Decentralization as a decisive issue in development

Dec 15, 2012

Didi Bikawungu Bate, 34, was a farmer and fought alone to earn money and feed her eight children until the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through their Project to Support Local Decentralization and Development (PSLDD), joined various women’s associations in Béni Mbau (North-Kivu) in a Group of Women’s Associations (GWA) of which she became the chairwoman.

“The PSLDD taught us to work together and then we have been able to make quality pleas to potential donors. Previously, we were not able to go with a structure to seek support for our associations. We could not even get to stand before an assembly and express ourselves. But together, we are stronger and we have learnt to look for funding. Various training has changed our lives; the GWA has, for example, obtained many vegetable seeds including cabbage that allowed for a good harvest which we then sold. It helped me a lot for the survival of my family. We have enough to eat and I pay my children’s school fees. I was able to acquire a field of cocoa that produced 300kg of beans this year”.

Françoise Kabindo, 45, four children, first councilor of GWA, adds proudly, pointing to a motorcycle that she was able to buy thanks to the revenue from the harvest of 900kg of soya: “Thanks to our common pleas, we have received training in gardening techniques as well as in fertilizer management and I was able to get this magnificent harvest”.

The objective of this local governance project is to technically and fiscally support local authorities so that they can plan and deliver social services to basic infrastructure. “We support a decentralization experience serving in local development” says Diouf Babacar, PSLDD co-coordinator in North-Kivu.
This pilot phase concerns five decentralized territorial entities (DTE) in which the UNDP supported the development of local development plans and local development committees and encouraged citizen participation as well as public finance reform.
The first results are encouraging with the provision of transparent data by chains on expenditure and revenue, the construction of buildings and training of administrative staff in the Béni Mbau sector and the chiefdom of Bwisha (North-Kivu).

Thanks to these funds the NGO Oxfam GB in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has, for example, built wells of potable water and latrines for a total of approximately USD $90,000. Furthermore, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) distributed more than USD $10,000 of agricultural inputs and seeds to one of the collective fields of the GWA.
The administrative buildings of Béni Mbau (North-Kivu), built and equipped by the UNDP in 2010, houses, on one site, the administrative services (marital status, social affairs, rural development, gender, family, and child, agriculture, fishing and farming etc.) of the sector in which there is an estimated population of 180 000 persons.

According to the head of the Béni Mbau sector, Lumandu Paluku, the women play an essential role in this development process: “They initiate meetings with the authorities and really play a decision-making role”.

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