Please note:  Due to the high number of applications, Shiraka has informed us they are no longer accepting applications for this programme. We apologise for any confusion or inconvenience this news may have caused. 

In April 2018, the Academy will welcome new participants to the Shiraka professional development course on Local Governance (pdf). The course seeks to expand the knowledge and skills of civil servants in the MENA region by enabling them to lead and inspire the modernisation of local governance practices in their respective home countries.

shiraka 2014

The Shiraka programme also aims to strengthen participants’ ties with the Netherlands and the Dutch government; especially between Dutch civil servants and their counterparts in the related countries. In 2018, these trainings will focus on two themes:  Social Affairs and Employment and Local Governance. Shiraka has closed the application process for this programme. 


The 2018 Local Governance training course has the following aims:

  • To increase awareness of and knowledge exchange between policy and decision-makers at national and sub-national government level working on issues related to decentralisation and local governance;
  • Inform participants of the decentralisation processes, and to help implement and coordinate these processes in their respective home countries;
  • Raise awareness of the importance of good local governance and provide insights into the elements that contribute to effective inter-administrative relations;
  • To help participants better assess the level of decentralisation in their country and devise an action plan to further support good governance on a local level.

Formerly known as Matra South Programme and relaunched in 2016 as Shiraka, the programme supports sustainable, democratic transitions in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Shiraka is financed by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and includes a training component organised by The Hague Academy.

“We need more knowledge and tools to help us change the traditional way of thinking.”

Nouha Ghosseini, former Mayor of Baakleen, Lebanon

Who is Eligible?

Participants from the following countries are eligible to apply for this course:  Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestinian Territories, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen.


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Netherlands will offer full fellowships for participants selected to enrol in the training course.

The Dutch government will cover all relevant costs for participants from countries on the OECD-DAC list (pdf). This includes international travel, board and lodging, visa and insurance, and tuition fees for the course. Participants from countries that are not on the OECD-DAC list must pay for their own international travel costs; flight tickets and visa. However, board and lodging, insurance, and tuition fees for the course will be covered by the Dutch government.

How to Apply

To apply you must first create an account with Shiraka. This will enable you to fill out the online application form found at this link. To learn more about the programme, please download the informational brochure available in French and English (pdf).

For general inquiries, please contact Dayana Al Alam.

The Shiraka Training Programme is an initiative of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The unit International Projects, Missions & Matchmaking of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency implements the Shiraka Training Programme. The Local Governance professional development course will be organised by The Hague Academy for Local Governance.