Masterclass Gemeentelijke Internationale Samenwerking

Project officer of the Dutch municipality Alphen aan de Rijn Hans van Arkel, involved in two projects (HIV/AIDS and Housing) with partner municipality Oudtshoorn, South Africa:

“It was very stimulating to hear about the experiences from colleagues of other municipalities cooperating with partners in Southern Africa. I am sure this contributes in a positive way to our project.

I found it very useful to learn about the administrative context in South Africa and Namibia. This presentation provoked an interesting discussion about the most effective ways to implement our projects. Questions we discussed were, for example: how can we increase the input from our partner municipality? And: what can be done to ensure the continuity of the project? We received tools and practiced skills that help us in working with our South African partners.

Also, different approaches for municipal international cooperation were discussed. I personally think it is very important that besides the local authorities, private parties contribute to the project as well. Involving the local community – in The Netherlands as well as in the partner country – is an important condition for succesful municipal cooperation!”

Mieke Croughs, medical doctor in a community health service and advisor to the HIV/AIDS project carried out by the municipalities of Heusden and Otjiwarongo, Namibia:

“The masterclass offered a good balance between theoretical background and practical tools. Especially the role plays increased insight in the pitfalls and the problems you encounter while working with municipalities in the South.

It became clear to me that the local government context and the experiences with fighting HIV/AIDS can vary a lot in different countries, even between neighbouring countries which at first glance seem to be quite similar.

The masterclass also raised awareness for having a demand oriented approach, reciprocity and the conditions you need for successful cooperation. I have worked a few years in Bangladesh so I recognized a lot. But you need to refresh from time to time!

I am sure that this training creates a better understanding and preparation of people engaged in municipal international cooperation and I think this will lead to a better and more effective cooperation with our partners in the South.”


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