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May 11, 2017     cib    

Somaliland is the target region for one of the projects starting under VNG International’s new Inclusive Decisions At Local Level (IDEAL) programme. This will be VNG International’s first programme in Somaliland, stemming from a request from the Association of Local Government Authorities of Somaliland (ALGASL) to receive the kind of support that VNG International provides to many other African associations.

IDEAL Somaliland will focus on the capacity of ALGASL to enable them to play their role as a linchpin between national government and districts through institutional sustainability of the association, leading to improved lobby and advocacy, needs-based service delivery to districts, a platform for exchange, and localisation of the National Gender Policy. Subsequently, ALGASL should be able to equip pilot districts to include communities, especially marginalised groups, in decision-making processes and provide more effective services.

In March 2017, VNG International travelled to Hargeisa to meet important stakeholders. The enthusiasm and commitment of the people of Somaliland – in government and civil society – was tangible in every encounter. The context continued to prove favourable to the implementation of the IDEAL programme. IDEAL adds an element of local ownership and sustainability to the ongoing support to decentralisation processes and to Somaliland’s districts by putting ALGASL in the driver’s seat. Mayors supported the programme’s focus on strengthening their association, which they believed would help them to foster resilience in their districts by tackling issues such as gender inequality, internal displacement and (youth) unemployment.

Since its origin, the programme has been co-owned by ALGASL and VNG International. This spirit of collaboration continued throughout the week, with fruitful discussions and debates on the scope of the intervention. The programme design was actively debated and agreed upon by ALGASL’s Secretariat, 7 of the 10 mayors currently in the Board of Directors, and VNG International in two workshops where ALGASL’s five-year dream was the focus. ALGASL and VNG International’s joint vision for IDEAL was seen as an effective strategy to achieve this dream.

For more information please contact Susan Paardekam (susan.paardekam@vng.nl) at VNG International.