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VNG International and The Hague Academy for Local Governance organize workshops on inclusive leadership in Goma and Bunia, DRC

From 17-21 April and 2-5 May 2018, two capacity-building workshops in gender and conflict-sensitive cohesive leadership for local authorities took place in Goma (North Kivu) and Bunia (Ituri).

The trainings are part of the larger CISPE programme “Pamoja Inawezekana” which is carried out in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Cordaid and Stichting PAX under the pillar Restoration of State Authority of the International Stabilisation and Security Support Strategy for the eastern DRC (ISSSS). VNG International specifically targets its support to local authorities that support the stabilisation and the ongoing decentralisation process in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

The workshops were offered to members of cabinets of provincial ministries of interior of North Kivu and Ituri, as well as territorial administrators and chefs de chefferie/secteur in the programme intervention areas.

The main goal of the session was to respond to the needs that had been expressed and identified by these actors during previous activities, such as a participatory security diagnosis (approach outlined in CISPE Mag # 1 and in this article).

To get this message across, Samir Marmouri (The Hague Academy for Local Governance) invited the participants to reflect on the fundamental norms and principles of good leadership, their implications, and how such norms and principles can be put to practice. Together with the participants the groups built the foundations for local development and to support a leadership style that is cohesive, inclusive and sensitive to gender inequalities.

Participants were encouraged to identify the good practices and boundaries to such leadership, as well as conceive of possible solutions and propose practical mechanisms to implement reviewed principles. The participants expressed great satisfaction with the training, as illustrated by the testimony of the Rutshuru (North Kivu) Territory Administrator (AT), Mr Justin Mukanya: “This training allows us to move forward with peacebuilding. The Rutshuru territory suffers from insecurity and the presence of armed groups, and responding to these challenges requires strong leadership. This training allowed me to grasp the root causes of the insecurity and conflicts in the territory, but also to address the security problems we face.” Also attending the training was Francis Ndeze, Chief of Bwisha Chiefdom, in Rutshuru Territory, stating: “Leadership is important. This workshop has enabled me to learn the concept of transformational leadership. The goal is to continue to adapt to the situation, not to rely on previous achievements. It must be responsive in its relationship with the citizens.”

In terms of putting new skills into practice, the AT and Mwami already have ideas: “I will be able to delegate better, and this will improve the management of security in the chiefdom, as well as the implementation of the Local Security Plan. In order to be a good leader, you have to trust others. Problem management cannot be done by a single individual, it takes a team”, said the Mwami. “We will put the gender dimension into practice, because women have been relegated to the background for too long. Why not implement small projects that encourage  women to be more independent, thus facilitating the development of the entity? We have the power to support women in their empowerment, to value them, and who knows, maybe one day a woman will be a candidate and become local elected!” added Rutshuru’s AT. He concludes: “The implementation of these new guidelines will help us to better manage our territorial entity. Security, and more particularly the enforcement of local security plans, is the responsibility of everyone, men and women alike. All members of the community must be involved in the management of security.’’

Overall, this training has strengthened the participants’ awareness of the fact that it is impossible to successfully run a territorial entity of any size without proper leadership. Intelligent, transformative and inclusive leadership will enable local authorities to better focus their efforts towards sustainable stabilisation.

Security management and planning remain the priorities of local authorities and local security committees. This is why VNG International, within the framework of the CISPE, strives to accompany the stabilisation and peacekeeping process by sharpening the skills of decision-makers and stakeholders directly involved in local security. Complementary activities will be conducted in 2018 and 2019. The next training will focus on transparency and the fight against corruption.

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