In September, fifteen professionals representing countries from all around the globe, took part in the first training course on Local Service Delivery and the Millennium Development Goals. With only five years to go until the deadline for the MDGs, this course, as one participant put it: ‘comes at the right time, when most developing countries have woken up to address such critical issues as are stipulated in the MDG’s.’ 

The first week of the course consisted of in-depth sessions by top experts on, amongst others, localising the MDGS, financing of services and establishing pro-poor public private partnerships. In a simulation game, participants had the opportunity to work on achieving the MDGs in a fictive country, challenging them to show leadership and deal with unexpected challenges.

The second week of the course had a highly practical focus, exploring how to apply the theory and tools that were presented in the first week. Several field trips demonstrated Dutch local service delivery in the field of water management, waste management and social services. During these visits, the exchanges between participants, with their rich variety of backgrounds and the colleagues from Dutch government organisations, led to many lively discussions. In a very interactive closing session, the participants worked on managing the people side of public sector reform and presented innovative ideas for improving the situation in their home countries.

All participants said to have learned a lot, not only from the many experts, and the field visits, but also from each other, making it “the most complete course I’ve ever taken”.