Institutional Strengthening and Capacity Development
The strength and capacity of the regional offices of UCLG Africa are essential for the effective delivery to members across the continent. Each region has specific characteristics and the West Africa office offers an integrated program of activities that matches the needs of members. Annual Regional Strategy Meetings are held which help to set the regional objectives and shape specific programs. This regional meeting will keep the WARO office abreast of what is happening in the area of decentralization, the urgencies that need to be addressed around decentralization in West Africa, the priority actions to be taken in order that local governments become more reliable partners for national governments, the regional economic communities, the development partners and other interested stakeholders, with regard to the definition, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the development and cooperation agendas.
The very core of our work focuses on building the capacity of our members through the development of a regional resource center that will help our members in West Africa better serve their communities. In addition, countries that are deemed to have weak decentralization processes will be targeted and support given to help set up and strengthen existing national associations.
National associations are essential players that provide requisite, demand driven support to all local governments, whether large or small, rural or urban. Local government associations provide a platform for the sharing of knowledge and experiences; joint exploration of solutions to challenges of governance, including transparency and integrity; advocacy and lobbying with a unified voice for the recognition of the aspirations of the local citizens; and pursuing innovative practices to improve performance and achieve developmental goals.
Two countries in the West Africa region that have been identified as not having a national association of local government or have an association that needs restructuring and strengthening, include Liberia, where a substantial amount of work has been to develop the national association; and in Guinea Bissau, where the regional office team will introduce a capacity building program to support the development of this association.