Adds Monitoring Good Governance & Service Delivery on its Mandate
The recent merger of responsibilities and duties of various public organs of the state, including Rwanda Governance Advisory Council (RGAC), the National Decentralization implementation Secretariat in the local government ministry (MINALOC), Department in charge of Civil Society and Political Parties Registration and Management; also in the same ministry, and the inheritance of a service that used to be performed by Ministry of Justice of observing the legal personality of NGOs –has led to the establishment of the Rwanda Governance Board (RGB).
Thus, what used to be called RGAC is now RGB.
As such, RGB’s mandate has not changed but rather just expanded to now include monitoring good governance and service delivery in both public and private sector in Rwanda. Important to note also, the merger of responsibilities renders it a one-stop-centre for Good Governance in the country.
As a matter of priority, RGB looks to bring everybody on board to enhance coordination and effective partnership to effectively deliver on its (now bigger) mandate.
Clearly, a well thought framework is in now place, called the Joint Action Development Forum (JADF)—officially launched on June 30, 2010.
To this end, RGB organized a stakeholders’ workshop recently on February 23 at La Pallaise Nyandungu Hotel to underpin the role JADF in Monitoring Good Governance and Service Delivery in Rwanda.
Presiding at the workshop, the CEO RGB Prof Shyaka Anastase the said: “JADF is an instrument in promoting inclusiveness, accountability, citizen voice and participation and effecting partnership among state and non-state actors towards sustainable national development”. As such RGB aims to leverage on synergies in the loop while consolidating the Good Governance achievements to underpin Rwanda’s commitment to foster good governance as a means to strengthen national development.
Prof Shyaka strongly believes that “this is a sustainable way of ensuring value for money resource utilization and impact to benefit majority of Rwanda population, especially the poor”.
Late last year; 29th-30thDecember, during the RGB Retreat in Musanze it was resolved to enhance team building and synergies as a means to effectively deliver on the Board’s mission.
To this end, JADF becomes a consultative platform for information sharing, cooperation and partnership among various Good Governance actors, including; Public and Private Actors Development Partners, Media and Citizens.
JADF provides a condusive space for inclusive dialogue and accountability where the voices of people can be heard by local leaders and service providers.
In regards with RGB’s new mandate of Monitoring Good Governance, JADF is good forum for joint planning and monitoring of developmental activities and services.
Mr. Safari Patrick the National coordinator of JADF explained to participants that (JADF) is an ideal instrumental for achieving poverty reduction and good governance objectives.
Important to note, JADF strengthens coordination, harmonization, and avoid duplication of efforts and/or interventions, especially at the local government level.
Based on its importance, JADF has been flagged in the third phase of the Decentralisation and is an integral of the Seven Years Government Programme (2010-2017) and recognised as instrumental for Good Governance and excellent mechanism for partnership between the Public, Private and Civil Society.
Safari echoed Prof Shyaka’s remarks, explaining that: “JADF aims to improve service delivery, transparence, accountability and promote voice and participation of citizens in the planning, monitoring of developmental activities at local level”—thus a motto: “One People, One Nation, One Vision, One Team”.
It being a considerably new initiative, the JADF National Coordinator said a lot of emphasis is being put in aawareness raising, disseminating public information on JADF, Capacity development and advisory service, Promoting partnerships, Promotion of evidence and best practices, and organizing the National Annual Review meeting of all stakeholders to discuss the progress, share experiences, challenges, and agree on way forward. The annual JADF multi-stakeholders’ review meeting has been a good platform to share experiences and lessons on JADF
He however warns: “….having just a platform for dialogue is not a guarantee for meaningful and active participation of JADF stakeholders in the local development process, it is rather a process that requires a change of mindset, culture of working together and bearing joint ownership and responsibility”.
The understanding and perception on JADF concept by some partners needs to be strengthened, In fact, it was evident that some participants from some Districts among others have different understanding on JADF and hence a barrier to ownership and sustainability. “We hope more awareness and information sharing will change the mindset of some stakeholders,” he noted.
He singled out media as the ultimate way of creating awareness. “Documentation and media coverage of JADF activities and events during open days, study tours, exchange visits, documentary films to JADF memories and records through Television and Community Radios is critical”.
He called on all JADF actors. State and non-state to observe ownership and sustainability of the forum through joint planning, monitoring, participation and financial contributions for self-reliance. To this end, fast-tracking the process of implementing the Local Governance Monitoring Systems (LGMS) emerged one of the key recommendations of the workshop.
Other Key Interventions: The Coaching Program
Since the adoption of the decentralization policy in 2000, different initiatives aimed at building capacities of the LG’s have been implemented.
Despite these initiatives, Capacity Building at Local Government level remain difficult to account for the quality of the products delivered and establish their impact.
Most capacity building interventions have been delivered in un- coordinated manner, supply driven, reactive and sometimes not in line with the recipient’s needs.
Responding to the challenge, in January 2011, a Capacity Building strategy for LGs was adopted as an important tool for implementation of the 3rd phase of decentralization particularly in the area of strengthening and maintaining capabilities at LG levels.
The Coaching Program has been identified by RGB as one of the priorities as regards the implementation of Local Government Capacity Building (LGCB) strategy. It is tailored to learning by doing and on-the-job training consisting of developing LG officials’ skills and knowledge to improve their performance.
RGB, with a mandate to build capacities in LGs, will be playing a leading role in the whole implementation of LGCB program First, said Mr. Afrika Benjamin, the Director of the Capacity Building Program at RGB, is the ongoing pilot phase ; running from November 2011 to August 2012—covering 10 districts and will be the extended to all 30 Districts.
The program involves skills transfer; taking place in the workplace and customized to specific institutional environment, Learning by doing and on-the-job training, Non-formal training method that uses the participatory learning process, Targets high performance and improvement at work.
The main stakeholders in elaborating the coaching program are; Rwanda Governance Board (RGB), Public Service Capacity Building Secretariat (PSCBS), Belgium Technical Cooperation (BTC), German Cooperation (GIZ), Rwanda Association of Local Government Authority (RALGA) and Districts.
The Mobile School of Governance
To address challenges of Good Goverance, especially at local government level such as lack adequate information on governance indicators, weak community participation in planning and budgeting, insufficient information on their rights, weak human resource capacity at local levels, poor service delivery to the people and weak capacity at local level among others, RGB established the Mobile School of Governance. It is an innovation involving working closely with the existing bases especially the local authorities to provide services devoid of injustice, corruption, segregation, nepotism, sectarianism and any other ill practice likely to harm good governance and to discourage decentralization.
The aim of this program is to strengthen good governance in Rwanda, through empowering local leaders and non-state actors to effectively respond to the demands of citizens. The program intends to substantially contribute to strengthening and consolidating of service delivery, human rights and civil liberties, democratic governance and citizen participation.
To achieve this, RGB carries out regular field visits in decentralized units (Provinces, Districts and Sectors) which focus on assessing governance performance, documenting best practices and identifying gaps. On that basis policy recommendations and actions are made as an input to policy design and improved policy implementation mechanisms, in the areas of civic, public and corporate governance. The program intends to substantially contribute to strengthening and consolidating of service delivery, human rights and civil liberties, democratic governance and citizen participation among others.
Following a succesful 10 months pilot phase, RGB is elaborating the 2-year Mobile School of Governance Programme and is expected to popularize JGA and enhance local governance through informed participation of non state actors and empowered local leadership in issues pertaining to democratic governance.