Co-Creation and Ownership
A key lesson deduced from project implementation in local government institutions is the primacy of local ownership and the critical role played by institutional champions. Charismatic leaders drive change in their institutions. While an advantage of having projects driven by motivated individuals is the assurance of success, the disadvantage is how projects fail in the instance that the individual moves out.
When working on projects in local governance, the transfer system of officials across institutions makes the dependency of a process champion a lethal one. Therefore, building ownership of projects by the institution through regulatory and proxy measures such as onsite mentoring of many staff members and political engagement is crucial. Mentoring of staff across all tiers of public institutions catalyzes the ability of the institution to make a collective effort towards change.
In terms of program implementation, the program targets and deliverables will be developed in consultation with LAs in line with existing skill sets, competencies, and absorptive capacity of all members of staff in general. Training multiple staff on the same skill ensures institutional memory retention, even if a few officials are transferred across LAs.
Joint evaluation teams with representation from all stakeholders will be instrumental in assessing progress achieved and distilling key lessons and learnings. A process of joint evaluation further supports internal discussions, knowledge generation, and inherent drive to master the process.
Engaging with all political stakeholders through discussions support transparent communication and trust-building, which in term ensures smooth implementation of project activities. Two-way communication and integration of stakeholder recommendations when designing projects on governance, catalyzes co-creation.
Through these calibrated and collaborative approaches, enabling models to strengthen governance can be co-created for effective uptake and longer-term sustainability.