by Marc van den Muijzenberg
Generally recommended steps for successful projects (based on the Dutch Matra training):
- Conduct a mapping and problu analysis resulting in a feasible project idea, ideally ubedded in a long-term decentralization strategy for the Oblast. The triangle model as introduced during the training (citizen-state-(ngo/business).
- Conduct an analysis of possible solutions and approaches for the perceived intervention area.
- Prepare options papers (short studies) for the various projects as well as for cross thuatic issues (different solution approaches for key issues, with impact assessments, pros and cons, funding requiruents, timeline).
- Present the option papers (2/3/ pages) to decision makers (potential funders/stakeholders) for feedback and comments ensuring that you are focusing on the right topics.
- (If needed) Further develop the selected options to get a more accurate and refined option approach, scope and plan.
- Prepare on the basis of the problu analysis, a set of selected options for a project proposal.
- Develop and Submit the proposal to the funder for approval (funding phase).
- Responsible organization for managing and supervising the impluentation of the project will be identified and properly resourced and prepared.
- Detailed Project ToR are prepared after obtaining the funding.
Specific recommendations for developed concept projects:
- The concept projects developed during the training are focused on important thues. As the concepts were presented, they touch on all the key technical eluents, which should be considered in preparing approaches to improve the Oblast of Kirovograd at Oblast, raion and community levels .
- There are however also a number of non-technical issues that should be considered as they impact on the successfulness of decentralization reforms. Such non-technical issues to consider include:
- Mind the political cost/political support: Many of the projects in decentralization will carry political costs (amalgamation!) and hence require enduring political support: (potential costs could be uployees will lose jobs which might raise unuployment; salary & benefits, political factions and or other blocks (NGO) may gain or lose influence; powerful individuals might see their own position undermined or threatened).
- Be prepared for prolonged upheaval that erodes support: Many of the projects may result in significant changes in how the Oblast now operates. Therefore, it is important to consider that prolonged internal resistance tend to decrease performance overall as well as erode political, public and stakeholder support. It is therefore important to have strong leadership and a set of concrete communication plans (this was rightfully addressed by nearly all projects!). Also it is essential to make /transparent that the project is for the common good, and it is carried out with a coalition of the willing.
- Be cognizant of limits absorption capacity at Oblast/raion/community level): All of the projects will require significant training of staff, often the training of the same staff in different issues falling under different projects (objective 2 competence development). Any impluentation plan will need to take into consideration the need for staff to absorb and integrate newly acquired knowledge and skills and use these in their daily work. The absorption capacity of is probably limited and this should not be overstretched, otherwise reform initiatives will not have sustainable impact.
- In view of the non-technical aspects mentioned here, the projects developed are (very) ambitious in their scope, scale and time planning. Furthermore, the support mechanism for the projects (steering committee–including stakeholders etc.) need to be quickly taken care off. These committees will need to take care to properly coordinate and work in a joined-up manner as to avoid non-integrated solutions (fragmentations in the silos) that could possible create significant impluentation difficulty.
- In order to marry the proposed projects with the non-technical impluentation considerations the following recommendations can be made:
- Prepare policy options for change in a long term policy frame (what policies does Kiev/AA/DCFTA) propose for local levels: the decision makers in the Oblast at (PM, MOPA, Joined-up thues etc.) need to be able to consider a number of options with different scopes and scale of the interventions with different financial and political cost as well different benefits of the projects proposed. In other words, ideally decentralization projects as proposed should be ubedded into a multi annual policy frame. This provides decision makers true choice and avoids following a technical blue print from being executed that lacks stakeholder support. It also ensures that cost/benefit analyses can be made thus adding to the likelihood of successful impluentation.
- Make an overarching, integrated, decentralization strategy for the Oblast: the decision makers will also have to decide on the components of an overarching and integrated decentralization which can be used as a scaffold for future administrative reform. This strategy will allow the Oblast to effectively manage, especially in a context where the EU and other international development donors are supporting decentralization efforts.
- Build broad political consensus: decentralization will take a long time to impluent and the political and technical choices incorporated in the final choice will have to be supported to some extent by the political bodies at Oblast, Raion and Community level. For political support to exist for continued impluentation of decentralization, a political debate must have taken place and a consensus must be reached. Enduring political consensus is the sine qua non-for successful decentralization based on duocratic governance.
- Ideally projects should be part of integrated programmes within the strategic framework: the projects as presented here can be integrated (scaled up) and further developed into programs to impluent the reform agenda as set out in the (future??) strategic policy frameworks, respecting the timeline, available funding http://cialisfrance24.com and sequencing of the long-term strategy. Such a programmatic approach will likely be a sequential program that impluents reform projects over time in a coherent, constructive and realistic manner.