We look back on two successful Matra Patrol courses that were held in November and December 2012. These Matra Patrol courses were facilitated by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and are organized by The Hague Academy for Local Governance. These courses are part of a bigger programme which aims to strengthen good governance and the rule of law in pre-accession countries.   

The participants of the Integrity of Civil Servants and Decentralisation courses showed a strong will to improve good governance and strengthen the rule of law in their respective countries.They learned valuable lessons from each other, investigated  possibilities for improvement and ways to overcome difficulties. This has inspired us greatly. The courses showed that integrity and decentralisation are more than abstract themes. The participants talked about and studied the meaning of  these themes and we discovered together that Integrity and Decentralisation can provide practical solutions for the challenges they face.

During both the courses we have investigated Dutch experiences, we met mayors, experts and civil servants. The courses were a unique experience whereby participants also learned from the skills and knowledge of their colleagues in different countries and got insight in how they execute their -sometimes- difficult work. The steps the participants proposed  to take in their organizations at the end of the courses give their countries great perspective for the future and we wish them all the best of luck in accomplishing their goals. As one of the participants said they have to ‘let the sun break through the clouds’. We are thankful that we can be a part of this process.

The Hague Academy is looking forward to the next Matra Patrol course on Integrity which will be held from 4 to 14 March 2013. The application deadline to apply for a full fellowship to participate in this course is 27 January 2013! For more information about the programme and application see www.asser.nl/matrapatrol.