Policy Seminar

Taking Charge of Development Through Locally Integrated Governance

The Case of the Rwenzori Region of Uganda
Jul 16, 2008 - 07:30 pm to 09:00 pm UTC

This presentation features an innovative initiative to improve governance for agricultural and allied development. The initiative, which is currently being piloted in the Rwenzori Region of Western Uganda, combines a set of coordinated local civil society interventions with best global corporate practices in improving development governance.

The “closed-loop” governance mechanisms of the initiative link grassroots to regional leadership, starting and ending with villagers and their own community process facilitators. They also link all-stakeholder regional leadership to national government and the array of outside donors, so the best from outside can be applied in the best way within the region. And they overtly recognize the cultural barriers to success, and openly seek to address and bridge them.

The initiative established civil society as a government partner in development, gathering the most useful data for evidence-based decisions, building awareness and transparency and facilitating a process that makes the good leaders and the communities they serve more successful together. A grassroots monitoring process (PRMT) has been developed that is being leveraged across Uganda, and across many other EU programs. Several corporate best practices are being applied, including driving culture change from within, comprehensive situation assessments, requiring a sustainability plan with measures at the beginning, insisting on “full length of project” commitments, saving detailed planning for stage-by-stage with the teams responsible and using mechanisms that can efficiently adapt to learning along the way.

The presenters, Alex Ruhunda and John Lamb, have been preparing the ground for this approach for the past 12 years. They will share their analysis experiences and discuss broader implications for development as well as for development research. Alex Ruhunda is a Ugandan Political Science and Public Administration major, with a Masters in Gender and Development studies. He founded the organization which is driving this initiative (www.krc.or.ug) and has led it for the last twelve years. He also chairs the network of regional civil societies, leads the national governance monitoring committee, and is President of the International Association for Community Development.

John Lamb is a British Industrial Engineer with a US MBA who has led new business growth as a general manager, strategic planner and operational innovation consultant for over 30 years. Two years ago, after working with many global clients in medical technology and product development (from PRTM management consultants www.prtm.com), John turned his attention to the challenges of achieving effectiveness in African development.