On July 8th the Burundian Association of Municipalities (ACO-BURUNDI) organised its yearly conference ‘La Journée de la Commune’, the day of the commune, financed by the SDLG programme. The Sustainable Development through improved Local Governance (SDLG) Programme in Burundi aims to empower citizens to be better informed and claim accountability to engage in inclusive decision-making. It is a programme that capitalises on the results of the previous IDEAL programme that ran from 2017-2021. The Journée de la Commune is an occasion where the members of ACO-BURUNDI (all communes in Burundi) come together to exchange knowledge.

This year’s theme was “improving the quality of services offered to the population for a local economic development that leaves nobody behind”. During the day several speeches, workshops and presentations were held.

During his speech, the Permanent Secretary insisted on the obligation for communes to offer quality services to the population. To this end, he called on communal managers to consider investing in the modernisation of communal services through the use of IT tools. In this regard, the Permanent Secretary informed the communes that the Ministry of Interior plans to equip all the communes of Burundi with an IT tool and then proceed with the digitalisation of key communal services such as civil status and communal accounting. Digitisation will start in 11 pilot communes and may be generalised throughout the country if the pilot phase produces positive results. This action is a result of the IDEAL programme. Citizens indicated the need for this improvement during the evaluation of the quality of municipal services through the use of Community Score Cards.  

After the speeches there were presentations on three subjects:

  1. Government mechanisms for financing local development.
  2. Improving the quality of communal services (mobilisation of communal resources, filing and archiving, civil status).
  3. Gender sensitive planning and budgeting.

During the second presentation, one of the experts shared the experiences of ACO-BURUNDI on coaching the 8 pilot communes of IDEAL on mobilisation of communal financial resources and the filing and archiving of administrative documents. This expertise was developed in the six communes of Bururi Province and in the communes of Gitanga and Bukemba of Rutana Province. According to the expert, the diagnosis carried out in these 8 communes revealed a very low level of mobilisation of communal finances and a poor state of archiving and filing of administrative documents.

On the basis of these findings, training and coaching on the ground were carried out with the departments concerned. Coaches were deployed in these communes and provided technical assistance to the managers of the services concerned. After the experts' visit, each commune was provided with a classification plan which was implemented as established. At the financial level, each commune that benefited from the support significantly increased the volume of communal revenue compared to the situation prior to this assistance.

The expert also spoke about the actions of ACO-BURUNDI in assisting communes to computerise their communal accounting services. She insisted on the advantages of computerising the communal accounting service. ACO-BURUNDI also takes care of the maintenance of the software in the communes that have it. For the three presentations, testimonies from beneficiaries supported the expert's remarks. The Busoni commune, which gave a testimony on the communal accounting software, suggested that the other communes pool their efforts through their association ACO-BURUNDI to enable the latter to carry out regular maintenance work that does not have to wait for external funding.

For more information read the full article written by ACO-BURUNDI: https://www.acoburundi.bi/journee-de-la-commune-edition-2021-un-evenement-tres-instructif-pour-les-communes/

Photo credit: ACO-Burundi
Photo credit: ACO-Burundi