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Advocacy, Institutional Support, Regional Dialogue

ACTED intervenes in countries where years of conflict have often severely affected the institutional capacities, whether at the national, regional, departmental or municipal levels. Indeed, these capacities are indispensable for achieving autonomous and sustainable development.

For this reason, ACTED privileges partnerships with and the participation of existing structures at the municipal level, often qualified as Community Organizations (CO). These organizations, either private or public non-profit, represent an entire or partial but significant segment of a community and have as their goal the improvement of certain aspects of communal life. By basing its interventions on communities, at the level closest to their concerns, ACTED encourages the reinforcement of local governance mechanisms.

Principles of local governance

The governance principle can be defined in different ways depending on the situation. In the context of the Afghanistan-Tajikistan Cross-Border Joint Local Governance Initiative, governance refers to the process through which elements of society exercise a power, authority and influence and elaborate policy and take decisions concerning public life and socio-economic development.

This notion is based on the following principles:

Democratic participation

Every member of a given community has the right to express themselves and can participate in all activities. All members of the community elect the representatives of the Community Organization.

Transparency

Every person has the right to be informed of the decisions that are taken. The elected representatives must present the content of these decisions in a comprehensive manner without dissimulating a particular aspect.

Accountability

Elected officials must be accountable for their actions to those who have entrusted them with a decision-making power.

Efficiency

Elected officials must orient their actions in view of obtaining the most beneficial result for the community.

Credibility

Elected officials are honest and trustworthy; community members must be able to trust them.

Stability

The systems of governance may be changed by the community members themselves, if the need arises.

Encouraging the peaceful resolution of conflicts

In each of its interventions, whatever the nature – sanitation activities, agricultural support, etc.- ACTED relies on local capacities and expertise to allow the beneficiaries to take charge of their own development path.

This guiding principle of local governance varies according to the context: depending on the case, the emphasis is put on support to minorities, a decentralization process or even regional dialogue and cross-border cooperation.

For example, agricultural support activities encourage cooperation between farmers of different ethnic groups thus preventing conflicts related to land and/or resources.

Encouraging institutional dialogue

Beyond the reinforcement of a community’s organizational and autonomous management skills, the objective is the establishment of a sustainable partnership with the local authorities. In this context, institutional dialogue is encouraged in order to ensure the continuity and quality of the services for which a community is mobilized.

In this way, one contributes to a participatory, equitable, transparent and efficient local development

For example, ACTED implements preventive actions in the health sector by closely associating the beneficiary communities as well as the sanitation authorities in order to ensure the sustainability of its interventions.

Taking local governance into account represents a transversal theme of our interventions.