Members Development

UCLG Africa’s interventions for members’ development are aimed at supporting the decentralized process.  We do this by:

  • Promoting the benefits of decentralization through a series of communication channels including newsletters, campaigns and our own African Cities magazine.
  • Carrying out needs assessments, including understanding local governments capacity to respond to African and Global Development Agendas
  • Developing targeted support packages and encouraging peer learning
  • Organizing, conducting or recommending appropriate interventions, including the piloting of innovative projects, seminars, workshops and training
  • Strengthen the development of UCLG Africa networks starting with the network of locally elected women of Africa (REFELA) and the further development of professional networks Africa MAGNET, Africa FINET, Africa TECHNET

Supporting National Associations

As part of UCLG Africa’s service offer we provide potential members with information that promotes the benefits of decentralization. Building the capacity of active members to become more productive and inclusive, local or subnational governments is the focal point of our service delivery. As part of our support packages for members, UCLG Africa commissions needs assessments to help our regional teams understand the needs around the decentralization agenda and local government policies around local economic development. This information is then used to shape a series of interventions and bespoke services to form an annual package of support for the country, which will lead to local authorities delivering services that improve the socio-economic wellbeing of all citizens at all levels of society.

Activities

If the creation of an association is determined as the right strategy, then regional teams will put together a bespoke program of support that will include:

  • Developing a constitution
  • Defining the key elements of a local strategic plan
  • Peer learning visits
  • Convening the first general assembly

In 2017, UCLG Africa’s membership development team and regional offices supported the development of two new National Associations in Ethiopia and Liberia and in the forthcoming year aims to support a further five across each African region.

To become a member, click here

Professional Networks

Following demand by its members, UCLG Africa has developed four major networks starting with the network of Locally Elected Women of Africa, REFELA. Additional networks were created made up of senior staff in African local government administrations, considered to be the closest advisors to the local government’s political leaders: The network of city managers established in 2016 (Africa MAGNET); the network of city chief financial officers established in 2013 (Africa FINET) and the network of city chief technical officers established in 2017 (Africa TECHNET). The structuring of these networks of senior professionals is intended to bring more insight and competence to the voice of local authorities, thus making them a reliable and responsive partner.

Members of these networks will benefit from a variety of methods and tools to boost their professionalism, acquire a people-centered service and results-oriented culture and behaviour, and adopt the culture of benchmarking, policies evaluation and performances comparison in terms of service delivery and local administration management. They will also participate in peer review and peer learning activities and be exposed to best practices and sharing of experiences.

Pan-African Peer Review Facility

The Africa Local Government Peer Review Program was set up by UCLG Africa at the request of African local authorities with the aim of relying on our own network of local governments as a source of expertise that can be tapped into to improve service delivery and the quality of local governance across the continent. It works as a friendly assessment tool that appraises the performance of local governments and their associations in the service of their citizens and members.

The program promotes cooperation, learning and the organizational improvement of local governments and their associations.  Practitioners learn from each other’s experiences and work internationally to strengthen local government. This is achieved through peer reviews and assessment of performance with the aim of strengthening the professional capacity of local elected officials and staff and their social and cultural engagement with citizens.

The performance assessment is mapped against a benchmark of a model council or association of local governments on the following four key dimensions:

Achievements of the organization

  • This dimension focuses on the council’s or association’s intentions and achievements and how it has improved and delivered the outcomes that local people need.

Leadership and Management

  • This dimension looks at the council’s or association’s vision and ambition for itself and for the area; whether the council has focused its resources on identified priorities and the effectiveness of decisions taken towards the realization of its vision and ambition.

Engaging with customers, communities and partners

  • This dimension looks at how the council engages with customers, communities and partners to ensure that services are customer focused and the extent to which the association works with and at the service of its members.

Resource and Performance Management

  • This dimension looks at how the council makes the best use of its resources, including people, money, technology and assets.

This benchmark is based on the conclusions of hundreds of peer reviews conducted by the Local Government Association of England and Wales and on mentoring exercises delivered across the world.

The peer review process highlights and promotes good practices in local democracy and citizen participation in local governance. UCLG Africa’s Peer Review is now a powerful tool for fuelling change in organizations of local governments, since they share similar environments and experience similar challenges. The guiding principle is, “Local governments solving local government problems: Africa solving Africa’s problems.”

The Process

STEP 1:

  • Expressions of interest to host a peer review
  • Expressions of interest to participate in a peer review as the review team

STEP 2:

  • Selection of local governments based on the four dimensions of the performance benchmark

STEP 3: 

  • Selection and training of the review team –
  • The review team is made up of local practitioners: Mayors or councillors, chief executive officers and technical managers

STEP 4:

  • Planning meeting outlining review exercise –
  • Week long peer review exercise in the host institution
  • Feedback session where the review team reflects on sessions and provides recommendations

STEP 5:

  • Production of a final report of the peer review highlighting the areas of performance
  • Implemenation of recommendations will be the responsibility of the reviewed organization.
  • Mentoring support is made available on request from the member and support given throughout the implementation process

To date, the program has successfully conducted pilot peer reviews in five local government institutions, three local governments and two national associations. This Pan African Local Government Peer Review Facility has now been established as the main tool we use to improve local governance with our members using peer learning and promoting transparency and responsiveness to the needs of their local communities.

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Transparency and Integrity

“Fighting Corruption at the closest level to the people”

Promoting good practice for cities and subnational and local governments is a focal point for UCLG Africa’s work in the fight against corruption. Its work on transparency, accountability and integrity is undertaken within the framework of GADDEPA and builds on the Africa Union’s Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption, which was ratified in 2006. Anti-corruption featured widely during the Africities Summit in Johannesburg and discussions with Transparency International led to a partnership agreement aimed at promoting the implementation of joint projects on transparency and integrity targeting subnational levels of governance in Africa.

As the leading international organization for the fight against corruption, Transparency International produce an annual “Corruption Perceptions Index”, which clearly shows that no country in the world comes anywhere close to a perfect score.  Unfortunately, Africa as a region represents one of the most corrupt regions. Botswana, Cape Verde and Rwanda are the only countries in Sub-Saharan Africa that are ranked within the top 50 with a further 21 Sub-Saharan African countries ranked in the bottom 50.

A pilot project, known as Leaders in Local Government for Transparency and Integrity in Service Delivery in Africa, was created in partnership with Transparency international with the aim of strengthening local government transparency and integrity to combat corruption in service delivery. The joint initiative was launched on April 4 in Nairobi, Kenya with two subnational governments, Walvis Bay Municipal Council and Kabarole District in Uganda, participating in this initial phase.

The objectives of the Pilot Phase are to:

  • Develop tools for the assessment of transparency and integrity in subnational governance institutions incorporating:
  • The development of a research Instrument for Local Integrity System (LIS) based on a Barometer and Bribery Index, municipal transparency index and accountability
  • The development of policies and by-laws that enable citizens to benchmark service delivery satisfaction standards as defined in the context of each participating local government
  • Capacity development strategies to equip subnational governments/local authorities and their citizens to implement the transparency and integrity system in their organization, including Ethics and Integrity training, policies and legislative drafting, peer review and exchange and learning visits
  • Monitoring, Evaluation, Reviewing and Learning for continuous organizational improvement, including an Impact Matrix
  • Implement a comprehensive local integrity system informed by activities derived from the above in the three subnational governance institutions; and
  • Develop an instrument for assessing the contribution of the political leadership of subnational governments for the building and maintenance of transparency and integrity that enables comparison and objective selection of ‘Leaders of Excellence in Transparency and Integrity in Local Governance’ (or subnational governance). The assessment will lead to the Award of Excellence in Transparency and Integrity in Local

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Know Your City

According to the 2010 UN-Habitat forecast, more than half of the African population will live in urban areas by 2025, with an urban population growing almost twice as fast as the general population over the next quarter century. In the year 2025, the majority of the poor in Africa will be living in urban areas.

Currently, a large and growing number of urban dwellers live in poor and unplanned neighbourhoods. With incomplete or out-dated information about slums and informal settlements, local governments often design policies that ignore or unsatisfactorily address the social and economic deficits that residents experience in slum neighbourhoods. This leads to increased mistrust between communities and local authorities and exacerbates the extent of these needs.

Based on current trends, 75% of Africans will be living in slums by 2025. Unless something is done to close this gap, African cities risk becoming troubled regions, a situation that could put decentralization and democracy at risk.

In direct response to these projections and the already existing deficits and inequalities of urban development in African cities, United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa) and Shack/Slum Dwellers International (SDI), as members of Cities Alliance (CA), entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and implemented the Know Your City Program in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso and Lusaka, Zambia with the aim to catalyse urban transformation processes that promote more inclusive cities through partnerships between local governments and slum dweller communities.

 

The objective of the program is the adoption of inclusive approaches to urban development and management, where urban poor communities interact with the local government politicians and officers in the inception, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of city planning interventions.

The objectives of the Know Your City project are as follows:

To place emphasis on new approaches in alleviating poverty  through the increasing  of actions that aim to improve housing.

Involve the participants in a dialogue that aims to improve rehabilitation approaches in slums.  Reduce poverty in fast growing African cities

1.Show the importance of equal partnerships between local collectives and the community living in slums which are organized through women’s saving schemes. Elaborate and put in place successful initiatives of living conditions in slums.

Identify and succeed in involving local collectives in the upcoming initiatives of the program. Involve the latter in accompanying investments that aim at improving the community base.

The Know Your City Program has generated significant interest among African local governments.  The Slum Dwellers International (SDI) and the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa) are once again partnering and moving forward with a new campaign in collaboration with the African Union of Architects and will launch a new Know Your City campaign. This will include the implementation of the young professional assistance program targeting medium size and small cities. The objective is to support five cities as a pilot (1 per region). UCLG Africa will prepare a position paper on intermediary cities and priority issues to be addressed moving forward.

To become a member, click here