On November 19th, 2020 the IDEAL programme held its second Advisory Board meeting of the year chaired by the mayor of Rheden, Carol van Eert. Whilst the first meeting in summer was still a hybrid version with both online and physical presence, it was now decided to go entirely online. Members from across the globe were able to join our team in the Netherlands: from the United States to Kenya and from Pakistan to Portugal.

The main topic on the agenda was sustainability. IDEAL is implemented in fragile and conflict affecting countries which poses several challenges around continuity and the sustainability of results. Since the programme is coming to an end in 2021 it is an even more relevant topic.
IDEALRwanda introduced the participants to several measures it has taken to anchor interventions over the course of IDEAL: from working with the Local Government Institute and national actors such as the Rwanda Housing Authority to strengthening the local government association RALGA. This was followed by a presentation about South Sudan’s main sustainability challenges. The economic crisis has heavily affected the potential for local revenue generation in the country. Together with little fiscal transfers from the national level financial sustainability is not a given. Over the past years, South Sudan has also been subject to a large re-division of states and counties. This meant that human resources were widely spread and shovelled around. High staff-turnover is therefore another challenge in the context of South Sudan as well as in the other IDEAL countries.

The programme continued with an interactive discussion via the application Conceptboard. The participants could apply all kinds of sticky notes with ideas, suggestions, questions and comments regarding three main sustainability challenges:

• High-turnover of politicians, technicians and staff
• Lack of financial independence
• Absence of long-term vision due to fragility

The participants found the meeting very successful because of the high level of interaction, made possible by the online environment. For those who would like a small glimpse into our Conceptboard, please see the picture below: