Strengthening decentralization and local self-governance in Colombia - FOINCIDE II
The local level government in Colombia is weak, and there is often miscommunication and distrust between the local and national level. The FOINCIDE-project is designed to support the decentralization process and strengthen local governments in Colombia.
The Colombian peace agreement, signed in 2016 between the national government and the FARC guerrilla, recognized the important role local governments can have in the peace process. The FOINCIDE-project (Fortalecimiento Institucional Ciudadano para al Desarrollo Territorial) supports the decentralization process. The project addresses a need for assistance in developing local government knowledge and resources to better respond to the needs of their citizens, and to be a source for peace and development, rather than a source of conflict.
Since 2016, SALAR International has worked with strengthening the capacity of local governments in Colombia. FOINCIDE II is a continuation of this work, where SALAR International is working with 7 post-conflict municipalities by strengthening their capacities within the areas of citizen dialogue, social mediation, planning and gender mainstreaming.
Strategies to support to local governance
The FOINCIDE-project adopts different strategies to support local governance in Colombia. For example, the project includes capacity building events on citizen dialogue to support municipalities in public participation processes. FOINCIDE has developed and adapted tools and training that support the civil servants in their day-to-day work. The project supports the dissemination and sustainability of the project activities through online material on the project website and social media platforms. One project tool has been peer-to-peer learning where municipal representatives have been taken on study visits and are assisted to network between each other.
The project is structured around four components, each dealing with a central element of the local government's capacity development. The municipalities are supported to develop plans in an efficient and participatory way to make sure they are gender-sensitive and take different needs into account. In this way, the local politicians become more accountable, and services are adapted to the local needs. The project’s implementation strategies and methods have been based on experiences and learnings from the first phase of the project. Seven municipalities are targeted where networks between the municipalities are created to facilitate exchange of experiences. In addition, special efforts are put into dissemination of results, where tools and methods are developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Planning at national level.
- Citizens Dialogue
The first component, Citizen Dialogue, is aimed at supporting the partner municipalities in integrating participatory and gender-sensitive processes in the development and implementation of policies and plans. In this way, FOINCIDE is building more inclusive, representative, and responsive public management processes in the partner municipalities. The component also encourages the national government to adopt their approach to citizen participation by considering the municipalities' different contexts and their autonomy.
- Social Mediation
The second component, Social Mediation, supports partner municipalities to be better equipped to identify, analyze, manage, and prevent social conflicts on the local level related to public decisions or public management. Furthermore, the component encourages the national government to actively prevent social conflict by adapting their approach to include a municipal perspective to citizen dialogue and mediation.
- Planning Capacities
The third component, Planning Capacities, aims at equipping partner municipalities with good tools and knowledges to be able to design and implement more responsive, inclusive, and sustainable plans and policies, benefiting both women and men.
- Gender Mainstreaming
The fourth component, Gender Mainstreaming, supports partner municipalities through their respective gender offices. The aim is to adopt and promote gender-sensitive planning and local service delivery. This component will also equip the national government and other stakeholders to recognize both the benefits and the challenges of adopting gender-sensitive planning and local service delivery.