The Good Local Governance and Leadership Training Programme, which focused on capacity building in all the Somali regions, was launched in 2003 and closed in mid-2005. Its approach was to adapt globally tested UN-HABITAT training materials to the Somali context – characterized by civil strife, weak institutions, poor infrastructure, and large numbers of internally displaced persons. Culturally relevant information was included (such as Koranic quotes). The materials, developed by UN-HABITAT’s Training and Capacity-building Branch, were then used to train local leaders, NGOs, community-based organizations, and other stakeholders in good governance practices. Good Local Governance and Leadership Training Programme activities formed the core of UN-HABITAT’s urban governance strategy in the Somali region.
A clear approach was developed for the programme along 3 parallel tracks, which were followed in all 16 of the targeted towns or districts:
- A strategic planning process brought stakeholders together and led to a city consultation. A strategic plan for the city resulted, to be adopted by the local council.
- Action planning was started, focusing on an identified priority. An action plan, developed through a participatory process, was then implemented through a consortium of local stakeholders.
- Capacity-building efforts primarily targeted the local councillors and a local team. Awareness-raising initiatives focused on the general public, women, youth, and central government authorities.
The first project phase saw the adaptation of training materials and the training of a pool of trainers. These trainings were done for 36 trainers in 8 universities and NGOs in the 3 regions. The second phase involved training on leadership and management skills, gender, urban indicators, and action planning for the authorities in the towns. Other activities included the creation of advisory boards in Somaliland and Puntland, representing local authorities from the various regions, and awareness campaigns on good local governance.
The final stage of activities involved an action-planning process, in which the municipalities implemented a priority project. This enabled them to put their new skills into practice. The action-planning projects resulted from prioritization exercises involving local councillors and leaders. City consultations were then organized in each town, involving all the stakeholders. A wide range of projects was selected, including market rehabilitation (Hargeisa and Adaale), road rehabilitation (Boroma), tree planting (Sheikh), and drainage works (Jowhar), among others.
Partnership with Oxfam-Novib resulted in the organization of a specific training module for traditional and religious leaders, started as a pilot project in Beletweyne. The project was later replicated in several other districts in south central Somalia. In 2004, a media workshop was organized with the BBC to train journalists on governance issues.
The Good Local Governance and Leadership Training Programme has had a sustained impact and greatly helped the new councils to perform their duties. Local project proposals submitted within the framework of a recent call for proposals clearly reflected what was learned in the programme’s action-planning exercise. The overall quality of the proposals was good and there seemed to be a collaborative effort among a variety of stakeholders.
The programme ran parallel to the UNDP-funded Support to Priority Areas in the Urban Sector Programme. Activities of the Good Local Governance and Leadership Training Programme have been integrated into the new Urban Development Programme for the Somali region.