Strengthening the interaction between Civil Society and Regional and Local Government In Namibia
"The European Union is pleased to be part of the Project, "Interaction between civil society and regional and local governments in Namibia" which we believe will contribute towards further strengthening decentralization and democracy in Namibia."
Former Ambassador Raúl Fuentes Milani, Head of the EU Delegation to Namibia.
NID is continuously supporting decentralisation in Namibia. The aim is for citizens to share power, responsibility and authority with lower levels of government. NID works on bringing government closer to people, strengthening democratic processes at sub-national levels and contributing to socio-economic development.
In this context, we are implementing a programme based on a grant contract with the European Union to the value of € 334,122. The agreement was signed in 2013 in association with the Namibian Institute for Administration and Management (NIPAM) and the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development (MURD). The three-year project aims to improve the interaction between civil society and local and regional authorities through development committees.
What is the function of development committees?
Development committees were initiated by MURD at settlement, local authority and regional level in the late nineties with the goal to strengthen the involvement of citizens in governance at sub-national levels. Today, they play a crucial and supportive role in the implementation of the decentralisation policy.
The link between development committees and civil society groups is to improve the representation of the residents in local authorities, constituencies and regions. Efficient functioning development committees also play an important role in delivering basic services as water, sanitation, primary health care, housing, economic and community development. They so contribute in pursuing the Millennium Development Goals.
The project “Strengthening interaction between Civil Society and Regional and Local Government in Namibia” involves following activities:
- The "Study on the Status, Role and Performance of Regional and Local Government Development Committees in Selected Regions of Namibia" was launched in March 2015. This baseline study was conducted in close collaboration with MURD to compile and analyse data on development committees in seven regions in Namibia in 2014. This provides the basis for further training, technical assistance and civic education programmes to strengthen development committees. Subsequently, a training manual was developed on the roles and functions of development committees.
- The project also includes technical assistance by NIPAM and MURD to regional and local authority councillors and staff in developing strategic plans. NID is providing training for civil society organizations to actively engage in regional and local authorities.
- Communication with the public is done via public, private and community radio stations and other media. The broadcast aims to inform on decentralisation, the importance of regional and local planning and the activities of development committees through educational programmes presented by NID staff.
- With assistance of MURD and the rural and local authorities, we organize “Constituency Weeks” (CW) to assist development committees to organize specific activities aimed at creating awareness of decentralization in their region. The CW will bring together the public and regional and local authorities of a specific region.
"We want you as regional and local councillors to go to your people, to be among your people, talk to them, listen to them, to their problems, to their needs and when possible, report to your central government for solutions, especially when money comes up”
Erkki Nghimtina (Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation)