Regional Focus: Kenya
Sustainable Development Goals: 11
Time: March 2017 – March 2019

This project aims to examine how grassroots resilience initiatives (such as resident associations, women associations, youth groups, self-help groups, community-based organisations, cooperatives, public-private partnerships) providing critical urban services (water, waste, sewage, energy, security) contribute to improve the quality of life of urban dwellers, and to more inclusive forms of urban governance.
Theoretical results include contributions the growing body of inclusive urban governance, socio-environmental entrepreneurship and urban resilience literature. Empirical and policy contributions include guidelines and action points for local organizations on how to improve service delivery and resilience locally through collaborative networks, as well as strategies for how to engage in inclusive governance with authorities.
Regional Focus: Kenya

Research Questions:
-Grassroots resilience initiatives: In contexts of rapid urbanization, weak institutional capacity, political influence, poor economy and pervading informality:

– How do grassroots initiatives providing basic services instigate and/or activate institutional entrepreneurs and why? Within this question we will explore driving forces and obstacles experienced by these initiatives, as well as the collaborative and institutional arrangements with the local government created to provide these services.
Inclusive urban governance:
– What resources, rationales and relations need to be mobilized within local governments to support, integrate and/or diffuse these bottom-up practices? Within this question, we will explore the reasons behind local governments’ weakness to support local initiatives providing critical services and also how to reconstruct the absent or weak links between civil society groups and local government in order to strengthen local governments’ ability to provide co-produced critical services and establish the supportive institutional framework.

These questions will be explored through methodologies inspired by participatory action research, a combination of one in-depth case study on grassroots initiatives in Kisumu (Kenya), and through semi-structured and structured interviews both to grassroots initiatives and city officials and city politicians in Kenya and/or Eastern Africa.

Associate professor María José Zapata Campos, sociologist, University of Gothenburg (Sweden
Senior lecturer, Michael O. Oloko, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology (JOOUST)
Professor Jaan-Henrik Kain, architect and urban planner, Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden).
Associate professor Patrik Zapata, School of Public Administration, University of Gothenburg (Sweden).

Political and Social Inclusion in Asian Cities: Cases of Indonesia, India and Vietnam

Regional Focus: Indonesia, India, Vietnam
Sustainable Development Goals: #11
Time: November, 2016 to February, 2018

The proposed research project will examine institutional and structural barriers to full engagement of marginalized communities to promote and sustain local democracy in cities and towns. Specifically, it attempts to examine relationships between local democracy and different forms of barriers to political and social inclusion of marginalized urban communities, particularly women, youth, migrants and ethnic minorities in India, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Research Questions:
– What are the barriers (structural and institutional) to political and social inclusion of the marginalized groups including women, youth, migrants and ethnic minorities in cities and towns in India, Indonesia and Vietnam?
– To what extent and how are the marginalized groups fully engaged in mechanisms and processes of local democracy – including local elections, community organization and participation, accountability and transparency of urban local governments, and better access to basic urban services – to cope with these barriers?
– What works in terms of decentralization policy options, innovations and good practices to meet the needs and aspirations of marginalized groups and contribute to the achievement of SDG 11?

This project will conduct a review of all relevant legislation, policy documents and other literature. Interviews with key informants including government officials, urban experts, policy makers and representatives of CSOs who focus on issues of gender, youth, minorities and other marginalized groups. Finally, a survey of a selected slum or squatter settlements in at least two of the cities in each country to assess practical barriers to political and social inclusion of the marginalized groups.

Shabbir Cheema, Ph.D. (Coordinator), Senior Fellow, East-West Center, USA
Debolina Kundu, Ph.D. National Institute of Urban Affairs, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, India
Wilmar Salim, Ph.D. Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Bandung, Indonesia
Nguyen Duc Thanh, Ph.D. Vietnam Institute for Economic Policy Research (VEPR), Vietnam

Localizing the Sustainable Goal of Gender Equality – The role of local government in translating SDG # 5 Gender Equality into policies and practices

Regional Focus: Bosnia and Herzegovina
Sustainable Development Goals: #5
Time: January 2017 – June 2018

The proposed research project aims to conduct a pilot study to investigate the Sustainable Development Goal # 5 “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls” and the efforts to turn this global goal into policies and practice in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

We aim to develop lessons learned, identify best practices, and provide good examples of gender mainstreaming outcomes such as how gender equality impacts urban planning, economic growth, poverty reduction, environmental policy, sustainability, peace and democracy. A research-based toolbox will be developed, in which instruments and strategies for how to implement SDG#5 can be found.

Research Questions:
The overall question guiding this pilot study is: How can we understand the processes of implementing SDG #5 into policies and practices at the municipal level in Bosnia-Herzegovina?

– What supportive policy frameworks exist at the federal, entity, canton and municipal level in Bosnia-Herzegovina to support the translation of the SDG #5 into local policy at the municipality level?
– What are the actors involved in these processes at the municipal level?
– What are the outcomes of engaging with SDG #5 at the municipal level?

The project employs a multi-method, comparative case study research design that combines quantitative analysis with qualitative ethnographic fieldwork. This is a comparative study based on the cases of three selected municipalities in Bosnia-Herzegovina (East Sarajevo, Visoko, and Žepče).

Professor Annika Björkdahl at Lund University, Sweden
Ms Lejla Somun-Krupalija, an independent researcher and consultant in the fields of women’s empowerment, gender mainstreaming, social inclusion and disability.

Climate or Economic Migration? Local Democracy and Vulnerability Reduction in Africa: Political Representation under a Changing Sky

Regional Focus: Senegal and Niger
Sustainable Development Goals: #13 and #16
Time: January 2017 – June 2018

This project aims to understand the multiple treatable causes for climate-related migration from the Sahel towards Europe and the role of local political representation through local government in addressing those causes. This project examines the role of local governments – the function of representation – in generating or reducing the current trend in which vulnerable people are migrating out of areas where climate variability is viewed as a driver of outmigration.

The project seeks to identify means to make policy and practical responses to climate change supportive of local democracy – to make these responses emancipatory – and therefore a transformative force for equity, justice, and security

Research Questions:
– Why do farmers (often youth) choose or feel compelled to migrate toward Europe from these two locations compared to more “traditional” destination to the south?
– What is the role of political representation (local and national) in buffering people against this desire or need to migrate?
– What is the role of political representation in buffering people against climate risk?

The proposed study will conduct field research in the Tambacounda Region of Senegal and in the Dantiandou and Say Districts of Niger where out-migration is prevalent and where the consequences of this migration are often dire – many migrants die in route to Europe and many simply disappear and do not return home, leaving their communities and families with less labor, a great loss from having invested in the migration of their children, and with the grief of loss. The research will be carried out through literature review, surveys and interviews.

Dr. Papa Faye, Executive Secretary, CADRE, Dakar, Senegal (Centre d’Action pour le Développement et la Recherche en Afrique – CADRE)
Professor Jesse Ribot, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign & Stanford University
Professor Matthew Turner, University of Wisconsin, Madison


Climate Refugees? –  video

Refugiés Climatiques? – French version video