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Since 2001 the Municipal Development Partnership for Eastern and Southern Africa (MDP-ESA) has been working in collaboration with the World Bank Institute to implement the Africa Local Government Action Forum (ALGAF) through the Global Development Learning Network (GDLN) Distance Learning Canters in, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Tanzania and Uganda as well as the World Bank Country Offices in Rwanda, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Other partners including the Institute for Democracy in Southern Africa (IDASA) and National Associations of Local Governments in the participating countries have also supported the initiative in various forms.

 

The objectives of ALGAF are:

  1. Provide a platform for structured dialogue and sharing of knowledge and information on key issues that impact on the performance of local governments.
  2. Contribute towards strengthening the role of local government in service delivery, poverty reduction and local economic development.
  3. Contribute towards transforming and modernizing local governments as engines of local development.

 

 

 

ALGAF sessions are held through videoconferencing every first Friday of each month from February to November every year. They run for three hours from 08.00 hrs to 10.00 hrs GMT. Most participants who attend ALGAF sessions have appreciated the mode of delivery which is through videoconferencing. One participant from Kenya had this to say about the videoconferencing technology:

 

The videoconference idea is very acceptable to most participants. The most fascinating aspect is the technological networking, where participants could see each other and share a lot of information within a short time.

 

 

DELIVERY STRATEGY

 

ALGAF sessions are held through videoconferencing every first Friday of each month from February to November every year. They run for three hours from 08.00 hrs to 10.00 hrs GMT. Most participants who attend ALGAF sessions have appreciated the mode of delivery which is through videoconferencing. One participant from Kenya had this to say about the videoconferencing technology:

 

The videoconference idea is very acceptable to most participants. The most fascinating aspect is the technological networking, where participants could see each other and share a lot of information within a short time.

 

PARTICIPATION

 

Those who have participated in ALGAF sessions include Mayors, Councillors, Technocrats, Municipal Managers, Trainers and Researchers, Civic Activists, Private Entrepreneurs, Journalists, Environmentalists, Gender and Development Experts. ALGAF has attracted a cumulative total of fourteen thousand nine hundred and seventeen (14 917) participants from the year it was launched up to November 2009.

 

 

PARTICIPATION

 

Those who have participated in ALGAF sessions include Mayors, Councillors, Technocrats, Municipal Managers, Trainers and Researchers, Civic Activists, Private Entrepreneurs, Journalists, Environmentalists, Gender and Development Experts. ALGAF has attracted a cumulative total of fourteen thousand nine hundred and seventeen (14 917) participants from the year it was launched up to November 2009.

 

On the 3rd of October 2008, the ALGAF family was privileged to host His Excellence, Mwai Kibaki the President of the Republic of Kenya, who attended the ALGAF session on HIV and AIDS from the Kenya DLC.

His Excellency President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya (Front Row – Centre) attending an ALGAF Session on the 3rd of October 2008

 

 

IMPACTS OF ALGAF

 

The Africa Local Government Action Forum has made some positive impacts in the participating countries by addressing major challenges affecting local governments in sub-Saharan Africa. These challenges include issues of poverty, participatory planning and budgeting, social accountability, corruption, crime and violence, HIV and AIDS, gender mainstreaming, climate change, information and communication technology, food security and the exclusion of the vulnerable and marginalized groups in decision making. All these challenges have been tackled during ALGAF sessions and have been subjected to debate by participants from different backgrounds.

 

Women and Children are the most affected by Poverty in Africa.

 

 

a) Formulation of HIV AIDS Policies for Local Authorities through ALGAF

 

In 2004 five local authorities namely; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Accra, Ghana; Thika, Kenya; Dar es Salaam; Tanzania; Kampala, Uganda and Harare in Zimbabwe were assisted to develop Local Government Response Strategies to HIV/AIDS through the ALGAF dialogue. City teams comprising of about five members mainly from the Health Departments were formed to lead the process. Some guidelines as well as a publication on Local Government Responses to HIV/AIDS were provided to ensure that all the city teams had a common understanding. At the end of the exercise city teams developed action plans outlining the activities to be undertaken, the responsible unit or person, the time frame and the budget.

 

 

b) ALGAF as a Source of Learning Materials

 

Lecturers and students from institutions of higher learning as well as private consultants constitute a considerable percentage of ALGAF participants. They have found ALGAF presentations as very useful learning material.

 

ALGAF has empowered us with many skills which will help us to do our day toady activities and we are going to teach our stakeholders especially issues of social accountability and participatory budgeting. Mugisha Annet Kajura, Education Officer: Ministry of Education and Sports, Uganda

 

Councillor Jamine Madara of Kenya had this to say: “I have found ALGAF very relevant to the local needs as Kenya is slowly but steadily progressing to inclusive and open society and in which participatory budgeting is taking shape at all levels of government including national. I use the ALGAF presentations as reference material during training and/or dialogues with key decision makers in Kenyan local authorities”.

 

 

c) Formation of the Good Governance Practice in Uganda

 

Mr. Willy Kituuka of Uganda has been participating in ALGAF sessions since 2005. He was influenced by the interactive discussions to start a civil society organization called the Good Governance Practice. The organization advocates for better governance of the people and their participation in matters that affect them. It targets all age groups from school going children to the elderly.

 

ALGAF has covered a wide range of topics during the two years I have attended.  I have been a beneficiary of the video conferences to the extent that I have found the way forward to get practical.  Experts in a variety of fields have given us good ground against which to move in perfecting issues to do with governance in our circumstances, and borrowing from that experience, that is why I have started the Good Governance Practice to help my community better understand governance issues and participate to realize economic development in the long term. Willy, Kituuka, Uganda

 

d) Launch of the Tanzania Africa Local Government Action Forum

 

ALGAF led to establishment of the Tanzania Local Government Action Forum (TALGAF) in Tanzania. TALGAF was implemented in 2005 for six months; the topics focused mainly on HIV/AIDS issues and local government responses to fighting HIV/AIDS.  TALGAF objectives were to extend the ALGAF dialogues to benefit policy makers and practitioners in districts outside of Dar es Salaam City; popularize issues debated in ALGAF sessions and deepen discussions on the Tanzanian context; as well as facilitate transfer of knowledge and experience from ALGAF countries to practitioners in Tanzania’s districts at minimum cost. TALGAF sessions were broadcast via radio, and generated material in the nationally spoken Kiswahili language, by translating the English debates of the ALGAF sessions.

 

ALGAF in Tanzania is considered a valued platform for capacity building and sharing of experiences with others who are in similar circumstances in the region, and for improving Tanzanian practice by getting feedback from others.  ALGAF in Tanzania improved relations between Local Government Associations (LGAs) on the one side, as well as communities, central government, civil society, the private sector on the other side.  It enhanced confidence on the part of the LGAs due to improved image and acceptability; increased exposure of local resource persons to the international scene; as well as popularized local governance issues leading to increased interest of communities, the media and other institutions in the activities of LGAs.

 

e) Launch of the Francophone ALGAF

 

Due to the success of ALGAF in Anglophone Africa, it has now spread its wings to Francophone Africa. On the 27th of March 2008 the francophone version of ALGAF known as d’Action sur la Gouvernance Locale en Afrique Francophone (FAGLAF) was launched in seven Francophone West African countries namely: Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal.

Vivian Attah, ALGAF Coordinator, Ghana (Front left, making some remarks during an ALGAF session)

 

 

 

Last Updated on Sunday, 26 September 2010 16:00