The IDEAL program, managed by VNG International, is about social cohesion and improving the relationship between civil society and local governments in seven countries. In Mali and South Sudan, this is done by amongst others training local governments on inclusive and participative governance as usually civil society is hardly included in decision making processes. Other ways of improving efficiency of basic services that local governments provide in Mali and South Sudan are organising exchange visits in order to learn from best practices.
One of the most effective ways of improving the relationship between civil society and local governments in these countries is providing small grants. This gives the opportunity to jointly work on tangible priority matters such as the rehabilitation of a dam and launch radio campaigns (Mali); but also repairing cars so government representatives can visit their constituency and repair boreholes (South Sudan). These grants are a means to stimulate trust, decrease conflicts and provide hand-on solutions, which enrich the other ongoing activities that are often centred around capacity building.
Below are photos of some of the signing ceremonies of mayors in Mali (Maguadte N’diaye, the mayor of Baya which is one of five communes we work in) and Severio Pasquale, county executive director of Kapoeta South county in South Sudan. In South Sudan we have launched small grants in three counties so far.