Local Government Capacity Programme (LGCP)

Improved local government in Netherlands’ partner countries

Many developing countries are currently experiencing economic growth figures that would evoke jealousy among the countries of ‘old’ Europe. Although the hardship remains distressing in many places, more and more people are managing to escape poverty. While this feat is primarily achieved through own strength, a stimulating environment can play a decisive role in the ultimate chance of success. An essential role in this is assigned to the local government, the layer of administration that operates closest to the population.
Local governments in developing countries are often unable to efficiently and effectively create the circumstances required for a stimulating environment. VNG International has therefore launched the Local Government Capacity Programme, which is to run until December 2016. The programme will contribute towards capacity development of local governments and their umbrella organisations in ten partner countries.

Read our brochure:
brochure EN
brochure FR
brochure SP

Watch the video of the new Local Government Capacity Development Programme (LGCP II):

Throughout the months June to October 2015, the Local Government Capacity Programme (LGCP) 2012-2016 was subject to an external mid-term evaluation. VNG International would like to share the main findings of this mid- term evaluation. Please find here the executive summary of the report accompanied by VNG Internationals response to the report.

Letter VNG International LGCP external mid-term evaluation (11 November 2015)

LGCP-MT-Eval-Executive Summary-Final-Oct-23

Increased pressure on local government

Municipalities are coming under increasing pressure to play a stimulating and supporting role. Not only are citizens demanding better government services; central governments are delegating ever more tasks to local authorities’ duties. Add to this the irrepressible migration to cities, a trend that creates enormous additional challenges for urban administrators. Over half of the world population already lives in cities, and that share is increasing rapidly year-on-year.

Greater acknowledgement is being given to the important role played by local governments in the development process and the growth of the local economy. Taxpaying citizens want to see something in return for their money, however, like clean streets, clean drinking water, working sewers, a valid title deed registration system, support in setting up businesses. Wishes that can only be realised with the commitment of local administrators. Faced by a government apparatus that fails to deliver, their frustration grows. That, unfortunately is currently the situation in many places throughout the world. Political leaders fail in the decision-making process, while civil servants lack the necessary technical and management capabilities.

Sustainable development requires better administrators

Sustainable local economic development is hard to realise without an effectively functioning local government. Objective of the Local Government Capacity Programme is therefore to strengthen the capacity of local governments and government associations in ten partner countries. The programme is aimed at improving the municipal conditions required for economic development.

Ultimately, the program will help those local governments be in a better position to provide for:

  • food security;
  • water management;
  • the safety of their citizens and legal order;
  • the sexual and reproductive health and rights of their citizens.

These are, not coincidentally, also the priorities of the development policy pursued by the Netherlands. An effective local government contributes towards sustainable local development and thus also to achieving the objectives underpinning Dutch development cooperation. Local governments provide stability and contribute towards the development of the state at local level. In most cases, they have primary responsibility for adequate water management and guaranteeing food security. They also play an important role in elementary healthcare tasks such as family planning, sexual education and AIDS prevention.

The purpose of the Local Government Capacity Programme is to enable partner countries, when it comes to dealing with these issues, to be better equipped in:

  • developing and implementing policy;
  • taking steps in the development process;
  • adapting and modernising themselves in response to changing situations;
  • cooperating with external parties;
  • creating cohesion in their working methods.

Over 20 years’ experience with capacity development

The Association of Netherlands Municipalities has been implementing programmes to support the capacity development of local governments in developing countries since 1991. In each and every case, the underlying goal is to enable local government bodies to function autonomously and at higher levels. Local governments obviously do not function in isolation: they are connected in myriad ways to other government layers, the private sector and society in general. While acknowledging this complex interrelationship, the focus remains on local governments, their knowledge and their performance. Many years of experience with capacity development among local governments and their umbrella organisations has proven that such programmes can play a unique role within the development policy. The Local Government Capacity Programme builds forth on earlier experiences and the lessons learned.

Largely in Africa

The LGCP is largely aimed at Africa: eight of the ten partner countries are on this continent. The programme is carried out in Benin, Burundi, Ghana, Mali, Nicaragua, Rwanda, Uganda, the Palestinian territories, South Africa and South Sudan.

The Local Government Capacity Programme deploys the expertise available among local governments in the Netherlands to strengthen the local capacity in the partner countries. The programme provides municipal expertise through VNG International to ten partner countries in close consultation with municipalities, the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Dutch embassies. Wherever possible and worthwhile, it also calls on the specialised knowledge available among provincial authorities, water boards, housing corporations, welfare umbrella organisations, knowledge institutes, etc.

From colleague to colleague

The programme focuses on local authorities and their umbrella organisations. In doing so, however, it distinguishes two types of actors: elected decision makers (mayors, aldermen, county council members) and the local civil service (municipal secretaries, department heads, policy implementers, the staff of associations of municipalities). The method applied is the colleague-to-colleague approach: the exchange of experience and knowledge between people involved in a practical sense, who do the same jobs here and there. Research has shown that this method is highly effective and efficient.

Broad based partnership

Apart from the aforementioned parties, VNG International also cooperates wherever possible in the programme with domestic specialist organisations and knowledge institutes, development organisations (such as SNV), associations of municipalities in other countries (such as the Federation of Canadian Municipalities), international (donor) organisations (such as the German GIZ), regional and central government bodies and the local private sector.

Plan development in the countries themselves

A Country Programme has been defined in each of the ten partner countries. This was done in close cooperation with the Dutch embassies, to vouch for coherence with both development policy and their multi-year plans. Annual Country Work Plans are more detailed extensions of the Country Programme, which are based on the objectives to be achieved, the progress made so far and lessons learned. Both the Country Programme 2012-2016 and the annual Country Work Plans are developed in the partner countries themselves. This serves as the best means of guaranteeing the participation of and input from as many locally involved parties as possible.

The activities may vary from short-term technical assistance in the form of advice and training, study trips, coaching and supervision, and an introduction to the practical side of things (in the Netherlands). Local authorities or their umbrella organisations may engage external experts, in the event that they do not possess the required knowledge themselves. The core of the partnership, however, comprises the transfer or exchange of knowledge and expertise.

LGCP Benin
LGCP Burundi
LGCP Ghana
LGCP Nicaragua English or Spanish
LGCP Uganda
LGCP Palestinian Territory
LGCP Rwanda
LGCP South Sudan
LGCP South Africa

Summary Proposal of Local Government Capacity Programme 2012 – 2016

LGCP Benin Programme Logframe LGCP – Benin

LGCP Burundi Programme Logframe LGCP – Burundi

LGCP Ghana Programme Logframe LGCP – Ghana

Logframe LGCP Mali

LGCP Nicaragua ProgrammeLogframe LGCP – Nicaragua

LGCP Palestinian Territory Programme Logframe LGCP – Palestinian Territory

LGCP Rwanda Programme Logframe LGCP – Rwanda

LGCP South Africa Programme Logframe LGCP – South Africa

LGCP South Sudan ProgrammeLogframe LGCP South Sudan

LGCP Uganda ProgrammeLogframe LGCP Uganda

Local Government Capacity Conference

The first Local Government Capacity Conference on November 6, 2013, was a great success. Read more about the winners in this news item.

Video on the eight cases presented at the first Local Government Capacity Conference

The second edition of the Local Government Capacity Conference took place in The Hague on 16th and 17th October 2014. Read more about the winners in this news item.

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