ToT Programme in Conflict Management: UCLG Africa and ACCORD Hold a Case Study Workshop  

Within the framework of their strategic and sound Partnership and Training-of-Trainers (ToT) Programme in conflict management, the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) and the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG Africa) through its African Local Governments Academy (ALGA) held a case study workshop from 6 to 9 May 2024 in the Maasai Lodge located in Nairobi, Kenya. 

This is the second in-person learning and empowering experience following the baseline workshop held in Al Akhawayn Conference Center of the Moroccan city Ifrane, from 16 to 22 July 2023, which was the first step of this important Conflict Management ToT Programme. 

Six (06) online practice sharing sessions took place in between the two in-person workshops with the aim of reviewing conflict content knowledge, supporting the participants with deepening their understanding of concepts and application of conflict management skills, and to prepare the trainees to write stories that will serve as teachable case studies before meeting in Nairobi for the workshop dedicated to case-study writing and teaching.  

Thirteen (13) trainees from 9 countries across 3 African regions, namely North Africa (Morocco, Tunisia and Libya), West Africa (The Gambia, Ghana and Benin) and East Africa (Uganda, Mozambique and Malawi) gathered to attend the case study workshop in Nairobi. The cohort is made up of UCLG Africa’s members who are Local and Regional government representatives, as well as trainees from the organization’s network and staff. 

In a video message, ACCORD’s Monitoring and Evaluation Consultant Mrs. Savannah Wilmot addressed the group of trainees, in presence of ACCORD Senior Consultants, Experts and Trainers, namely Mr. Philip Visser and Mrs. René Ngwenya, and Programme Officers Mr. Adam Randera and Mr. Wandile Langa, wishing them all the best in their learning journey and during their empowering week in Nairobi. 

The group was also addressed through a video message from the Director of Development, Knowledge Management and ALGA Academy of UCLG Africa, Dr. Najat Zarrouk, who expressed on behalf of UCLG Africa’s Secretary General Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, the organization’s deep and sincere gratitude to ACCORD’s Executive Director, Dr. Vasu Gounden and his Team for their continuous trust and support.         “We are more than delighted and honored to be part of this ToT programme since the areas of conflict management and bringing a culture of peace in Local Africa were also required by both our Executive Committee and Panafrican Council during the statutory meetings held last November, in Lagos, Nigeria. For ALGA of UCLG Africa, investing in this Training-of-Trainers is a strategic methodology that will allow us to rely on a pool of 15 trainers. We are working hard with ACCORD’s support and their experts to skill this cohort of trainees so that they can empower our members in the future. To this end, we are relying on high-quality trainers Mr. Philip Visser and Mrs. René Ngwenya, whose background and expertise commands our respect and esteem.”, she added, before thanking the participants present in Nairobi for their dedicated commitment and wishing them a successful session.  

This ToT workshop in Kenya focused on the case-study as a multi-purpose teaching tool for trainers that presents a situation or highlights a complex problem which prompts curiosity, leads to analyzing the dynamics and exploring the probabilities and ways for solving the problem. 

The UCLG Africa trainees did the case study writing exercise which also involved weaving essential technical aspects into their story to teach different conflict management skills and solidify the learning purpose of their case studies. With ACCORD consultant trainers Philip Visser and René Ngwenya, the cohort learned about the different uses and applications of case studies, the methods for case study teaching and workshop design. 

Some of the workshop participants had the opportunity to teach their case studies based on a real conflict within their local context, by setting up the space, preparing the materials, using different tools, applying the processes and sharing the knowledge they have learned. These teaching sessions were followed by constructive feedback and insightful guidance from ACCORD consultant trainers as well as the cohort, which contributed to strengthening the trainees’ technical capacity in writing and teaching case studies as a multi-functional tool. 

“What I learned and is very important to me was how to prepare a teaching note. Now, I feel very confident and comfortable in writing and teaching a case study”, said Mr. Wurra Bah, Deputy Director of Administration in the Kanifing Municipal Council (The Gambia), a “complex” institution with over 1300 staff. In his position, conflict management is “high priority” and working in unison is necessary to achieve institutional goals and serve the population. According to Mr. Wurra Bah, “The importance of conflict management cannot be overemphasized because it can help unite families, communities and nations. If effectively utilized, it can bring in durable peace. For us, the main challenges are the lack of skills and understanding of conflict management, distrust in mediators and the lack of useful information about potential conflicts, so this is a much-needed training opportunity and we are grateful”. 

At the end of the case study workshop, the participants reflected on their learning journey so far and shared feedback. Because they often deal with conflict at different levels, local governments representatives and trainees from the UCLG Africa network expressed their appreciation for the organization’s fruitful and sound partnership with ACCORD, affirming that this Training-of-Trainers programme responds to their need for enhancing their conflict management competencies as practitioners, but also pass on the knowledge they have acquired as trainers and therefore contributing to broader peacebuilding efforts as well as governance improvement.  

The cohort also discussed the next steps towards the graduation ceremony and awarding of certificates to take place at the 10th Africities Summit scheduled for 2025 in Cairo, Egypt. 

At the closing of the workshop, Programme Officer Mr. Wandile Langa expressed, on behalf of ACCORD, gratitude for this journey learning together. He also thanked the UCLG Africa members for their commitment to the ToT programme in Conflict Management and expressed the hope that they get to share the knowledge they have acquired and form new partnerships, before stating that ACCORD will continue supporting them. 

The next in-person ToT session in Conflict Management will be held during the 8th edition of the African Forum of Territorial Managers and Training Institutes targeting Local Governments (FAMI 8), scheduled on 2-6 October 2024 in Morocco.