Cleaning up the environment, improving water supply, reconstruction a stadium: these are some of the projects that local authorities in Zimbabwe plan to start in cooperation with their citizens. With these activities, they want to bridge the gap between the authorities and their citizens, and practice with participatory methods.

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The plans were the result of a training on participatory policy making that The Hague Academy facilitated in cooperation with DEGI consult, as part of the ´Local Authorities Capacity Enhancement Project´ of VNG International and MDP, funded by the European Commission. In the training, around 35 representatives from local authorities and NGOs discussed together how they can motivate citizens, and they practiced with stakeholder analysis.

During long working days, from eight in the morning till six in the evening, they discussed international practices and lessons learned, and exchanged their own experiences and challenges. They brainstormed about issues in their community that they wanted to address and presented action plans, that they will be working on in the coming months. As one of the participants concluded at the end of the training: “We are now very different from those who stayed at home”.

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