LE BAY and LOQUAI 2008 Assessing Decentralisation and Local Governance in West Africa

by user

Category: Documents





LE BAY and LOQUAI 2008 Assessing Decentralisation and Local Governance in West Africa
Assessing decentralisation and local governance in West Africa
Sonia Le Bay and
Christiane Loquai (eds)
Assessing decentralisation and local governance
in West Africa
Taking Stock of Strengthening the Monitoring and
Evaluation Capacity of Local Actors
Taking Stock of Strengthening the Monitoring and Evaluation Capacity of Local Actors
Sonia Le Bay; Christiane Loquai
Bamako: Communicances, 2008-271p.
Registration of copyright: August 2008
ISBN 99952-58-06-4
Taking Stock of Strengthening the Monitoring and
Evaluation Capacity of Local Actors
Sonia Le Bay and Christiane Loquai (eds.)
Chapter 1: Methodology
1.1. The process of joint stocktaking, analysis and learning
1.2. The objectives and targets of the capitalisation process
1.3. How have experiences been capitalised?
Chapter 2: The steps and products of the process
2.1. Step 1 – Identifying, documenting and analysing experiences
2.2. Step 2 – Organising a subregional seminar for exchange
and learning
2.3. Step 3 – Publishing and disseminating the experiences and results
2.4. Step 4 – Networking and broadening exchanges and learning
Chapter 3: Developing the M&E capacity of local actors
3.1. What kinds of capacities need to be developed?
3.2. Why invest in developing local capacities for monitoring and
evaluating decentralisation?
Chapter 4: The findings of the case studies: A synthesis
4.1. Developing the capacity to analyse and monitor local
development at the municipal level
4.2. Self-evaluation tools for assessing local government performance
4.3. Strengthening citizens’ control and local stakeholders’ capacity
to monitor the delivery of decentralised services
4.4. Opening external M&E systems to local perceptions
Chapter 5. How to assess decentralisation and local governance:
Taking stock of experiences with tools for strengthening the M&E
capacities of local actors
5.1. Consistency, coordination and complementarity of M&E
approaches and tools
5.2. Budget support and related M&E challenges
5.3. National policy changes and new M&E challenges:
An example from Mali
5.4. Decentralisation, local governance and poverty reduction
Chapter 1. The context of decentralisation and local governance in West Africa 42
Chapter 2. Developing the capacity to analyse and monitor local
development at the municipal level
2.1. Cameroon and Mali: Strategic planning and monitoring of municipal
2.2. Niger: Planning and M&E in municipalities, focusing
on poverty reduction
2.3. Ghana: Experiences with district-based poverty profiling,
mapping and pro-poor planning as an M&E tool
2.4. Mali: Geographical information systems (GIS) for
the development of rural municipalities
2.5. Mali: Municipalities in figures: needs and realities
Chapter 3. Self-evaluation tools for assessing local government performance 130
3.1. Mali: Assessment of local government performance, experiences
with a self-evaluation tool
Chapter 4. Strengthening citizens’ control and local stakeholders’ capacity to
monitor the delivery of decentralised services
4.1. Mali: Towards a basic health-sector information system
for municipal actors (SIEC-S)
4.2. Benin: Public control in the education sector, pilot phase of the
participatory local impact monitoring methodology (SILP)
Chapter 5. Opening external M&E systems to local perceptions
5.1. Mali: Participatory monitoring and evaluation as a means
of empowering local government in the region of Mopti
5.2. Mali: Public perceptions as a barometer of local governance
5.3. Mali: Evaluating the impact of decentralisation
Conclusion: Lessons learned and challenges
Guide for the preparation of case studies
Brief biographies of case-study authors (in alphabetical order)
Country overviews
- Benin
- Cameroon
- Ghana
- Mali
- Niger
Sonia Le Bay (SNV-Mali)
Christiane Loquai (ECDPM)
According to a Bambara adage, 'He who knows all will not die'. Today, is an evident desire, in
many countries of the West African region which have launched decentralisation reforms since the
1990s, to try out new approaches and new methods of cooperation to build local monitoring and
evaluation (M&E) capacity!1 By sharing with the readers some of the experiences and lessons
learned from these new M&E approaches, this publication aims to make a modest contribution to
the knowledge available on the subject.
This publication is for all actors in development, working in the field of decentralisation and local
governance, especially practitioners and policy makers working on issues connected with capacity
building in the area of monitoring, evaluation and democratic control of local governance structures.
The case study presented in this document has been prepared in the context of an exercise that
aimed to document, analyse and learn from experiences with different approaches/methods and
instruments for building the capacities of different actors in decentralisation and local governance,
and in particular, the capacities of local government to monitor and evaluate the outcomes of these
complex reform processes.
This learning exercise started in Mali. It has been a joint initiative by the Réseau de Réflexion et
d'Échanges sur le Développement Local (REDL,2 a Malian network of development organisations
and programmes working in the field of decentralisation and local development), the Netherlands
Development Organisation (SNV-Mali), the Malian Ministry of Territorial Administration and Local
Government (MATCL) and the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM), an
independent foundation based in Maastricht in the Netherlands, in cooperation with several
development organisations working in West Africa.
The purpose of this exercise has been to jointly map and document relevant experiences in the
West African region and share 'good practice' and lessons learned. A total of 11 case studies from
different countries of the West African region were prepared during this exercise, and a seminar
held under the auspices of the MATCL in Bamako on 17 and 18 May 2006 provided a forum for a
structured exchange of experiences.
The facilitators of this joint documentation, analysis and learning exercise would like to thank all
those who contributed to the process. In particular we thank the authors and members of the
teams that prepared the case studies, the members of the Malian REDL network and the
organisations working in other West African countries that have supported and co-financed the
preparation of the different case studies. Through the generous support of these organisations and
1- Taken from the welcome speech given by Mr. Ibrahima Sylla, decentralisation advisor at the Ministry of Territorial
Administration and Local Government (MATCL) of Mali, at the subregional seminar 'Building capacities for
monitoring and evaluation of decentralisation and local governance in West Africa: exchange of experience and
2- See Annex I for a list of acronyms. For more details see http://www.snvmali.org/actus/redlinfo0606.pdf.The REDL
members taking part in this learning exercise were SNV-Mali; the Programme d'Appui aux Collectivités Territoriales
(PACT), a project in support of local government run by German Technical Cooperation (GTZ); Norwegian Church Aid
(NCA); CARE International in Mali; the Programme d'Appui aux Acteurs de la Décentralisation (PAAD), a
development programme of HELVETAS-Mali (the Swiss Association for International Cooperation); Solidarité, Union,
Coopération (SUCO), a Canadian NGO; the Association of French Volunteers (AFVP); and the Programme
Gouvernance Partagée (PGP), a programme financed by the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) these case studies are being published in
both French and English and will also be included in a more comprehensive publication, bringing
together all the case studies and the results of the regional seminar held in May 2006.
We would also like to express our gratitude to Mr. Ibrahima Sylla, decentralisation advisor at the
Ministry of Territorial Administration and Local Government of Mali, for his indefatigable support for
the success of this joint initiative. Last but not least, they would like to thank the people who were
involved in the language editing and translating of this document: Valerie Jones, Kathleen Sheridan,
Tony Parr, Bianca Beks, David Harris, Josh Dillon, Claudia Backes and Annelies Vredeveldt.
In the context of the democratisation movements of the late 1980s, many
African countries launched a new generation of decentralisation policies
aimed to build or strengthen more democratic, participatory and accountable
forms of governance. In the years since, these reform efforts have attracted
substantial development assistance provided by the international community.
Implementation of decentralisation programmes,
particularly the creation or strengthening of local
government, with elected councils, legal persona
and own resources, has changed these countries’
institutional landscape and governance at the
central and local levels. Discourse on the
advantages of decentralisation has also raised
hopes that local governance will become more
responsible and responsive to citizens’ needs and
thus contribute to improving their living conditions.
However, the commitment and pace of reform has
varied considerably from one country to the next.
For their part, donors and development agencies
have shown increasing interest in assessing the
results, outcomes and impacts of decentralisation,
including the related development assistance
(Steinich 2000,3 Hutchinson and La Fond 2004). This
tendency, and donors’ search for appropriate
assessment methods, is in line with the present
concern for aid effectiveness and a more general
interest in gauging governance in developing
countries (Besançon 2003, UNDP/DESA 2007).
Donors and development organisations are now
also displaying increasing willingness to invest in
strengthening monitoring and evaluation (M&E)
capacities of local stakeholders in decentralisation
processes and citizen control with a view to building
local accountability systems (Massuangahe 2005,
Hilhorst and Guijt 2006). At the same time, many
donors are seeking ways to render their own M&E
systems more participatory.
The African governments involved in ‘democratic
decentralisation’4 also acknowledge the need to
invest in national and local capacity to monitor and
evaluate some of the changes these reform
processes have induced.
This document examines a number of initiatives
to build the capacity of local stakeholders to
monitor and evaluate decentralisation and local
governance processes. It builds on the results of
case studies done in five West African countries
(Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Mali and Niger. See
figure 1), as well as discussions of these studies
at a regional seminar in Bamako, 17–18 May 2006.
3- See the bibliography in Annex II.
4- According to the definition given by J.C. Ribot (2002), 'political, or democratic, decentralisation occurs when powers
and resources are transferred to authorities representative of and downwardly accountable to local populations.…
Democratic decentralisation aims to increase public participation in local decision making … and is in effect an
institutionalised form of the participatory approach.… [Political and democratic decentralisation] are 'strong' forms
of decentralisation from which theory indicates the greatest benefits can be derived.'
Figure 1: Building capacity experiences for monitoring and evaluating decentralisation
and local governance in West Africa
This event attracted over 100 participants with
different backgrounds (regional and local
governments, civil society, private sector, national
institutions, development organisations, and
donors), most of whom had been involved in
developing, testing and implementing the tools
and approaches. It provided a good opportunity
for structured exchange and learning from the
cases and experiences presented.
This publication is divided into two parts: the
first part deals with methodological issues and
summarises cross-cutting findings arising of the
exchange of experiences on the case studies
during the seminar. The second part presents the
experiences documented with different tools and
approaches to strengthen local monitoring and
evaluation capacity in the form of case studies
The capitalisation process
and its results
The capitalisation process and its results
‘Most monitoring and evaluation (M&E),
especially of capacity development, has been
expensive, inconsequential and futile,’ concludes
Governance Consultant David Watson in a recent
article on innovative M&E practices (Watson 2006).
Basing this opinion on his professional experience,
he explains these conclusions in the following way:
‘[M&E] rarely seemed to result in effective
management responses in the form of changed
practices. It was even more rarely accompanied by
collective reflection and learning among
stakeholders. M&E seemed to be “something the
donor needed to do”, since donors understandably
have to justify development aid expenditures. Too
often, the corollary was that national counterparts
had limited or no involvement (or interest) in such
monitoring and evaluation activities.’
in order to make them known beyond the
particular country in which they were designed or
the area in which they are used. Moreover, the
exercise aimed to facilitate learning among those
who design, use and seek these approaches.
These critical observations have been dealt with
at length in the literature on monitoring and
evaluating development assistance and are shared
by practitioners in the field (Maina 2004, Sébahara
2004). At the same time, the increasing attention
paid to ‘capacity building’ and transparent,
participatory governance has prompted a series of
new M&E approaches. Based more on the needs
of development stakeholders and the capacities in
partner countries, these new approaches
emphasise joint or participatory M&E methods
(Guijt and Gaventa 1998, Simon 2004).
Establishing a link between M&E capacities at
the local and national level seemed all the more
important in a context where aid instruments are
changing to focus increasingly on budget support.
The inception of the Support Programme for
Administrative Reform and Decentralisation
(PARAD)5 was another reason for initiating a
capitalisation process (European Commission/
EuropeAid 2005). This nationwide programme
was launched in Mali by the Commission of the
European Community to provide budget support
to the Malian state for its political and
administrative reforms, from 2006 onwards,
including the decentralisation process. A pilot
programme, it is expected to serve as a model to
other countries in the subregion. Because the
quality of its M&E depends largely on the
information generated at the local level, it seemed
worthwhile to capitalise on the approaches and
tools that could help generate this information for
the national level, as well as on the challenges
related to the production, analysis and
management of that information by local and
national actors.
The initiative described here was aimed at
capitalising on M&E capacity-building approaches
and corresponds to a determination to renew
M&E practices. It has evolved from a very real
concern about the need to document and analyse
different M&E approaches and tools — as
implemented within the framework of
decentralisation and local governance processes.
The idea was to identify and document
experiences and to facilitate an exchange of
information about existing approaches and tools
At the same time, the initiators of this process
of documenting and analysing these experiences
and tools, as well as their partners at the local
level, felt that it was important to introduce these
experiences to political decision makers and
development-assistance agencies at both a
national and an international level. A better
recognition of these experiences and of local
actors’ capacities could be useful to designing
M&E tools for assessing the outcomes and
impacts of reforms at the national level.
5- PARAD stands for 'Programme d'Appui à la Réforme Administrative et à la Décentralisation'.
The case studies and findings presented in this
publication are based on a process of joint
stocktaking, analysis and learning, carried out
with stakeholders in decentralisation and local
governance. The French term used for such a
process is capitalisation. Although this term has a
very different meaning in English,6 for practical
reasons, we will use it in this English version of
the publication.
For those interested in conducting a similar
exercise on the topic in other regions, the
following description of the methodology might
be useful.
1.1. The process of joint
stocktaking, analysis and
The French term capitalisation refers neither to a
standard recipe nor to a similar process employed
by the various actors involved, who, in fact, often
have different habits and tastes. Rather, it
requires a variety of ingredients that should be
selected, measured and combined according to
the context, stakeholders and objectives.
In a recent briefing document published by the
International Centre for Studies in Local
Development (CIEDEL),7 Graugnard and Quiblier
(2006) elaborate on various capitalisation
concepts and their usefulness to development
cooperation, distinguishing three categories:
individual capitalisation, which corresponds
to a personal analysis of experiences that
individuals undertake for themselves in order to
improve practices and relationships with their
social, economic, technical or administrative
collective capitalisation, which meets teamor service-related interests and aims to improve
collective skills with a view to strengthening a
competitive position or to developing shared
knowledge or a common identity; and
institutional capitalisation, which aims to
preserve the memory of activities carried out in a
context where expertise migrates or where
knowledge holders transfer that knowledge to
other operators within or outside the structure.
They also refer to three areas of logic underlying
capitalisation processes:
the logic of experience, since capitalised
knowledge results from building on the memory
of what has been done;
the logic of method in which capitalisation
focuses on pinpointing, selecting and modelling
expertise; and
the logic of function in which the objective of
capitalisation is, on the one hand, learning from
practices to achieve progress, and, on the other
hand, applying this acquired expertise internally
and, if necessary, ensuring its dissemination.
The facilitators of the capitalisation process
discussed here took as their starting point a less
elaborate definition, which is closer to that of
collective capitalisation and which encompasses
these three areas of logic. The term capitalisation
has been used – independently of any programme
or organisation – to describe a process of
stocktaking, documentation, analysis and exchange
of experiences (with M&E approaches and tools)
with a view to learning.
This simple definition also has the advantage of
being easy to translate into English for the
anglophone participants of this process.
1.2. The objectives and
targets of the
capitalisation process
On a subregional scale, the capitalisation
process aims to assist participating organisations,
as well as their partners, in
documenting and analysing their experiences
with local capacity-building approaches for
monitoring and evaluating decentralisation and
local governance;
facilitating an exchange structured around these
experiences to identify elements of approaches
and M&E practices adapted to a local context;
6- The English-language concept closest to the French term capitalisation is that of 'knowledge management', which
is used to refer more to capitalisation processes within an organisation than to multi-stakeholder initiatives.
7- CIEDEL stands for 'Centre International d'Etudes pour le Développement Local', an institute based in Lyon, France.
providing participants with a networking
opportunity and a chance to learn from the different
M&E approaches about the outcomes and impacts
of decentralisation and local governance processes;
making the experiences of successful practices
and expertise from a variety of decentralisation
contexts available to actors and stakeholders in
decentralisation and local governance (working at
the micro-, meso- and macro-levels); and
providing support to these actors in debates on
capacity building, as well as support for
decentralisation and local governance at the
national, subregional and international level.
Experiences have also been documented and
published in an effort to help increase the amount
of literature available on this subject, which, until
now, has been rather limited.8 The capitalisation
process has also aimed at helping local government
actors learn lessons from the experiences
described in order to improve their practices. It was
hoped that publishing and disseminating the results
of the exchanges could encourage new initiatives
for building local M&E capacity to improve the
performance of new government systems —
thereby avoiding reinventing the wheel.
The stakeholders in the decentralisation process
decided that the focus of the exercise should be
on West Africa, namely the French-speaking
countries in the region, for the following reasons:
first, because these countries have close
historical and cultural links that are also reflected
in their decentralisation processes; second,
because they are still marked by an administrative
culture influenced by French administrative and
constitutional law; and, finally, according to their
governments, the countries selected for
capitalisation are involved in the process of
democratic decentralisation: local governments
have been set up following electoral processes, in
which local actors are made accountable. These
countries are thus in a position to have relevant
experience with respect to the M&E of
Ghana, the only anglophone country involved,
was added for two reasons: (1) it has strong
cultural links with neighbouring countries, with
whom it formed an Empire in the pre-colonial
period, and (2) the Malian government wanted to
exchange with and learn from experiences in a
country whose decentralisation process and local
government are embedded in and shaped by a
different administrative tradition (i.e., British
colonial rule).
1.3. How have
experiences been
To achieve their goals, the promoters of
capitalisation agreed on an organisational structure,
allocation of responsibilities, a joint approach and
the use of common tools for uniformly gathering
and structuring the contributions made.
Two people (referred to as facilitators or
activity leaders in the following text9) were
chosen to guide and coordinate the
capitalisation exercise. One facilitator was
closely linked to the promoters of the process and
REDL – and thus also more likely to win the
stakeholders’ trust.10 The other facilitator was
external to the REDL network and could thus
bring a more objective, enquiring perspective to
the capitalisation exercise.11 This type of alliance
was sought throughout the process, as were
occasional contributions by resource persons
who could bring a fresh outlook to the results and
to the form in which they were reproduced.12
An MATCL-level steering committee was also
established to support the initial phases of the
capitalisation process (see table 1), resulting in
the organisation of a subregional workshop.
Chaired by the MATCL’s technical adviser in
charge of decentralisation,13 the committee had a
remit ‘to coordinate and to monitor the
process of preparing and organising the
8- Aside from the publications cited in this section and the works listed in the case-study bibliographies in Part II,
documents dealing with monitoring and evaluation in decentralisation are scarce (particularly in French). Reviews of
the literature failed to reveal a single publication that focused explicitly on the subject of strengthening the M&E
capacity of local governments in West Africa.
9- These designations were used in the terms of reference drawn up to specify their mandate.
10- She was based in Mali, is a founding member of REDL and worked regularly with the MATCL/DNCT.
11- She is based in Europe, regularly undertakes missions to West Africa and has coordinated several capitalisation
exercises as well as studies on decentralisation and local governance and the issue of monitoring and evaluation
12- For example, making the texts more accessible to the public by avoiding the use of jargon, which develops within
every development organisation, and by ensuring uniformity of style and language.
13- The other members are the MATCL's head of communications; the head of the DNCT's resource and technology
centre; representatives from DAF/MATCL, ANICT and AMM; the two activity leaders from SNV and the ECDPM;
and two representatives from REDL.
14- Excerpt from resolution no. 06-00044/MATCL-SG creating the organisation committee of the subregional seminar
for building capacities to monitor and evaluate decentralisation and local governance in West Africa.
subregional seminar. As such, it was to ensure
that all the stakeholders would abide by the
timetable set and duly carry out the tasks
assigned to them.’14
Inasmuch as the experiences to be capitalised
were developed by a large number of actors,
author teams15 were formed in cooperation with
the organisations with which they were affiliated
for the purpose of documenting the approaches in
a participatory way. Each team was to choose a
volunteer to play the role of focal point16 (who
served as the main point of contact for the
facilitators). This person was responsible for
coordinating the process encompassing
each experience, ensuring the quality of the
different outputs, presenting them at the
subregional seminar and writing the case
It was felt that a joint approach and common
tools would allow the stakeholders to question
each other more effectively on their experience
and to document it in a structured and concise
way. This would also help them take away lessons
learned that could easily be shared with others. To
that end, the facilitators of the capitalisation
exercise drafted a methodological note (Loquai
and Le Bay 2005). In addition to listing the main
steps and proposing an indicative time frame, this
document included the following as part of the
annex of tools:
a case-study inventory list17 was provided to
help authors focus their contribution on issues of
common interest in order to facilitate exchanges
and help compare experiences during the
subregional seminar;
a guide for preparing case studies (see Annex
III), which aimed not at inhibiting the authors’
creativity but, rather, proposed a methodological
approach to help them focus their case study on
issues of common interest, adopt a similar
approach and, subsequently, facilitate comparative
thematic analyses;
definitions of several concepts and references
available for online consultation.18 The idea was
not to impose definitions but to promote a shared
understanding to help authors use appropriate
terminology while avoiding the use of jargon; and
a style guide in English and French,19 intended
to help authors present their experiences in an
easy-to-read style, thus accessible to a wider
The recommendations and criteria for analysis
proposed in the methodological note were based
on an analytical review of the literature on
capacity building, monitoring and evaluation, and
decentralisation and local governance. The
experiences and approaches already identified
and the initial exchanges with actors who had
taken part in designing and testing these
approaches were also used. In addition, the final
version of the note took into account the
comments made after a first reading by the
author teams, the steering committee, members
of the REDL and several resource persons.
15- These teams were made up of three people on average.
16- For exercises carried out simultaneously in two countries or by two organisations in the same country (such as the
monographs on the municipalities in Cameroon and Mali, or those involving the geographical information systems
in Mali), two focal points - one for each organisation - guided the capitalisation process.
17- Capitalisation in the form of case studies was regarded as the best methodological option: case studies allow
knowledge to be documented in way that can easily be shared, particularly with a less-informed audience. As case
studies are increasingly used by organisations in cooperation for purposes of knowledge management, all authors
were familiar with this instrument. Moreover, case studies were considered as the ideal means of presenting
experiences made in a specific national and subnational context, while providing sufficient scope for the different
perspectives and views of the stakeholders involved in testing the tools for strengthening M&E capacity.
18- This included common definitions for terms such as M&E, accountability, outcomes and impacts.
19- The style guide is based largely on the experience of the ECDPM editors, who are accustomed to revising
documents written by non-native speakers before they are published. The document also incorporates suggestions
and comments submitted from surveys of readers of ECDPM publications, users of the guide, and English- and
French-speaking editors with partner organisations.
Initially, the capitalisation process comprised
three steps (see details in table 1).
The first step involved identifying, documenting
and analysing worthwhile experiences and
approaches in building capacities for monitoring and
evaluating decentralisation and local governance.
This was done in the form of case studies.
The second step consisted of a subregional
seminar where experiences (structured around
the documented cases) could be exchanged.
The third step was devoted to publishing and
distributing the case studies and the results of
the seminar with a view to sharing and promoting
new debates, reflection and initiatives related to
building local capacities.
By the end of the second step, however, the
stakeholders’ perspectives had shifted; they felt it
would be desirable to make further use of the
outputs and to enhance the learning that resulted
from the capitalisation process as a whole. An
additional step was thus developed and
the fourth step included diversifying the ways
in which results were shared (particularly through
networking) in order to promote new exchanges
and learning opportunities at another level.
Additionally, opportunities such as international
conferences on capacity building for monitoring
and evaluation by local actors were also exploited.
These various steps or phases are summarised
in table 1. In terms of implementation, they
tended to overlap and were punctuated by
intermittent pauses to enable the stakeholders to
digest what they had learned.
Table 1 - The steps of the capitalisation process
Drafting a proposal for the joint initiative
June 2005
Step 1
Inventory of relevant experiences
July-December 2005
Methodological note
Formal commitment undertaken by the author teams contributing to the
capitalisation activity and completion of a questionnaire for classifying the
Preparation of a preliminary draft of the methodological note by the
Distribution of the methodological note to allow stakeholders to submit
Validation by the steering committee of the methodological note and of
the inventory list of the case studies to be capitalised
Distribution of the final version of the methodological note to the author
Step 3
Subregional seminar 'for exchange and learning'
Presentation of the case studies and discussions
Exchanges at the local-government user level
Online publishing of the preliminary drafts of the case studies and the
seminar documents
Preparation of the seminar report and distribution to the participants
Publishing and disseminating the experiences and results
Revision of the preliminary drafts of the case studies with the author
Translation of the case studies into English/French
Preparation of the various publication formats (articles, discussion papers,
Publication and distribution of the printed copies
Publication of the various formats online
Step 4
Step 2
Preparing the case studies and the seminar
Documentation and analysis of the experiences by the author teams - in
collaboration with the actors involved and the facilitators - in accordance with
the methodology described in the guide (see Annex III)
Translation of certain contributions into French
Providing a website allowing the stakeholders to follow the development
of the capitalisation process and to access the documents produced
Preparation of the subregional seminar
Networking and broadening exchanges and learning
Presentation of the results of the capitalisation exercise at the fourth
conference of the African Evaluation Association (AfrEA)
Preparation, publication and dissemination of offprints of the case studies
in English and French
Online discussion on the Pelican Initiative platform (www.dgroups.org/
groups/pelican) about the results of the capitalisation exercise and the
various case studies
December 2005-January 2006
January-May 2006
17 and 18 May 2006
19 May 2006
June-July 2006
August 2006-December 2007
January 2007
February 2006-February 2008
August-December 2007
Source: Adapted from Loquai and Le Bay (2005).
2.1. Step 1 – Identifying,
documenting and
analysing experiences
The objective of this step was to draw up an
inventory of the tools and approaches used in the
subregion to illustrate the theme selected as
effectively as possible. Four main criteria were
used to guide research and to select the
experiences to be capitalised:
the fact that the approaches and tools were
developed jointly with various stakeholders at a
local level to encompass several perspectives;
the importance not only of developing or
strengthening the capacities of M&E at the localgovernment level, but also of involving other local
actors (associations or NGOs, de-concentrated
state services, supervisory authorities in the
communities, traditional structures, civil society,
the private sector, etc.) to follow and evaluate by
themselves the outcomes and impacts of
decentralisation processes and the performance
of the new government systems;
the aim of helping to promote forms of
governance at a local level, which are responsible,
more transparent and more attentive to the needs
of citizens; and
showing the link between decentralisation,
local governance and poverty reduction within the
framework of local development.
Jointly, with the members of the REDL and the
steering committee, the two facilitators researched
the experiences worth capitalising. No specific
exploratory mission was carried out for this
purpose. Members of REDL used their own
network of resource persons and capitalised on
missions already planned in order to refine their
Obviously, this identification procedure introduced
certain biases:
the tools and approaches identified were all
developed within the framework of development
cooperation and thus benefited from external
support. For this reason, the facilitators felt it
worthwhile to pay particular attention to the
aspects of oversight and ‘ownership’20 of local
actors’ approaches, as well as their sustainability21;
some worthwhile experiences may have been
passed over because of the different systems in
every country in the area concerned, the inventory
process and the sometimes ‘confidential’ nature
of certain approaches developed;
in two other cases, the Republic of Guinea22
and the Cape Verde Islands, the experiences
identified could not be included because of
ongoing communication difficulties; and
finally, some organisations involved in the
preselected approaches were unwilling to
commit to the capitalisation process as a whole,23
which meant that they could not be included.
In December 2005, eleven experiences relating
to M&E of decentralisation and local governance
from five countries had been identified. These
experiences focused on approaches of an
experimental nature that were still under
development or already in use and being
Following their declaration of interest, the author
teams were requested to provide additional
information by filling in an inventory form (see
Annex III) so that the approach could be described
and then classified according to specific criteria. It
also gave them the opportunity to identify lessons
and challenges they wished to discuss at the
subregional seminar.
The author teams were encouraged to choose a
form of capitalisation that was participatory in
nature. Local actors involved in designing, testing
and using approaches or tools were thus included
in the procedure in a variety of ways. The
information contained in the case studies, as well
as the exchanges during the subregional seminar,
showed that the various teams had taken this
proposal into account.
All the teams submitted the preliminary draft of
their case study prior to the seminar. Often
writing in their free time, the author teams put
forth considerable effort to meet the deadline.
20- This term can appear ambiguous in so far as only the design procedures for the approaches involving different
stakeholders (including users) were selected. Understandably, even though the procedures were participatory, on
the one hand they can never involve all the users (there is a test phase, followed by a wider application), and on
the other hand, the approaches should ideally be used over the long term, even in the absence of an external
incentive. Finally, the results obtained by the users must also be recognised as their own.
21- See Annex III, 'Guide for the preparation of case studies', point h: 'Ownership, sustainability, adaptation and
replication of the approach'. Some of these approaches were replicated at a later stage by local decentralisation
actors in other regions or countries without the support of the initial sponsor.
22- The experiences identified in the Republic of Guinea appeared interesting, although the decentralisation process at
its present state can hardly be classified as 'democratic'.
23- This commitment involved documenting and analysing their experience in the form of a case study and supplying
different outputs (preliminary drafts, presentations, a publishable version) by the agreed deadlines (see table 1).
24- Initially, the joint initiative proposal (Loquai and Le Bay 2005) anticipated work on only six to eight case studies.
2.2. Step 2 – Organising a
subregional seminar for
exchange and learning
Organised under the auspices of the Ministry of
Territorial Administration and Local Government
(MATCL) of Mali, the seminar was held in Bamako
on 17 and 18 May 2006. In addition to the teams
that had prepared the case studies, the event
attracted some 100 participants involved in local
government, civil society, the private sector,
national institutions, development organisations
and aid agencies working on the themes
addressed in six West African countries.25
The objectives of the seminar were to
provide a platform for a structured exchange of
experiences and learning focusing on different
approaches and tools for capacity building in the
M&E of decentralisation and local governance;
identify examples of ‘good practice’, lessons
and operational challenges worth sharing with
political decision makers and practitioners of
decentralisation in the subregion; and
share these experiences and conclusions with
a wider audience and use them to contribute to
the international debate on the issue of the M&E
of decentralisation.
The exchanges were structured largely on the
basis of the case studies presented and the
discussions they generated. In addition, several
resource persons were invited to present and lead
discussions on subjects of common interest linked
more to national policy and framework, which
could influence efforts to strengthen the capacity
of actors involved in M&E at the local level.26
Prior to the seminar, a website was created for
bringing together the methodology documents,
information relating to the seminar (such as
programme, practical details) and the work
produced by the teams (for example, a summary of
the approach and tools, preliminary drafts and
presentations for the seminar).27 Over time, the site
has continued to develop, providing access to the
different outputs of the capitalisation process to as
wide an audience as possible. In addition to the
support provided by the facilitators, the site proved
to be a source of motivation to the teams, who
were thus able to take inspiration from the work
done by others and to start comparing experiences.
The seminar was conducted on the basis of a
participatory approach, alternating between
plenary sessions and working groups. All the
work was moderated; a constant focus on the
outputs proved essential to producing a reliable
external record of the exchanges within the
different groups. Throughout the workshop, the
case studies served as the basis for exchange,
which involved the sharing of experiences and
learning. In practical terms, three methods were
used to facilitate exchange and reflection:
Markets of experiences: before the seminar
got under way, all the author teams were
requested to prepare a poster presenting an
overview of the experiences they wished to share
with the other participants. These were displayed
during an informal meeting held before the
seminar, and attendance was limited to team
members. The teams were encouraged to walk
around and view the posters to get a basic idea of
the different approaches and tools on display. This
approach was also used to present the main points
of the exchanges during the workshops, as it was
an easy way to provide access to the outputs of
the seminar to a very diverse audience.
Presentations given during the plenary sessions
followed by question-and-answer sessions: certain
case studies were used in the plenary sessions to
introduce a type of approach or set of themes. The
presenters were encouraged to use visual aids
(such as PowerPoint presentations, drawings and
Theme-based workshops: in these working
groups, different experiences were categorised
and discussed in connection with specific
themes, such as approaches using tools aimed at
evaluating the effects of local governance on
poverty or tools for the participatory monitoring
and evaluation of social services.
A report summarising the main points of the
discussions and exchanges, as well as participants’
proposals and recommendations was prepared and
submitted to them for comment and then finalised
in July 2006 (FORANIM Consult 2006). Hard
copies were given to participants who did not have
25- Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso.
26- For Mali, this involved representatives of the National Coordination Unit for Technical Support for Local Government
(CCN) speaking about the implementation of a national database for M&E of decentralisation support, the
Observatory of Sustainable Human Development (ODHD) speaking about the creation of a poverty index at the
municipal level, and the Delegation of the European Commission (DEC) speaking about the establishment of
PARAD. For Benin, a representative of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Denmark spoke about budget support, and
for Burkina Faso, a representative of the Ministry for Territorial Administration and Decentralisation (MATD) spoke
about the development of a national system for monitoring and evaluating decentralisation. See Part I, chapter 5.
27- http://www.snvmali.org/actus/actualite.html.
Internet access in order to facilitate feedback on the
experiences and debates, as well as the sharing of
information with actors with a poor grasp of
After the seminar, some participants also wished
to visit the municipalities using the approaches
and tools presented. The discussions were thus
prolonged to examine specific reflections at
greater length and even to exchange information
or make comparisons. The elected officials and
citizens of these municipalities thus also got a
chance to learn about practices in other countries.
2.3. Step 3 – Publishing
and disseminating the
experiences and results
This phase started at the close of the seminar
and has involved the publication and dissemination
of the outputs of the capitalisation process in
various formats, via different channels and in
different languages. It is aimed to promote debate
beyond West African countries by reaching an
audience who thinks about and works in the field.
At the design phase, the promoters of the joint
capitalisation process had planned to disseminate
the results in three formats prepared by the
facilitators, Sonia Le Bay and Christiane Loquai:
an article in Capacity.org (Le Bay and Loquai
2006): this publication constitutes a tool dedicated
to passing on knowledge to, and exchanging
information with, researchers, practitioners and
political decision makers. Available both on the
Internet and in printed form, ‘Capacity.org’
presents articles and points of view on debates and
practices related to development capacities. The
journal is published in English, French and Spanish,
and distributed to readers throughout the world.
an InBrief (Loquai and Le Bay 2007): this
publication targets decision makers, managers of
development organisations and development
stakeholders. The format – in both electronic and
printed form in English and French – is well
suited to disseminating experiences and lessons
from case studies.
a synthesis report including the compilation
of case studies: this (the present document)
contains the ‘final outputs’ of the capitalisation
process in English and French. Intended for a
wide audience of practitioners and academics, its
aim is to bring together the various contributions
made during the seminar (a compilation of the
case studies, in particular), as well as a summary
of the results of the capitalisation, exchange and
learning process as a whole.
2.4. Step 4 – Networking
and broadening
exchanges and learning
Most of the participants in the subregional
seminar stressed the importance of networking
to broaden the exchange of information to include
actors in other countries engaged in processes of
democratic decentralisation. In addition to
supporting the author teams who were
integrating the information resulting from the
exchanges, contacts were made with the Pelican
Initiative to encourage an online discussion with a
wider audience about the capitalisation process.
The Pelican Initiative29 is an online network for
evidence-based learning. The network has some
300 active members, ranging from evaluators,
knowledge-management specialists, development
practitioners in various fields and researchers.
Online discussions promote and improve the
understanding of joint learning processes in
different areas of development.
Given the relevance of the theme addressed, the
Pelican Initiative management board agreed to
launch a pilot discussion (moderated for the first
time in two languages – English and French) on
building capacities for monitoring and evaluating
decentralisation and local governance. It was based
on case studies from the capitalisation process and
the questions and challenges identified by
participants in the subregional seminar. The usual
group of network members was extended to
include these participants, as well as other
interested collaborators from the organisations
This discussion platform obviously favours
actors with Internet access who are accustomed
to this type of exchange.30 Many of those involved
shared an interest in passing on new knowledge
and in receiving multiple contributions as part of
this online network. At the same time, some
28- This was a concern voiced during the subregional seminar evaluation.
29- www.dgroups.org/groups/pelican
30- Some of the development organisations represented were already familiar with how online discussion groups
31- www.afrea.org
participants were conscious of contributing to ‘a
tool capable of boosting performance in
development’ (Keijzer et al. 2006).
The lessons learned from some of the case
studies were also presented at the fourth
The passage of time has shown that the
publication of offprints does meet a real need,
since, despite online availability, requests for hard
copies are received continually. Given the level of
interest they continue to generate, reprints are
being considered.
conference of the African Evaluation Association31
(AfrEA) to encourage a debate on issues involving
strengthening the M&E capacity of localgovernment actors (Le Bay et al. 2007). The
conference was held from 17 to 21 January 2007
in Niamey, Niger. Entitled ‘Evaluate Development,
Develop Evaluation: A Pathway to Africa’s Future’,
the conference aimed to
broaden public debate on the practice of
evaluation and its impact on human development
in Africa, especially for poverty reduction and the
fostering of good governance;
create awareness of the decisive nature of
monitoring and evaluation in public development
policies and strategies; and
take stock of international experiences in the
area of monitoring and evaluation and of lessons
learned for developing better evaluation practices
in Africa.
‘Governance, evaluation and development
challenges in Africa’ presented the work carried out
thus far to the 500 participants32 from five
continents. While it was developed around a group
of themes, it dealt more specifically with the
establishment of permanent, transparent and
effective mechanisms for monitoring and evaluation
and communicated the relevance for governments
to successfully evaluate development projects,
programmes and public policies’.33
Interestingly, beyond those activities planned as
part of the capitalisation process, exchanges are
still taking place within and between some of the
author teams, even though some individuals no
longer hold the same position or are now employed
by other organisations. Readers interested in
certain experiences continue to contact the
facilitators or the institutions and resource persons
listed at the end of the case studies. E-mail is the
main means of communication, supplemented by
occasional telephone contact.
Structured around the actors’ common interests
and developed in a flexible, reactive way in
accordance with their continued growth, the
process has thus enabled the creation of a
communications network for sharing experiences
and learning, which continues to evolve
autonomously in different forms. This mobilisation,
both collective and individual, represents a very
encouraging secondary outcome that underscores
(should any doubt exist) the potential power of a
voluntary capitalisation procedure and some of the
spin-off effects it can have – not just in the
immediate future, but also in the short and medium
The resulting questions and discussions, as well
as the informal exchanges that followed, confirmed
that the experiences documented in the case
studies met the specific needs of many
participants, mainly practitioners. Many requested
that the case studies be made available as offprints
so that they could make the most of them with
their partners, which resulted in new publications.
32- It brought together various stakeholders and organisations, including regional and international development
organisations; national and regional evaluation networks and associations; specialised monitoring and evaluation
institutions; representatives of public and private enterprise; political decision makers, elected personalities and
local authorities; African and foreign experts; representatives of civil society; researchers; students; and other
individuals with an interest in M&E in Africa.
33- The sub-themes addressed in this area were the evaluative approach from the perspective of good governance;
the duty to monitor and evaluate development; comparisons between experiences from country evaluations;
setting up country evaluations, using the example of the CLE (Country Led Evaluation) project; roles and
responsibilities in development evaluation; value clashes in evaluation; evaluation in a multicultural and
multilinguistic context; ownership and application of evaluation results by stakeholders/interest groups; democratic
versus non-democratic governance, with lessons drawn from parliamentary evaluation in Africa; local participatory
evaluation, with an exchange of experiences acquired at the community level; evaluation and new challenges of
globalisation: the opening of markets and migration.
The authors of the case studies do not define
what exactly they understand by strengthening
the capacities of local actors to monitor and
evaluate decentralisation and local governance
processes. One reason for this is that the
guidelines for the joint stocktaking and analysis of
experiences provided them with definitions of
terms (see Part I, section 1.3, and box 1).
Box 1. A few definitions of a concept that
remains difficult to delimit: capacity,
capacity development and capacity
‘Capacity … refers to the ability of an
organisation to function as a resilient, strategic
and autonomous entity’ (Kaplan 1999).
‘Capacity development is the process by which
individuals, organisations, institutions and societies
increase their abilities to perform functions, solve
problems and achieve objectives; [and] to
understand and deal with their development need
in a broader context and in a sustainable manner’
(UNDP, 1997).
‘Capacity development is the process by which
individuals, groups, organisations and institutions
strengthen their ability to carry out their functions
and achieve desired results over time’ (Morgan
and Taschereau 1996).
‘Capacity building is any support that strengthens
an institution’s ability to effectively and efficiently
design, implement and evaluate development
activities according to its mission’ (United Nations
‘Capacity strengthening is an ongoing process by
which people and systems, operating within
dynamic contexts, learn to develop and implement
strategies in pursuit of their objectives for increased
performance in a sustainable way’ (Lusthaus et al.
Source: Adapted from Loquai and Le Bay (2005),
excerpted from Annex 3 of the methodological note.
In addition, the use and significance of the term
‘capacity development’ or ‘capacity building’, as it
was earlier called,35 has evolved tremendously. In
the region under review, it has come to encompass
new aspects of capacity development, as well as
new needs arising in the context of decentralisation
and new modes of local governance.
In development cooperation and related
literature, the term ‘capacity development’ is
alternately used to refer to an objective, approach,
process, input or result (Lopes and Theisohn
2003). It remains a complex and elusive concept,
but is relatively unanimously considered to be a
‘key issue’ for development (Morgan et al. 2005,
Baser and Morgan 2008). As these definitions
illustrate, ‘capacity development’ is seen as an
important ingredient to improving the processes
of decision making and institutional development,
recognising the various actors who contribute to
that improvement.
Seminar participants mentioned that these
concepts (as they are used by donors and
development agencies and adopted by national
authorities) tend to be too abstract, vague and
theoretical for local actors at the municipal level.
They are also difficult to translate into local
languages. At the same time, local actors have
rather concrete ideas on what kind of capacity
building they require and how the different tools
respond to these needs.
3.1. What kinds of
capacities need to be
In the case studies, capacity building for M&E of
decentralisation refers mainly to the following
stimulating interest in M&E tools, as
instruments for adaptive management of municipal
development, more informed decision making and
enhancing statistical literacy, i.e., the
capacity to analyse and interpret statistical data
that can help municipalities and their local-level
partners to plan, monitor and assess development
and poverty reduction at their level;
34- For more information about capacity building, see the DAC's list of reference documents: http://www.oecd.org/
document/47/0,2340,en_2649_34565_20633455_1_1_1_1,00.html. For an insight into recent discussions on this
concept, see the following websites: http://www.capacity.org (in particular Capacity.org no. 26, September 2005)
and http://www.intrac.org.
35- Today, the term 'capacity development' is preferred by many authors, because it is perceived to have a more
positive connotation: the capacity of partners is developed, thus already there, and not built from scratch as the
term 'capacity building' might imply.
enabling municipal actors to access, collect,
stock and update relevant information in
collaboration with other local actors (e.g., deconcentrated services, civil society, private sector);
helping local actors to jointly design and test
methods and tools for M&E of decentralisation
and local governance processes that are adapted
to their specific needs and the local context
(including commonly agreed performance criteria
and indicators);
developing procedures and systems for
exchange of information and statistical data on
the implications, outcomes and impacts of different
aspects of decentralisation and local governance;
strengthening citizens’ capacities to monitor
local government’s actions, to voice criticism and
to demand accountability from their elected
3.2. Why invest in building
local capacities for
monitoring and evaluating
Why are donors thinking about M&E of
decentralisation? Why should they invest in
exercises aiming to build capacities in partner
countries to monitor and evaluate decentralisation?
Should national and local actors in decentralising
states be interested in developing systems and
tools for assessing the results, outcomes and
impacts of reform processes?
In answer to these questions, with reference to
the case studies, literature and discussion on the
subject, the following can be said:
processes want to know to what extent and under
what conditions their support to these reforms
can contribute to development goals, such as
poverty reduction, economic development and
good governance (Reyes and Valencia 2004).
However, as the recently published reference
document of the European Commission rightly
states, assessments of outcomes and impacts of
assistance to decentralisation are still ‘works in
progress’ (European Commission/Europe Aid 2007a).
Moreover, until recently, M&E practices tended
to emphasise the information needs of donor
agencies and central governments more than
enhancement of local stakeholders’ capacity to
make their own evaluations. This approach has
had limited success as far as ownership and
utilisation of evaluation results are concerned. It
relies more on external experts than on local
knowledge and has failed to contribute enough to
strengthening local systems of accountability
(Watson 2005, Simon 2004). These latter,
however, are highly desirable in the context of
projects and programmes to promote democratic
decentralisation and local governance.
decentralisation are sometimes portrayed as
reluctant to invest in M&E. However, this image
has been countered by the readiness of Mali’s
Ministry of Territorial Administration and Local
Government (MATCL) to promote a process of
stocktaking and exchange of experiences with
M&E tools for local government actors, as well as
by the interest expressed by other African
countries in the results of this exercise. It is
important to note that national authorities often
have different expectations of M&E systems than
donor representatives and local-level actors. The
former tend to be interested in instruments that
can help them to coordinate and centralise
information on local government performance, as
managing data from a variety of locations and
providing feedback requires specific capacities.
Mayors committed to democratic local
governance increasingly realise their need for
tools with which to show citizens how they are
performing and why the municipality has difficulty
dealing with certain issues that citizens might
view as high priority. In this regard, M&E tools
could help them to make progress and
constraints visible to citizens and donors alike.
To citizens, decentralisation reforms and local
government will be credible only if they have
sustained positive impacts on people’s lives and
provide them with more opportunities to
participate in decision making or to exert
influence in local affairs. Elections provide
opportunities for political participation, but only
every few years. Nonetheless, other channels of
participation and citizen control of local
government have tended to be neglected.
Table 2 gives an overview of the case studies and the contributions made during the subregional
seminar. It classifies them by theme and according to the types of capacity-building tools and
approaches involved in each.
Table 2. Classification of tools and approaches in case studies
Type of tool or
Cameroon and Mali: Strategic planning and monitoring of
municipal development
Niger: Planning and M&E in municipalities, focusing on
Developing the capacity
poverty reduction
to analyse and monitor
District-based poverty profiling, mapping and pro-poor
local development at
planning as an M&E tool
the municipal level
Mali: Geographical information systems (GIS) for the
development of rural municipalities
Mali: Municipalities in figures: needs and realities
Mali: Assessment of local government performance,
experiences with a self-evaluation tool.
Self-evaluation tools for
assessing local
Niger: Planning and M&E in municipalities, focusing on
Supporting agency or
SNV, GTZ, Helvetas,
poverty reduction
Benin: Assessment of local government performance:
Experiences with a self-evaluation tool
Burkina Faso: The role of self-evaluation in a new national
Helvetas, ANCB
system for evaluation of decentralisation
Strengthening citizens'
control and local
stakeholders' capacity
to monitor the delivery
of decentralised
Mali: Towards a basic health-sector information system for
Benin: Public control in the education sector, pilot phase of
the participatory local impact monitoring methodology (SILP)
Mali: Participatory monitoring and evaluation as a means of
Opening external M&E
systems to local
municipal actors (SIEC-S)
empowering local government in the region of Mopti
Mali: Public perceptions as a barometer of local governance
Mali: Evaluating the impact of decentralisation
Abbreviations: ANCB = National Association of Benin Municipalities, DNCT = National Directorate for Local Government (Mali),
FIDESPRA = International Forum for Development and Exchange of Knowledge and Expertise Promoting Self-Sustained Rural
Development, GPRD/SIF= Ghana Poverty Reduction Programme of the Social Investment Fund, GTZ = German Technical Cooperation
Agency, Helvetas = Swiss Association for International Cooperation, KIT = Royal Tropical Institute (Netherlands), MATCL = Ministry of
Territorial Administration and Local Government (Mali), MLGRDE= Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and the
Environment (Ghana), MATD= Ministry for Territorial Administration and Decentralisation (Burkina Faso), NCA = Norwegian Church
Aid, NDPC= National Development Planning Commission of Ghana, SNV = Netherlands Development Organisation, UNCDF = United
Nations Capital Development Fund.
Source: Classification based on presentations and written cases discussed at the regional seminar in Bamako, 17-18 May 2006
Details of the experiences that were
documented and analysed in the case studies are
provided in Part II. The section below summarises
several of the main points that were addressed
within the framework of the different approaches
or types of tools. It also includes findings that
emerged from experiences that were not
capitalised in case studies.36
4.1. Developing the
capacity to analyse and
monitor local development
at the municipal level
In many francophone West African countries,
newly established local governments are learning
to formulate and implement municipal or regional
development plans. A common problem they
experience is the lack of baseline data and
statistical information to draw upon to analyse the
social, economic and cultural situation in the
territory. Often, national statistical systems have
not been adapted to decentralisation. They might
not produce sufficiently disaggregated data for
local planning, or municipal level planners might
lack easy access to the information that is
available. Moreover, municipalities and districts
often lack specialised staff to collect background
data and diagnose development issues before
engaging in the planning process.
The case studies from Mali, Cameroon and
Niger37 all deal with participatory approaches to
establishing municipal baseline information with a
view to improving planning, monitoring and
evaluation of local development. With the assistance
of external facilitators, the municipalities employed
participatory approaches to assemble and analyse
data jointly with other local development
stakeholders (e.g., de-concentrated technical
services, community based organisations, village
chiefs and the private sector) and to construct a
baseline that could be used for strategic planning
and eventually adapted for M&E purposes.
In Mali, this baseline exercise was complemented
by the design and testing of geographic information
systems (GIS) for rural municipalities. As feeding
and manipulating a GIS requires computer literacy
and basic cartography skills, primary responsibility
for system updating and maintenance lies with
municipal advisory centres. These are based at
the district level and provide various capacitybuilding services to the municipalities of a given
In Ghana, where districts have their own statistical
services, the challenge was slightly different:
development of a new methodology for poverty
profiling and mapping. Enhanced information was
needed on the level, causes and geographical
distribution of poverty at the district level in order to
facilitate pro poor planning, M&E of district plans
and pro-poor targeting of national development
programmes. Here too, an important element of the
approach was participation of a spectrum of local
development stakeholders, such as communitybased organisations, village associations, traditional
leaders and NGOs, in constituting databases and
district poverty maps.39
Experiences with these different tools provide a
number of lessons:
The process of constructing baselines and
conducting monographic studies enhances
knowledge of the local governments’ economic,
geographic and sociocultural potential and thus
allows it to be used more fully.
The tools give decision makers more clarity
about the constraints that local governments face
and about populations’ needs, thus providing a
more realistic basis for planning.
Such tools can help bring municipal planning
better in line with national-level poverty reduction
policies and with sector policies.
In the course of the exercise, the municipal
council usually assumes increasing responsibility
for steering and owning the process.
The participatory approach often contributes to
development of team spirit within the municipal
council, which enhances initiative.
These exercises all showed positive effects on
the capacities of local governments and municipal
advisory centres to collect and select relevant
statistics. They also resulted in stepped-up
collaboration between technical services,
supervisory authorities, local governments, civil
society and private sector agents at the local level.
So far, most of the baselines have been used for
planning and less as tool for M&E of local
36- Some of the experiences listed in table 2 were in too early a stage for capitalisation, but stakeholders participated
in and made contributions to the seminar (in the form of posters for the 'market of experiences' and in the
37- For more information, see case studies 2.1, 2.2 and 2.5 in Part II.
38- For more information, see case study 2.4 in Part II.
39- For more information, see case study 2.3 in Part II.
development and governance. For that latter
purpose, they need to be adapted, made more
selective, indicator-focused and converted into a
database that can be regularly updated. A step in
this direction is the effort in Mali to feed data into
a GIS. Plans to establish similar electronic
databases were under way in Cameroon and
Ghana at the time of the stocktaking exercise.
4.2. Self-evaluation tools
for assessing local
government performance
In 2004, the National Directorate for Local
Government of the MATCL of Mali issued a
publication explaining a tool for performance selfevaluation of local governments. These guidelines
were later included in a toolkit for mayors
distributed to all 703 municipalities of the country
(MATCL/DNCT et al. 2004).
The tool was the result of a long process of
design, testing and fine-tuning a participatory
approach to performance self-evaluation, an
exercise assisted by a number of development
organisations, in particular, SNV, Helvetas and
GTZ. These organisations all took active part in
helping their partners at the local level
(municipalities) to develop, test and use the
approach and provided feedback to stimulate the
tool’s gradual improvement and adaptation for
use in different contexts.
The proposed methodology puts the municipality
in the driver’s seat of an evaluation of its own
performance, which is repeated at regular intervals
(figure 2). Members of the local council compare
their self-evaluation with evaluation results
provided by various groups of other local actors,
such as community based associations, local
interest groups, private sector representatives,
staff of de-concentrated technical services and
supervisory authorities.40
Figure 2. Steps of performance self-evaluation of municipalities
2. Conduct the
(3 to 4 days)
3. Feedback from
the self-evaluation
(1/2 day)
Optimum rate
= 1/yr
1. Preparation for
the self-evaluation
(1 to 2 days)
4. Use of the results of
the self-evaluation
Source: Le Bay et al. (2007).
The tool proposes that the self-evaluation
revolve around five key areas of municipal
performance: (i) internal organisation, (ii) financial
and administrative management, (iii) mobilisation
of financial and human resources, (iv) planning
and programming of local development and (v)
services, products and infrastructure. For each
40- For more information, see case study 3.1 in Part II.
area a number of indicators was jointly defined
against which performance could be assessed
(using scores).
Experience with the tool has illustrated the
important role of external facilitation and
mentoring the first time the self-evaluation
exercise is conducted. It has also revealed some
potential pitfalls that users of the tool might
encounter, such as cultural barriers to articulating
and dealing with constructive criticism and being
self-critical in public. Experience has also
highlighted problems that the various stakeholders
may come up against if they focus solely on
performance based results and disregard the
wealth of communication that takes place before
and after the exercises. In fact, these exchanges
may well pave the way for shared responsibility
and consensual decisions.
Testing and utilisation of the tool has had many
positive results on the evaluation capacity of the
municipalities and others:
Municipalities are now able to measure their
performance (achievements and weaknesses)
and to analyse it themselves; they have learned
how to develop argumentation and mediate
between different viewpoints.
Understanding has improved of the roles of the
different actors and of the legislation on
decentralisation and local government.
Municipal councillors, mayors and contract staff
of municipalities now realise that they must be
more accountable to citizens and supervisory
Municipal staff have learned to use evaluation
results, adapting decision making and
management in line with findings.
Evaluation results have helped local officials to
formulate better targeted and more complete
requests for capacity building assistance to
municipal advisory centres.
Inspired by publication of the guidelines for the
self-evaluation tool in Mali, neighbouring countries
have begun to devise similar tools:
In Niger, a number of development agencies,
together with the de-concentrated state services
and municipalities, started testing and adapting
the self-evaluation tool in 2005. An innovative
feature of the adapted tool is its emphasis on
encouraging municipalities and their partners to
think at the local level about integrating goals of
the Millennium Declaration. The adapted tool also
allows the national poverty reduction strategy to
be taken into account in municipal planning,
monitoring and evaluation. The present challenge
is to get the tool validated by the Ministry of the
Interior and Decentralisation and used on a much
wider scale throughout the country.
In Benin, mayors have strongly contested an
external evaluation of the performance of the
municipalities. Instead, they have mandated the
National Association of Municipalities (ANCB) to
design an alternative approach. In collaboration
with a number of donors and ANCB branches at
the departmental level, the ANCB is presently
developing a municipal performance selfevaluation tool inspired by the one from Mali. The
Benin tool is also to serve as a means of better
targeting external support for capacity building for
the country’s young municipalities.
In Burkina Faso, the Ministry for Territorial
Administration and Decentralisation (MATD) plans
to make systematic use of self-evaluation at
various levels of its future systems for M&E of
decentralisation. The approach proposed for the
municipal level builds on the Malian tool.
However, in view of the very recent
establishment of the rural municipalities, the selfevaluation process will initially emphasise helping
these entities to reflect on the kinds of capacities
they need to acquire to become functional and
achieve their goals.
More recently, a development programme in
produced a two-step evaluation
performance. The first step is an obligatory
external performance assessment of local
governments. The second step is a voluntary
performance self-evaluation conducted with a
view to identifying the different needs of local
governments. With the programme, the central
state has shown its interest in the performance of
public action at the local level. It would like to see
local governments and development programmes
further develop this tool so that it can be used to
identify local government capacity-building needs.
On the whole, the tool serves to promote good
governance and performance based allocation of
resources to local governments.
These initiatives show that performance selfevaluation approaches have considerable potential
for replication. This is especially so because they help
to pinpoint the effects of capacity building in terms
of improved performance of local government.
4.3. Strengthening citizens’
control and local
stakeholders’ capacity to
monitor the delivery of
decentralised services
The two experiences presented under this
heading differ in terms of their entry points,
rationale and approach. Nevertheless, both have
as their end goal to improve the quality,
effectiveness and transparency of delivery of
public services at the local government level. To
achieve this objective, the case from Benin
promotes citizen control in the primary education
sector, while the Malian experience uses joint
monitoring of basic health indicators.
In Benin, the pilot phase of a participatory local
impact monitoring methodology (SILP) has
involved 15 schools in three municipalities of the
department of Atakora. School attendance in
these in northern territories has lagged behind the
national average. The trial forms part of Benin’s
poverty reduction strategy, which gives priority to
education and decentralisation policy.
Use of SILP is aimed at providing supplementary
information for quantitative evaluations of the barriers
blocking the proper operation of decentralised public
services. It is also intended to facilitate identification
and implementation of appropriate corrective
measures by citizens themselves.41
For this purpose, SILP follows an iterative
process of consultation and exchange, involving
sector actors at a number of levels (municipal,
departmental, national) and various groups of
actors (e.g., pupils, teachers, parents’
associations, citizens, local government, women
selling food to pupils, de-concentrated
educational departments of the central state,
central institutions and development partners).
The stress lies on two aspects of the public
spending cycle: tracing the resources allocated
and evaluating service quality. Figure 3 gives an
overview of important steps in this participatory
monitoring process.
41- For more information, see case study 4.2 in Part II.
Figure 3: Budgetary cycle, public monitoring approaches and the approaches
developed for the SILP
Independent policy
Analysis and review
- of policies
- and public spending
Independent audit
by civil society
- of a strategy
- of a budget framework
Establishing objectives
- of performance
- of service quality
Evaluation of
performance by
Budgetary cycle
Resource mobilisation and
Preparation and vote on
Monitoring of execution
- monitoring of activities
- monitoring of accounts
Joint management
of public services
budget analysis
Budget execution
- transfer of funds
- allocation of staff
Key : Budgetary cycle stages
Tracing of public
Budgetary cycle stages
Stages of public monitoring
of public spending
Both aspects are jointly reviewed by public and
community service users and suppliers, applying
national norms and standards and their own
criteria. An external moderator facilitates
discussion and evaluation according to these
jointly defined criteria.
The evaluation is followed by a debate on
corrective measures, which are then summarised
in a collective action plan. Implementation of the
plan is steered by parent associations and school
administration, but jointly monitored and
reviewed on regular basis with municipal
councillors. Initial results of the pilot phase of the
SILP approach show that the methodology can
improve knowledge on strengths and weak-
Source: Floquet A. and R. Mongbo (2006).
nesses in using financial resources devolved from
the central state to the decentralised level (to the
departments, municipalities and schools). Even
after only a few months of testing, the method
appeared to have helped various local actors to
better assume their respective roles in enhancing
public scrutiny of the use of public funds. The act
of mobilising their thoughts and energy for a
common cause also improved the efficiency of
public spending. Moreover, there is evidence that
the SILP approach disseminates itself, as it is now
being used in municipalities that were not
included in the test sample.
However, the strategy also has pitfalls. In the
absence of capable moderation, latent conflicts
discussions. Also, if not properly prepared and
supervised, SILP can lead to covert tactics and
exclusion of actors, instead of self-corrective
strategies. External support is thus essential in
the test phase and probably well beyond.
Mali’s testing of a basic health-sector
information system similarly rendered service
delivery more effective and transparent. However,
for this exercise the initial objective was a
different one. Because the transfer of resources
and capacities for municipal-level health service
provision is advancing only slowly in Mali, the idea
was to test a tool that could contribute to the
process of devolution.42
A basic package of information was developed for
key public health actors at the local government
level, including elected officers, community health
associations and technical departments. The
information kit, called ‘SIEC-S’,43 had been
produced jointly by the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT),
SNV, the Malian Ministry of Health and the
community-based health associations that run
many of the local health centres. Action research
was then conducted on how to use this package
for monitoring and managing basic information on
public health at the municipal level, involving
municipal councillors, the deconcentrated health
services of the central state and representatives of
local community health associations (ASACOs).
The strength of the SIEC-S approach is its
enabling non-specialists on health, including the
illiterate, to take part in discussions on health
system results, progress in public health and
reasons for failures and success. As participants’
comments illustrate (see box 2), use of SIEC-S
improved local stakeholders’ understanding of
key health statistics and of indicators directly
relevant to their daily work. This, in turn,
strengthened municipal councillors’ ability to
discern top priorities for action, to take informed
decisions on health matters and to negotiate with
the Ministry of Health. The joint collection,
sharing and analysis of health-related indicators
and information enhanced cooperation between
the actors concerned. For this reason, the project
has constituted a very practical experience that
paves the way for the transfer of health sector
powers to local governments.
Box 2. Comments of local actors
‘We thought the pictures on the wall were
meant to make the community health centre look
nicer. We didn’t realise they were technical figures
that we could understand.’
Comment of a participant at a working meeting on basic
health indicators organised in the context of SIEC action
‘This is great. It’s just what we needed. Now we
can get a better idea of the state of health in our
municipality. Before, we thought we were making
good progress because we weren’t analysing the
figures properly, but now we can also find out
where the problems lie.’
Comment by the chairperson of a local mayors’ association
after a working meeting on health indicators.
Source: Toonen et al. (2007: 11).
4.4. Opening external
M&E systems to local
In 2004, CARE Mali made the design and
implementation of participatory M&E systems for
its programmes a priority of its new long-term
strategic plan. As the test case for a new
integrated participatory M&E system it chose the
Support Programme for Municipalities and
Grassroots Organisations, co-financed by the
Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation
(NORAD). The focus of the programme, which
was based in the region of Mopti, was natural
resource management and local governance. At
that time, it was still in its initial stages of
Design and testing of the new participatory
M&E system brought together a range of actors
involved in resource management and new
governance structures. Participants spanned the
village, municipal, district (‘cercle’) and regional
levels and were drawn from both civil society and
the de-concentrated technical departments of the
central state. All had been intensely involved in
designing the programme.
42- For more information, see case study 4.1 in Part II.
43- SIEC-S stands for 'Système d'information essentielle pour la commune dans le secteur de la santé' (System of
Basic Health-Sector Information for Municipalities).
44- For more information, see case 5.1 in Part II.
These actors were later to take on roles in the
newly emerging M&E system, intended to meet
both CARE’s internal needs for monitoring data
and Mali’s need for better information and
accountability systems for its new local
governance structures.
Although the M&E system had been running for
barely a year at the time of the stocktaking
exercise, the authors of the case study could
already point to several lessons learned:
Participatory M&E is an effective way of
transferring skills to local actors, but time and
patience are required to put such an approach into
practice. Especially in a poor region like Mopti,
where educational standards tend to be low,
participants need to be given plenty of time to
absorb the information they receive.
It is vital to choose able participants with a
basic level of capacity from among the
‘beneficiaries’ if the process is to be successful.
Illiteracy, for instance, has proven to be an
obstacle to participants taking ownership of some
of the M&E tools.
The commitment of the steering team is a key
success factor of participatory M&E. It is
important that the team clearly distinguish this
method from earlier, less participatory methods
of managing projects.
Problems encountered during the test phase
were, among others, related to the diversity of
languages and dialects spoken in the region and
differences in educational levels of the participants.
As a solution, all important documents were
translated into the three main languages (Dogon,
Peulh and Bambara) spoken in the region.
Moreover, at meetings the participants were
divided into groups according to language spoken
and educational background. This made the process
time-intensive, but ensured that the people
involved could communicate and make their points.
In a similar vein, to open strategic planning and
M&E to the perspectives of local governance
stakeholders, Norwegian Church Aid (NCA)
conducted an assessment of the state of
decentralisation and local governance in three
regions of northern Mali (Gao, Timbuktu and Kidal)
in 2005. The assessment was less anchored in a
participatory M&E approach, but more focused on
capturing and analysing citizens’ perceptions by
means of a traditional survey approach. To get a
differentiated picture of citizens’ perceptions on
the state of decentralisation and local governance
in the three regions and to ensure that the views
of marginalised and vulnerable groups were taken
on board, the researchers interviewed officers of
civil society organisations working with these
groups and representatives of citizens directly.45
The evaluation concluded that integrating an
analysis of citizens’ perceptions can improve tools
and current systems for monitoring and
evaluating local governance. A greater emphasis
on citizens’ perceptions, opinions and
assessments would also better equip elected
councillors and supervisory authorities to ensure
that approaches adopted for governance and
development are relevant, viable and sustainable.
Bearing in mind the lack of opinion polls and the
very few surveys on local governance themes
among electors that have been conducted in
West Africa, the survey of perceptions
commissioned by the NCA makes an interesting
contribution to current thinking about barometers
of governance (Bratton et al. 2000).46
The last experience, in Mali, is from the United
Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), which
has been active in promoting local governance in
northern Mali since the latter 1990s.47 In the context
of a broader UNCDF initiative, UNCDF-Mali started
an evaluation of the poverty reduction impacts of its
Support Programme for Rural Municipalities in
Timbuktu (PACR-T).
Data collection proved a real challenge. The main
constraint was the mediocre quality of the
information available on the reference situation.
Baseline figures were meagre and a lot of
statistical information was unusable because it
was not broken down to the municipal level. To
remedy the situation, the project team and
external evaluators decided to try a new
qualitative surveying approach drawing largely on
the perceptions of local communities and a
participatory assessment method.
45- For more information, see case study 5.2 in Part II.
46- See, in particular, the current work of Afrobarometer and the Impact Alliance's Local Governance Barometer
project, which is intended to be used as a tool for measuring the performance of local government throughout
Africa (www.impactalliance.org).
47- For more information, see case study 5.3 in Part II.
Hence, a conceptual framework for analysing
the impact of decentralisation on various
dimensions of poverty was jointly designed with
partners, and local perceptions were used to rank
the villages and wards of each municipality in
three categories, from poorest to least poor.
Community participation in the planning process
and use of municipal investment funds in each
community were then analysed in order to
identify which of the three categories had
received the most investment.
A clear advantage of this method is its allowing
‘poverty’ to be defined and assessed from the
viewpoint of the beneficiaries of the programme’s
activities. In this case, this led to a focus on the
impact of socio-economic investment, because
the dimension of poverty most widely
experienced in the Timbuktu region is that of
gaining access to basic socio-economic services.
As this case study concludes, it is regrettable
that monitoring and evaluating the impact of
decentralisation on poverty reduction is often
regarded as only a concern of researchers and
donors. The authors argue that decision makers in
developing countries should make M&E a more
systematic management practice. This would
allow a counterchecking of the underlying
hypotheses of development approaches. It would
also contribute to improving the living conditions
of poor populations and enable populations to
better analyse and understand their rights and
options as citizens.
This review revealed that the capacity of local
actors to monitor and evaluate the processes of
decentralisation and local governance is strongly
influenced by national-level frameworks and
policy development — as is their interest in and
willingness to try out new practices.
The case studies highlighted the importance of
actors at the national level (such as national
authorities and associations of municipalities)
because the chances of the M&E tools developed
with local actors being used and replicated depend
largely on their collaboration. Mayors at the regional
seminar also underscored the importance of
supervisory authorities’ cooperation — even just
their ‘endorsement’ of M&E tools was crucial for
their wider usage. The mayors said that they find it
worthwhile to test planning and M&E approaches
for municipal development, to conduct selfevaluation sessions on municipal performance and
to identify changes to improve operations.
Nevertheless, in the implementation phase, they
depend on the collaboration of supervisory
authorities, de-concentrated state services with
municipal oversight functions, as well as support
from the national level (for example, in the form of
ministerial directives or lobbying by municipal
associations). This type of support from nationallevel institutions is often essential for ensuring that
the results of M&E processes are taken on board by
the de-concentrated state administration.
5.1. Consistency,
coordination and
complementarity of M&E
approaches and tools
The subregional seminar showed that a good
many development organisations are trying out
new approaches and tools aimed in one way or
another at strengthening the M&E capacities of
local actors.48 The approaches and tools
documented in this publication are probably only
a few among many others being tested and used
in the region. They show what can be achieved
through coordination as well as the need for
coordination and complementarity in order to
avoid a proliferation of different procedures and
tools at the expense of a systemic approach.
Most of the experiences selected for capitalisation
reflect the desire of several development
organisations to jointly design, test and implement a
specific approach or tool by involving their
respective partners. The experiences described in
the case studies are encouraging examples that
show what is possible when the various actors
consult with each other or develop strategic
alliances based on common objectives. This
requires an openness to a systemic approach on
the part of stakeholders and the existence of
individuals prepared to act as ‘champions’ and
guide and promote the joint process. The
definition of a relevant mandate and the will of
organisations to devote human and financial
resources to consultation and common
processes appear to be equally important.
Despite the desire to coordinate and harmonise
policies and aid instruments, as set out in the Paris
Declaration (OECD 2005), collaboration around
joint initiatives is not yet standard practice. Often,
development organisations and project or
programme leaders prefer to invest in ‘their own
approaches’, in ‘their own areas of involvement’
and with ‘their own partners’. Results are often
said to be ‘innovative’ and ‘replicable’ (in principle).
However, because of a lack of collaboration on, and
sharing of, experiences with other organisations
that could promote them in ‘their areas of
involvement’ with ‘their target groups’ during the
design and testing phases, the use of these tools
remains very limited. Another obstacle to the
development and replication of the available
approaches and tools is a lack of willingness to
coordinate efforts and exchange experiences
between different ministries, directorates and
departments at the national level.
Although there are fewer tools for strengthening
the M&E capacity of local government actors than
there are for municipal planning, the seminar
participants felt strongly that there was a risk of
‘mushrooming’. Citing adverse effects on
48- Several examples were discussed during the subregional seminar. The UNCDF has experience with tools that
monitor and evaluate the performance of local government registry offices, as well as their capacity to mobilise
resources. And, in light of Mali's decrees implementing intercommunality, the Canadian organisation SUCO has
put a great deal of effort into an original approach designed to strengthen M&E capacity at the village, municipal
and inter-municipal levels.
systemic coherence, some voiced the desire to
inform national authorities (particularly those
ministries in charge of local governments) of the
need for coordinating efforts to design and test
new M&E tools and approaches. Other
participants, however, stressed the importance of
being able to choose from several options.
On the whole, it was deemed highly desirable for
national authorities (particularly those ministries in
charge of implementing decentralisation and
those departments responsible for overseeing
local governments) to promote access to the
tools and approaches available. In this connection,
various inputs were mentioned, including
information sessions, written communications,
radio broadcasts and online availability via
ministry or local-government association
The manuals for the self-evaluation tool for local
government performance in Mali and for poverty
profiling, planning and M&E in the municipalities
of Ghana are very educational and are excellent
examples of good practice in ‘popularising’ a
specific approach. But even these documents
could be improved further through the addition of
a simplified version and translations into local
languages, thus promoting the replication of the
practices they propose at the local level.
Furthermore, the case studies show the
importance of facilitating and externally supporting
local actors in mastering the procedures and
building capacity.
5.2. Budget support and
related M&E challenges
For several years, some donors have shown a
strong tendency to shift their focus to sector-wide
approaches and, more recently, to budget
support as a new instrument for assisting the
processes of decentralisation and state reform in
developing countries. This recent preference for
budget support as a new aid instrument is true of
the European Union, which is one of the largest
donors in West Africa, but it also applies to an
increasing number of important bilateral donors,
who prefer this instrument of development
cooperation to more traditional forms of aid (such
as projects or programmes). ‘Budget support’
means that development assistance is fed
directly into the beneficiary state’s budget and
channelled through a developing country’s own
administrative system, using its own procedures.
Its proponents consider this tool to be both
conducive to improving the transparency and
efficiency of the management of public finance
and more suited to promoting ownership and
capacity building among partner countries’
national institutions. It is argued that it involves
fewer transaction costs than project aid or basket
funding and is more effective in promoting policy
dialogue between donors and the relevant
government. Budget support is also promoted
with a view to generating synergies between
interdependent actors in achieving planned results
(European Commission/EuropeAid 2007b, OECD,
DAC 2006, Hauck et al. 2005). There was broad
recognition that the effectiveness of budget
support is strongly linked to the terms of
implementation, its capacity to fuel political
dialogue, and the quality of the monitoring system.
This shift towards budget support has various
consequences for M&E practices, particularly in
the context of democratic decentralisation, where
relationships between the central and local levels
are changing dramatically (Land and Hauck 2003).
It places increased demands on the evaluation
capacities of both donor agencies and actors in
decentralisation in developing countries.
Disbursement of budget support usually takes
place in tranches,49 with the funding level
depending on specific conditions being put in
place and progress achieved in relation to jointly
agreed-upon performance indicators.
The government of the partner country usually
proposes and negotiates the performance
indicators with the donor. It also has to design an
adequate M&E system and report on progress.
Progress is then jointly analysed and reviewed
with the donor. Implementing and monitoring
budget support thus requires a capacity to
identify and systematically track key indicators of
decentralisation and local governance. Ideally, this
process should involve actors from the national to
the local level, including local councillors,
representatives of users of decentralised public
services and countervailing forces from civil
49- A tranche (or tranch) is a slice or portion of a whole. Budget support is disbursed in fixed annual tranches, where
disbursement is subject to certain conditions, and variable tranches, which are linked to progress made towards
specific objectives (defined in terms of results to be achieved).
In 2006, the European Commission launched a
pilot programme providing Euro 72 million in
sectoral budget support50 for a period of
operational implementation from 2006 to 2010.51
This programme (Support Programme for
Administrative Reform and Decentralisation,
PARAD) was presented during the subregional
workshop by a representative of the Delegation
of the European Commission (DEC) in Bamako.52
Because of its innovative, ambitious character,
and since it had just begun to be implemented,
the participants had many questions about the
programme. These underscored the many
challenges arising from a programme aimed at
strengthening the link between decentralisation
and government reform. This is also seen in the
financial proposal, which requires horizontal
involvement of the sector ministries and, in
various capacities, all the actors concerned. In his
presentation, the DEC representative stressed
very strongly the principle of making Malian
actors accountable.
Box 3 gives an overview of PARAD’s different
areas of involvement and their complexity.
PARAD’s performance indicators were identified
and negotiated in a participatory process that
involved representatives of all the stakeholders in
the administrative reforms and decentralisation
policy53 (such as ministries and national
directorates, the donor community and local
government representatives). The indicators are
all from different strategic documents and legal
texts relating to the decentralisation process and
state reform. Information is obtained from a
monitoring system that relies partly on data
collected by the ministries and partly on data from
the monitoring tools of the strategic plans for
poverty reduction and a computerised monitoring
and evaluation tool (referred to as the ‘OISE
database’54), which is linked to the National
Support Programme for Local Government
Box 3. PARAD’s areas of involvement and
strategic priorities
PARAD provides support to
The six strategic areas of the Institutional
Development Programme of the Malian
Government (Programme de développement
institutionnel, PDI):
1. Reorganising the central state
2. Improving methods and procedures for the
management of public affairs
3. Strengthening de-concentration
4. Consolidating decentralisation
5. Developing and strengthening human
6. Strengthening communication and
relationships with users
The four strategic priorities of the
decentralisation process:
1. Developing the capacities of local
2. Improving the de-concentration of state
3. Developing local citizenship
4. Developing private service providers at the
local level
Source: European Commission/EuropeAid (2005),
MFPRERI, CDI (2004), MATCL, DNCT (2005).
A list of the twelve performance indicators is
provided in table 3. The levels achieved annually
for these performance indicators are measured by
a national scale that corresponds to the sum of
the efforts made by the actors involved
throughout the territory (European Commission/
EuropeAid 2005).
50- On the specific features of sectoral budget support, as used by the European Commission, see European
Commission/EuropeAid (2007a) and Schmidt, P. (2006).
Although decentralisation and administrative reforms are not a sector, but rather a cross-cutting process, the
modalities of aid PARAD follows are those of sectoral budget support, as the assistance is earmarked for a specific
'area of reform'.
51- A total of 75% of programme funds are earmarked for supporting the decentralisation process (budget-support
component) and 25% are for supporting state reform (institutional-support component). The Ministry of Foreign
Affairs and International Cooperation of Mali is the contracting authority for the programme and is the national
commitments officer for all support provided by the European development fund. The MATCL and the Ministry of
Public Service, State Reform and Institutional Relations (Ministère de la fonction publique, de la réforme de l'État
et des relations avec les institutions, MFPRERI) serve jointly as the contracting authority for PARAD.
52- See M&E of budget support for state reform, example of PARAD in Mali by Casas C. in FORANIM Consult (2006).
53- Negotiations began in January 2005 and resulted in the outputs from an ad hoc workshop held on 19 May 2005
with the agencies involved in preparing the programme: the National Directorate for Local Government (DNCT),
National Coordination Unit (CCN), Commissariat for Institutional Development (CDI), Ministry of Economy and
Finance (MEF), Higher Local Government Council (HCC), Association of Malian Municipalities (AMM), sector
ministries (education, health, water), DEC, unit of the Strategic Plans for Poverty Reduction, National Statistics and
Informatics Directorate (CSLP), and ratified by the Council of Ministers (see European Commission/EuropeAid
[2005: Annex 2]).
54- 'OISE' stands for outil informatisé de suivi et evaluation (computerised monitoring and evaluation tool).
55- See Mali in the country overview in Annex V.
Table 3. PARAD’s 12 indicators of decentralisation (9) and de-concentration (3)
Group 1
Indicators measuring the population's access to public services at the local government level
Villages having at least one water point producing drinking water
Percentage of women having at least one prenatal consultation during pregnancy and the
average number of prenatal consultations per woman
School enrolment of girls
Group 2
Indicators on the link between decentralisation and de-concentration
Quality of local governance (three indicators)
Own resources of local government per inhabitant
Transfers of human and financial resources from the central to local government (in different
Group 3
Indicators relating to de-concentration and the role of supervisory authorities
Assistance provided to empower local governments
Level of fiscal de-concentration of ministries
Level of de-concentration of human resources from ministries
Group 4
Indicators concerning the reform of state
Establishment and operationality of 31 additional tax offices at the decentralised level
Computerisation of the administration
Time required for tendering
Source: European Commission/EuropeAid (2005: Annex 2).
The first meetings of the programme’s steering
committee56 and, more recently, a joint evaluation
(Comité de pilotage du PARAD 2007)57 have revealed
the need to strengthen the capacities of the actors
involved and to jointly fine-tune certain indicators or
targets in a timely manner. This was also indicated by
the review mechanisms. Indeed, although ‘overall,
most of the information was provided’ to show that
indicator targets had been reached for 2006, ‘some
was not complete and even contained gaps. It thus
follows that a satisfactory verification of the relevant
target reached is impossible. […] The examination of
the indicators and the review of the targets reached
by the evaluation mission provided an opportunity to
highlight certain difficulties involving the
interpretation of indicators or a lack of precision in
defining them.[…] Certain indicators should be reexamined, either for taking into account situations or
difficulties which could not be sufficiently
understood when the targets were approved, or,
inversely, for eliminating objectives which seem to
have been met already at the outset and are thus
poorly defined or not really relevant’ (Comité de
pilotage du PARAD 2007).
The donors and development agencies
participating in the coordination group on
‘decentralisation and institutional development’
took part in discussions on feedback from the
evaluation, which revealed problems of data
interpretation and statistical significance.
Performance-based disbursement of budget
support can introduce new biases,58 so the
question of building the capacity to verify
information at the local level must also be
addressed. Hence, it makes sense to develop
56- According to decree no. 278/PM-RM, dated 11 July 2006, the steering committee includes the Commissariat for
Institutional Development (CDI), the National Directorate for Local Government (DNCT), the National Agency for
Local Government Investment (ANICT), the Association of Malian Municipalities (AMM), the Association of Malian
'Cercle' and Regional Authorities (ACCRM), the Higher Local Government Council (HCC), the Ministry of Economy
and Finance, the Strategic Plans for Poverty Reduction (CSLP), the sector ministries concerned and the DEC.
57- This was carried out in accordance with a resolution passed by the PARAD Steering Committee on 27 March 2007.
58- It is important to remember that the disbursement of budget support takes place in tranches (four fixed tranches
and three variable tranches). While the disbursement of fixed tranches is contingent on a series of trigger indicators
(achieving a series of policy decisions and measures jointly agreed upon and considered to be determining factors
for implementing decentralisation policy and state reform), the disbursement of variable tranches is contingent
upon the annual review of the twelve performance indicators. The amount of the variable tranches is calculated
jointly by the European Commission/European Community and the Mali government, with the final decision lying
with the former. The decision to disburse each variable tranche, as well as the amount paid out, is contingent on
the degree to which the targets defined for the twelve performance indicators have been met.
techniques of triangulation and cross-checking of
data generated by an M&E system created to
review budget support.
Several means exist for achieving this. One is to
draw on information produced by other M&E
systems, such as those of bilateral donors
operating at the local level. Another is to enable
the responsible central and supervisory
authorities, or other relevant actors, to conduct
surveys of public perception.59 In this regard,
agreements on how to verify the reliability of data
and to provide capacity-building support for central
and supervisory authorities appear particularly
important; the focus on a few performance
indicators can introduce biases, negative effects
and incentives for manipulation of data, thus
casting a shadow on the reliability of the data.
During the subregional seminar, there was a
great deal of interest in the definition (as well as
the methods of monitoring and evaluating) the
performance indicators for the variable tranches.
There were comments on the degree of
aggregation and complexity of the indicators.
Some participants felt that the extent of budget
support and conditions related to the twelve
indicators and the variable tranches created the
risk of a simplistic view of decentralisation, the
danger being that the various actors would focus
too heavily on meeting the twelve targets.
Mayors, as well as representatives of
development organisations, expressed fears
about the transparency involved in calculating and
assessing the indicators. They felt that the
definitions and methods of calculation were not
easily understood at the local level, particularly by
local-government actors. They made the
European Commission and the Malian authorities
aware of the fact that making local actors truly
accountable and encouraging good performance
also requires more sustained efforts for
communication, explanation and dialogue (in
addition to the multimedia information campaign
previously conducted). This is particularly true in
regard to procedures, evaluation results and the
roles of all those involved in monitoring the
In the same context, several participants
stressed that PARAD’s effectiveness in Mali was
basically due to the development of an ‘M&E
culture’ by the government ministries. They also
highlighted the efforts still to be made in
coordinating the production of statistics because
of ongoing problems at the national level involving
the supply of data for, and the harmonisation of,
different databases.61
5.3. National policy
changes and new M&E
challenges: An example
from Mali
It is evident that the development of new
methods of support requires the parallel
development of new M&E systems that are more
participatory and which increasingly link
qualitative and quantitative considerations. It was
therefore considered useful at the seminar to
discuss Mali’s experiences with the OISE
database as an innovative nation-wide tool for
decentralisation (and as an invaluable database in
monitoring the PARAD indicators).62 The
presentation and ensuing discussions, based on
statements by stakeholders and on lessons
learned, served as a point of departure for looking
at ways to improve the operation and use of OISE
— now needed more than ever, following the
closing of the Malian Municipal Advisory Centres
(CCCs),63 which, until 2007, had been managing
the OISE database at the local level.
Launched in 2002, the OISE database was
designed to meet the needs of the National
Support Programme for Local Government
(PNACT) (the predecessor of PARAD) and to
provide stakeholders with access to basic
information on local governments, as well as on
the range of local services delivered (both public
59- See the three case studies from Mali in Part II on the opening of external M&E systems to local perceptions.
60- The wide dissemination of directive no. 2337/MATCL-SG, dated 16 August 2006, concerning the implementation
and monitoring of the indicators of the Support Programme for Administrative Reform and Decentralisation
(PARAD) is particularly important.
61- PARAD's financial proposal broadly describes the M&E system to be implemented (monitoring commissions and
committees, annual and midterm reviews, audits, merging databases), but the concrete procedures, and
particularly, coordination with the other technical and financial decentralisation partners, were still to be established
after the start of the programme.
62- See 'Design and use of an M&E tool for decentralisation support at the national level: Experience of the OISE
database in Mali' by Ba (National Coordination Unit - CCN) in FORANIM Consult (2006).
63- The CCCs, operating from 2000 to 2007, were seen as the heart of the support mechanism for local governance.
Run by development organisations (called 'operators'), they were tasked with providing support to local
governments, particularly in the areas of overseeing local development, managing support programmes and
operating the technical-support mechanism at the local level.
and private). The OISE database was thus
conceived as a data storage and processing tool
of PNACT’s M&E system, with the aim of
institutionalising feedback loops between the
local and the national level.64 Various types of data
were collected: general information on local
governments (voter turnout and human
resources, such as elected officials and the staff
employed by the municipalities), technical support
provided (e.g., training courses offered and
planned support), investments planned and
realised (in the context of the implementation of
the Economic, Social and Cultural Development
Plan65 [PDESC]), local government performance
(through reports submitted to supervisory
authorities or the holding of ordinary sessions, for
example), local government funding (budgeting,
and setting up and running administrative
accounts), technical services (number provided)
and technical and financial partners (number).
One of the objectives of the OISE database was
to make data related to decentralisation available
to all the actors. Although, theoretically, the OISE
database functions as an up- and down-flow data
collection, storage, processing and transfer
system, the seminar participants felt that it was
unfortunate that local actors — who contribute
most to maintaining the tool and who need these
data to carry out their activities (planning,
programming and decision making, in particular)
— did not have easy access to the tool. They also
stressed that the quality and nature of the data
had to be improved because of inconsistencies
between the local and national level and because
of a tendency to be overly quantitative.
Additionally, it appears that the database does not
compile data that already exist (such as reference
situations),66 although it is technically capable of
importing data from other databases, hence a lack
of simple cross-checking of data and lingering
doubts as to the reliability of the information
compiled over the years.
Efforts have been made to make the data
accessible on the Internet,67 and there are various
ways of presenting the data (in table, graph and
chart form) adapted to various user profiles,
although the result does not constitute a real
information system that can serve as a tool to aid
decision making. Despite these efforts, access
remains difficult, mainly at the local and regional
level. The sustainability of the system has even been
called into question: the CCCs, which played a key
role liaising between the various decentralisation
actors and which had invested a great deal (in
training, purchasing equipment and setting up a
maintenance system) to develop their capacity for
monitoring and evaluating decentralisation and local
governance, will no longer operate the system after
In 2007, the National Coordination Unit for
Technical Support for Local Government (CCN)
conducted ‘ownership tests’ to develop a strategy
for transferring the tool to sustainable structures
capable of administering it effectively and
efficiently. Different options were analysed in
relation to sustainability, and although its
relevance was not called into question, it was
determined that expectations related to its use
needed to be recalibrated (MATCL, DNCT, CCN,
2007). Transfer of responsibility to other
structures is not expected to be easy, as all the
related skills and inputs must be transferred along
with it. At the beginning of 2008, the MATCL
decided that the database would be managed by
state officials (MATCL/SG, 2008).68
At the ‘cercle’ level, the database will be
managed by the prefect, who will delegate
responsibility to his deputy. Local governments
will gather the information pertaining to them and
upload it via the sub-prefects. The data to be
collected is the same as before. Once processed,
the data are forwarded to the regional governor,
who manages the database with the help of the
Adviser for Administrative and Legal Affairs and
the Regional Director of Statistics, Information
Science, Planning and Population.69 Once regional
data have been added, they are forwarded to the
National Directorate for Local Government
(DNCT), which compiles the information and
publishes a quarterly report. At the local level, the
local policy committees continue to function as
points for sharing information.
64- The CCC teams updated the computer data and transmitted them to the regional level, where they were compiled
before being centralised at the National Coordination Unit (CCN). The teams also took part in quarterly meetings
for data interpretation and repeated these in their area of operation with local actors (mainly the members of the
Local Policy Committee [CLO] and the providers).
65- The Economic, Social and Cultural Development Plan is the official name of the municipal development plan in Mali.
66- See case studies 2.4 and 2.5, as well as 4.1 and 4.2., in Part II.
67- At www.matcl.gov.ml/DonneesDNCT/OISE.html, although the site is not always accessible.
68- Directive no. 000313/MATCL-SG, dated 23 January 2008, on assuming the management duties of the OISE
database: a technical committee consisting of the deputy prefect, a number of sub-prefects and a representative
of the health, education and water information service at the 'cercle' level is assuming the tasks that had previously
been carried out by the CCCs.
69- At the beginning of 2008, the resources necessary for transmitting data successfully between the various levels
were not available (MATCL/SG, 2008).
During this transitional period, it does not seem
that the role of local governments has evolved, nor
has their means of accessing the data. Moreover,
the question of how operating costs will be met
over the long term remains open, particularly as
the importance of the OISE database to the
decentralisation at the national level has grown.
Held up on several occasions as a panacea for
M&E and management by the PNACT, and taking
into account only some of the indicators, in its
current state it does not constitute a true national
steering mechanism — but it does contribute to
the dialogue on decentralisation and local
development. Its new role of monitoring and
evaluating reform objectives raises several
questions, including those of reconciling the
interests of actors at the different levels,70 of
allocating responsibilities within the new system
and of communicating the data generated.
Several other West African countries with the
same aspirations of creating an observatory for
decentralisation or governance are also facing
these issues. An observatory for decentralisation
in Africa has even been established by the
Municipal Development Partnership (PDM),71 an
African organisation with a regional focus
encompassing the national associations of local
governments in West and Central Africa.
5.4. Decentralisation,
local governance and
poverty reduction
In the West African countries in which the case
studies were conducted, the decentralisation
processes all seek, either explicitly or implicitly, to
contribute to poverty reduction. Improving living
conditions, creating local wealth and providing
citizens with new opportunities to participate in
the formulation, implementation and evaluation of
development policies at the local level are three
objectives stated in many decentralisation
policies (UNDP, 2006). In the development of
national strategies for poverty reduction,
supported by donor agencies, the link that exists
between decentralisation, local governance and
poverty reduction has often been emphasised in
the policy design. But how does one know
whether decentralisation and new forms of local
governance really contribute to poverty
reduction? More concretely, how does one
measure, monitor and evaluate the outcomes and
impacts of the processes of decentralisation and
local governance on poverty?
This is one of the questions decentralisation actors
at various levels are asking themselves, and the
discussions held during the subregional seminar
showed that there are still no clear answers. Few
development organisations have invested in impact
assessments on the subject. Ministries, local
government associations in some countries and
development partners in the region are currently
considering the issue (as is the case in Mali, Ghana
and Benin, for example). Nevertheless, these ideas
are still in the embryonic stage, and implementation
is still largely dependent on external support.
The United Nations Capital Development Fund
(UNCDF0 was among the first donor agencies to
adopt an analytical concept and to launch a series of
surveys to explore the impacts of decentralisation
on poverty in countries where decentralisation is
active (UNDP 2003). The case study by Sylla and
Ongoïba72 describes the challenges of analysing the
impacts of decentralisation as part of its support
efforts in northern Mali. It also reveals the limits of
an external analysis in a situation characterised by a
scarcity of baseline data, as do the case studies
dealing with tools for establishing reference
situations and for planning at the municipal level.73
The creation of a Municipal Poverty Index (IPC)
in Mali is one of the national-level initiatives aimed
at compensating for this scarcity of data. By
providing benchmarks for an assessment of
poverty at the municipal level, it can help target
local development interventions and strategies
for poverty reduction more effectively.
70- These include local governments and actors, de-concentrated technical services, departments of supervisory
authorities, projects and programmes, technical and financial partners, researchers and research institutes, etc.
71 The PDM has six main objectives: '(1) gathering reliable information and analyses on the dynamics of
decentralisation in Africa and making them available in real time to decentralisation actors and the public; (2)
providing decision makers with analytical tools for developing their policies; (3) serving as a framework for
reflection, analysis and collective evaluation in respect of decentralisation policies and processes; (4) promoting
basic research and action research in the areas of decentralisation and local development; (5) constituting an
exhaustive “memory” of decentralisation in Africa, allowing its development to be monitored; and (6) building and
spearheading a network of African experts devoted to the issues of decentralisation, local democracy and local
development for states, local governments, civil society and international development partners.'
72- For more information, see case study 5.2 in Part II.
73- For more information, see case studies 2.1, 2.4, 2.5 and 4.1 in Part II.
The IPC was designed and is maintained by the
Observatory of Sustainable Human Development
(ODHD) of Mali, an institution financed by the
government and by donor agencies. The ODHD
also participates in monitoring strategic plans for
poverty reduction. As one ODHD official
explained,74 a major methodological challenge
posed by the creation of the index was locating
high-quality, statistically significant data broken
down at the municipal level, as well as being able
to update the data.75 Like the HDI (Human
Development Index76), the IPC is a composite
index based on a multidimensional concept of
poverty. Without going too deeply into the
technicalities of the methodology behind the
IPC’s development, it is interesting to examine
certain aspects.
Designed to measure poverty of living
conditions in municipalities, the tool is based on a
comparison of the relative levels of poverty in
urban and rural municipalities (which are divided
into poverty quintiles and which are then
analysed), thus resulting in a regional and national
classification of all municipalities. Unlike the other
poverty indices and analysis methods in Mali, the
IPC uses collective (i.e., municipal-level), not
individual (i.e., household-level), data.
The methodology is based on the assumption
‘that, in Mali, basic material needs are needs
involving access to electricity and other basic
community facilities […] and that, at the municipal
level in terms of basic decentralised local
governance, the main challenges of decentralisation remain the provision of adequate
community facilities to counterbalance population
development issues, electrification with a view to
promoting the development of economic activities,
and resource mobilisation and the wise use of
available potential’ (MDSSPA, ODHD, UNDP 2006).
IPC variables and values are determined and
produced using automated methods of statistical
analysis. The results are presented as maps
illustrating the level of poverty of the Malian
municipalities in IPC terms. Once divided into
poverty groups, the different municipalities can be
defined in terms of occupancy, population density,
availability and access to basic infrastructures and
facilities, and in terms of their respective
economic development potential.
The ODHD has organised several workshops for
feedback on the results of this method at the
national and regional level and invited different
groups of decentralisation and local-government
actors to take part in the presentation and
discussion of the results.
At the subregional seminar, participants’ interest
in having access to tools and data allowing them
to better assess and fight poverty at the municipal
level was evident from their questions. Although
it was necessary to take the time to explain to all
the actors how to read the map and understand
the keys, the usefulness of the map-based
approach for poverty monitoring and action
planning was underlined several times.77 The map
has proven to be a powerful tool for participatory
analysis, as it more effectively facilitates the
involvement of different types of local-government
actors and representatives of disadvantaged
This visual method, which must be updated
periodically, remains relatively costly. Nevertheless,
it promotes a spirit of healthy competition between
municipalities at the national level and serves
decision makers as a tool for resource allocation –
in spite of the fact that local-government actors
have difficulty accessing and interpreting the IPC’s
methods of calculation and results. Mayors
criticised the fact that the assumptions and
indicators are defined by researchers and do not
sufficiently reflect the priorities, perceptions and
constraints of the local populations.
Based on the discussions during the subregional
workshop, the Malian experience shows that it
can take years to develop and operationalise a
nationwide M&E tool that involves the local
government in collecting and analysing basic
indicators. This slow development is a process of
fine-tuning that is part of a desire to assess
governance more effectively, to implement
evaluation tools that respect the principles of
governance and to find more-qualitative methods
that are more firmly rooted in reality and better
suited to the population as a whole. Moreover,
the effectiveness of such an effort will depend on
existing capacities (primarily statistical), the
involvement of technical-support structures for
municipalities and the capacities of the central
state to gradually improve its own systems of
74- See 'Experience of creating a poverty index at the municipal level in Mali' by Traoré A. (ODHD) in FORANIM Consult
75- The first index published (MDSSPA, ODHD, UNDP 2003) relied heavily on data from the 1998 Recensement général
de la population de l'habitat (general housing population census), which enabled the collection of data
disaggregated down to the municipal level. An updated version was produced in 2006 (MDSSPA, ODHD, UNDP
76- Using the HDI, all countries for which there are data can be classified according to their level of poverty.
77- For more information, see case study 2.3 in Part II.
data collection and analysis. In this regard, the
joint annual reviews of performance indicators by
government and donors (primarily for the
attribution of budget support) should be seen as
an opportunity for mutual learning and for finetuning the monitoring system.
capacities of stakeholders of the new local
government systems. This would enable them to
assess the effectiveness of the new local
governance systems, to learn about their
respective roles and to analyse the impacts of
decentralisation and political reform processes on
their lives.
The experiences described leave no doubt that it
is worthwhile to invest in the capacities of different
local actors to monitor and evaluate the outcomes
of democratic decentralisation processes, local
governance and municipal development.
Efforts to develop M&E capacity in a
participatory way with local-level stakeholders of
decentralisation processes are necessary and
laudable. Nevertheless, it is wise to involve
national authorities too in such initiatives, as they
can help to institutionalise approaches. Moreover,
they can follow up on the many problems
emerging from local-level M&E exercises that
must be addressed by national-level decisions.
Multi-stakeholder approaches involving a
spectrum of local actors – such as local
government, civil society, the private sector and
de-concentrated departments of the central state
– in designing and testing innovative M&E tools,
can have a number of positive effects beyond
strengthening M&E capacity. These include
among others:
building trust among local stakeholders with
different interests, thus reducing resistance to
Development partners can achieve a lot
through strategic alliances. Such alliances and
coordination of M&E approaches is important to
prevent a proliferation of different tools. Too many
tools and disparate initiatives could result in
confusion among stakeholders who have as yet
limited experience in local governance and put
the homogeneity of the political system at risk.
making local governance and service provision
more efficient by improving procedures and
mobilising citizen initiative and local resources;
improving information flows between different
actors and levels of local government;
sensitising citizens to their rights and their duty
to hold local representatives accountable.
The attentive reader will find a wealth of advice
in the case studies. For their part, the authors
would like to indicate four recommendations:
There is a lot of scope for donors and their
partners to learn from existing tools for building
M&E capacity at the local level. Moreover, those
tools often lend themselves to scaling-up and
replication in other country contexts. More efforts
should be made to document and disseminate
these tools, including challenges encountered in
the process of testing and utilisation.
Too often, design of systems to monitor and
evaluate decentralisation is led largely by the
national level, with insufficient account taken of
the information needs of local government and
other local-level stakeholders. Donors and
national authorities committed to democratic
decentralisation should invest more in the
The case studies
Decentralisation and local government in West
Africa are anchored in different traditions, spanning
pre-colonial authorities, colonial administrations
(mainly French and British) and post-independence
decentralisation and local government reform
efforts. Since the early 1990s most countries in
this region have formulated new decentralisation
policies aimed explicitly to promote democratic
and more participatory forms of local governance.
Yet for many of these countries, the road of reform
has been bumpy. Decentralisation processes have
been stop-and-go rather than following a linear path.
This was perhaps to be expected, in view of the
complexity and multidimensional character of
decentralisation reforms. The francophone countries
of West Africa had particularly major reforms to
undergo. Upon independence, local government in
these countries was confined to a small number of
urban municipalities, while most of the predominantly
rural population was administered by state delegates.
These rural residents had no right to vote and little
access to basic public services.
Since the early 1990s the situation has changed.
Democratic decentralisation has been anchored in
constitutional laws and creation of hundreds of new
local governments. For example, Mali alone
established more than 680 new rural municipalities.
Free and pluralist local elections have been held and
local governments have been made responsible for
planning, implementing, monitoring and assessing
progress in development at the sub-national level.
The hope is that elected local governments will be
more accountable to citizens and more easily
controlled than central state administrators.
Table 4 presents some basic information about
decentralisation and the nature of local
government in the five West African countries in
which case studies were conducted.
Table 4. Decentralisation and local government in West Africa
(more-detailed information for each country can be found in Annex V)
Main legal foundations of
Local elections
- Constitution of 1990
- Decentralisation laws (1993,
enacted in 1999 and 2000)
- One tier of local government - First municipal elections
with 77 rural and urban
held in 2002/03
- Special status for three
large cities: Parakou, Porto
Novo, Cotonou
- Law on municipal
organisation (1974)
- Law on conditions for the
election of municipal
councillors (1992)
- Constitutional law of 1996
- Laws defining guidelines for
future decentralisation policy
and rules governing the
municipalities and regions
- Two tiers of local
government: 10 regions and
362 municipalities
- Special status for the urban
communities of Douala and
- First pluralist local elections
held in 1996
- Second pluralist municipal
elections held in 2002
- Third pluralist municipal
elections held in 2007
- All mayors are elected, but
some big towns are managed
by a nominated 'government
delegate' working under the
authority of the elected
council (i.e., the council's
- Law on local government
- Fourth Constitution of the
Republic (1992)
- Local Government Act
- One tier of local government
with 138 rural and urban
districts, including 124 district
assemblies, 10 municipal
assemblies and 4
metropolitan areas (Accra,
Koumasi, Tamale and Shama
Ashanta East)
- First local elections held in
1993, followed by further
elections in 1997, 2002 and
- Members of the district,
municipal or metropolitan
assembly directly elected.
They elect an executive
committee from their ranks. A
district chief executive
appointed for a term of two
years coordinates the
- Constitution of the Third
Republic (1991)
- Law on local government
- Local government Act (1996)
- Three tiers of local
government: 703 rural and
urban municipalities, 49
districts ('cercles') and 8
- Special status for the capital
Bamako (similar to a region)
- First local elections held in
- Second local elections
conducted in 2004
- Direct election of municipal
councillors, who elect the
mayors. Indirect election of
councillors of higher tiers
- Constitution of 1999
- Decentralisation law (2001)
establishing local
government and
administrative territorial
- Law on local government
(2002) defining fundamental
principles of local
- Three tiers of local
government (foreseen): 8
regions (including the capital
Niamey considered a region
with a special status), 36
departments, and 265 rural
and urban municipalities
- First local elections held in
2004, municipal level only
Entities of local
Note: only those countries are featured in which case studies were conducted
2.1. Cameroon and Mali: Strategic planning and monitoring
of municipal development
This study ‘Strategic planning and monitoring of municipal development’ has been prepared
by a team of four authors (Jacques Tamini, Ibrahima Sylla, Markus Ischer et Christian Asanga) all
working for the Swiss Association for International Cooperation (Helvetas) in the field of municipal
development in Cameroon or Mali (see Annex IV).
The study looks at an experiment conducted in two different contexts (Cameroon and Mali) using
more or less the same strategies for the participatory drafting of municipal monographs and
strategic plans. These are planning tools which municipalities could subsequently use for evaluations
of their own performance, monitoring and evaluation systems and the democratic control of
municipal activities by citizens.
The authors show that applying the monographic study and strategic plan drafting process, as
tested by Helvetas in the two countries, continues to be a technically complex initiative and is costly
for fledgling rural municipalities. They conclude that this is a powerful capacity building tool which
offers opportunities for ‘learning by action’, for forging cooperation links with civil society and for
making a municipality more credible.
Moreover, thinking about the adjustments needed to allow municipalities to use the approach
presented without having to call on major external support and to play their roles as leaders in
mobilising all the actors continues nevertheless to be a major challenge. Institutionalisation of the
approach may well be possible if this condition is met
2.1.1. Methods of drawing up the monographic study and the strategic plan 46 The context in which the approach was used
46 What is a monographic study and a strategic plan?
47 Why does a municipality need a monographic study and a strategic
47 Key actors: their roles and responsibilities
48 Drafting the monographic study and strategic plan: what stages
have to be followed?
48 Content of a monographic study and a strategic plan
50 Costs
2.1.2. Application and replication of the drafting process for the monographic
study and strategic plan
51 Achievements
51 Lessons learned
52 Challenges
52 Practical advice for replication
2.1.3. Conclusion and recommendations
Annex I : Acronyms
Annex II : Bibliography
Annex III : Resource persons, online documents and useful addresses
Over the last ten years, the citizens of a number of West African countries,
like Cameroon and Mali, have been striving to ensure that decentralisation is
actually implemented. Many of them are now trying it out. In these
countries, decentralisation is a prime mover of development, democracy and
good governance at the local level. Decentralised bodies are better able to
meet the needs of the people and can defend local interests, enable people
to participate in decision making and deliver more efficient basic services.
Decentralisation, which is now up and running in
Mali and Cameroon, has to be consolidated by the
transfer of certain powers and appropriate
resources from the central government to local and
regional authorities. The municipality, which is the
basic level of decentralisation, has administrative
and financial autonomy in managing local affairs. It
is responsible in particular for promoting
development in the economic, social, health,
educational, cultural and sports fields by drawing
up, in a participatory way, its economic, social and
cultural development plan (PDESC).
In order to put decentralisation into practice,
local governments and their development
partners are looking for high-quality tools and
approaches through which local actors can play
their roles to the full. Planning is an important
activity for local governments as it creates a
2.1.1. METHODS
reference framework that provides a starting
point for the promotion of local development and
helps to ensure that municipal actors are working in
a consistent and harmonious way. It was against
this backdrop that the Swiss Association for
International Cooperation (Helvetas) developed a
planning approach within its Council Support
Programme (CSP) in Cameroon and its Support
Programme for the Actors of Decentralisation
(PAAD) in Mali.
This case study looks at the ways in which
Helvetas put its municipal planning approach into
practice in Cameroon and Mali, the lessons
learned from the tool's design, testing, use and
replication and its relevance as a tool for local
capacity building in the monitoring and evaluation
of decentralisation and local governance.
which the approach was
Mali opted for a decentralised political system
when its constitution was amended in 1992, but
decentralisation actually came into force when
the first municipal elections were held in 1999.
Following these elections, decision-making and
executive organs were set up for a term of five
years. Under the law, there are three levels of
local government: municipalities (703), ‘cercles’
(49), regions (8) and the District of Bamako, i.e., a
total of 761 local authorities.
Cameroon started down the path of decentralisation in 1996 when its 1972 constitution was
amended. The first municipal elections were held in
1996, and since then, the administrative
organisation of the country has been as follows: 339
municipalities, 56 departments and 10 provinces.
In the decentralised systems of Mali and
Cameroon, municipalities have legal personality
and management autonomy, possess decisionmaking (municipal councils) and executive (mayor
and municipal administration) organs and can be
independently administered. The work of the
municipality takes place in the municipal council
under the supervision of a state representative,
which is the basic level for development planning.
Deconcentrated state services provide advice
and support for municipalities in their respective
administrative areas; however, devolution is a
slow process: most state technical services have
yet to be organised at the municipal level, with the
result that there is still something of a time lag.
In Mali and Cameroon, municipal councils are
legally responsible for promoting development.
Municipalities are therefore required to draw up a
development plan in consultation with all the
actors of civil society. The first municipal plans
were little more than wish lists, which took no
account of municipalities' actual potential and
possibilities. In particular, municipalities could not
always call upon the human resources that they
needed to carry out their tasks of independent
administration, delivery of local public services
and promotion of local development.
After 30 years of central government, local civic
participation, ownership and control do not as yet
come naturally. However, this is slowly changing
with support from the national governments and
their partners. What is a
monographic study and a
strategic plan?
A monographic study is a detailed study of a
particular subject. In our case, it is the defined
geographical area of the municipality. The study
describes the features of the municipality at the time
at which it was drawn up: history, demographics,
economy, natural resources, infrastructure, etc. A
monographic study therefore offers a snapshot of
the municipality and is a reference point from which
future action can be planned.
The municipal strategic plan is the outcome of the
strategic planning process. It is a management tool
that can be used to decide on the action to be taken
over the following five years. The aim of this plan is to
help municipalities to carry out their work in a better
way, to channel their energies, to ensure that they
have the same goals as their populace, to assess the
wishes of the municipality and bring them into line
with various changes (institutional, political,
environmental, etc.). The strategic plan helps to
define the remit, vision, values, goals, roles and
responsibilities of the municipality and sets out the
instruments through which they can be achieved. Why does a
municipality need a
monographic study and a
strategic plan?
The purpose of a municipality's monographic
study and strategic plan is to improve people's
living conditions.
The drafting process ultimately leads to greater
municipal responsibility for managing projects geared
towards reducing poverty. It increases community
participation in decision making. It promotes
cooperation between elected officers, communities
and private and public institutions so that everyone
becomes involved in productive initiatives. All the
actors (councils and communities) are involved in
supplying reliable socio-economic data, and
problems can be analysed in a participatory way.
The monographic study and the strategic plan
are tools for monitoring municipal development.
They may also document the basis from which
provincial/regional master plans can be drafted.
For municipal representatives (mayors and
municipal councillors), possessing these two
documents offers tangible proof that progress is
being made with decentralisation.
General meeting in a rural municipality in
To summarise, these tools aim to achieve the
make the municipal council more responsible
for steering and owning the process;
draw up a full municipal diagnosis that enhances
knowledge of the municipality's potential;
establish a municipal statistical database;
make the most of local potential because more
is known about it;
ensure participation by all the municipal actors,
thereby strengthening citizenship;
produce sectorial planning, i.e., planning by
municipal working groups in order to bring the
plan into line with state sectorial policies;
step up cooperation between technical
services, the supervisory authority and the
develop a team spirit within the municipal council. Key actors: their
roles and responsibilities
The actors and their roles and responsibilities in
the two countries in which this approach was
tested were as follows:
The supervisory authority plays a
supervisory role, helps with data collection,
makes secondary data available to municipalities
and validates final documents.
The municipality is responsible for the whole
of the drafting process (organisation, planning and
performance) and acts as principal (contracting in
consultancy services). It also contributes financially
to logistics (internal costs), provides data on the
municipality and validates information and reports.
supervise the technical drafting process and
produce tools (workshop programmes, data
collection forms, questionnaires, etc.). They also
train municipal councillors in data collection
techniques (Global Positioning System [GPS] and
socio-economic data), act as moderators during
workshops, especially workshops to analyse
community problems, and draft reports.
In Cameroon, service providers were recruited
by municipal officers from lists of consultants
trained by Helvetas. In Mali, service providers
were recruited through tendering procedures,
then trained by Helvetas and made available to
The external support organisation offers
technical assistance (manuals, tools, consultant
training) and financial assistance (contributions to
the costs of the services provided by consultants,
external expenses), helps to organise forums for
exchanging ideas, mentors the drafting process
and comes up with ideas to improve the process
and the strategy.
In Cameroon, Helvetas paid a financial subsidy
to municipalities to cover service providers' fees
and other costs. In Mali, Helvetas paid service
providers directly and granted a subsidy to
municipalities for the organisation of workshops. Drafting the
monographic study and
strategic plan: what stages
have to be followed?
Working session in the municipality of Baya in
southern Mali
In Cameroon, in order to step into their
responsibility as principals, municipalities entered
into contracts with service providers. In Mali,
everyone's roles and responsibilities are set out in
a tripartite contract: municipalities as principals,
consultants as service providers working for
municipalities and Helvetas-PAAD as a monitoring
Communities participate actively in the
various workshops and provide information.
Service providers (consultants) help the
municipality to organise planning, guide and
After deciding to draw up a monographic study
and a strategic plan, municipalities work in stages
(see diagram below). The process to draft the
monographic study and the strategic plan may
take between three and five months, depending
on the size of the municipality and the human
resources available.
In Mali, for instance, the process took four
months in the municipality of Wassoulou Ballé (the
largest), and three months in Baya and
Dry season
Dry season
Dry season
Dry season
Figure 1 - Stages of drafting the monographic study and the strategic plan (source: Helvetas Cameroon)
Month 1
PREPARATION Content of a
monographic study and a
strategic plan
While the monographic study and the strategic
plan are very different documents, they are
closely linked. If these two documents are to
serve their purpose and reach the minimum
required standard, their content should be
presented as follows:
Table 1: Example of the table of contents of a monographic study
1. Introduction (context, importance, methods)
2. Administration, demography and sociology
2.1 Administrative structure
2.2 Population origins (migratory movements)
2.3 Sociology
3. Environment and land use
3.1 Climate
3.2 Hydrology
3.3 Soil
3.4 Natural resources
3.5 Ecological situation
3.6 Land use
4. Economy
4.1 Primary sector
4.2 Secondary sector
4.3 Tertiary sector
5. Infrastructure
5.1 Technical infrastructure
5.2 Social infrastructure
6. Council activities
6.1 Councillors profile
6.2 Strategy
7. Conclusions
Annexes: Diagrams/maps of the location of administrative units, villages and ethnic groups,
population density, particular physical features, land use, physical and socio-economic infrastructure,
towns, etc.
Source: Helvetas 2005.
Table 2: Example of the table of contents of a strategic plan
1. Introduction (context, importance, methods)
2. Identification of problems and prioritization on village level
3. Identification of problems and prioritization on council level
4. Main lessons learned from the monographic study
5. Logical framework of the council strategic plan
Global objective: for instance, successful poverty reduction in the municipality
1. Planning objective (one per council committee)
1.1 Specific objective
1.1.1 Expected results
Verifiable indicators
Verification sources
6. Activities through which the expected results can be achieved
Expected results
7. Hypotheses, potential and risks
8. Budget (investment budget over more than five years, fundraising, etc.)
9. Prospects (next stages: Annual Plan, Local Economic Development [LED])
Annexes: priority projects for the Ministry of Planning, Development Programming and Town and
Country Planning (MINEPAT).
Source: Helvetas 2005. Costs
Table 3: The average costs of the process are as follows:
Approximate cost (XOF)
Logistics: meals, accommodation and travel by participants
3 000 000
Service providers
5 000 000
8 000 000
Source: Calculations of the authors on the basis of figures provided by Helvetas 2006.
Following initial testing in Cameroon in 2001,
many changes and adjustments have been made to
the process. This led in 2005 to the publication of a
book on the strategy and the tools used. Between
2001 and 2006, 16 municipalities in Cameroon
drew up monographic studies and strategic plans
with support from Helvetas. Following this testing
period, the process could be replicated in other
regions in which decentralisation is taking place and
where municipalities are responsible for
development work.
The exercise was carried out for the first time in
Mali in 2006 in partnership with Helvetas-PAAD.
Adaptations to the local context mainly involved
the role of the key actors.
The process took place in three rural
municipalities in the ‘cercle’ of Yanfolila in the
South of the country: Wassoulou Ballé (53,978
inhabitants with 34 villages, 23 municipal
councillors), Baya (14,654 inhabitants with 14
villages, 11 municipal councillors), Tagandougou
(13,443 inhabitants with 7 villages, 11 municipal
councillors). This was a multi-actor context where
there was little experience of such matters. Achievements
One of the main achievements is that this
participatory approach has helped to build the
capacity of communities. There is also better
communication between the various actors, which
has helped to smooth decision making and the
transition to development work. The information
required for the monographic study provides a
reference point: action planned on the basis of this
reference point is therefore realistic.
In more detail:
'Learning by action' helped municipalities to build their
Capabilities for collecting and analysing municipal data
capacity in leaps and bounds.
have been improved through 'learning by action'.
Since the monographic study and strategic planning
municipalities, communities, private and public
institutions, organisations for external support and civil
The council now has important basic data for the municipality.
Team spirit has been improved in the municipal council.
The populace now knows more about the potential of
their shared land.
Data from the monographic study and strategic plan
made it possible to set up a municipal information system
The process was carried out in a participatory way,
(SIC) in Cameroon.
helping to step up participation by citizens.
The design of the monographic study and strategic plan
Cooperative links between the municipality, technical
follows the structure of the regional master plan. The data services and the supervisory authority have been
collected may therefore be aggregated to contribute to improved. This has made it possible to link the municipal
provincial and national development plans.
plan with sectoral policies in a much better way. Lessons learned
As it is difficult to carry out the process in the
rainy season, the timescale of the initial stages
needs to be thought out.
Municipal councils may feel that the process
takes too long (an average of 26 working days
in the case of municipal councils in Mali);
resources over and above the capacities of the
municipality may therefore be required.
Even though changes have been made,
applying the drafting process poses a number
of challenges. It still needs to be fine-tuned to
improve performance and facilitate ownership
of the tool by municipalities.
The degree of complexity and the resources
(technical and financial) for the monographic
study and strategic plan drafting process.
entailed in implementing the tool mean that
external support is needed to ensure full
ownership. Therefore either new modules
enabling less external support need to be
developed or a tried and tested support
mechanism needs to be set in place.
Actors' contributions depend on their level of
Documentation (a guide) on the use of the
A mentor is needed to provide support
education and degree of motivation.
The approach is a multi-actor approach:
weaknesses in one of the links of the chain
may delay the whole process.
Visual information (maps) must be used as a
tool for development and not for arbitration. In
no way should the process be seen as a
strategy for resolving disputes.
52 Challenges
collection tools needs to be drafted to enable
municipalities and service providers, where
necessary, to carry out their work in a more
straightforward way.
Using reference-situation analysis tools for
strategic planning (linking the two stages)
often requires a high level of expertise, which
municipal councillors may not possess, as
many of them are illiterate. This stage needs to
be improved and well supervised if ownership
is to be successful.
Participatory drafting of the monographic
study and strategic plan by a whole range of
actors may expose latent conflicts. This is why
the process requires mutual learning and
ongoing adaptation so that the strategy can
be well controlled and the tools appropriately
adapted to the context.
Only the municipal council is responsible for
following through and owning the process.
However, it might be better to open it up to
other competent actors in order to ease the
burden on the municipality.
In Mali, the other municipalities taking part in
the programme are keen to start work on the
monographic study and strategic plan. However,
the average cost of XOF 8,000,000 is not within
the reach of most rural municipalities. Support
from financing partners is therefore needed if
the process is actually to take place.
In Cameroon, there are plans to use the
monographic studies and strategic plans to draft
regional master plans and, possibly, national
development plans. The process therefore
needs to be institutionalised. The monographic
study and strategic plan may be a way of
speeding up the decentralisation process.
2.1.3. CONCLUSION AND Practical advice
for replication
Testing of this approach in two very different
cultural and environmental contexts (Englishspeaking municipalities in Cameroon and Frenchspeaking municipalities in Mali) proved that the
drafting process of the monographic study and
strategic plan could be replicated. However,
successful replication will require adjustments to
improve performance and bolster ownership of
the process by municipalities.
If replication is to be effective, our main advice is
the following:
communication needs to be improved between
the various municipal actors;
a simpler training module needs to be devised
with practical exercises and simulations;
tools need to be translated into local languages
so that better use can be made of them;
training needs to be organised for newly literate
villagers for optimum management of a
municipality's human resources and better
ownership of the process by non-elected actors.
The monographic study and the strategic plan are
capacity-building tools offering opportunities for
'learning by action'. Highly effective planning tools,
they offer municipalities an opportunity to forge
effective cooperative links with civil society and
can help municipalities to carry out their remit of
promoting development and reducing poverty.
Finally, the logical framework of these tools
facilitates a system of evaluation and monitoring by
the actors themselves.
Implementing a monographic study and strategic
plan provides a detailed overview of a
municipality's needs and potential. The information
is shared with all the community's actors. This kind
of approach may well enable realistic planning and
evaluation of municipal development projects.
Municipalities gain better knowledge of their
environment and needs, with the result that their
demands and investment plans are more realistic.
As their capacity improves, municipalities
become aware that completing the process gives
them more credibility and makes it easier for
them to approach and convince donors.
When the process has been run and the
workshops to present results/reports held, we
recommend discussing measures to update
reference-situation data and to encourage
municipalities to act as leaders in rallying all the
actors. This would improve the tool's performance.
In Cameroon, the design of the monographic
study and strategic plan followed the structure of
the regional master plan. The information collected
can therefore be put into provincial and national
development plans. This is a weighty argument
for generalised use throughout the country. It is
particularly realistic because testing in a different
area was a success. The task of Helvetas is now
to convince the central government that this is the
right approach, so that it can be institutionalised.
Council Support Programme (Helvetas Cameroon)
Global Positioning System
Local Economic Development
Ministère de la Planification, de la Programmation du Développement et de l'Aménagement du Territoire/
Ministry of Planning, Programming and Regional Development
Programme d'Appui aux Acteurs de la Décentralisation (Helvetas Mali)/Support Programme for the
Actors of Decentralisation (Helvetas Mali)
Plan de Développement Economique, Social et Culturel/Economic, Social and Cultural Development Plan
Système d'Information sur les Communes/Municipal Information System
Law No 2004/19 of 22 July 2004, to lay down
Rules applicable to Regions.
Rural Council, Council Support
Programme-Helvetas. 2004. Belo Rural
Council Strategic Plan.
Rural Council, Council Support
Programme-Helvetas. 2004. Council
Support Programme, monographic studies,
Belo Rural Council (2004), 56 p.
Council Support Programme-Helvetas.
2005. Council Support Programme, Phase I
2004-2006, Half Yearly Report 2005 (January
to June).
Helvetas. 2004. Profil de l'élu communal en
Helvetas. 2004. Profil de l'élu(e) de la zone PAAD
Helvetas. 2005. Femmes élues PAAD.
MATD, Nkor Council, Council Support
Programme-Helvetas. 2005. Council
Support Programme, monographic studies,
Nkor Council, 83 p.
MATD, Nkor Council, Council Support
Programme-Helvetas. 2005. Nkor
Council, Strategic Plan 2006-2010, 123 p.
Constitution of the Republic of Cameroon
Law No 96-06 of 18 January 1996, to amend
the Constitution of 02 June 1972.
Law No 2004/17 of 22 July 2004, on the
Orientation of Decentralisation.
Law No 2004/18 of 22 July 2004, to lay down
Rules applicable to Councils.
Constitution of the Republic of Mali, 1992.
Law No 93-008 of 11/12/1993, laying down the
conditions for independent administration by
local governments, as amended by Law No
96-056 of 16/10/1996.
Law No 95-034 of 12/04/1995, setting out a
local government code for the Republic of
Mali, as amended by Law No 98-010 of
15/16/1998 amended by Law No 98-066 of
Decree No 95-210/P-RM of 30/05/1995, laying
down conditions for the appointment of
state representatives in local government
and their prerogatives.
Email: [email protected]
Christian ASANGA
Studies, Socio Economic Data Collection Forms.
Sample%20of%20SocioEconomic%20Data%20Collection %20Forms.pdf
Email: [email protected]
Jacques TAMINI
Email: [email protected]
Ibrahima SYLLA
Email: [email protected]
Moussoulimoune Yehiya MAïGA
Email: [email protected]
Key documents online:
Helvetas Cameroon
Belo Rural Council, Council Support ProgrammeHelvetas. 2004. Belo Rural Council strategic plan.
al/ pdf/programme/csp/Strategic-Plan-BeloCouncel-2004.pdf
Belo Rural Council, Council Support ProgrammeHelvetas. 2004. Council Support Programme,
monographic studies.
al/ pdf/programme/csp/Monographic Study-BeloCouncel-2004.pdf
Council Support Programme-Helvetas. 2005.
Council Support Programme, Phase I, 2004-2006,
Half Yearly Report 2005 (January to June).
al/ pdf/programme/csp/CSP-Half-Yearly-Report2005.pdf
Studies, GPS Data Collection Forms.
Local Good Governance in Cameroon, Roles and
Responsabilities of Councils and Partners. 2004.
al/ pdf/programme/cps/Roles-andResponsabilities-of-Councillors-Manual-2004.pdf
MATD, Nkor Council, Council Support ProgrammeHelvetas. 2005. Council Support Programme,
monographic studies.
MATD, Nkor Council, Council Support Programme-Helvetas. 2005. Nkor Council, Strategic
Plan 2006-2010.
al/ pdf/programme/csp/MSSP-Tool-7-Sample-ofStrategic-Plan.pdf
Restricted tender document for contracting
authorities for the elaboration of Monographic
Study and five years Strategic Plan.
HELVETAS CAMEROON-CSP. Council Monographic Study and Strategic Plan, Guidelines 2,
Learning and Experience Sharing Series.
Helvetas Mali
Profil de l'élu communal en 2004.
Profil de l'élu(e) de la zone PAAD en 2004.
Femmes élues PAAD en 2005.
Useful addresses:
Helvetas Cameroon:
Commercial Avenue, P.O. Box 114, Bamenda
Tel: (+237) 36 17 30
Fax: (+237) 36 22 30
Email: [email protected]
Website: http://www.helvetascameroon.org
Helvetas Mali:
Quartier Hippodrome (Rue 254, Porte 416),
BP 1635, Bamako
Tel : (+223) 221 09 64/65
Fax: (+223) 221 93 16
Email: [email protected]
Website: http://www.helvetas-mali.org
2.2. Niger: Planning and M&E in municipalities, focusing
on poverty reduction
The authors of this study, ‘Planning and M&E in municipalities, focusing on poverty
reduction’ are Gaoussou Sène and Zeinabou Ouédraogo who have been closely involved in
designing and testing the tools described (see Annex IV).
They show how relatively recent democratic decentralisation and support measures by technical
and financial partners has led to the design and testing of a number of tools with local authorities.
A particularly innovative feature is the stress placed on encouraging the actors to think how the
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the National Poverty Reduction Strategy can be taken
into account in municipal planning and its monitoring and evaluation.
This experiment also shows the advantages of drawing on prior experience, such as certain
elements of a self-evaluation tool for local authorities, already tested in Mali, and adapting it to the
Nigerien context of decentralisation and local governance.
However, like many approaches aiming to help citizens to take a more responsible attitude to the
planning, monitoring and evaluation of local development, the main challenge continues to be one
of achieving a nationally acknowledged tool that will be used throughout the country once the test
phase has been completed.
2.2.1. Presentation and analysis of the guide
60 Decentralisation challenges: the need to agree on how to support
60 Targeted objectives and actors
61 Basic assumptions and tools
62 Cost of producing a municipal development plan
67 Strengths and weaknesses of the approach
68 Building the capacity of the decentralisation actors and
strengthening the institutional framework
2.2.2. Ownership, sustainability and replication
2.2.3. Lessons learned
2.2.4. Conclusions and outlook
Annex I : Acronyms
Annex II : Bibliography
Annex III : Details of resource institutions and persons
In Niger, the municipal elections in July 2004 marked an important step in
the lengthy process of reforms designed to install a decentralised political and
administrative system. At the end of this democratic decentralisation
process, 265 municipalities were established (231 rural and 52 urban) as the
basic territorial units.78
No map of the new post-reform administrative territorial breakdown is
available as yet, but should eventually make it easier to identify national
priority action areas under the new measures in the decentralisation process.
In November 2004, the Nigerien government set
up the new decision-making and executive bodies
for the municipalities. The elected municipal
councillors and ex-officio members of the
municipal council (traditional chiefs and MPs in
the National Assembly) were invited to elect
mayors and deputy mayors. Official inauguration
ceremonies for the municipal councils were then
held throughout the country. At the ceremonies,
the State representatives described the mandate
of the new municipal authorities as follows:
and also by providing on-the-spot support to
improve operations. Through these initial
activities, the SNV advisors and their partners had
identified a real need for tools to plan, manage,
monitor and evaluate municipal activities. This was
where the idea arose to develop a municipal
planning and M&E guide, incorporating the
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the
National Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS), with a
view to developing a decentralised municipal
planning system involving many different actors.
‘In being elected, your job now is to design, plan
and implement development measures in
response to the priority needs of the people who
elected you.’
The approach developed in this guide is an
attempt to respond to the many basic questions
about municipal life. It also aims to help municipal
councils with multi-annual planning so that they
can provide the services and products that meet
local needs.
To bolster the government’s efforts, various
development partners are helping the municipalities
to improve their operation and develop their
capacities in order to meet local people’s
Since 1999, SNV-Niger has been providing support
for the decentralisation process. It began by helping
the central government to design and implement
tools for the radical reform of the political and
administrative system, and then helped to improve
technical capacities in some urban municipalities,
such as municipality V at Niamey or Magaria in the
Zinder region. Once the new municipal bodies
started work, the number of SNV-Niger’s partner
municipalities increased from 5 to 38.
Capacity building in these municipalities mainly
involved helping to set up and run the municipal
bodies by organising training and discussion days
The approach adopted responds to the following
current needs:
to inform/improve decision making at various
to monitor the operation and performance of
the municipal authorities;
to make the various actors accountable for the
use of resources;
to improve people’s familiarity with and understanding of the concepts of MDGs/PRS and local
to promote democratic control;
to establish a baseline as reference point;
to improve the way in which results are monitored.
What makes this guide different is its simplicity
in relation to the concerns it deals with. It runs to
30 pages, starting with performance selfevaluation and concluding with annual monitoring
78- Of the 52 urban municipalities, 21 already existed before the reform.
and the final evaluation of realistic development
measures, which all the municipal actors have
been involved in planning. All of these
development measures refer to the MDG/PRS
indicators at every stage of their planning and
implementation. Emphasis is placed on exchanges
of information between the actors throughout the
This case study gives a simple presentation of
the various stages and steps involved, from design
to testing, and how this participatory approach to
planning and implementing development
measures was put into practice.
In view of the problems encountered by the
Nigerien Government in carrying out decentralisation
and the huge range of measures taken by the
technical and financial partners (TFPs), SNV was
determined to develop a planning and M&E tool that
everyone recognised.
The State provided the municipalities with the
following start-up help: Decentralisation
challenges: the need to
agree on how to support
Problems in implementing
Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world,
coming 177th out of 177 countries on the Human
Development Index (HDI) in 2005. Successive
coups d’état have seriously undermined the socioeconomic life of the country. The national conference in 1991 marked the real starting point for
democracy and decentralisation.
Prior to decentralisation, legislation was introduced
that laid down the conditions for the free
administration of local government, along with the
conditions and procedures for the election and
operation of the new municipalities. A massive
information and awareness campaign was organised
throughout the country to explain this legislation, but
it appears to remain poorly understood at the
municipal level. More workshops on the legislation
could improve people’s understanding of what
decentralisation really involves. As matters stand,
the various actors (decentralised technical
departments79, civil society, private operators and
elected councillors) interpret the legislation as best
suits them, as far as the redistribution of roles and
responsibilities is concerned.
former administrative buildings for use as
premises for the council and municipal executive;
office furniture;
help in getting the first municipal budget
adopted and implemented;
a very small start-up grant, most of which was
used for council and municipal executive running
costs (mayor’s salary and costs of meetings).
In such circumstances, how could the legislation
be implemented and free administration achieved
in practice? Once the new administrative system
was put in place, the next urgent question was
how to support the fledgling municipalities as
they took their first steps.
As the State could not afford to support the
municipalities itself, it turned to its technical and
financial partners. These provided help, depending
on their interests and the areas in which they
operated, either for the national institutions
responsible for establishing and supporting the
municipalities or directly to the municipalities
themselves. However, this help was not evenly
distributed around the country. One year after the
elections, while some municipalities were
receiving plenty of financial and technical
assistance, others were still wondering how they
were going to get their municipalities up and
running! This led to a two-speed decentralisation,
with some adequately funded municipalities
working well and others, with no partners and little
funding, struggling to work at all.
79- This term refers to the ‘services déconcentrés’, i.e. the representatives and staff of different sectoral ministries
with a mandate for providing public services at the sub-national level.
Growing demand from the
municipalities for support
The municipalities soon began to seek
approaches and tools for designing and
implementing local development measures. The
Ministry of Town and Country Planning and
Community Development (MATDC), which is
responsible for designing such measures, did not
do enough to harmonise the support provided by
the various partners and to ensure that everyone
took ownership of the tools available. It left it to
the development agencies to take the initiative,
each acting as it saw fit within its own area. The
Ministry confined itself to approving the results
sporadically achieved, once it had checked that
they complied with the legislation.
In this institutional environment, there was
practically no consultation between development
agencies or harmonisation of their activities.
Different training modules were developed on the
same subjects and sometimes distributed in the
same municipalities. In the Zinder region, for
instance, SNV and the Community Action Program
(CAP), launched by the government and the World
Bank, both distributed a training module for elected
officers and municipal actors on their roles and
responsibilities in Zinder municipality II and Niamey.
The same thing happened with SNV and the
Poverty Reduction Framework Programme/Local
Development Support Programme (PCLCP/
PADL), supported by the UNDP, in the municipality
of Bandé.
In order to try to rectify this lack of coherence,
stop the support effort from being dissipated and
pool activities and tools, SNV attempted to link up
the various partners involved with development
support and local governance in the areas where
it operated. This produced encouraging results,
such as the provision by the partnership between
SNV and LUCOP-TA80 for training municipal actors
in some municipalities and the creation of the
working group ‘Making decentralisation work in
Zinder’, which has made it easier for different
development support and decentralisation actors
to exchange information81. These exchanges have
identified a need for tools that enable national
poverty-reduction targets to be taken into account
in municipal planning.
It was against this backdrop that SNV started
work on a guide for municipal development
planning and monitoring/evaluation, which
includes a tool for self-evaluation of performance. Targeted
objectives and actors
Decentralisation in Niger is seen as a strategy to
get ordinary people more involved in the process
of poverty reduction. It has led to the introduction
of elected municipal bodies and provides for local
organisations to be involved in identifying,
planning, implementing and M&E of municipal
development measures.
The tools proposed in the guide are consistent
with this idea of greater popular involvement.
They are designed to:
give municipal actors greater capacity to evaluate their own performance as local actors in
government, development and poverty reduction;
build the capacity of these actors to manage
local affairs transparently and to be accountable
to local people;
stimulate the interest of actors in civil society in
the work of their municipality and their new role
as both opposition to and partners of these new
public entities;
give actors in civil society greater capacity to
exercise this democratic control and to call
municipal officers to account.
The guide for municipal development planning
and monitoring/evaluation is intended for local
actors, particularly:
municipal actors (elected and ex-officio councillors,
municipal departments);
decentralised government departments (health,
primary education, town planning, hydraulic
engineering, etc.);
local actors in civil society and civil associations
and organisations (NGOs, groups, cooperatives,
trade unions, etc.).
The guide aims to help these actors to have a
harmonised view of their roles and responsibilities
in municipal development. It promotes a more
participatory and realistic approach to planning
municipal development. Initially, it enables the
development of local tools to monitor, evaluate
and reprogramme planned measures, and it then
goes on to establish a mechanism for participatory
monitoring and evaluation of the performance of
municipal authorities.
80- The German assisted poverty reduction project in the Tahoua region.
81- This group, under the guidance of SNV-Niger, has also proposed regional information days to raise the awareness
of MDGs/PRS in regard to regional projects, programmes and directorates, NGOs, associations and opinion
leaders, elected councillors and traditional chiefs.
The guide offers tried and tested tools for the
development agencies who provide the
municipalities with help and support in their initial
planning and in monitoring their activities.
It offers the central government simple and
effective tools for planning and M&E of local
devel-opment, with the aim of promoting
ownership and in-depth exploitation of the
MDGs/PRS at the municipal level. Basic
assumptions and tools
Basic assumptions
The design and use of this guide are based on
the assumption that planning municipal
development is an opportunity for ordinary people
to feel responsible for their own development in
terms of rights and duties to be observed. This
can help to trigger a move away from a lack of
transparency towards the transparent and
sustainable management of local affairs.
The Niger tool therefore focuses exclusively on
how the municipal authorities operate, particularly
the administrative operation of the municipal
executive and the municipal council, and relations
between these two entities and the other actors
in municipal development.
The municipal planning guide incorporating the
MDGs/PRS proposes dividing the planning and
monitoring/evaluation of municipal development
into four stages:
Stage 1: assisted self-evaluation of the running
of the municipality;
Stage 2: planning of municipal development,
taking account of MDGs/PRS;
Stage 3: monitoring the application of the
annual programme of work, and reprogramming;
Stage 4: evaluation of changes over a number
of years, and restarting the process.
In addition to planning tools, municipalities in
Niger also need tools to monitor and evaluate the
implementation of local plans, since these will
serve to strengthen democratic control.
Stages and tools
SNV-Niger’s ‘local governance’ team drew on
existing planning, monitoring and evaluation tools
from Niger and elsewhere in West Africa, such as
the self-evaluation tool for local government
performance in Mali82 and in Guinea-Bissau, the
planning guide in Mali and in Benin, and a number
of reports on their application. These tools were
reviewed and summarised and the indicators
used were reformulated to take greater account
of the gender dimension.
In addition, in order to take the idea of municipal
self-evaluation further, SNV-Niger relied, in
particular, on one component of the Mali selfevaluation tool, focusing on how the municipality
is run and relations between the municipality and
other local actors.
82- This experiment was also reported at the sub-regional seminar 'Building capacities for monitoring and evaluation of
decentralisation and local governance in West Africa: exchange of experience and learning'. See MATCL/DNCTSNV-Helvetas-PACT/GTZ (2004).
Planning proposed in the guide
Action plan for the
successful operation
of the municipality
Municipal council
Technical dpts
Trade unions
Local leaders
Resource persons
Preparation of technical committee
and planning approach
Holding forums
Workshop to collate results of
Planning workshop
Drafting of plan
Adoption of MDP by municipal
Municipal council
Technical dpts
Trade unions
Local leaders
Resource persons
M&E of implementation
of annual action
programme and
Setting up thematic monitoring
Defining committees' mandate
Producing performance indicators
Drawing up of monitoring
Executing monitoring activities
Municipal council
Technical dpts
Trade unions
Local leaders
Resource persons
Evaluation of change
over a number of years
and restarting
the process
Municipal council
Technical dpts
Trade unions
Local leaders
Resource persons
Assisted self-evaluation
of running of
Municipal development
planning taking account
Collecting data
Preparing evaluation methods
Identifying and inviting participants
Holding evaluation and
reprogramming workshop
Organising and executing
Stage 1: assisted self-evaluation of
running of municipality
This stage diagnoses how the municipal
authorities operate and identifies how they interact
with other actors in the municipality. It takes three
to four days.
All the different groups of actors attend to ensure
that each is equally well informed about its role
and responsibilities. This makes the subsequent
planning dynamic more effective.
development plan
Decision by municipal council
Setting up of technical committee
Preparation of evaluation
Identification and invitation of
Holding of workshop
Monitoring mechanism
operates side by side
with implementation of
municipal development
Process restarted on
the basis of the
lessons learned
Before this municipal planning process begins, a
municipal technical committee is set up, chaired by
the mayor and made up of legitimate representatives
of the various socio-economic groups. The
committee must be approved by the municipal
council at the meeting when the process is launched.
It prepares and leads the various steps involved in the
different stages of the planning process.
The self-evaluation workshop is a sort of
informal debate in which a shared view is
developed of the legislation defining the roles and
responsibilities of each type of actor and how they
might relate to the municipal bodies. Once this
has been clarified, the framework for assisted selfevaluation of internal organisation, administrative
and financial man-agement and the mobilisation of
resources is used to analyse the municipality’s
performance in these three fields, as well as to
identify the strengths and weaknesses of each
group of actors. Once the three groups formed for
the workshop (elected officers, decentralised
technical departments and civil society) have met
again for discussions, the consensus table or
summary of scores is used to collate the scores
awarded by the groups. This then highlights the
priority areas where the municipal actors need to
improve or need help. The three groups can then
put forward proposals for improving their own
performance and make commitments to improve
their contribution to the management of the
municipality and the implementation of the
development measures.
At the end of this stage, a realistic, short-term action
plan is produced using the framework for a shortterm action plan to implement priority measures and
containing the support and consolidation measures
that the municipality needs. This plan is designed to
solve the operational problems identified and is
supported by all the actors, who know their
responsibilities. The municipal council is responsible
for implementing the plan.
Stage 2: municipal development
planning, taking account of
This stage establishes to the extent to which the
measures taken by the municipality are helping to
achieve the MDGs/PRS. It can take between 15
and 25 days.
The planning phase begins in the municipality
with a general presentation of the concepts of the
Millennium Development Goals and the Poverty
Reduction Strategy in Niger. Subjects discussed
with the councillors and technical departments
representing various areas of activities include the
origin of the concepts, links with the development
of Niger in general and of the municipality in
particular, etc.
One of the examples used relates to Goal 2 of
the Millennium Development Goals: ‘the
developing countries must achieve universal
primary education by 2015’. A comparison is
made with the situation in the municipality (the
proportion of children attending primary school
usually varies between 40% and 60%). There is
then a discussion of how to increase the rate of
school attendance in the municipality.
Using the framework for information/awareness
of the MDGs/PRS, the discussions look at
questions such as the following: Aren’t we all
affected by the MDGs/PRS? What practical steps
should we take to help to achieve some of the
MDG/PRS indicators? The meeting ends with
strong recommendations for analysing the
municipality’s development measures from the
point of view of poverty reduction.
The technical committee is trained by the
facilitator in how to prepare and run the ‘fora’, which
are consultation meetings for the general public.
The fora are then held. The general public is
informed about the concepts of MDGs/PRS and
identifies the priority problems that they want to see
resolved using the table analysing the municipality’s
problems in relation to the MDGs/PRS.
Type of questions asked: Do the problems
raised come under the MDG goals? What level of
achievement of the goals is provided for in the
PRS? What contribution can the municipality
make? What local solutions can be proposed
involving all the local actors?
The technical committee (which is made up of
resource persons who are very familiar with the
various areas of activities or themes) then meets
and collates the results of the forums using the
table listing the municipality’s opportunities/
potential. At this point, an assessment is made of
what the opportunities/potential are and which
priority problems they could help to resolve. Then,
using the analytical grid of data by theme, the
committee classifies the solutions proposed
under a maximum of three or four themes linked
to the achievement of the MDGs/PRS.
A planning workshop led by the technical
committee is then held, involving the municipal
council, the technical departments, three to four
representatives from each forum, the partner
cooperatives, groups from the municipality, and so
on. The municipal planning matrix is then used to
plan the main development strands over, at most,
the next five years. The municipality undertakes to
take practical steps to improve people’s living
conditions while at the same time helping to
achieve certain MDG/PRS indicators. The municipal
annual programme table then makes it easier to
plan the municipality’s priority development
measures over the next year, providing estimates of
the overall costs of the activities, and thus making it
easier to approach the development partners.
Stage 3: monitoring/evaluation of
implementation of annual action
programme and reprogramming
The participatory mechanism for the quarterly or
annual monitoring of the implementation of the
annual programme is explained to all the actors in
the municipality. The municipal council then has to
set up monitoring committees for each theme
selected at the planning stage. These committees
have the job of ensuring that the priority
measures are being implemented and, if
necessary, of reminding the municipal council
and all the actors in the municipality of the
commitments they made to implement the
annual programme. The committees can also
make practical suggestions about how to carry
out some of the activities planned.
This stage is carried out using a guide that gives
the information needed, such as the tasks of a
monitoring committee (drawing up simple
indicators and a timetable of meetings to monitor
progress in implementing the measures; issuing
reminders and proposals, if necessary, for
implementing certain measures, etc.) and who
should be on it (to ensure that it is open to officials
from the technical departments and civil society
organisations). It also sets out working methods,
such as how to produce minutes of meetings on
which to base the final evaluation, etc.
Stage 4: evaluation of change over a
number of years and restarting the
In this final stage, the measures taken and those
still to be carried out can be evaluated, either
every year or at the end of the number of years
decided at the outset.
An analysis of the implementation of the municipal
development plan and the progress made by the
municipal team during its term of office is given to
all the local actors who have taken part. Everyone
can therefore be involved in identifying the reasons
for successes and failures, and pathways can be
proposed for restarting the process based on the
lessons learned from this initial experience. A
workshop for the assisted self-evaluation of the
municipality’s performance is held. It looks at the
services provided and the investments made as
well as the running of the municipality itself.
This particular step and work on the various
tools are currently ongoing.
Involvement of actors in designing
and testing the guide
Local actors and the TFPs have been involved in
designing and testing the guide.
decentralised State technical departments,
members of civil society, opinion leaders, aid
organisations and local people) have all been
actively and continuously involved in providing a
critical analysis of the methods and tools used
during the process.
The municipality of Danchiao in the Zinder
region, on the border between Niger and Nigeria,
is a major trading area. The municipal actors
therefore proposed measuring the municipality’s
performance using indicators related to promoting
the export of local products.
Technical and financial partners contributed
little to the design of this guide in the end, since
they often already had a planning guide that they
found satisfactory. They were, however,
interested in some of the tools, such as
information on the MDGs/PRS, assisted selfevaluation, etc.
Testing the guide and its tools
SNV-Niger began by testing the tool for selfevaluation of municipal performance in its partner
municipality of Konni in the Tahoua region. A draft
entitled ‘Municipal development planning tools
and method, taking account of the MDGs/PRS’
was then produced.
Comments, particularly about the tool’s ability to
mobilise municipal actors in the pursuit of common
objectives, encouraged other SNV-Niger teams,
especially those in Zinder, Maradi and Niamey, to
test Stage 1 in one or two municipalities.
The draft guide was also distributed to SNV
decentralisation advisors in Mali and Burkina Faso
for critical analysis, comments and proposed
improvements. The reactions there enabled us to
flesh out some of the stages and tools, the
intended time-span, the proposed approach and,
above all, the relative number of types of actors
who should be involved in the activities.
An internal evaluation meeting was held at
which the different teams pooled their
observations. The approach and tools used were
discussed and analysed, and an improved version
of the guide was produced, which now took
account of the need to bring the municipal actors
up to standard through self-evaluation of the
municipality’s performance.
The outcome of the consultations on the first draft
coincided with the signing of a cooperation
agreement between SNV-World and UNDP for the
achievement of the Millennium Development Goals
and the National Poverty Reduction Strategies in
the countries where they operate. The selfevaluation tool indicators were then revised to fit
better with the MDG and PRS indicators.
An ex-post evaluation of the technical and
methodological support provided by SNV-Niger
and its partners was also conducted to find out
whether this helped the municipalities to operate
efficiently and to provide local people with highquality services. One of the recommendations
that came out of this evaluation was that
municipalities should be given more help to
develop planning tools tailored towards poverty
reduction, further reinforcing the idea that the
guide needed to be improved.
Since June 2005, the improved guide has
continued to be tested in municipalities in Niger.
Eight of the SNV’s 11 partner municipalities in the
Zinder region have completed the self-evaluation
of their municipality’s performance and are now
implementing their short-term action plan. One of
these municipalities has completed the entire
planning process and is currently setting up the
thematic monitoring committees. Three of the
municipalities are at the stage of consulting local
people (the forums). The municipality of Dantchiao
is planning to send a member of its technical
committee to the neighbouring municipality of
Dungass in order to help get the process started.
SNV-Niger is continuing to collect comments,
assessments and proposed improvements to the
planning guide, particularly at informal meetings
in the municipalities. Once the guide has been in
operation for a year, SNV-Niger hopes to evaluate
experiences of using it.
Role of SNV advisors and external
The approach described here requires the
municipality, as the authority in charge of municipal
development, to steer the activities. However,
because local actors have only limited experience,
the municipalities need a facilitator/moderator to
guide them through the various stages of the
process. This moderator (currently SNV advisors,
but eventually other people familiar with the tool)
introduces the various parties to and trains them in
using the planning and monitoring/evaluation tools,
prepares meetings, gives introductory talks on the
MDGs/PRS and explains the roles of the municipal
Up to now, SNV-Niger has performed the role of
facilitator. Initially it helped to set up the steering
committee for the planning process and got it
running. Then it supervised and guided the
planning activities and, finally, helped the parties
to evaluate the various stages of the test in order
to capitalise on experience and contribute
towards finalising the tools. Cost of producing
a municipal development
In order to give an idea of the costs involved in
producing a municipal development plan using
the approach proposed in the guide, we have
summarised the costs incurred in the rural
municipality of Dantchiao in the Zinder region.
This is currently the only municipality for which
SNV has sufficient data.
According to the 2001 general population
census, the rural municipality of Dantchiao
comprises 47 administrative villages, 39 hamlets
and 31 tribes. At that time it had 41,430
inhabitants and a surface area of 522 km2, giving
a population density of around 79/km2.
It should be noted that the costs listed are
mainly logistical expenses (hiring meeting rooms,
transport, meals and accommodation for
participants, etc.) relating to the organisation of
the first two stages of the planning process: selfevaluation of municipal operation and drafting of a
municipal development plan, taking poverty
reduction objectives into account. As the last two
stages are long term, it is currently difficult to
assess all the costs involved.
The cost of the technical assistance provided by
the SNV-Niger advisors is not included in this
table, but their involvement can be evaluated at
25 person/days, broken down into 15 days of field
work and 10 days for preparing and helping to
finalise documents (reports and plan). In some
municipalities, just one advisor was involved,
helped by a local resource person with the
necessary skills. In others, two advisors were
needed, so the number of days increased to 50.
Number of days
Number of persons
Total cost in XOF
Organising and holding workshop
Running technical committee
1 925,000
Preparing technical committee workshop
Organising forums
Pooling and summarising data
Organising planning workshop
Drafting MDP
Approval of MDP by municipal council
Handing-over of MDP to communities
44 days
The overall cost of the process varies depending on the size of the municipality, the size of its
population, the number of forums organised, the number of members of the technical committee, etc.
67 Strengths and
weaknesses of the
All users of the guide particularly welcomed the
constant reference made to the MDGs/PRS
during the main planning stages. With the
improved guide, all the measures decided upon
are planned in such a way that they contribute
towards achieving certain MDG/PRS indicators.
Local people know more about the international
undertakings that Niger has given in relation to the
Poverty Reduction Strategy and the Millennium
Development Goals, making them more willing to
play an active part in reducing poverty.
The approach used by the guide requires local
actors to be actively involved in the planning
process. This then makes it easier to implement
the measures decided upon and helps to
establish a shared view of these actors’ rights
and responsibilities.
The development of the municipality is no
longer solely in the hands of the municipal
council, but becomes the responsibility of all the
municipal actors through their representatives in
the thematic monitoring committees.
Experience shows that setting up a technical
committee to support all stages of the planning
and monitoring/evaluation process enables the
municipality to take responsibility for directing its
own development.
The municipal development plan is seen as a
unanimously accepted reference document for
the municipality, not just the municipal council,
which all the municipal actors use. The local
contribution is stressed as being of primary
importance; asking the TFPs for help in achieving
priority goals only comes later.
The approach develops an atmosphere of trust
between the municipal actors involved in the
planning process. The technical departments are
beginning to realise the need to overhaul their
former practices, particularly developing and
implementing local measures without involving
local people.
Solidarity is undergoing a revival thanks to the
renewal of trust between the parties involved (the
municipality’s executive and decision-making
bodies, government departments and local
people). This is because the municipal bodies
have to be accountable for the measures taken
and because efforts are made to find solutions to
the most urgent local problems through
consultation and consensus.
In some of the municipalities that followed
the process proposed in the guide, the issue of
mobilising municipal taxes and charges is no
longer a major concern. People in the municipality
wait for specific proposals from the municipal
bodies and then make additional contributions on
top of their ordinary taxes. When asked why they
do this, they said, ‘Now we know where our
money is going. We can check how our money is
being managed at any time. We really feel
encouraged by what the local council is doing.’
The approach proposed in the guide allows the
monitoring committees the scope to develop
tools and methods that are appropriate for local
situations, making monitoring easier.
Using local languages for presentations and
discussions encourages as many people as
possible to take part and to make relevant
proposals. Planning and discussing the tools in
local languages also encouraged those concerned
to get involved in the discussion of methods.
The guide’s present weaknesses have to do
with the fact that it is still in development.
In theory, implementing the planning approach
proposed by the guide takes 45 days for each
municipality, spread over six to nine months. In
reality, the process takes longer. The time
required for the planning stages is due to the fact
that some of the steps are difficult to carry out in
a country as poor as Niger. That is particularly true
of the collection of quantitative data on the various
thematic priorities chosen, which is necessary if
the planning process is to be valid. It is therefore
essential to involve the technical departments in
providing more databases.
In the Tahoua region, for instance, the planning
process was started in March 2005 in three
municipalities. By May 2006 only one of the three
had completed the planning.
Some procedures, such as the setting up and
operation of the municipal steering committee,
need further improvement. Experience has shown
that there is a rapid turnover of members,
resulting in delays and bottlenecks. It should
therefore be ensured that members of this
committee are chosen because they are available
and committed rather than just representative.
The needs expressed by women at the public
consultation days are not adequately reflected in
the final municipal development plan. The reason
appears to be that gender is not systematically
taken into account in the second part of the
guide. This must be rectified.
The municipal planning guide says nothing
about how to set about drafting the municipal
development plan. Information on the broad
outlines to follow would make it easier to draft.
Otherwise, even though the same approach is
used, the quality of the final documents varies
considerably. Building the
capacity of the
decentralisation actors
and strengthening the
institutional framework
Supporting the municipal actors involves putting
them in touch with each other so that they each
know their own roles and responsibilities and are
ready to join forces with others to work effectively
and sustainably. Each stage of the proposed
approach and all the tools and methods, adapted to
local requirements with the help of all the municipal
actors, are designed to be capacity building, since
the actors are the ones who carry them out:
The assisted self-evaluation of the
municipality’s performance is a practical
training course for the municipal actors in what
they need to do to play a responsible and effective
part in the autonomous free administration and
development of the municipality. The end result is
a very short-term action plan (six months on
average) to correct the deficiencies identified, not
just in the internal operation of the municipal
council, but also in its ongoing interaction with the
technical departments, civil society and the
municipal leaders as part of successful
development management based on participation.
The planning phase systematically refers to
the Millennium Development Goals and the
objectives of the National Poverty Reduction
Strategy. This innovative aspect enables the
municipal actors to find out about and understand
these national objectives and to define municipal
options so as to help to achieve some of them.
The process generates cooperation between
members of the municipal council, the devolved
technical departments of the State and the actors
of civil society working on the ground in their
municipality. Experience has shown that the
interaction and cooperation developed during this
planning and M&E process create confidence and
overcome many prejudices. Rumours such as ‘the
technical departments are doing their best to ignore
everything we set out to do’, ‘since it was set up
there has been absolutely no transparency in how
the municipal council has run the municipality’ or
‘the associations are refusing to work with the
municipal council’ are no longer heard in the
municipalities that have adopted the participatory
planning suggested in the guide. The intercommunity consultation days are ideal occasions
for the mayor, the municipal council and local
people to get on the same wavelength.
The mayor of one of the municipalities bore this
out with this example: ‘As part of the fight against
malaria in my municipality, I banned people in the
villages from sowing in order to avoid mosquitoes,
and I was accused of being a dictator. At the six
forums held in my municipality, four proposed
banning seed in the villages to prevent malaria, so
I am definitely in tune with my local people.’
The approach also strengthens accountability. All
the documents produced are public and made
available to local people, from initial design to final
evaluation and reprogramming. The committees are
aware that they have a duty to disseminate the
results of their meetings regularly through local radio.
The guide tested by SNV has been welcomed by
its partners. The MATDC often points mayors in
the direction of municipalities that have used it so
that they can learn from their experience, and the
Ministry is currently hoping to draft a national
municipal planning guide. SNV therefore needs to
work on its arguments in favour of its guide to
ensure that it is included when experiences from
around the country are collated.
It should be easy for users to take ownership of
this planning and monitoring/evaluation approach
because all the actors concerned are involved and
have to face up to their responsibilities at every
stage. Users thus feel motivated to do their best
in their role of directing the municipality’s
development, in meetings both with the central
government and with technical and financial
The extent to which the approach is used depends
on how far municipal officers are prepared to take
ownership of tools of democratic governance. The
guide tends to be used in proportion to their
organisational and financial capacities, while the
stages and tools tend to be used according to the
interest they generate and at a pace decided by
each municipality. This flexibility is another factor
promoting ownership of the guide.
SNV-Niger designed this approach in the hope that
it would be replicated in different environmental
contexts, but it has as yet not yet been used
outside the areas where it operates (38 of the 265
2.2.3. LESSONS
municipalities in Niger). Nevertheless, SNV is
currently in talks with the Zinder and Tahoua
management units of the Food Security Aid
through Small-Scale Irrigation (AZAPI) and CAP
with a view to testing the guide’s approach in their
partner municipalities. It is also planning to work
with CAP to support certain municipalities in the
Zinder region that do not have aid partners.
In line with developments in municipalities’
needs, SNV-Niger has adapted the guide to allow
scope for producing a short-term municipal
development plan (maximum two years).
All of this has encouraged the SNV advisors to
present the guide, its approach and some of the
results obtained during testing at a preliminary
meeting with the MATDC and the support
partners in the decentralisation process. Since
then, as we saw earlier, the MATDC has decided
that it would like to produce a reference municipal
planning guide. Defending ‘its guide’ to the
Ministry is one of the challenges facing SNV.
Experience with using this guide has taught us
the following lessons:
Everyone has rights, responsibilities and roles
to play in the decentralisation process, particularly
the power to participate and the right to monitor
decisions. But everyone needs to learn how to
find out about them and exercise them. The
participatory approach to planning and
implementing development measures is a way of
gradually achieving this.
Improving the guide will require considerable
involvement from the State if a municipal
planning guide is to be developed and
standardised at the national level. Development
partners must help the State here by sharing their
Officials from decentralised government
departments are not always prepared to accept
the changes required by the process, which affect
the way they usually operate. More work needs
to be done with them if they are to be
successfully included in the participatory process.
The tools and methods used in this guide help to
develop a spirit of citizenship. Local people are
involved in all the bodies preparing and carrying out
the work of drafting the MDP. They are represented
in the thematic monitoring committees, and they
are, above all, made aware that it is their right and
responsibility to keep up to date with progress in
implementing the planned measures.
With decentralisation, the normal administrative
and political way of doing things is reversed, with
decisions and action taken from the bottom up
rather than from the top down. Those who
formerly wielded power are not always willing to
make this change.
Most officials from the technical departments
who took part in facilitating the planning process
admitted that they had never heard of the
MDGs/PRS. A large-scale information campaign is
needed on these issues.
Some elected officers and civil actors pointed
out that they were already working on the ideas
covered by the MDGs/PRS, but the general public
simply needed to realise this so that reference
data (quantitative and qualitative) on the changes
could be collected and published. The SNV guide,
therefore, also helps to raise awareness in this
development planning guide, which takes account
of the Millennium Development Goals and the
Poverty Reduction Strategy, have shown that
municipalities are capable of conducting their
development planning process realistically and
sustainably. The approach and the tools used in
the guide enable communities to be consciously
and responsibly involved in achieving certain
MDG and PRS indicators.
The approach adopted is a response to
municipalities’ concerns about how to put their
chosen development measures into practice. The
composition of the monitoring committees and
the way they operate guarantee that measures
are implemented transparently, thus responding
to the concerns of local people.
The different ways in which the guide has been
used, the comments and favourable assessments
received, the changes currently being made and the
growing demand from other structures to use the
approach have encouraged SNV-Niger to seek top-
level State involvement in order to ensure that the
methods and tools are standardised nationally. The
arguments we have put forward in favour of
producing a national tool are that the guide can be
used on a much wider scale, thanks to the other
technical and financial partners. In the medium term,
the guide should be a tool in the future technical and
financial support mechanism for municipalities in
Niger (drawing on experience in Mali).
This document for participatory planning and
monitoring/evaluation of the design and
implementation of municipal development would
be easy to use outside the Nigerien context. The
approach and tools involved could be used by any
development actor working to combat poverty in
Africa or elsewhere.
In 2007, SNV is planning to involve its partners in
producing a new version of the guide, which will
then be regarded as the final product. This review
will take account of all the comments received from
the various countries planning to use the guide as a
whole or just individual components of it.
Appui à la Sécurité Alimentaire par la Petite Irrigation/Food Security Aid through Small-Scale
Community Action Program
Civil Society Organisation
Decentralised Technical Departments
Human Development Index
Lutte Contre la Pauvreté, région de Tahoua/Poverty Reduction, Tahoua Region
Ministère de l'Aménagement du Territoire et du Développement Communautaire/Ministry of
Town and Country Planning and Community Development
Monitoring and Evaluation
Millennium Development Goals
Municipal Development Programme
Ministère de l'Intérieur et de la Décentralisation/Ministry of the Interior and Decentralisation
Non-Governmental Organisation
Programme Cadre de Lutte Contre la Pauvreté/Projet d'Appui au Développement local/
Poverty Reduction Framework Programme/Local Development Support Programme
Poverty Reduction Strategy
Organisation Néerlandaise de Développement/Netherlands Development Organisation
United Nations Development Program
Community Action Program. 2005. Guide de
planification communale.
European Union. 2001. Project Cycle Management:
Integrated Approach and Logical Framework.
46p. Brussels.
HCHRA/D. 2003. Recueil des textes sur la
décentralisation. 188p. Niamey: Imprimerie
TZ. 2004. Guide pratique de gestion des archives
des collectivités territoriales. 63p. Bamako.
Direction Nationale des Collectivités Territoriales.
2004. Outil d’auto évaluation des performances
des collectivités territoriales. 60p. Bamako.
Direction Nationale des Collectivités
PADL Mayayi and N’guigmi. 2005. Guide
méthodologique pour l’élaboration du Plan
de Développement Communal (PDC), ONG
Karkara. 28p. Niamey: Programme d'Appui
au Développement Local Maradi.
Republic of Benin. Mission de décentralisation.
Guide pour la planification du développement
communal. Cotonou: Ministère de l’Intérieur,
de la Sécurité et de la Décentralisation.
Republic of Mali. 1997. La commune en
question, Mali communication. 85p. Bamako:
Republic of Mali, Mission de décentralisation.
Republic of Mali. 1999. Le guide de planification
du développement communal. 54p. Bamako:
Republic of Mali, Direction Nationale des
Collectivités Territoriales.
Republic of Niger. 2002. Stratégie de réduction
de la pauvreté. Niamey: Republic of Niger.
Republic of Niger. 2003. Rapport national sur le
SNV-Niger. 2005. Liens entre OMD-SRP et
progrès vers les Objectifs du Millénaire pour
le Développement. Niamey: Republic of
Programme SNV-Niger. 16p. Niamey:
Organisation Néerlandaise de Développement.
SNV/Cedelo/KIT. 2004. Decentralisation in Mali.
SAGE. 2002. Le Guide d’élaboration et de mise
en œuvre d’un Plan Communal de
Antananarivo: Service d’Appui à la Gestion de
l’Environnement, Madagascar.
Putting policy into practice. Bamako:
Netherlands Development Organisation.
BP 10110, Niamey
Tel.: (+227) 752 052/753 633.
Email: [email protected]
CAP CR/Zinder
BP 12946, Zinder
Tel.: (+227) 372 717/374 110
Email: [email protected]
Email: [email protected]
Email: [email protected]
Gaoussou SENE
Tel.: (+227) 510 277
Email: [email protected]
BP 232, Zinder
Tel.: (+227) 512 296
Email: [email protected]
Email: [email protected]
Bureau de la zone de Maradi
BP 270, Maradi
Email: [email protected]
Bureau Zinder, BP 499, Zinder
Tel.: (+227) 510 654.
Email: [email protected]
Boureima ADAMOU
Email: [email protected]
2.3. Ghana: Experiences with district-based poverty
profiling, mapping and pro-poor planning as an M&E tool
This study ‘District-based poverty profiling, mapping and pro-poor planning as a monitoring
and evaluation tool’ has been prepared by Bruno B. Derry and Audrey Dorway (see Annex IV).
The case study describes a poverty mapping and profiling approach which has been jointly
developed and tested by the National Development Planning Commission of Ghana, the German
Technical Co-operation Agency (GTZ GmbH), the Ghana Poverty Reduction Programme of the Social
Investment Fund and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development. This approach has
been conceived for actors in local governance at the district level in the context of decentralisation
and with a view to support the implementation of the countries poverty reduction strategy at the
local level.
While this poverty mapping and profiling method was originally developed with a view to facilitate
pro-poor planning and a better targeting of interventions to the poor, the authors argue it can also
form the basis for monitoring and evaluating the effects and impacts district development plans as
well as other projects and programmes have on the poor.
2.3.1. Methodology
2.3.2. Presentation and analysis of the approach The context of decentralisation and local governance Purpose of and demand for the tool The moderators and participants Key elements of the tool Sustainability and ownership Challenges and lessons learned Present use of the tool and the way forward
2.3.3. Conclusions
Annex I : Acronyms
Annex II : Bibliography
Annex III : Resource persons and useful links
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) brought poverty onto the
global development agenda and encouraged all nations to renew their
commitment to the battle against poverty. As a result, governments and
development agencies all over the world are now paying more attention than
ever before to measures to improve the quality of life by reducing poverty.
The need to formulate Poverty Reduction Strategies (PRS) also brought the
issue of poverty to the fore in almost all socio-economic and political debates
in developing countries. The PRS process presents a range of challenges,
from facilitating and managing effective participation to identifying policies for
pro-poor growth. By making its PRS its main development policy instrument,
the government of Ghana is displaying its commitment to poverty reduction
and wealth creation, especially in rural areas.
In order to make the Ghana Poverty Reduction
Strategy (GPRS I & II) more effective in addressing
the needs of the poor, the Ghanaian government
has been pursuing a number of programmes,
including special presidential initiatives. Whilst the
comprehensive nature of these pro-poor policies
and programmes is the strength of the current
approach to poverty reduction, it is also its
weakness, as the programmes are not sufficiently
targeted at the poor. Policies and programmes
intended to help the poor cannot succeed unless
the government and other stakeholders know who
the poor are, where they live and how they are
likely to respond to different growth strategies.
Thus, providing information on the spatial
heterogeneity of poverty can greatly assist anyone
wishing to identify the poor and find out where
they live and what causes their poverty.
Poverty is a multi-faceted problem that tends to
vary considerably in terms of space. The pro-poor
targeting of development initiatives is both a
political and a technical procedure. The political
process in Ghana often results in the packaging of
comprehensive support measures that address
the needs of the poor as identified and prioritised
by the government. When this political approach
is pursued as a way of pro-poor programming, it
tends to skew the responsibility for poverty
reduction unduly towards the government,
generating a recipient mentality among the poor
and creating dependency in the community.
The political approach has to be balanced with a
technical approach that seeks to address the root
causes of poverty and strengthen the coping
mechanisms of the poor. This technical approach
starts with indicators such as low income, poor
health, unemployment, etc. However, it uses these
symptoms as entry points towards understanding
the forces and factors that combine to keep people
poor. Thus, instead of addressing the symptoms as
the actual problems, the technical approach is
interested in the causes of poverty and how they
prevent the poor from breaking out of the mould.
This is where the techniques of poverty profiling
and poverty mapping come into play.
Basically, poverty profiling and mapping are a set
of tools and procedures that enable development
agents to identify the incidence and prevalence of
poverty, locate the groups that are regarded as
poor, and describe and categorise them in socioeconomic clusters as well as in geographical
terms. Poverty profiling and mapping can be
performed as a quantitative and computersupported exercise that manipulates a socioeconomic dataset obtained through a population
census or a carefully organised survey.
The project that is the subject of this paper used
an alternative, participatory form of poverty
profiling and mapping pivoted on a series of
guided dialogues, involving the poor themselves
and the agencies that supply services to them.
This approach, based on a participatory dialogue,
brings together quantitative data on poverty and
the poor, as well as qualitative information on how
the poor perceive themselves, what they
consider as the causes of their poverty, and the
coping mechanisms they use in organising the
production, distribution and consumption of
goods and services. The result of this
participatory process is that both the poor and
change agents interested in helping to reduce
poverty gain a better understanding of the forces
that keep people poor, the minimum threshold of
support that could get the poor out of the poverty
trap, and the technical and human resources
needed to initiate poverty reduction support
Acting in collaboration with the Ghanaian
Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development
and the Environment (MLGRDE), the National
Development Planning Commission (NDPC) and
the Social Investment Fund (SIF), the German
Technical Cooperation Agency (GTZ) embarked on
a nationwide project to compile poverty profiles
and maps for all the country's 110 districts. The
aim was to help make the pro-poor targeting of
development initiatives more effective. The
participatory methodology for poverty profiling and
mapping was first piloted in two districts and later
implemented in 16 districts. In 2004, assistance
was given to the remaining 94 District Assemblies
in preparing poverty profiles, maps and pro-poor
programmes. The implementation process is
summarised in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Implementation - poverty profiles, maps and pro-poor approach
Preparation of poverty profiles, maps and propoor programmes for 94 districts
Training of selected national and regional
Training of three representatives from each of the
110 District Assemblies
Preparation of poverty profiles, maps and pro-poor
programmes in 16 District Assemblies
Training of selected institutions in poverty profiling,
mapping and pro-poor programming
Consultations between SIF, GTZ, MLGRD and NDPC
on poverty profiling, mapping and pro-poor
Pilot exercise in Kintampo and Atebubu districts
Preparation of a 'How-to-do Guide' to poverty
mapping and pro-poor programming
Source: MLGRD, GTZ, Nkum Associates (2004).
The use of participatory methods is one of the
core elements of poverty profiling, mapping and
programming. The methodology allows for grassroots involvement and inputs from local civil
servants. Another feature is that the symptoms of
poverty are not addressed in designing
interventions. Instead, interventions stem from
identifying the causes of poverty and how these
combine to keep people poor. The approach uses
planning tools and procedures that are both
quantitative and qualitative. Another noteworthy
aspect is the use of existing institutional
structures for implementation purposes.
The district poverty-profiling and mapping
technique consists of five steps that can be
completed in five or six days using existing
technical expertise. The District Planning and
Coordinating Units (DPCUs), NGOs/CSOs, privatesector actors and traditional authorities in the
decentralisation and local
Although the Fourth Republican Constitution of
1992 provides a broad framework for the
government's policy of decentralisation, the Local
Government Act of 1993 was enacted to devolve
authority, resources, competences and capacity
from central government to lower administrative
and political structures and the communities. The
decentralisation policy was intended both to
strengthen local government and to encourage
citizens to participate in governance and local
development. The policy also sought to promote
popular participation and ownership of the
development process, so that all are part of the
development process, within the framework of
national policy. The main features of the policy
redefined roles, functions and structures of
institutions at various levels of government;
district come together in a process lasting two or
three days to prepare a district profile and make a
preliminary analysis of local pockets of poverty. The
process then goes into the poor areas identified in
the first step to engage assembly members, local
council staff and focus groups comprising women,
young people, settler communities and other
identifiable groups so as to validate, correct and/or
refine district-level perceptions and finalise the
poverty profiles and maps for the district.
Organised as a series of dialogues between the
poor, the poverty profiling and mapping process
generates fairly accurate data on the poverty
situation in a district and identifies the factors and
forces that cause and maintain poverty. The
process also generates ideas for realistic targetgroup and gender-specific interventions that could
help alleviate poverty in the district in question.
the transfer of responsibility for 86 statutory
duties to local government bodies;
empowering District Assemblies as the prime
administrative, planning, development, budgeting,
legislative and rating authorities in their areas of
modifying the criteria for district and sub-district
elections by removing literacy as a qualification for
those seeking to stand for election;
restructuring the allocation and transfer of development resources so that these are managed and
controlled by the District Assemblies, in the form
of discretionary funds placed at the disposal of the
Salient features of Ghana's local
government system
The local government system introduced by the
1988 legislative reforms is a four-tiered structure
(see Figure 2), with a Regional Coordinating
Council (RCC) at the top, followed by
Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies
and the Urban/Town/Area Councils. The Unit
Committees are at the base.
Figure 2: Ghana's local government system
Regional Coordinating Council
Town Councils
Zonal Councils
Urban/Town/Area Councils
Unit Committees
Source: Republic of Ghana (1988).
There are ten regions, each headed by a Regional
Minister who is appointed by the President. All
regions have a Regional Coordinating Council
(RCC), which consists of representatives of District
Assemblies (DA) and Traditional Authority (TA).
Each district (currently 138) has a District
Assembly consisting of elected and appointed
members. Seventy per cent of the members are
elected by the population, and the remaining 30
per cent are appointed by the President. Of the
seats reserved for appointees, 50% are intended
for women. In spite of this, women account for
only a small proportion of District Assembly
members - less than 10 per cent.
District Assemblies are headed by a District Chief
Executive (DCE), who is nominated by the
President. The DCE acts as the District head and the
central government representative at district level. Purpose of and
demand for the tool
The poverty-profiling, mapping and pro-poor
programming tool was developed to meet the
demand for a technical means of improving the
targeting of poverty reduction programmes
drafted under the Ghana Poverty Reduction
Strategy (GPRS I). Finding ways to reduce poverty
and inequity is a daunting challenge for local and
national authorities in Ghana. One important
aspect of this challenge is the spatial heterogeneity
of poverty. District Assemblies and NGOs/CBOs
in Ghana are asking for more and more georeferenced information on the location of the poor
and the magnitude of poverty so that they can set
priorities, target interventions, empower local
communities and improve their understanding of
the causes and effects of poverty.
This tool was designed to strengthen the
capacity of district-level actors to design their
own poverty reduction programmes by taking a
bottom-up approach. The tool also provides an
objective basis to improve the targeting of
poverty reduction programmes, and generates
local data that can provide a baseline for
monitoring and evaluation.
The principles underpinning the tool are based
on evidence that poor people tend to work very
hard, using their own coping mechanisms to
survive and improve their lot. They remain poor
because their efforts do not earn them enough
income or enable them to gain better access to
those goods and services they require in order to
escape from poverty. Therefore, if poverty
reduction measures are to be effective, they must
first recognise and understand the barriers poor
people need to overcome in order for their efforts
in producing, distributing and consuming goods
and services to bring them more direct benefits.
Identifying spatial patterns of poverty using
maps provides new insights into the causes of
poverty. For example, do physical isolation and
poor agro-ecological resources prevent people
from escaping from poverty? This in turn can affect
the type of interventions under consideration.
Poverty maps can be used to improve the
allocation of resources. They can help the
authorities to decide where and how to target
anti-poverty programmes. Geographic targeting,
as opposed to across-the-board interventions, has
been shown to be a useful means of maximising
coverage, while minimising leakage to the nonpoor. Geographic targeting at community level
can help to make anti-poverty programmes more
effective, for example by promoting subsidies in
poor communities and cost recovery in less poor
Detailed information on the spatial distribution
of the poor can also assist policy-makers,
executive agencies and development partners in
designing socially and geographically targeted
pro-poor policies and programmes. With more
and more attention being given to poverty
targeting below the district level, detailed poverty
maps should provide development planners with
a powerful tool.
Poverty mapping should also help the District
Assemblies and the sub-district structures to take
account of the national and regional priorities set
in the GPRS II with regard to programme design,
development financing and the monitoring of
poverty reduction indicators.
Table 1: Key stakeholders and their needs
Needs and demands
National policy-makers
Good governance and general policy framework.
A yardstick for setting standards.
Information on main areas of deprivation.
Assistance with targeting of interventions.
District administrators
Advice on resource allocation.
A means of justifying the allocation of interventions for poverty reduction.
A source of baseline data on the poverty situation in the district.
Development partners
Assistance with targeting of interventions.
A source of baseline data on districts.
Assistance with monitoring the implementation of projects.
Assistance with questioning the allocation of resources.
Source: MLGRD, GTZ, Nkum Associates (2004) .
80 The moderators
and participants
District-based poverty profiling, mapping and
pro-poor planning was designed and implemented
by the following actors.
The consultants engaged as facilitators to coach
the district teams were experts in development
planning and poverty reduction in Ghana. They
drafted a training manual and performed a pilot
profiling and mapping exercise in two districts.
They were then engaged to train trainers and
professionals from four institutions, viz. Kwame
Nkrumah University of Science and Technology
(KNUST), the University of Development Studies
(UDS), the Institute of Local Government Studies
(ILGS), and Ghana Institute of Management and
Public Administration (GIMPA). These trainers
were then tasked to lead the teams in the 16
districts that were to prepare poverty profiles and
maps. The consultants were subsequently reengaged to facilitate the up-scaling exercise in the
remaining 94 districts.
The knowledge and skills of the participants
varied from one district to another, depending on
the composition of the respective teams. This
was also reflected by the varied quality of the
outputs. Whereas high-quality work was
produced in some districts, sub-standard reports
were received from other districts. Key elements of the tool
Figure 3 summarises the key steps in the poverty profiling mapping and pro-poor programming
Figure 3: Key steps in the poverty profiling and mapping process
Step 1:
Preparation towards
District poverty
Step 5:
Step 2:
Designing a system
for monitoring &
District poverty
Step 4:
Design and
implementation of
Poverty Reduction
Step 3:
Preparing district
poverty maps
Source: MLGRD, GTZ, Nkum Associates (2004).
The first of the five steps involves setting up
and preparing a technical team to undertake the
exercise. The district technical team consists of
staff of the district administration and sector
departments (i.e. the expanded DPCU), major
NGOs/CSOs operating in the district, traditional
council members and major private-sector
operators. The team is introduced to the principles
and concepts underlying participatory poverty
profiling and mapping. They are then assisted in
procuring the necessary updated base maps and
assembling data on the local poverty situation.
This district-level data may include the results of
the Core Welfare Indicator Questionnaires
(CWIQ), relevant data from the latest census and
statistics from the Ghana Living Standard
Surveys. The sector departments may use data
from their district database and strategic plans.
This is where the quantitative data and research
findings from other poverty reduction or poverty
mapping initiatives in the district come in useful.
The second step in the process is preparing a
poverty profile for the district. Since each district
has certain socio-economic and cultural
characteristics that distinguish it from other
districts, the district profile seeks to capture these
peculiarities along with other standard measures
of poverty. Some of the standard variables relate
to access to health care, education, water and
sanitation, credit, extension services and markets.
Over and above these variables, other variables
used specifically by local people in describing
their poverty status, as well as the perceptions of
service-providers regarding the dimensions and
manifestations of poverty in the district, are then
identified and recorded in the form of a simple
matrix. This results in a poverty profile for the
district, showing the various target groups and
gender-specific dimensions. The tool also allows
each of the target groups to indicate and specify
the variables which they use to describe their
poverty, specify the causes of their poverty and
show the efficacy or otherwise of their respective
coping mechanisms. The district poverty profile
which emanates from this step is a vivid
description (in quantitative and qualitative terms)
of the extent, dimensions and causes of poverty,
as well as the potential of and the coping
mechanisms used by various groups of poor
The third step involves preparing district maps
and identifying pockets of poverty and areas that
are better endowed. The poverty data,
perceptions, dimensions and manifestations of
poverty are translated into maps showing the
spatial distribution of the various dimensions of
poverty in the district in question. This is done in
the form of thematic maps showing:
a) the spatial distribution of settlements by
b) the location of infrastructure, services and
c) the hierarchy of settlements in terms of service
d) access to services and facilities;
e) volumes and centres of major production;
f) commodity flows and market outlets;
g) volumes of area/town council contributions to
district assembly revenue.
These thematic maps are then converted into
composite maps showing areas of deprivation
(i.e. poverty pockets) and areas that are better
endowed. Figure 4 below is an example of a
composite poverty map.
Figure 4: Composite poverty map for Kintampo District
District Boundary
Area Council Boundary
Major Trunk Road
Minor Trunk Road
Feeder Road
Relatively well-endowed
Poverty Pocket 1
Poverty Pocket 2
Poverty Pocket 3
Poverty Pocket 4
Poverty Pocket 5
Poverty Pocket 6
Poverty Pocket 7
Source: MLGRD, GTZ, Nkum Associates (2004).
The fourth step involves designing pro-poor
development programmes. Strictly speaking, it
means mapping out, in terms of sectoral and
geographical space, a number of potential propoor programmes that could address the
problems that the poor need to resolve. Due to
the multi-dimensional nature of poverty, a holistic
approach embracing all sectors needs to be taken
to the design of pro-poor or poverty reduction
programmes. Yet this inter-sectoral, multidepartmental approach must be strategic in its
focus and content. For this reason, the fourth step
in the poverty profiling and mapping process
identifies key areas of sectoral intervention at
identified nodal points that could address both
the immediate and the long-term causes of
poverty in terms of prioritised sectors and
geographical space. The existing capacity (in
terms of infrastructure, human capital and
financial resources) for performing pro-poor
interventions is also identified at this stage. This
leads to the delineation of possible strategic
support measures for reducing poverty in the
poverty pockets, nodal points and defined
sectors. The potential for economic growth and
income redistribution benefiting specific groups
of poor people is also brought together at this
The final step of the process involves clarifying
and benchmarking the indicators that could be
used to measure the improvement in people's
living standards. These indicators (along with
national and regionally consistent or standard
poverty variables) are then built into a simple
framework that enables the poor and their
service-providers to track the level of change
which is acceptable evidence of an improvement
in their socio-economic well-being. A simple
monitoring and evaluation model can then be
designed to track:
the extent to which poverty has been reduced
among the various target groups and across
the reasons for success or failure;
the reactions of beneficiaries to programme
implementation and outcomes; and
the lessons for future planning and policymaking.
feature in the medium-term development plans of
all 138 District Assemblies. While national policymaking institutions provided technical support,
development partners such as the Canadian
International Development Agency (CIDA) and the
Danish International Development Agency
(DANIDA) provided financial support. Sustainability and
Consultants played a vital role during the
planning stage, acted as facilitators for the
training-the-trainers and orientation workshops for
District Administrators, and coached the district
teams during the upscaling to the 94 districts.
Ownership and a capacity for sustainable
management and repetition were created at
various levels. At a local level, the exercise was
performed by district teams consisting of technical
personnel and representatives of civil society and
the traditional authorities, with technical coaching
from external facilitators. The training programme
was designed to involve the District Coordinating
Directors, Planning Officers and Town and Country
Planning Officers. The main purpose was to equip
local authorities with the capacity they need in
order to prepare and implement local poverty
reduction programmes. Essentially, the poverty
profiling and mapping project built capacity at a
district level for analysing and understanding the
manifestation of poverty, the coping strategies and
mechanisms used by the poor and the appropriate
targeting of poverty reduction interventions. The
outputs, as a result, were their own efforts and are
owned by them.
At a national level, the role played by the
collaborating institutions was also vital to the
sustainability of the exercise. Policy-level institutions,
which are responsible for decentralisation and local
governance, were active partners in the process.
Their involvement commenced during the planning
and design stages, through implementation to
monitoring and evaluation. Institutions such as the
Ministry of Local Government and Rural
Development and the National Development
Planning Commission took part in the upscaling
and implementation of the exercise nationwide.
The NDPC integrated the poverty profiling model
into the National Development Planning Guidelines
for the 2006-2009 period. By this measure,
sustainability has been created as the process will
84 Challenges and
lessons learned
Two major challenges were encountered. The
first was a matter of competing activities.
Because of the numerous and uncoordinated
capacity-building interventions taking place at a
local level, many District Planning Coordination
Units and other departments were overloaded
during the period when the project was running.
This resulted in competing demands on their time
and resources, resulting in interruptions in the
work plan.
The second challenge related to local technical
capacity which, in some cases, was not up to the
task. Although teams were formed in all districts,
some members were transferred and others
resigned during the course of the project.
Additionally, some districts lacked key personnel
such as Town and Country Planning Officers who
were needed to perform the vital task of
preparing accurate district maps.
Despite these problems, the project succeeded
in strengthening the capacity of the district
technical teams, including representatives of local
government (District Assemblies), the traditional
authority and civil society. The broad composition
of the technical teams also helped in
documenting local knowledge. A laudable
outcome is that the poverty profiles and maps
were used to design and implement targeted
programmes for dealing with areas of deprivation
in the districts in question. Present use of
the tool and the way
As already mentioned, the tool is intended to
improve the targeting of poverty reduction
programmes at a district level. It is currently being
used mainly for the purpose for which it was
designed. Numerous district-based NGOs,
development partners and District Assembly
administrators are using the output to target their
interventions as shown in Table 2. However, the
model has great potential as a monitoring and
evaluation tool thanks to the vast amount of districtspecific data it generates. We recommend that a
poverty mapping and profiling exercise be conducted
in each district after five years. The current data and
maps will then provide a basis for analysing any
changes in the poverty situation during this period.
Table 2: Current use made of poverty profiling, mapping and pro-poor programming
Type of stakeholder
Name of institution
National Development
Planning Commission83
Focus of operations
1. Designing policies to guide
the country's development
e.g. GPRS I & II, National
Planning Guidelines etc.
Use made of output
Tool incorporated into
Planning Guidelines.
2. As a participatory
monitoring and evaluation
Tool incorporated into
District M&E Guidelines.
Promotion of cost-effective
energy services for agroprocessing. Interventions focus
on communities without
Baseline information to
assist in selecting
communities for direct
Assemblies of God
Development And
Relief Services
Capacity-building programme
for selected groups; members
of the Ghana Association of
Social Workers to be trained in
targeting of poverty reduction
interventions at district level.
Information in reports will
be used to create awareness
among members of the
Association of methods for
targeting poverty reduction
Nationwide programme
which seeks to make Ghana's
USAID: Trade and
private sector more
Investment Programme
competitive by creating an
for a Competitive
enabling environment and
Export Economy
strengthening the capacity of
the private sector.
World Food
Supplementary Feeding
Health and Nutrition
Education is one aspect of
the WFP's programme in
Ghana. The idea is that
children and expectant and
nursing mothers should be
able to meet their nutritional
needs under the GPRS. The
area of operation consists of
the regions in the north of
Baseline data for identifying
vulnerable areas, so that
interventions can be
targeted directly at
households in these areas.
Data used as baseline
information in preparing the
next Country Strategy for
the WFP Nutrition
83- The National Development Planning Commission is an institution mandated by Articles 86 and 87 of Ghana's 1992
Constitution to guide the formulation of development plans and monitor and evaluate the country's development
Type of stakeholder
Name of institution
Japanese International
Cooperation Agency
Focus of operations
Use made of output
Reports used as a source of
A consultant was engaged for
baseline data for conducting
a rural electrification project
a socio-economic study in
in the Northern, Upper East
preparation for a rural
and Upper West regions.
electrification project.
The maps were of particular
interest, as a source of
information on existing
feeder roads. The reports
were used as a source of
data for a socio-economic
study paving the way for the
German Bank for
Reconstruction (KFW)
Feeder Roads Project
Study for the construction of
feeder roads in the Volta,
Ashanti and Brong Ahafo
European Union
A consultant was contracted
for a capacity-building
Review of district-specific
programme for district
data from an educational
education offices, with the aim
of improving their
Kesse, Tagoe and
Contracted to prepare a land
use plan for selected areas in
the Greater Accra Region
Baseline data on salt
deposits in the Dangme
areas of the GAR.
Consultants for
Agricultural and Rural
Development Services
Contracted by EU MicroProjects Programme.
Baseline information for the
next stage of the EU's
Micro-Projects Programme.
Asanteman Council of
Ashanti Region
GoG/World Bank Project
supported the Asanteman
Council in a project aimed at
promoting the participation of
traditional authorities.
Baseline information for
preparing development
plans for all local authorities
in the Ashanti region.
There is inevitably a spatial dimension to welfare
and poverty. Although the spatial distribution of
poverty remains one of the oldest puzzles, it is
also a highly contemporary issue. The incidence
of poverty in a specific area may be attributed to
a variety of lifestyle-related and environmental
factors. The characteristics of the location,
including socio-demographic and environmental
data, are a valuable source of information in
moving down the road to poverty reduction.
The results of poverty profiling and mapping
suggest that there is considerable heterogeneity
in poverty levels between and within districts in
the same communities. The exercise has
identified areas in which the poor are heavily
concentrated. The results also help to explain why
certain areas are poorer than others. If this type of
detailed information is linked with other socioeconomic and geographical data, it becomes even
more useful in assisting efforts to target the poor.
In conclusion, the poverty profiling and mapping
tool helps to make the targeting of pro-poor
development interventions more effective, and
provides baseline information for monitoring and
evaluation. The maps are important tools for
effectively implementing poverty reduction
programmes under the District Medium-Term
Development Plans for 2006-2009.
Consultants for Agricultural and Rural Development Services
Community-Based Organisation
Canadian International Development Agency
Civil Society Organisation
Core Welfare Indicator Questionnaires
District Assembly
Danish International Development Agency
District Budget Officer
District Coordinating Director
District Chief Executive
District Planning and Coordinating Unit
District Medium Term Development Plan
Development partner
District Planning Officer
Greater Accra Region
Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy
Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy
German Technical Cooperation Agency
Heavily Indebted Poor Countries
Institute of Local Government Studies
Japanese International Cooperation Agency
German Bank for Reconstruction
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology
Monitoring and Evaluation
Ministries, departments and agencies
Millennium Development Goals
Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and the Environment
National Development Planning Commission
Non-governmental organisation
Participatory monitoring and evaluation
Poverty Reduction Strategy
Regional Coordinating Council
Regional Planning and Coordinating Units
Social Investment Fund
Traditional authority
United States Agency for International Development
Alderman, H., et al. 2002. How Low Can You
Henninger, N. and M. Snel. 2002. Where are
Go? Combining Census and Survey Data for
Poverty Mapping in South Africa, The World
Bank, Washington.
the Poor? Experiences with the Development
and Use of Poverty Maps. World Resources
Institute (WRI) and UNEP/GRID-Arendal.
WRI, Washington DC. Available at:
Baker, J. L., and M.E. Grosh. 1994. 'Measuring
the Effects of Geographic Targeting on
Poverty Reduction.' Living Standards
Measurement Study Working Paper. 99. The
World Bank, Washington, D.C.
Mapping in South Africa. Journal of African
Economies, Volume 11, Issue 3 (forthcoming).
Nkum Associates. 2005. Poverty Profiling
Bigman, D., and H. Fofack. 2000. 'Geographical
Targeting for Poverty Alleviation: An Introduction
to the Special Issue.' The World Bank
Economic Review 14(1): 129-45.
Mapping and Pro-Poor Programming Exercise
Report on Coaching and Backstopping Exercise
in 94 Districts. Accra.
Nkum Associates. 2004. How-To-Do-Guide on
Deaton, A. 1997. The Analysis of Household
District Poverty Profiling and Mapping. Accra.
Surveys: A Microeconometric Approach to
Development Policy. John Hopkins University
Press and the World Bank: Washington, D.C.
Nkum Associates. 2003. Poverty Profiling
Mapping and Pro Poor Programming Exercise
Training Report.
Deaton, A., and Z. Salman. 2002. 'Guidelines
for Constructing Consumption Aggregates
for Welfare Analysis.' LSMS Working Paper,
135. The World Bank, Washington, D.C.
Owusu, L. B., et al. 2005. Local Governance
Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS I).
2003. Government of Ghana, National Development
Republic of Kenya 2003. 'Geographic Dimensions
Planning Commission, Accra.
Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy
(GPRS II). 2005. Government of Ghana, National
Development Planning Commission, Accra.
and Poverty Alleviation in Africa. The Case of
of well being in Kenya: Volume1 Where are the
Poor: From Districts to Locations'.
VNG International. 2005. Logo South Country
Programme Ghana 2005 - 2008. Fee based
Service Provision for Local Government
Bodies. The Hague.
Resource persons:
Bruno B. Dery (NDPC)
Email: [email protected]
Audrey Dorway (GTZ)
Email: [email protected]
Useful links:
2.4. Mali: Geographical information systems (GIS) for
the development of rural municipalities
This study, ‘Geographical Information Systems (GIS) for the development of rural
municipalities’, has been prepared by Florence Dumont and Bakary Samaké (see Annex IV).
The authors describe and compare the approaches taken by SNV and PACT to their GIS, as well
as their own experience and that of their partners with these systems at both the regional and
municipal level. Leaving aside overly complex technical details, the authors look at the challenges
of designing, using and managing a GIS and the issues raised by access to information in the
context of decentralisation and municipal development.
The focus is particularly on capacity building issues and the conditions needed for the ownership
and viability of these tools for collecting and storing data that can be processed in many ways and
spatially analysed.
2.4.1. Methods for capitalising on these two GIS experiments
2.4.2. Description and analysis of GIS tools Managing a municipal area without reference maps Stages of development Different objectives for the same goal: better knowledge and
understanding of spatial relationships for improved planning Actors and partners in the design and use of the GIS Hypotheses, problems, indicators and reference standards Procedures, formalisation, institutionalisation and links with
existing tools Deciding how to use the system Capacity building Ownership, viability, adaptation and replication of the process Results and lessons learned
2.4.3. Conclusions and prospects
Annex I : Acronyms
Annex II : Bibliography
Annex III : Resource persons, online documents and useful addresses
A wealth of data, but is it being properly used?
Everyone – non-governmental organisations (NGOs), researchers, donors,
development organisations, authorities, local government – now collects data
without always knowing how best to store them, how to process them
effectively and how to share them efficiently. The human and financial
investment channelled into data collection may well come to naught,
especially if any of these actors stop participating.
Conventional databases are often shrouded in
anonymity, becoming the monopoly of their
managers, who see them as their personal
property. Moreover, data are often difficult to
exchange because they might not be codified on
the basis of standard statistical units.
Analysis and decision-making could be much
easier with a geographical information system
(GIS) — a geo-referenced database whose
statistical units are spatially located, making it
possible to carry out query by location and to
convert statistical information into maps. But
most organisations do not know where to start
and are reluctant to do so because of the
expertise and investment needed to create and
manage a GIS.
Although differing in some respects (such as the
working methods tested, the tools developed, the
2.4.1. METHODS
This paper looks chiefly at the usefulness of this
tool and its relevance to those who could benefit
from it. It does not, however, look at the technical
aspects of these systems, which are often
complex. The GIS has to be seen as a tool that is
multi-scale (enabling changes of scale), multitheme, and multi-user (an in-house tool of
development organisations, for example, or a
support tool for municipalities and ‘cercles’).
Two people responsible for designing GIS
databases, a geographer at SNV-Mali and a
computer scientist at PACT, compared their
working methods, looking at how thinking was
progressing with the teams involved, how the
databases were evolving, what themes were
being tackled, etc.
PACT has more experience with the use of this
tool and is better able to analyse how successful
the approach has been. It has a better overview of
the problems that have been encountered and, by
analysing user demand for GIS products, they know
problems encountered, etc.), the experience
gained from the creation of the GIS of the
Netherlands Development Organisation (SNVMali) and the Local Government Support
Programme of German Technical Cooperation
(PACT-GTZ) may well be able to ‘point the way’ for
development organisations to take up the
challenge of creating a GIS. This would enable
local governments to see how useful these
systems are for analysis and decision-making.
how users (i.e., local actors in decentralisation and
local governance) perceive this GIS.
Despite having less experience, teams at SNV
are increasingly of the view that the GIS database
needs to be enhanced.
Because it is highly technical in nature, the
methods of capitalising on the GIS are not very
participative, nor does the type of design
encourage participation, which could make it
seem that these tools were being imposed from
above. They are nevertheless meeting real needs
and their usefulness has been rapidly appreciated
by all users.
Interest in this kind of approach lies more in the
use, testing and ownership of GIS tools than in
the strategy for their creation and introduction.
What is interesting is how the results (i.e., the
GIS products) are being used.
OF Managing a
municipal area without
reference maps
Dutch and German cooperation organisations
are supporting the national decentralisation policy
in Mali, particularly through support for various
municipal advisory centres (CCCs). Work by SNVMali and GTZ’s Local Government Support
Programme (PACT) is geared towards developing
tools to help municipalities take on their new
responsibilities and to provide them with data on
which they can base their decisions.
When we talk of decentralisation, we also mean
land management and spatial planning at the local
level. How can informed decision be made in these
areas if spatial relationships are disregarded? Tools
such as the GIS had to be developed if it was to be
possible to draw up detailed reports, monitor the
spatial outcomes of planning, observe effects and
evaluate activities. If this information is produced in
the form of maps, it can be rapidly read,
understood and remembered.
Broadening the use of maps seemed especially
important as most economic, social and cultural
development plans (PDESCs) did not contain any
at all. Mapping using the computerised M&E tool
(the OISE database) was a first attempt to
process data in map form but is still at a
rudimentary stage and is showing its limits. Only
maps pre-designed by the database creators can
be produced and users have no freedom to
choose frames.
SNV-Mali and PACT have therefore developed
GIS tools in the areas in which they are working
(see Figure 1) to assist municipalities and their
support structures: the present CCCs and the
other organisations that will follow on from them.
These tools can also be used by any development
body or organisation working at a municipal or
inter-municipal level.
In addition to providing support for
decentralisation, the tools make it possible to
focus on other topics of work: sanitation, natural
resource management, rural economic development, etc. The fact that the same database
contains multi-theme data also means that these
data, which have previously been processed
separately, can be cross-referenced to produce
more sophisticated analyses.
Figure 1: Map of areas in which SNV and PACT are working in Mali
Areas of intervention
Local authorities
PACT: 5 ‘cercles’, 97 municipalities
SNV: 3 ‘cercles’, 41 municipalities
Source: Oise mapping
Cartography: F. Dumont
(Mali: 703 municipalities in total)
84- There are three tiers of local government in Mali: regions, ‘cercles’ and municipalities (communes). The rural and
urban municipalities are the basic entity of local government.
93 Stages of
The construction of SNV-Mali’s GIS tool has
been completed, and it is now at the
development stage. Throughout this work, SNV
colleagues have thought about the indicators to
be included, have entertained new ideas in terms
of expectations and are already looking at
developments related to new themes.
PACT’s GIS tool is at the stage where users can
begin to capitalise on the information provided. In
operation since 2003, this GIS is essentially geared
towards providing support for local governments.
Since it was commissioned, the demand for GIS
products (paper or electronic maps) has increased,
which indicates their relevance.
Both tools will reach maturity as they are used,
as new data are included in the databases, as the
existing data are validated and as they are
matched to the work priorities and needs of users. Different objectives
for the same goal: better
knowledge and understanding
of spatial relationships for
improved planning
The GIS as a data-processing and
analysis tool for SNV-Mali and its
The local governance team (LG) in Koulikoro was
looking for a tool that would enable it to make
better use of the information collected for
reference situations and to illustrate some of the
findings of the self-evaluation tool for local
government performance.85 The programme
team for Rural Economic Development of the
Koulikoro Region (DERK) was also keen to gain a
better visual knowledge of spatial relationships in
regard to the economy and the natural
environment. Indicators were therefore developed
around three main themes86: decentralisation, rural
economic development and natural resource
management. The impetus provided by DERK’s
financing agency (the Embassy of the Netherlands,
which is also supporting work in the health sector in
the region) genuinely helped the process to get off
the ground.
The GIS as a communication,
planning and documentation tool for
The decision to design a GIS tool came from
GTZ, which felt that such a tool could be very
useful in achieving the results anticipated in the
context of local government support.
The GIS has been developed as a multi-sector,
interactive tool for documentation, knowledge
management, assistance with planning and
spatial monitoring and evaluation of PACT’s work
in the areas of municipal administration and
management, municipal development, natural
resource management and sanitation. It can be
used to analyse and aggregate data, improving
the presentation of documents produced by the
programme and making them more readable. And
it is helping to provide PACT with a more visible
profile on the internet.
The results obtained from the GIS, particularly
the descriptive municipal maps and maps of basic
social infrastructures, are made available to local
governments and used as information tools and
planning instruments at municipal workshops.
This approach has also helped to improve the
presentation of documents on local areas, making
them more readable.
In both cases, more is now known about local
governments, and information that can be readily
analysed is available to help them to make
informed decisions. Actors and
partners in the design and
use of the GIS
Technical designers and managers of
the database
At SNV, a geographical consultant was brought
in to provide expert help with the various
technical issues involved in the database and its
development and monitoring. She worked with
the members of the ‘local governance’ and ‘rural
economic development’ teams to draw up the
85- The Seminar on 'Building capacities for monitoring and evaluation of decentralisation and local governance in West
Africa: exchange of experience and learning', Bamako, 17-18 May 2006, has provided an opportunity to capitalise
on these two experiences (see 'Municipalities in figures: needs and realities', as well as 'Assessment of local
government performance: experiences with a self-evaluation tool').
86- SNV tries, as far as possible, to develop synergies between its various programmes and those of other technical
and financial partners working in the same geographical area.
indicators and the thresholds and standards to be
included. The designer will manage the parent
database for its first two years.
At PACT, the GIS tool was designed with
assistance from the cartography department of
the Technical University of Berlin (TUB), which
also monitored PACT’s work during the stages of
testing, adaptation and improvement. However,
this is now part of PACT’s remit and the task of a
Malian GIS computer scientist trained at TUB
(who manages the Kati and Ségou databases). At
present, the use and development of the tool
require only occasional support from TUB.
Data collectors
The statistical data for the SNV’s GIS were
largely taken from existing databases, especially
the OISE database, and from the data produced
by the tools used by SNV and its partners. An SNV
advisor, working with the technical services of the
Koulikoro region and CCC advisors, verified and
collected data locally in order to supplement the
GIS database.
The statistical data for PACT were collected by
advisors from the Kati CCC (working with elected
municipal officers and devolved state services)
and by the programme teams.
For each database use, SNV drew on the critical
spirit of the members of the two teams (LG,
DERK), of the CCC personnel and of the SNV-Mali’s
partners and their knowledge of the area in order to
detect any errors that might have slipped into the
database. This will help identify and correct gaps
when the users have ownership of the database
and its products are being used with other partners.
At municipal validation workshops organised by
PACT (especially those on the reference situations,
the PDESCs and the natural resource management
action plans), local actors were asked to compare
their knowledge of the area with the maps
produced from the GIS, following which appropriate
corrections were made to the database.
Users of the GIS databases: two
different practices
Users, including the SNV teams, personnel from
the three CCCs (Banamba, Dioïla and Koulikoro)
and, ultimately, from the ‘cercles’, municipalities
and the regional chamber of agriculture, will
control and guide the use of the tool since they
will provide and select the data required to meet
their needs, and feed the system, with advice and
assistance from an experienced person. As they
will have direct access to the database, they will
be able to use its full potential and will, in
particular, be able to carry out their own query by
location. This is the tool’s strength. They will also
be able to produce maps to meet their own needs
or the needs of their partners.
This option requires substantial training and
refresher training. If ownership is to be successful,
support from a person experienced in using the
GIS will continue to be necessary for sometime.
In addition, a map library containing maps likely
to be of general interest will shortly come on line.
The GIS advisor from PACT, based in Bamako,
retrieves information, analyses data and produces
maps for users in the ‘cercle’ of Kati. Based at the
PACT office in Ségou, another advisor (who is an
experienced user and cartographer), assisted by
the GIS advisor in Bamako, carries out the same
work for the ‘cercle’ of Ségou.
Local governments are indirect users of the
PACT GIS and use the finished products in three
forms: electronic maps (the digital GIS, or ‘dGIS’), paper maps (the analog GIS, ‘a-SIG’) and
maps published online (the internet GIS, ‘i-GIS’).
Users’ opinions and perceptions are assessed
from what they say about the GIS products and
the formats of the maps produced. In the case of
the a-GIS, the main focus was on whether the
information contained on the maps actually
matched the situation perceived in the field by the
actors themselves. Comprehending the symbols
and colours used in the legends of the maps was
a further focus.
Elected municipal officers are the right people to
help to improve the tool because they have a very
good knowledge of their area. If the GIS results
are to be used, especially at planning workshops,
moderators and support personnel (PACT advisors
or service providers) have to be proficient in
reading maps. If the symbols are appropriately
chosen, local actors merely need to be literate to
be able to use the results. Hypotheses,
problems, indicators and
reference standards
Both organisations were of the view that the
information needed to be made easier for people
to analyse and remember and that data normally
analysed separately needed to be linked in order
to improve understanding and to provide
municipalities with databases that they could use
for decision-making. The GIS tool, combining
conventional database software (Access®, for
instance) with mapping, therefore seemed ideal.
Two types of data are needed to build GIS
databases: cartographic and statistical. Both have
problems. The problem raised by cartographic
data lay in the fact that municipal boundaries are
not yet physically fixed in Mali. While each village
knows to which municipality it belongs, the
boundaries of the municipal area have yet to be
exactly defined. The solution used during the
design of the GIS tools was to use the mapping
boundaries contained in the OISE database maps,
as validated by the Ministry of Territorial
Administration and Local Government (MATCL).
However, local actors do not always agree with
the maps produced. Giving municipalities a
‘tangible’ boundary may lead to protests. From
the point of view of statistics, the main problems
lay in the reliability of data; in problems identifying
sources, dates and other information needed for
data analysis; and in the laborious work to
standardise computer files to enable them to be
entered into the GIS databases.
As the initial objective was to draw up a
municipal overview, information was collected on
basic infrastructure in the fields of health,
education, water, etc. These data were converted
into descriptive and location maps:
- a map showing municipal divisions with all
- a map of health areas;
- a map showing the location of the community
health centre.
To enhance these analyses, thematic processing
was then carried out for various indicators and
As regards the theme of local governance, prior
to the design of the database, the SNV teams had
decided to use the indicators of the Poverty
Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) and the
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), with their
associated standards and thresholds. In the case
of rural economic development, standards of the
Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United
Nations (FAO) were applied. In this way,
information can be retrieved from the database
using various criteria, such as compliance or noncompliance with the PRSP or MDG standards or,
more simply, criteria of proximity, population
numbers, etc. It can then be converted into maps
so that it is easier to read. Data for new indicators
will be input in line with needs like the following:
- a map of villages not meeting the standard of
one water point per 400 inhabitants;
- a map of municipalities whose municipal council
does not hold the four mandatory meetings each
PACT’s GIS uses result indicators to support
capacity building in the communities within its
area of work:
- a map of land use;
- a map of resource management;
- a planning map.
No indicators were set in advance as they are
included when there is a demand for them.
Both GIS tools are making it necessary to
develop and use allied tools and methods, for
the Global Positioning System (GPS) in order to
correct maps or include new localised data. At
PACT, the GIS officer, the CCC advisors and the
programme team have carried out this kind of
work, following preliminary training;
good practice in the formatting of Excel®
helping local actors learn to read and understand
maps. Procedures,
institutionalisation and
links with existing tools
These GIS tools are largely intended for municipalities and will ultimately be ‘fuelled’ by municipalities.
One of their strengths is that it is easy to increase
the scale of a map from the level of a village to the
level of a municipality, a number of municipalities, a
‘cercle’, a number of ‘cercles’ (for instance the three
‘cercles’ in which SNV works) or a region. This could
be important in ensuring that municipal and regional
development plans are consistent. The fact that the
GIS can aggregate data (i.e., taking village statistics
as a starting point for municipal, ‘cercle’ or regional
Municipalities need to make the most of this
opportunity, which can force technical services to
provide statistical data at the village level.
In the case of SNV, the GIS is being formalised
and institutionalised. This will be further
consolidated when the tool is owned by the
municipalities and their partners in the field,
whether national or international, in the context,
for instance, of decentralised cooperation.
Both GIS tools have very strong links with the
OISE monitoring and evaluation system because
they use its coding for administrative entities
(villages, municipalities, ‘cercles’ and regions)87.
Data from OISE can therefore be readily input and
processed in the GIS, which seems to bear out a
willingness to share data nationally.
In the case of SNV’s GIS, there are also plans to
process some of the data produced by other
tools, such as the reference situation, the selfevaluation tool for local government performance
and the basic health-sector information system
for municipalities88 (SIEC-S). The GIS will therefore
complement other tools so that all the data
collected can be processed more efficiently. Deciding how to
use the system
Although the GIS is not a new tool, it has not
been used to any great extent in developing
countries. TUB, PACT’s technical partner in the
design of the GIS, had been trying it out for
several years in the context of GTZ’s scientific
projects in China. TUB has also used it as an
interactive planning tool in projects to rebuild local
government in East Germany following
reunification. Since 2004, there has been threeway cooperation between TUB, PACT and the
GTZ’s North Mali programme.
The SNV consultant had used the GIS at a national
level to produce the atlas of Mali’s population, at
a regional level to help the regional assembly of
Mopti to prepare its PDESC and at a ‘cercle’ level
for the CCCs of Douentza and Mopti.
All these experiences mean that the GIS has
already proved its worth as a decentralisation
support tool at any administrative level in the
decentralised system.
The SNV’s primary maps, taken from the OISE
database maps for administrative entities and
produced for the natural environment by the
International Crops Research Institute for the
Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), was drawn up for the
whole Koulikoro region. Detailed cleaning and
correcting was done and information on the three
‘cercles’ in which SNV is working (Banamba,
Dioïla, Koulikoro) was entered into the database.
At present, the SNV teams, CCC advisors and
partners in the field (such as the regional chamber
of agriculture of Koulikoro) are being trained to
use the GIS database so that everyone can
master the tool and use it to meet their needs. It
will also be possible to validate the database at
this stage. These learning stages are very
important as they will enable everyone to
discover the tool’s potential and the problems
entailed in data entry. Initial training will be
followed by refresher training and more detailed
thematic developments in keeping up with the
demand from users. The ultimate aim is for
municipalities themselves to be able to use and
add to the database.
87- This database re-uses the single identifier allocated to each administrative entity by the National Statistics and
Informatics Directorate (DNSI) during general population censuses. This code makes it possible to exchange data
readily but is unfortunately only rarely used.
88- See the Seminar on 'Building capacities for monitoring and evaluation of decentralisation and local governance in
West Africa: exchange of experience and learning', Bamako, 17-18 May 2006.
At PACT, the process started with a trial in the
‘cercle’ of Kati. The GIS database was then extended
to other ‘cercles’ covered by the programme. In both
cases, primary maps were drawn up and satellite
images and aerial photographs were included along
with statistical data. PACT then carried out data
analysis and processing and the results were
presented in three forms: electronically, on paper
and on the internet. PACT now offers GIS products
on demand in line with local needs.
Some advisors have also been trained to use
GPS devices and to understand the notion of
global positioning (geographical coordinates,
projections, etc.). Having to get used to using a
‘sophisticated’ device was felt to be a test but
was ultimately considered to be an interesting
experience. The advisors are now regularly able to
supply the data collected during field trips.
The costs of the process are difficult to estimate
as, in addition to the costs of purchasing computer
equipment, software, imaging and map stocks,
there was a major investment of time. However,
when the system is up and running, data analysis
and processing may be faster, providing highquality products to support decision-making or to
help municipalities to improve the documentation
they offer to their financial partners. Capacity building
The GIS tool is helping to build the capacity of
local governments. As municipal actors know more
about their area, they are able to take decisions in
full knowledge of the facts and to provide better
support for their arguments when talking to their
partners. Moreover, GIS products are making local
authorities and their activities more visible.
The challenge of capacity building continues to
be one of harmonising GIS and statistical
production work. All those involved in local
governance will nevertheless have to adopt good
practices to ensure that usable, updated data are
available for efficient planning and monitoring of
their development work.
If this tool is well understood and if all those
involved have ownership of it, it should change the
relationships between technical departments and
local governments. It should be noted that a degree
of synergy needs to be developed as regards the
information needed for these databases and their
use, if the GIS is to be a tool that is useful for
everyone, at all levels of decentralisation. Ownership,
viability, adaptation and
replication of the process
The approaches of SNV and PACT differ in regard
to the actual users of the GIS. PACT does not
consider the computerised tool to be directly
usable by municipal actors. They will use only the
products produced to meet their needs. Only
specialist personnel in charge of the GIS will use
the tool directly to produce maps. In contrast,
SNV wants to make the tool directly available to
users (the regional chamber of agriculture of
Koulikoro, for instance), so that the full potential of
the tool can be exploited. An approach of this kind
obviously requires a major investment in initial and
refresher training, detailed thematic development
and backup from someone with high-level
experience of this kind of tool. In particular, guides
to operating and working methods and safeguards
to preserve the quality of the parent database will
be needed. A great deal of work will therefore be
required to support ownership in the following
ways if the system is to be sustainable:
GIS instruction manual: information on the
metadata (table content) + methods of
constructing indicators and the thresholds and
standards used;
user manual for a GIS database using MapInfo;
GIS database operating methods for basic
guide to good practice in the formatting of data
module on statistical processing and mapping
notions, etc.
In the case of SNV, ownership of such a highly
complex and technical tool by local actors is a
very ambitious challenge.
In the case of PACT, it is not the computer tool
itself but the GIS products that are to be owned.
During the testing process, many advisors (PACT
staff, CCC advisors, service providers) received
training from PACT so that the maps could be
used specifically at municipal planning meetings.
PACT mentors in the field helped municipal actors
to understand the content of these maps and to
use them in their daily work.
The dynamic and evolving nature of the GIS is
one of its strengths. It is open to and is even
‘greedy’ for data at different dates, enabling
comparisons. It is this ‘time dimension’ in practice
that makes it an interesting monitoring and
evaluation tool. It is also easy to open the initial
database up to new themes and to include new
geographical areas.
If each organisation setting up a GIS were to
observe a few common rules, it would be possible
to join the pieces of the puzzle and obtain an
overall GIS for Mali that everyone could use.
However, an overall GIS containing all existing
statistical data on the administrative entities of the
country would seem to be a rather utopian
concept. It would be better to develop a platform
for concerted action and exchange using GIS tools,
so that proper and updated maps from individual
and thematic databases can be made available.
This would give everyone the information that they
need to construct a GIS in keeping with their needs
and, as part of a shared process, either to pass on
the data that they have collected or the new
primary maps that they have digitized. Results and
lessons learned
In the case of SNV, it is still too early to discuss
results. Future users are nevertheless expecting a
great deal from this tool.
The PACT tool makes it possible to produce
thematic maps that CCC and PACT advisors can use
at municipal development planning workshops. It
also provides maps that can be used for brochures
presenting information about each local authority
and providing information on municipalities for
visitors or potential partners (state departments,
development organisations). It can be used to flesh
out municipal PDESCs, reports on visits and study
reports. It can be used to draw up reference
situations for ‘cercles’. The PACT’s GIS products,
moreover, provide much better knowledge of the
environment and are making municipalities more
visible. The tool also has an educational role to play
in learning about municipal areas and municipal
organisation. The GIS computer tool can also be
used to simulate different scenarios for a given
problem, which may well facilitate decision-making.
In the ‘cercle’ of Macina, for instance, the GIS,
by locating water points, the paths followed by
animals and pasturing zones, proved to be very
municipalities was being drawn up. The joint
formulation (by municipal actors, technical
departments and PACT) of an agro-pastoral map
of all the municipalities of the ‘cercle’ greatly
facilitated decision-making. By enabling various
actors to compare and contrast their spatial
perceptions, this exercise provided a climate in
which farmers and pastoralists could work
together, leading, in 2006, to a reduction of
conflicts (which had often ended in death)
between farmers and stockbreeders.
Lessons learned
In Malian society few maps are available and little
use is made of them. If they are to be better
appreciated, their use needs to become more
commonplace. If schoolteachers were to use
maps of their municipality, children could learn to
read them. These children are the citizens and
potential elected officials of tomorrow.
It is still difficult to obtain integrated, up-to-date
primary maps and correct computer files with
reliable, dated statistics whose source is known
and whose statistical units are identified by a
code that everyone recognises. All data
producers therefore need to be encouraged to
provide instructions on the use of their databases.
Geocoding that is accepted by everyone (such as
DNSI’s village, municipality, ‘cercle’ and region
codes) needs to be applied as a principle so that
data are easier to exchange, and rules on data
formatting, especially in Excel® spreadsheets,
need to be followed.
Obtaining statistical data at a municipal level is
no easy task in Mali. In some cases, the data are
available only at ‘cercle’ level. Technical
departments need to be more closely involved to
make them more aware of this shortcoming and
to take steps to remedy it.
Development of the GIS and the use of its
products are generating additional costs. Growing
numbers of maps and their distribution increase
the consumption of physical resources (ink,
paper) as well as the human resources required
for such work. Some principles therefore need to
be applied: the use, wherever possible, of
computer files rather than paper printouts and the
production of maps in black and white, which are
not just easier to copy but also cost less than
colour printouts.
Learning to use a GIS database is not enough
on its own: statistical processing abilities need to
be improved and technical notions about
cartography taught. Otherwise, the database and
its applications will have to be the preserve of a
‘specialist’, which increases costs and decreases
managers’ and users’ autonomy.
From the point of view of governance, it is as
important to possess information as it is to
possess power and financial resources. Good
sharing of information is a major step towards
good governance, but it may not be to the taste of
people who derive their power from the
information that they possess. Making information
more democratic is therefore a challenge and a
gauge of transparency. The GIS, because it helps
information to be shared, may pave the way for a
dialogue among all the actors: local government/
state, local government/civil society, as well as
actors from the private sector.
As these two examples show, GIS tools can be
used for municipal planning (particularly for
PDESCs) and as a support for decision-making.
Maps can be produced from the GIS, making
statistics easier to understand and interpret. Query
by location also helps to improve spatial analysis
and to provide a better knowledge of an area.
Municipalities and their support structures can
therefore know more about their areas and better
understand how they are organised. They are then
in a better position to develop and manage them.
As these systems make it possible to draw up
overviews for different dates, the GIS may also be
a tool for monitoring and evaluation. The maps
produced illustrate what changes have actually
taken place between two periods and are easier
to analyse than statistical tables. The GIS thus
helps elected officials and other local actors to
work more effectively and to make decisions that
are more objective — and easier to justify to local
people. Elected officials can use the maps to
Maps can be used to support municipal or intermunicipal decision-making and planning, even in a
country where literacy is low. Training and local
capacity building is nevertheless a must if people
are to learn how to read maps.
demonstrate the impact of their policies, choices
and actions to local people. The GIS may also be
used to underpin negotiations with national and
regional authorities with a view to improving the
location of basic infrastructures.
The cross-referencing that the GIS enables means
that the data collected from other monitoring and
evaluation tools can be better analysed. Municipal
data, processed in a more systematic way, become
more readable and accessible. As the tool makes it
possible, moreover, to aggregate data to higher
levels (‘cercle’, region), it is making people aware of
the problems inherent in the current statistical
system (i.e., the fact that data are rarely available at
the local level). The fact that basic data collection is
such a major task is, moreover, one of the reasons
many people are reluctant to set up a GIS. The GIS
could therefore, if it is felt to be useful, bring about
a ‘reform/revolution’ of the whole Malian statistical
system and could readily combine information at a
level that can realistically be managed. In practice,
these tools help populations, through their
municipal representatives, to use statistics for their
own management purposes without having to
depend on national or regional experts.
Setting up a platform for an exchange of GIS
experiences could well be a further challenge.
This would provide a forum for concerted action
and for sharing methods, allied tools, statistical
data and primary maps. It could serve not just to
avoid re-inventing the wheel but also for the
digitalization, verification and correction of
primary maps or the standardisation of statistics.
Centre de Conseil Communal/Municipal Advisory Centre
Développement Économique Rural de la Région de Koulikoro/Rural Economic Development of
Koulikoro Region
Direction Nationale des Collectivités Territoriales/National Directorate for Local Government
Direction Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Informatique/National Statistics and Informatics
Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations
Geographical Information System
Global Positioning System
Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit/German Technical Cooperation
International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics
Local Governance
Ministère de l'Administration Territoriale et des Collectivités Locales/Ministry of Territorial
Administration and Local Government
Millennium Development Goals
Non-Governmental Organisation
Outil Informatisé de Suivi Évaluation/computerised monitoring-evaluation tool
Programme d'Appui aux Collectivités Territoriales/Local Government Support Programme
Plan de Développement Économique, Social et Culturel/Economic, Social and Cultural Development
Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper
Système d'Information Essentielle pour la Commune dans le secteur de la Santé/Basic Health Sector
Information System for Municipalities
Netherlands Development Organisation
Technical University of Berlin
Bassole, A., J. Brunner and D. Tunstall.
GIS: supporting environmental planning and
management in West Africa. Report of the
Information Working Group for Africa.
USAID/WRI. Available on-line:
CTA. 1998. Geographical information systems
and remote sensing as tools for rural
development in sub-Saharan Africa.
Wageningen, Netherlands: ACP-EU Technical
Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation.
LEDRA and FLASH. 2004. Atlas du Mali
‘Population et gestion du territoire’. Rouen,
France: Faculté des Langues et Sciences
Humaines and Laboratoire d’Étude du
Développement des Régions Arides,
Université de Rouen-France.
Mullon, C. and P. Boursier. 1992. Éléments
pour une analyse critique des systèmes
d’information géographique. Revue SIGAS,
Vol. 2, No 2/1992: 152-172.
Resource persons:
Florence Dumont
Email : [email protected]
Bakary Samaké
Email : [email protected]
http://www.tuberlin.de/fb7/kartographie/projekte/mali/ mali.htm
SNV’s GIS (shortly):
Useful addresses:
Badalabougou Est
BP 100, Bamako, Mali
Tel: (+223) 223 62 63
Fax: (+223) 223 38 05
Rue 17, porte 305 Badalabougou Est
BP 2220 Bamako, Mali
Tel: (+223) 223 33 47 and 48
Fax: (+223) 223 10 84
2.5. Mali: Municipalities in figures: needs and realities
This case study, 'Municipalities in figures: needs and realities', was prepared by Elsbet
Lodenstein and Ulrich Caspari, assisted by Florence Dumont (see Annex IV).
The authors compare two approaches to the participatory drafting of a municipal Reference
Situation (RS) that were tested in the same region of Mali. These trials, run jointly by SNV and
GTZ/PACT, are part and parcel of efforts to improve the municipal planning methods used in the
local government support system of the Malian government and its financial and technical partners.
The study highlights the enormous challenges faced by local governments, which are increasingly
in need of statistical data in order to improve municipal planning, and thus pave the way for genuine
monitoring of local development. These challenges are also being faced by the various technical
partners (development organisations, state technical departments and private service providers)
who have to be able to adapt the services they offer to changes in demand from local government,
and to assist with the replication of promising approaches.
2.5.1. Methodology of stock-taking and assessment
2.5.2. Context, objectives and approach Decentralisation, devolution and municipal planning The area covered by the case study: the Koulikoro region Motivations and objectives The approach
2.5.3. Drawing up the Reference Situation Stages Strengths and weaknesses of the Reference Situation Relevance of the RS for planning and monitoring/evaluation
2.5.4. Impact of the approach on the capacities of actors and
the institutional environment Capacity building and improving relations between actors Ownership and replication
2.5.5. Lessons learned Managing differing interests Finance or capacity building? Prerequisites
2.5.6. Conclusions and recommendations
Stakeholders' recommendations on further progress with the RS 125
Resource persons, documents and useful addresses
Mr. Mayor, what is the area of your municipality, and how many people live
there? What indicators need to be taken into account if the health sector is
to be successfully developed? To what extent are natural resources in your
municipality being exploited? With regard to education, do you want to build
a new school or invest in maintaining the one you have?
Where can all this information be found and how can it be used to plan
municipal development?
These questions, often connected with basic
municipal services, are faced by the actors in local
governance during municipal planning processes.
The mayors and councillors then have to decide
how the problems of their area can be resolved.
On what basis? They can draw on the policy
guidelines of the municipal council, the technical
expertise of local public service workers, and/or
the opinions of the local population. In most
cases, however, baseline data, guidelines, and
other precise points of reference are not available
in Mali at the municipal level. Municipalities, which
are now responsible for their own development, do
not have access to detailed studies (monographies)89,
and sector information is aggregated at the higher
level of the ‘cercle’ or the region.
One of the lessons learned from the shortcomings
of the first generation of Economic, Social and
Cultural Development Plans (PDESCs), dating from
2001, was that the planning process needed to be
improved. A simple and pragmatic proposal was
therefore to draw up an inventory of the key
indicators of municipal development before
embarking on any long-term planning. With the
support of the Local Government Support
Programme (PACT) of the German Agency for
Technical Cooperation (GTZ) and SNV Netherlands
Development Organisation (SNV-Mali), 60 or so
municipalities in the Koulikoro region (in the ‘cercles’
of Banamba, Dioïla, Kati and Koulikoro) drew up such
an inventory using the 'Reference Situation' (RS)
drafting tool designed for this purpose (see Box 1).
Box 1: Place of the Reference Situation in the municipal planning process (2004/2005)
Decision by the municipal council
Creation of a steering committee
1) Translation Box
Drafting of a code of ethics
Drafting of the review of the previous PDESC
Drafting of the Reference Situation
Definition of planning policy
Information and awareness campaign
Village diagnosis
Consultation days / consultation between communities
2) Planning
Planning meeting
Drafting of the plan
Feedback on the plan
Validation of the plan
3) Implementation
Dissemination of the plan
Presentation to population
Meeting with partners
Resource mobilisation
Annual budgeting
Monitoring mechanisms
89- In our case, the study provides a snapshot of the features of the municipality - history, demographics, economy,
natural resources, infrastructure, etc. - that can be used as reference point for planning future action.
This experiment was conducted against the
backdrop of many challenges faced by all the
support programmes involved in the administrative
reform arising from decentralisation:
the lack of financial and human resources on
the part of local government;
the transfer of a host of responsibilities from
the state to local government, without the
concomitant transfer of the resources and means
needed to exercise these new competencies;
the responsibility for designing, planning and
implementing development measures now
incumbent on local governments;90 and
parallel sector planning unconnected with
municipal planning, and vice versa; and
the insufficient decentralisation of state
technical departments.91
The RS tool was initially designed for municipal
planning. As matters stand, the trial described
cannot yet claim to be a tool for monitoring and
evaluation. The tool, its method of use, and its
technical aspects, are still being adapted and
improved. It has been validated locally, but has
been used only once as a reference document in
the limited context of an inventory of municipal
development indicators. It is nevertheless useful
to present this tool and to discuss the challenges
that we and our partners faced in improving the
planning, and monitoring and evaluation, of
decentralisation and local governance in Mali. We
feel that the best way to improve the RS tool,
which is undoubtedly necessary, and to fuel
thinking about future developments, is to share
the knowledge and experience gained from the
use of this tool. The approach used to build local
actors' capacities, and the lessons learned, may
also provide food for thought for sub-regional
partners keen to use similar tools.
This case study summarises the process by
which the RSs were drawn up in the areas
covered by SNV and PACT. Methods of
documenting and assessing the experiences
gained in the use of these RSs are briefly
reviewed in Chapter 2.5.1. The context, objectives
and approach of the RS are discussed in Chapter
2.5.2. The stage-by-stage process by which the
RS was drawn up is reviewed in Chapter 2.5.3.
Technical issues are put to one side in Chapter
2.5.4 which highlights the development of
cooperation between local government and
technical departments in the process of drawing
up the RS. The impact on local government
capacities for data collection and analysis is also
examined. The lessons to be learned from this
experience are discussed in Chapter 2.5.5.
Chapter 2.5.6 offers the actors involved some
recommendations and prospects for further
progress with the RS.
90- Law 93-008 setting out the conditions for the freedom of administration of local government, as amended by Law
96-056 of 16 October 1996.
91- MATCL and UNDP (2005). p. 7.
The stock-taking and assessment of the
experiences described in this case study took
place over a period of two years. In this process,
three main stages can be identified:
Stage 1- defining problems:
All of the support organisations involved in the
National Support Programme for Local
Government, and local governments themselves,
identified several shortcomings in the first
generation of Economic, Social and Cultural
Development Plans (PDESCs). These included
lack of consistency in municipal plans, gaps in the
starting data and low-level links with national
objectives, PRSP indicators and the MDGs. The
same findings were also set out in a national
study of local planning in Mali conducted by the
National Local Government Directorate (DNCT) of
the Ministry of Local Governance and Territorial
Administration and by the Ministry of Planning
and Regional Planning (MPAT).92
Stage 2- mobilising the available
Joint stock-taking and analysis with actors in
governance took place chiefly through working
sessions at regional, ‘cercle’ and municipal levels. A
wide range of actors were involved: local municipal
planning actors, decentralised state technical
departments, providers, municipal advisory centres
(CCCs)93 and their support organisations (SNV and
Stage 3- drawing the strands together:
Thinking about the knowledge to be shared
started at the municipal level and continued at the
national level. At the local level, a panel of actors,
representing cases of both successful and
unsuccessful use of the tool, took part in a final
survey and in the working sessions. At the
national level, the core municipal planning
group94organised a discussion of the tool's
relevance to other planning tools. Finally, at a sub-
regional seminar, 'Capacity building for monitoring
and evaluation of decentralisation and local
governance in West Africa: exchange of experience
and learning', the tool was compared with other
initiatives and the lessons learned were fleshed out.
The broad lines of the whole process of stock-taking
and analysis, as well as its results, were therefore
shared with local users: elected officers, town clerks
and municipal workers from decentralised services.
The CCCs, PACT and SNV drew up documents on
the key stages (see Annex IV).
In the case of the ‘cercle’ of Kati, an RS tool was
modified in order to better meet the needs of this
level of government. The points of view of users
in the ‘cercle’ of Kati have yet to be summarised.
The views of national actors are also included,
although they have yet to give their views on
replication and institutionalisation.
During the stock-taking and
assessment process two main
problems emerged:
The first is connected with the inherent
dynamics of the municipal planning process. The
RS tool was initially designed in practice to fill a
gap within a multi-stage planning process (see
Box 1). Analysis of the data collected was
therefore to be used as a starting point for further
stages following on from the RS process. It was
difficult, however, to pinpoint observations on
the process to draw up the RS within the local
environment, where there are constraints on the
time and resources available for the planning
process as a whole.
The second problem is connected with the
method of steering the approach and modification
of the RS tool by local planning actors and the
structures working with them. When local actors
felt the tool to be incomplete or overly ambitious,
they added or removed some indicators.
While such adaptations to the local context
are understandable, they led to changes in the
trial variables, which ultimately made it difficult
to compare the lessons learned.
92- PRECAGED (2004).
93- The role of the CCCs is to provide local government with advice on the drafting of the PDESCs and support plans
and to lead the local policy committee (CLO - Comité Local d’Orientation).
94- The core municipal planning group of practitioners and decision makers was set up in 2002 to foster exchanges of
experiences in the context of decentralisation in Mali. The group includes representatives of support programmes
such as SNV (Koulikoro Local Governance programme), PACT, Decentralisation Support Programme in the Koulikoro
Region (PADK) and the National Local Government Directorate (DNCT), the National Coordination Unit (CCN),
municipal advisory centres (CCCs), the central services of the Ministry of Planning and Territorial Development: the
National Territorial Development Directorate (DNAT), the National Population Directorate (DNP), the National
Planning and Development Directorate (DNPD), the National Statistics and Informatics Directorate (DNSI), and the
National Capacity Building Programme for Strategic Development Management (PRECAGED). PACT & SNV/EGLK
(2004, 2005).
devolution and municipal
Decentralised local government in Mali includes
70 communes, 49 ‘cercles’, 8 regions and one
district, all of which have legal personality, financial
autonomy and decision-making powers exercised
under the supervision of a state representative.
Local government prerogatives include freedom of
administration and the gradual transfer of powers,
particularly in the fields of education, health and
water. Although this transfer of powers should
have been accompanied by a concomitant transfer
of resources needed to exercise these powers,
local authorities have not yet received them.
Very slow progress is being made with
devolution and increased decision-making powers
on the part of local staff. The 2005 GOLDD95 study
showed, among other things, that almost no
devolved state services are to be found at
municipal level. Moreover, those services to be
found at ‘cercle’ level are not really functional, as
they lack even the most basic operational
Local authorities have a mandate for planning
and implementing development measures.96
When the first planning process was run (2000),
the 684 new rural municipalities used the
methodological guidelines disseminated by
MATCL, their supervising ministry.97 Proposed
improvements to these very simple and
comprehensible national guidelines in 2004 took
the form of a preliminary draft training module for
CCC advisors on PDESC drafting.98 Unfortunately,
however, these proposals have never been
adopted. New national guidelines are not yet
available, and ways of improving the second
municipal planning process, between 2004 and
2005, were therefore left to the discretion and
capacity of local actors and support organisations.99
Between these two municipal planning periods,
the institutional environment underwent far-reaching
changes. While the ministry supervising local
government was still competent when the first
generation of municipal plans was drawn up, it had
to share the steering of the second process with the
central departments of the new Ministry of Planning
and Territorial Development. Improvements to the
municipal planning process were not helped by this
changing institutional environment. The area covered
by the case study: the
Koulikoro region
The RS tool was designed and applied in 66 local
authorities of the Koulikoro region that had been
targeted by PACT and the SNV in the context of
their support for decentralisation and local
governance (see Box 2).
Consisting of seven ‘cercles’ and 108
municipalities, the Koulikoro region covers an area100
of 90,677 km2. The urban municipality of Koulikoro
is the capital of the ‘cercle’ and the region. Bamako,
the national capital with six urban municipalities,
forms an enclave within the region and the specific
administrative entity of the District of Bamako.
95- Local Governance and Decentralisation Programme (GOLDD) study, MATCL & UNDP (2005).
96- Law 93-008 setting out the conditions for the freedom of administration of local government, as amended by Law
96-056 of 16 October 1996, and Law 95-034 establishing a local government code in the Republic of Mali, as
amended by Law 98-066 of 30 December 1998.
97- MDRI (2000). For a summary of discussions of municipal planning in Mali, see also Nassire, M. (2001) in
MATCL/DNCT (2001), p. 16-31.
98- DNATCT (2004).
99- PACT (2004).
100- Calculated from OISE mapping.
Box 2: Area of coverage of the RS tool
SNV led the CCCs of the ‘cercles’ of
Banamba, Dioïla and Koulikoro and thus
assisted 41 municipalities and three
‘cercle’ councils in the Koulikoro region.
PACT, currently the support and
assistance organisation for the CCC of
Kati and its 37 municipalities, led the
CCC up to 2005.
Together, the two support programmes
assisted these 78 municipalities in
drawing up their municipal plans in 2000
and 2004. PACT then extended the use
of this tool to the ‘cercles’ of Ségou,
Barouéli and Macina.
With an estimated population of 1.7 million in
2001101, the Koulikoro region covers four climatic
zones, ranging from arid near to the Mauritanian
border in the north, to humid near the Guinean
border in the south. Some 80% of its multi-ethnic
population work in agriculture.
The problems faced by municipalities in obtaining
advisory support from technical departments and
statistical data on the municipality can be seen from
the extent to which technical departments have
been devolved in the region: 23 regional directorates
(devolved state services) are represented in the
region's capital, 11 are to be found at ‘cercle’ level
and only five at municipal level, where they
represent the sub-sectors of agriculture and
livestock, nature conservation and health102. Motivations and
SNV and PACT and their partners supported a
participatory process to devise an RS tool. Their
initial motivations and objectives were:
to improve the municipal planning process;
to build the capacities of local actors in
municipal data collection and analysis; and
to improve cooperation between the local
actors involved in municipal planning and local
technical departments.
During the trial, we found that the approach
could be used to meet other objectives in the
area of decentralisation support:
by demonstrating, in a pragmatic way, the links
between decentralisation (municipal planning)
and the fight against poverty (use of Poverty
Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) and
Millennium Development Goal (MDG) indicators);
by promoting long-term strategic planning;
by encouraging municipal actors to take a more
responsible attitude towards data management
and monitoring and evaluation; and
by stepping up the introduction of basic
services and improving their operation.
Three sets of actors played an active part in
developing the RS tool:
support organisations - the municipal advisory
centres (CCCs), SNV and PACT - steered the
design of the tool and provided backup for local
the municipal steering committees (CPCs)
applied the tool. Each CPC is a streamlined working
group that is not subject to any administrative
formalities103. Each CPC is chaired by a member of
the municipal executive (the mayor or a deputy
mayor) and includes a municipal councillor, the
town clerk, representatives of local technical
departments (health, education, agriculture) and a
representative of civil society. It can also call upon
resource persons if specific expertise is needed.
101- DRPS Koulikoro (2003).
102- MATCL and UNDP (2005), p. 37-38.
103- Article 35 of the Local Government Code (Law 95-034) on working groups. In contrast to the working groups,
CPCs do not need the approval of the supervisory authority.
The CPC supervises municipal planning on behalf
of the municipality, and facilitates ownership of
the tools used by local actors. Its mandate is
specific and limited in time;
the users of the end product, the RS
document, are the municipal council and staff
and local technical departments at ‘cercle’
level, the supervisory authority, the CCCs,
support organisations, providers, members of
the local policy committee (CLO),104 and the
‘cercle’ council.
These actors wanted to take part in the process
of drawing up the RS or to use the product for
different reasons:
SNV and PACT wanted to try out new
approaches and to help in the design of planning
for the CCCs, this was their conventional task
of support for local government as specified in
their remit;
local technical departments were aware that the
task of setting up municipal databases would be
tricky at all levels for all the actors involved in
decentralisation. They were keen to take part in the
process as technicians and as local government
municipalities needed to make progress with
the planning process and to obtain a reference
document (monograph); and
providers were keen to get to grips with a new
working tool. The approach
The RS tool was devised in a multi-actor
environment, in a context in which the
stakeholders had little experience with the use of
municipal databases. For this reason, SNV and
PACT opted for a learning and experimentation
approach through which the capacities of the
actors could be strengthened and the tool
adapted in line with the experience acquired.
Ongoing thinking and the process of stock-taking
and analysis made it possible gradually to improve
the tool and the process, and to plan the
subsequent stages.
104- See Decree 269/PM-RM of 8 June 2000 creating the National Policy Committee (CNO) on technical support for
local government. The remit of the CLO at ‘cercle’ level is to draw up, steer, coordinate, monitor and evaluate the
technical support needed for the implementation of local government development programmes in the ‘cercle’.
The CLO is composed of the Prefect, one elected officer per municipality and the representative of the Chambers
of Agriculture and Trade and may be extended to include technical services.
2.5.3. DRAWING
The drafting of the RS took place in three stages: the design of the tool, the drafting of the municipal
RS, and the use of the RS document (see Box 3). The three stages were structured as follows:
Box 3: Drawing up the Reference Situation: the stages
Stage 1: Drafting of the first version of the RS
data collection guide
Koulikoro CCC
Stage 2: Testing of the collection guide
LG (CP, SG),
providers, CCC
Stage 3: Adaptation of the guide, drafting of the
second version of the data collection guide
Koulikoro CCC Network
Stage 4: Information, training and awarenessraising for municipal actors
Stage 5: Data collection
Stage 6: Data analysis
Stage 7: Inputting and compilation of data
Stage 8: Analysis and use of the RS for drafting
the PDESC (Social, Economic and Cultural
Development Plan)
Stage 1: Design of the RS data
collection guide
In order to draw up the RS data collection guide
(stage 1), the CCC network of the Koulikoro
region105, PACT and SNV drew on their own
experiences of planning and data collection. The
RS was designed as a technical diagnostic tool
with conventional content. Advisors drew on
Malian planning sectors and planning tools such
as the draft DNATCT guide (2004) and the guide
Data collection guide for
the Reference Situation,
October 2004
departments (TD),
providers, CLO, CCC
TD, LG, providers,
LG (CP, SG), TD,
providers, CCC
TD, providers,
Reference Situation available
for 66 municipalities and
3 ‘cercles’,
December 2004-March 2005
Providers, CCC,
support orgs.
LG (municipal council,
municipal staff), CPC,
associations, CCC
2005-2009 PDESCs
for the drafting of development schemes.106 They
also consulted sector programme indicators, the
Malian Poverty Assessment Survey (EMEP)107,
Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) and
the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The first draft version of the RS tool included 40
or so tables covering four development sectors
(see Box 4). The source of the information was
given below each table. From the point of view of
the types of information, the qualitative data were
105- The seven CCCs of the Koulikoro region formed a network to pool experiences in carrying out their remit. In 2004,
they decided to draw up the data collection guide for the drafting of the RS.
106- PRECAGED (2001).
107- Ministry of Planning and Territorial Development - National Statistics and Informatics Directorate: Malian Poverty
Assessment Survey (EMEP), Principal findings, Bamako, 2004.
on a par with quantitative data. This particular
method made it possible to understand the
problems and potential of each sector, and to
supplement statistical information that was of
mediocre quality or not available.
Box 4: Planning sectors and types of
Planning sectors:
Human resources: population, health,
education, political environment, voluntary
sector, private sector
Rural economy: agriculture, livestock,
fisheries, horticulture, forestry
Infrastructure and equipment : public
buildings, roads, communications
Industry: crafts, commerce, industry,
Types of information
Statistical: demographics, election results,
education, health, agricultural output and
equipment, livestock, forestry, infrastructure, roads,
energy, industry, craft sector, tourism, commerce
Qualitative data: socio-cultural fields,
organisation of professional and agricultural
structures, service providers and basic
services, natural resources management (use,
potential, constraints), ecology. 'Gender'
relations were described for each sector
Indicators (norms, standards, values):
education, health, water, forestry, agriculture,
This first draft version of the data collection tool
was adapted after trials (stage 2) in six
municipalities of the ‘cercles’ of Banamba,
Koulikoro and Dioïla (SNV). In the ‘cercle’ of Kati,
the tool was adapted by the supervisory authority,
technical departments, mayors and town clerks at
a two-day working session of the local policy
committee (CLO).
The criteria for the choice of the trial
municipalities were the number of villages they
contained, and their areas, so that the time and
resources required could be evaluated and
compared. Local actors in the ‘cercle’ of Koulikoro
then met at a workshop at which technical
departments, providers, NGOs, local authorities
and municipal staff gave their views on the quality
of the tables. Internal consultations within SNV
and PACT also made it possible to improve the
content of some tables. A second version of the
data collection tool emerged from the trials and
consultations (stage 3). At present, the tool is still
a working document. The CCCs of the region are
discussing its content, as well as the process and
the roles and responsibilities of the various
actors, and the support they need. At the national
level, the tool has been presented and discussed
at two meetings of the core planning group.
Stage 2: Drafting of the RS
In the ‘cercles’ of Banamba, Dioïla, Kati and
Koulikoro, the CCCs organised a training course
on municipal planning, with a module on the use
of the data collection guide when drawing up the
RS. Town clerks, municipal officers and providers
participated in this course. After this training, the
CCCs in the ‘cercles’ of Dioïla and Kati provided
municipalities with individual counselling and
support, particularly at working sessions with the
steering committees.
In all the ‘cercles’, the local policy committee
was a very good vehicle for raising awareness
among mayors and for monitoring how the stages
were progressing. At these CLO meetings the
administration (the Prefect) could be informed
and persuaded to make technical departments
available to the local authorities. In the ‘cercle’ of
Kati, an additional meeting was held with elected
officers, technical departments and town clerks to
conduct a mid-term review of the application of
the tool.
Box 5: Data collection approaches
SNV: a provider-based approach
One of the findings that emerged from the trials of
the data collection guide was that the workloads of
local authorities and CCCs, and their lack of human
and financial resources, could slow down the
process of drawing up the RS and affect the quality
of the results. As a result, SNV asked a group of
providers to collect these data. These providers
came from the Regional Coordination of NGOs in
Koulikoro (CR-ONG), which brings together NGOs,
researchers and private consultants, most of
whom had considerable experience in the area of
decentralisation and were aware of the realities
facing the municipalities. SNV set up a fund to
coordinate and organise their travel and for
centralising the data input process. The RS
exercise was also intended to provide information
for an SNV study of poverty in Koulikoro region.
These providers, often assisted by technical
departments and town clerks, began data
collection in those municipalities that possessed
basic registry data, old reports or other project
documents. To supplement these data, visits
were made to villages, community facilities and
technical departments. After the municipal RSs
were prepared, SNV drew up a summary
document for the ‘cercle’ council.
PACT: 'learning from experience'
Limited financial resources and the desire to
government and technical departments were
factors that ruled out a provider-based approach.
PACT therefore used a different strategy for
applying the tool in the municipalities of the
‘cercle’ of Kati.
In this ‘cercle’, the CLO had opted to make the
CPC responsible for applying the RS tool. The task
of the CPC was to facilitate data collection and to
draw up reports on and summaries of the work
conducted. Two-thirds (25) of the 37
municipalities of the ‘cercle’ of Kati drew up their
RS using the process steered by the CPC.
Following this stage of awareness raising,
information and training (stage 4), the actual data
collection was launched. For this, SNV and PACT
used different methods (see Box 5).
In both cases, the CCCs coordinated data
collection and analysis (stages 5 and 6). They
systematically monitored the work of the
providers or CPCs, checked the extent to which
the tables had been completed, and assessed the
availability and quality of the data collected. They
identified any gaps and worked with technical
departments and providers to make corrections so
that a satisfactory result could be achieved. Finally,
they computerised the data (stage 7). Paper
versions of the RS documents were then made
available to municipalities and the other actors.
Stage 3: Using the RS for municipal
The municipal planning module made provision
for the RS to be 'used' to draw up the PDESC.
However, there were no standard methods for
analysing the RS, so that the CCCs, PACT and
SNV had to try out various data analysis tools.
Approaches then had to be developed to translate
the results of the analysis into policies, objectives
and indicators for the municipal council.
In general, the RS data were analysed before or
during municipal council planning meetings. The
analysis took the form of a presentation of the
quantitative and qualitative data by sector and subsector, followed by a discussion of their strengths,
weaknesses and challenges. Interpretations of
details were validated, where necessary, by
technical departments. Following the discussion,
the participants drew up five-year global and
specific development objectives for each sector.
These objectives were then compared with
regional sector plans to check whether the
objectives set by the municipality were in keeping
with national development policy.
In the ‘cercle’ of Kati, the steering committee
had the task of analysing the data and proposing
strategic guidelines and policies. Members then
had to explain these outcomes to the various
municipal councils at their planning meetings.
113 Strengths and
weaknesses of the
Reference Situation
Data accessibility and availability
Initial experiences with the diagnostic technique
used to draw up the local government RSs
provided much food for thought on the
accessibility of statistical data at municipal and
‘cercle’ levels.
From the point of view of data availability, data,
indicators and standards with regard to basic
social services (health, education, water) were
available at the higher levels (national and regional)
of the respective central departments (see Box 6).
Box 6: Examples of existing databases
the SIGMA II database of the water authorities;
National Statistics and Informatics Directorate
Health Information System (SIS);
the Ministry of Public Health's DESAM (Malian
Health Development) database;
the 'school statistics in basic education'
yearbook of the Ministry of Education's Planning
and Statistics Unit, updated locally by the
educational support centres.
These are recent data, either aggregated to the
regional, ‘cercle’ or former arrondissement level, or
broken down to the municipal level. However,
these statistics are often not disseminated beyond
‘cercle’ level. Paradoxically, they are not made
available to devolved state departments at ‘cercle’
or municipal levels, whose main partners are local
actors, even though they are the first link in the
data collection chain. It continues to be difficult for
municipalities to gain access to exhaustive data on
the environment, commerce, transport and natural
resources, forestry and fisheries.
Breaking down the data for many sectors is
problematic if the data are available only at a
higher administrative level (‘cercle’) or cover
geographical entities other than the municipality
(agricultural areas, health units, former
arrondissements, etc.). Data on the agriculture
and livestock sub-sectors, for instance, are still
processed for the former arrondissements, which
include a number of municipalities. Although an
initial effort was made to 'municipalize' the data
for the RS, i.e. to make the data for all the
development sectors available at municipal level,
data breakdown continues to pose a challenge for
technical departments in some cases.
This was not a problem for the ‘cercle’ RSs, as
all technical departments are to be found at this
level. Thus the ‘cercle’ RSs are more complete
than the municipal ones.
The Reference Situation is available what next?
This first completed exercise provided a 2004
inventory for the various municipalities, with raw
data. As the sources of the data were provided,
updating the RS in the future should be
The RS document has been appreciated by the
actors. Elected officers take the view that they
need to keep an inventory of their municipality
and are convinced of its usefulness for planning.
Even though some data are still not available, they
feel that the RS is the reference tool for the
municipality. At the same time, it is felt that, in its
current form, the tool is too 'cumbersome'.
Elected officers consider that too many tables
need to be completed, and that some data are not
very relevant.
The use of the RS to draw up the 2004-2009
economic, social and cultural development plans
(PDESCs) took place in an improvised way as
there were no standard tools. There is still no RS
user guide that is accessible and comprehensible
to council and municipal staff. The stages of data
analysis and translation into objectives need to be
improved to take account of the capacities and
needs of the various actors. It will then be
important to examine whether the technical
diagnoses (the RS) complement the participatory
village diagnoses for which elected officers are
calling. Moreover, specific analytical tools will
need to be developed if the RS is to be used for
matters other than municipal planning, such as for
sector planning and monitoring and evaluation.
To date, therefore, the main task has been to
simplify the content and use of the RS tool in
cooperation with technical departments and
municipalities. Relevance of the
RS for planning and
The initial objectives of the RS were, first, to
provide a 2004 inventory and, second, to improve
the PDESCs. The knowledge provided by the
inventory, and its analysis and synthesis, were
intended to provide a basis for municipal councils'
strategic policy making over five to ten years, and
to enable monitoring and evaluation indicators to be
drawn up. The PDESCs would be more coherent as
they could take account of all the available data. The
extent to which these objectives were achieved is
examined below.
Planning municipal development
One of the main outcomes of the process is that
66 communes now have a 2004 RS. The quality of
the PDESCs has improved; the secondgeneration PDESCs, drawn up since 2004 using
the municipal RS, reflect a better knowledge of
what is happening than those of the first
generation drawn up in 2000/2001.
First, development measures are better
identified in many PDESCs. The first-generation
PDESCs tended to present a list of infrastructure
to be built (quantity), while the new ones contain
measures to improve the overall performance of
sectors through investments in human resources
and equipment (quality).
Moreover, by comparing the figures within local
government areas it is possible to pinpoint areas
that are less 'well-off', and to gear measures to
those areas. For instance, the cattle vaccination
coverage per agricultural area is now known from
the RS, making it possible to target vaccination
measures rather than simply planning to 'increase
vaccination levels in the municipality'.
Second, the level of investment in basic social
services has increased. Now that elected officers
are aware of the indicators and the causes of poor
social service performance, they are making more
of an effort (see Box 7). These sectors are also key
fields in which local government is required to make
considerable efforts to achieve the MDGs. Thus, the
use of the RS tool has made it possible to integrate
the MDG framework into the PDESCs (see Box 8).
Box 7: Comparison of the 2001 and 2005
PDESCs: investments in health and
In the municipality of Dinandougou (‘cercle’ of
Koulikoro), the planned investment in health in
2001 was XOF 20,783,673, compared with XOF
74,325,000 in the new 2005 PDESC.
In the municipality of Nyamina (‘cercle’ of
Koulikoro), the planned investment in health in
2001 was XOF 21,630,000, compared with XOF
81,600,000 in the 2005 PDESC.
Also in Nyamina, the planned investment in
education in 2001 was XOF 59,524,000, compared
with XOF 168,615,000 in the 2005 PDESC.
Now that elected officers have access to
information, they are better able to take action to
assist neglected sectors, or to address problems
that had previously been unknown or concealed. For
instance, the municipal RS contains information on
human resources, education, health, associations
and community life, migration, employment,
working conditions in technical departments, and
dispute settlement. As a result, many PDESCs now
include a wider range of activities involving capacity
building for local actors, awareness raising, and
consultation with and participation by associations in
the running of municipalities. The inclusion of
'gender' has also made the PDESCs more coherent.
The availability of data broken down by gender and
information on the roles of men and women in the
various sectors has meant that 'gender' is now
playing a greater role in the activities planned.
Monitoring and evaluation of
municipal development
The RS tool has considerable potential for
monitoring and evaluation. From the point of view
of basic municipal social services, objectives,
standards and targets are now known, so that
trends in development indicators can be
monitored in the long term. This initial application
of the tool offers some pointers for monitoring
and evaluation:
First, in our experience with the RS, the
indicators are seen in diagnostic rather than in
process terms. However, the RS tool may be
used for evaluation purposes after a period of
time. If so, the information contained in the RS
will need to be reviewed every three or five years,
a comparative analysis carried out and
conclusions drawn.
Second, the RS contains only a few specific
monitoring indicators108, except in the health,
education, water, agriculture, forestry and livestock
sectors. In practice, these performance indicators
may be monitored more regularly (every year). A
weakness of the tool at this stage is that it was not
possible to draw up numerical targets for each
indicator at the planning meetings.
The tool may therefore have a part to play in
monitoring and evaluation, and may also be used
to monitor the MDG indicators (see Box 8). At
present, however, the frequency, methods and
actors involved in updating the RS have meant
that the comparative analyses have not yet been
drawn up. Updating the RS is a prerequisite for
monitoring and evaluation, but little support for
this is available, and as yet no guidelines or
methodology have been compiled.
Box 8: The Reference Situation and the MDGs
The MDG framework is at present a global
framework for development. Applying the RS tool
made it possible to take the first steps towards
translating national goals into local goals by:
raising awareness, through information
sheets and feedback from technical services,
which helped to improve understanding of
national policies (MDGs and PRSPs). The
MDGs are no longer seen as the 'business' of
the national government or ideals to be
discussed at international conferences. Rather,
the actors have been made aware that much of
the work of local government is already
connected with the MDGs and that this
framework may make it easier to draw up
policies and help to flesh out goals;
integrating the MDG/PRSP indicators into
the RS, especially in the areas of education,
water and health. An analysis of the current
situation and comparisons with national and
regional targets have made it possible for
municipalities to pinpoint what measures
would be needed to achieve them.
These initiatives led to PDESCs that were much
better geared to the fight against poverty since
pinpointed the less advantaged areas of
municipalities and circles;
contained a greater commitment to basic
social services, as reflected in increased
investments and measures to improve the
ways in which services are run; and
made it possible to monitor each municipality's
progress towards achieving poverty reduction
The MDGs provided a general framework for the
RS exercise. However, while the MDGs provide a
framework for action, more detailed analysis by
sector and by indicator is needed. This type of work
is not possible at present as a result of the ways in
which the PDESCs are drawn up. Moreover, the
inclusion of a 'monitoring and evaluation' chapter in
the PDESCs, including the key indicators of the RS,
may help with monitoring and evaluating the MDGs
in relation to the specific needs of the municipality,
the population and the local context.
108- Enabling the achievement of a standard, such as the number of inhabitants per modern water point (MWP). In
Mali, the standard for drinking water supplies in rural areas is one MWP per 400 inhabitants.
2.5.4. IMPACT
and improving relations
between actors
From the local organisational and institutional
points of view, the RS drafting process had three
increased interest in data management;
improved capacities for data collection and
analysis on the part of local government; and
improved cooperation between technical
departments and local government.
Shared interest in data management
The RS drafting process increased the interest in
and demand for municipal data management
tools. All the actors were aware of the importance
of a single database amalgamating municipal data.
The fact that local authorities put pressure on
technical departments to make data available is a
good example of this. At the same time, technical
departments understood the importance of data
broken down to municipal level, not just because
such data were needed by municipalities, but also
for their own planning and overall monitoring of
trends in each sector. All actors felt that the quality
of the data needed to be improved, and that they
need to be kept up to date. The RS drafting stage
therefore became a key stage for any kind of
planning or monitoring and evaluation.
Local government capacities for data
collection and analysis
Data collection capacities
The data collection process had little impact on
the capacity of elected officers and municipal
executives, particularly in the SNV area where a
provider-based approach was chosen. Elected
officers tended to be passive actors. However, in
all areas, town clerks mastered the approach
needed to draw up a municipal RS, i.e. the
collection of data, checking of survey records,
compiling and drafting the document. The mayors
tended to regard town clerks and technical
departments as 'RS technicians' and often
delegated the tasks of data collection and
updating the RS to them.
Data analysis capacities
First, the RS drafting exercise gave elected officers
a better knowledge of national policies. The PRSPs
and MDGs were discussed and used in the analysis
of the indicators, and were linked to national policies
and translated into local goals (see Box 8).
Second, elected officers felt that the RS had
helped them decide on the main outlines of the
PDESCs, especially in the education and health
sectors111. Discussions of the figures and
interpretation of the data were the most important
factor. Elected officers therefore discovered that
statistical data could enhance qualitative village
diagnoses. They found that the RS made it possible
to pinpoint shortcomings and opportunities that
had not been identified during participatory
diagnoses. Comparative analysis enhanced the
municipalities' overall knowledge of the situation
and highlighted specific opportunities/issues in the
various fields for which they are responsible.
Third, when analysing the data, local actors
discovered that it is difficult strictly to apply the
sector and sub-sector classification. They
discovered the 'intersectoral' (see Box 9).
Box 9: The 'intersectoral' in the PDESCs
The 'human resources' sector of the RS gives
figures on school access to drinking water. During
the planning process other water-related issues
were included in the 'rural economy' and
'infrastructure' sectors. The RS showed that there
were strong links between various sectors and
thus encouraged an integrated and more
coherent understanding of development, a
principle that was not applied in the first PDESCs.
Elected officers became aware that data
analysis was not solely the work of technicians.
109- Source: surveys, working sessions and evaluations with local actors.
110- 'Effects' = changes that can be directly or indirectly attributed to the design and drafting of the RS.
111- Survey among mayors, March 2006, Dioïla.
One of the initial objectives of the planning
process was to pave the way for a longer-term
vision and to integrate the monitoring and
evaluation indicators into the PDESCs. While the
RS ought to foster such objectives, analytical tools
are still not good enough to enable forward
thinking or planning for a five- or ten-year period.
Local government monitoring and evaluation
capacities have not been adequately strengthened
and additional work is needed by sector or subsector (see, for instance, SIEC, section
Finally, as the approach focused on municipal
planning it did little to meet the capacity-building
needs of technical departments, even though
these were known.
Improved cooperation between
technical departments and local
Technical departments were not very involved in the
drafting and implementation of the first generation of
municipal plans. Often, they were invited only at the
final stage, i.e. to the planning meeting. The drafting
of the RS made it possible to involve technical
departments from the outset, and in particular from
the data collection stage. As a result of a period of
information exchange, training and discussions in the
local policy committees, most of the technical
departments undertook to provide and correct data
and indicators. The direct, intensive exchanges
between technical departments and local authorities
during all the planning stages led to the development
of mutual trust and a spirit of cooperation. The
planning meetings became a real forum for
concerted action where technical departments
explained the indicators to elected officers and
provided advice for decision making. The concrete
outcome of this was improved cooperation. Local
governments and technical departments now invite
one another to participate in joint activities such as
sector planning, preparing case files or implementing
municipal projects (see Box 10).
Box 10: Using the RS for sector planning
At a meeting organised by the Kati education
authority (17-19 November 2005), all the
municipalities of this ‘cercle’ played an active part
in drafting municipal action plans for education by
providing the data from their RSs and the list of
activities set out in their PDESCs.
Local data and information management is now
much more open and transparent, and the various
actors are more aware of where to find data and
how to access it.
Finally, the negotiating skills of elected officers
have been improved, leading to improved
dialogue between local governments and
technical departments. The result has been to
reduce the information gap between them elected officers now understand what the
technical departments are saying - with the result
that communication is now on an equal footing. Ownership and
It would seem that elected officers do not as yet
own the process. All elected officers are calling
for technical support when the exercise is
repeated, even though data collection has been
mastered by town clerks and technical
departments. This is probably due to the
problems of data accessibility and the intensive
nature of the collection work. Data interpretation
and analysis require technical assistance
especially if they are to be used for planning and
for monitoring and evaluation. It would be
preferable for assistance to be provided by the
service provider commissioned to carry out the
data collection and analysis for the first RS.
External assistance will also be needed when the
approach becomes more widely disseminated as a
result of its institutionalisation. In this case, technical
departments will have to be involved as the main
mentors for local actors. Some examples of the
replication of the RS tool are presented in Box 11.
Box 11: Examples of replication
The RS tool is being replicated in other ‘cercles’. In
the PACT area, for instance, the members of the
Réseau Synergie Décentralisation (SYNDEC)112
used the RS tool as a starting point for the drafting
of municipal RSs. The tool was modified as the
collection of qualitative data has been abandoned
in order to streamline the process. The modified
tool was then used in the planning processes of
11 municipalities of the neighbouring ‘cercle’ of
112- SYNDEC is a working group formed by decentralisation support structures in the ‘cercle’ of Ségou. It was set up
in 2004 to enable concerted action to support municipal planning in the 30 municipalities of this ‘cercle’. It
includes ten or so support organisations, including the CCC and PACT. See Réseau SYNDEC, ‘cercle’ of Ségou
(2005 a, b).
SNV has introduced a further municipal planning
and monitoring and evaluation tool - the 'Système
d'information essentielle de la commune' (SIEC,
Essential Information System for the commune) which can be seen as a continuation of the RS for
the health sector. Its aim is to improve the way in
which municipal health service performance is
monitored. With a view to the transfer of skills,
municipalities analyse problems, rank them and
identify monitoring indicators in order to evaluate
the impact of the proposed solutions. This
2.5.5. LESSONS
process is taking place in conjunction with the
services concerned and the community health
For the purposes of their geographical
information system (GIS), PACT and SNV are
transferring some information from the RSs to
municipal databases. The GIS can be used to
compile thematic maps and efficiently process
and analyse the mass of information collected for
all municipalities.113
LEARNED Managing
differing interests
Managing such diverse actors and interests was
obviously difficult. While support from SNV and
PACT helped to improve cooperation between
technical departments and local governments, it
did not manage to resolve some of the problems
resulting from their different points of view. Data
management is, in practice, a question of power.
Those in possession of information are not always
keen to share it. If the RS is not to the liking of
technical departments, associations and NGOs,
they may not want to validate it. Both cases
arose, raising problems from the point of view of
the quality of the tool and its institutionalisation.
We learned that it is important to discuss data
accessibility and quality with all stakeholders at
the outset. An ideal solution would be a database
that all the actors contribute to, share, use and in
particular validate, and which is managed by a
structure appointed by mutual agreement. Finance or
capacity building?
In the area of organisational capacity building, a
key assumption is that ownership and
strengthening of organisational capacities would be
undermined when financing is made available for
projects. Another assumption was that a providerbased approach (SNV) would be more expensive
than a municipality-based approach (PACT).
With regard to these prior assumptions, during
the assessment of the experiment, however, two
findings emerged:
The two approaches had the same effects on
the capacities of elected officers and on improved
cooperation. In all municipalities ownership was
limited, and only town clerks were able to
replicate the exercise (chapter 2.5.4). The impact
of the municipality-based approach (implemented
and financed by the municipality) on capacity
building does not seem to be any greater. It would
nevertheless be interesting to compare data
quality and the municipalities' satisfaction with the
results to gain a more detailed idea. We also
consider that factors such as leadership and the
quality of external facilitation are just as important.
Contrary to our expectations, the providerbased approach did not prove to be much more
expensive than the municipality-based approach
(see Box 12). The total cost of an SNV RS was
some XOF 300,000 (EUR 458), compared with
XOF 250,000 (EUR 380) for a PACT RS. As a
result, this cost, which had played a major part in
the choice of the strategy, is therefore not as
important as had been assumed.
As the various options did not have the effects
envisaged, it would therefore be more interesting
to try to find out which option is preferred by
municipalities, and which is most satisfactory
from the point of view of results.
The following figures only partly reflect the efforts
of the stakeholders to facilitate the process, but
give an idea of the range of expenditures and the
different budget items to be considered.
113- The sub-regional seminar 'Building capacities for monitoring and evaluation of decentralisation and local
governance in West Africa: exchange of experience and learning', Bamako, 17-18 May 2006, provided an
opportunity to assess the SIEC and the GIS.
Box 12: Costs of drawing up a Reference Situation
SNV estimates the total expenditure to prepare the RS in 44 local authorities (41 municipalities and
three ‘cercle’ councils) to be:
Data collection providers
Providers (data processing)
Costs in XOF (for 44 RS)
Assistance from a CCC advisor at municipal
offices in order to help with analysis and
synthesis of the RS
CLO technical services and costs
Total for 44 RS
Total cost per RS
2,200,000 approx. XOF 50,000/authority)
300,000 XOF (458 EUR)
PACT estimates the costs of the municipal/‘cercle’ RS as follows:
Municipal RS (XOF)
‘Cercle’ RS (XOF)
Steering committee (operation)
Technical services (XOF 4,000/day)
CCC advisor
Support structure
Provider (data collection and processing
of the document)
Mid-term meeting
Feedback workshop
Total cost per RS drawn up with a
Total cost per RS drawn up without
Costs of drawing up a ‘cercle’ RS
The municipal data have to be aggregated to the ‘cercle’ level, corrected and supplemented where
necessary at feedback meetings with technical services.
SNV's experience (data collection at the ‘cercle’ level assisted by a provider using a tool in keeping
with this local government level) shows that the average costs are comparable with those of an RS.
PACT's trials in the ‘cercle’ of Kati are estimated at some XOF 1,000,000 over a six-month period.
The time needed to draw up a municipal RS in the SNV area (with a provider) was 1 to 2 months. In
the PACT area it took 2 months (with a provider) and 4 months (without a provider).
120 Prerequisites
For the application of the tool and, in particular,
when mentoring a multi-actor process, some
conditions have to be met:
departments to draw up an inventory of the official
information available and to gain agreement on the
approach. Prior definitions of indicators should also
be drawn up with technical departments.
Analysis of existing capacity
Specifying the roles of the actors
Field experience has shown that the roles of local
actors in data collection, the provision of the
resources needed for the exercise and data
management needed to be better specified114. Civil
society organisations and NGOs have information
that can be put to use in data collection and
interpretation. Cooperation between municipalities
and technical departments should be specified and
formalised in a protocol. In Mali, this cooperation is
set out in the laws and decrees on
decentralisation115, but it would be better to opt for
low-key administrative management of this
cooperation and to involve the local government
supervisory authority.
Considered choice of data and
For a reliable database, the choice of data and
indicators required has to be shaped by the
information that is available. A complicated database
is difficult to manage, especially by local actors who
are not technicians. Consequently, needs have to be
met while taking account of the actual situation in
the field. For this reason, our advice is to focus on
an inventory of existing data. When starting data
collection, the first step has to be for technical
In order to avoid institutional problems from the
outset, the support organisations mentoring the
approach should make particular efforts to ensure
compliance with the principle of involvement of
the local government supervisory authority (the
Prefect) and the higher hierarchical level of local
technical departments (the heads of unit of
technical departments at the ‘cercle’ level and the
department responsible for planning).
Over and above municipal planning, external
mentoring is needed from the point of view of
capacity building. We recommend a prior analysis
of existing capacity, followed by drafting of a
specific capacity building strategy based on the
results of this analysis. On the basis of our
experience, we recommend that the following
areas be included:
communications and improving professional
relations (lobbying, presentation, argument);
on-the-job mentoring/follow-up for local actors
(elected officers, town clerks and technical
departments), possibly supplemented by targeted
training. Mentoring of this type is needed to
develop expertise in local data management and
analysis; and
mentoring of the local government support and
advisory process for staff of technical departments.
114- Local actors need to be involved in any prior communication on data collection and in the compilation of the data
and its subsequent provision to the municipal steering committee and in the analysis of the data with this
115- Decree 96-084/P-RM on the conditions and methods under which devolved state services are supplied to local
Since the process was started in 2004, the
Reference Situation has been discussed at local,
regional and national levels. It has been discussed
and sought out by elected officers, municipal
staff, doctors and municipal school staff, support
organisations, planners, researchers, technicians
from technical departments, partners and
donors, etc.
The RS - referred to in this case study as a
'technical diagnosis' 'review', 'database' or
'reference document' - has been used to draw up
municipal plans and development plans involving
transfers of skills in the fields of education, health
and water. It is also starting to be used to manage
municipal equipment and resource mobilisation
since the RS inventories existing infrastructure
and makes it possible to find out what aspects
need to be taken into account for tax purposes.
The RS has become the only document of its
kind in municipalities that includes a substantial
amount of data on all development sectors. It is
able to satisfy the information needs of a wide
range of actors with different specific objectives.
This outcome is encouraging, even though the
initial objectives were not all achieved.
The process of joint stock-taking, analysis and
exchange made it possible to gather advice from
the stakeholders on how the RS could be
progressed. We also took account of comments
and advice given at the sub-regional seminar in
Bamako on 17 and 18 May 2006.
The stakeholders are keen to improve the tool
and the approach, the quality of the data collected
and the role of users. Representatives of local
actors (decentralised technical departments,
town clerks, CCC advisors, providers, NGOs and
support organisations) put forward various
suggestions after the municipal planning
process,116 the most important of which were as
follows (for further details, see Annex II):
developing an application manual for the RS
tool to provide the actors with better guidance;
streamlining the tool by eliminating information
that is of no use for technical diagnosis and for
monitoring and evaluating municipal development;
taking steps to break down data to municipal
making data more reliable by conducting surveys
and polls to flesh out the available data; and
envisaging the joint management of future
municipal databases by municipalities, under the
responsibility of mayors, and technical departments.
SNV and PACT recommendations concerned the
regular use of the tool and monitoring of PRSP
and MDG indicators. We have put forward
specific measures for local actors, national actors
and the municipal advisory centres, and options
for improvement and consolidation (see Annex II).
The other case studies presented at the Bamako
seminar convinced us that the involvement of
technical departments is paramount in ensuring
that the approach is actually applied, since local
authorities already have a full workload and their
technical capacities are not always adequate.
While exercises to draw up reference situations,
monographs or poverty profiles (see the case
studies on Cameroon and Ghana) have played an
important, even essential, part in planning, they
still, as in the case of the RS, have to prove their
worth for monitoring and evaluation.
The monitoring and evaluation system of the
new European Union Support Programme for
Administrative Reform and Decentralisation
(PARAD), under which budget support has been
provided for the state reform and decentralisation
process in Mali since 2006, drew our attention for
two reasons. On one hand, this tool involves
specific indicators from the point of view of skills
transferred. On the other, although these
indicators are few in number (four) they can be
seen as an attempt to harmonise the monitoring
and evaluation of municipal development. As
municipal performance will play an important part
in gaining access to the local government
investment fund, municipalities will have to focus
their efforts on the PARAD indicators.
This new context helped us to pinpoint what
potential there was for the future of the RS in the
local authorities concerned. First, the 2004 RS
may continue to be a reference document or
116- PACT (2006): the survey was conducted in December 2005 in 10 municipalities in the ‘cercles’ of Kati, Barouéli
and Ségou with a working session in Koulikoro on 10 February 2006 organised by SNV.
inventory that covers all sectors of development.
Ongoing updating and management are
necessary if the information needs of users are to
be met. Our wish to institutionalise technical
diagnostics at the municipal level is underpinned
by the PARAD monitoring and evaluation system.
Support from the CCCs and support organisations
could be concentrated on achieving the PARAD
indicators and possibly other indicators that they
or municipalities consider to be relevant. The aim,
as mentioned above (section, is to build
the capacities of elected officers to carry out
detailed sector analyses, and to plan and monitor
and evaluate basic services (see the example of
the SIEC). This policy could at the same time help
to streamline the RS by focusing on some key
indicators. Experience of the RS in the Koulikoro
region has undoubtedly created a climate in which
these proposals could be put into practice.
Association des Municipalités du Mali/Association of Malian Municipalities
Agence Nationale d'Investissements des Collectivités Territoriales/National Agency for Local
Government Investment
Centre d'Animation Pédagogique/Educational Support Centre
Centre de Conseil Communal/Municipal Advisory Centre
Cellule de Coordination Nationale/National Coordination Unit
Comité Local d'Orientation/Local Policy Committee
Comité National d'Orientation/National Policy Committee
Comité de Pilotage Communal/Municipal Steering Committee
Comité de Pilotage/Steering Committee
Coordination Régionale des ONG/Regional Coordination of NGOs
Civil Society Organisation
Deutscher Entwicklungsdienst/German Development Service
Direction Nationale de l'Aménagement du Territoire/National Territorial Development Directorate
Dispositif National des Appuis Techniques aux Collectivités Territoriales/National System for Technical
Support for Local Government
Direction Nationale des Collectivités Territoriales/National Local Government Directorate
Direction Nationale de la Population/National Population Directorate
Direction Nationale de la Planification du Développement/National Development Planning Directorate
Direction Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Informatique/National Statistics and Informatics Directorate
Direction Régionale du Plan et de la Statistique/Regional Planning and Statistics Directorate
Direction Régionale du Plan, de la Statistique, de l'Informatique, de l'Aménagement du Territoire et de
la Population/Regional Planning, Statistics, Informatics, Territorial Development and Population
Enquête Malienne sur l'Evaluation de la Pauvreté (2001)/Malian Poverty Assessment Survey (2001)
Programme de Gouvernance locale, Décentralisation et Déconcentration/Local Governance
and Decentralisation Programme
Gesellschaft für technische Zusammenarbeit/German Agency for Technical Cooperation
Local Government
Ministère de l'Administration Territoriale et des Collectivités Locales/Ministry of Territorial
Administration and Local Government
Millennium Development Goals
Ministère du Plan et de l'Aménagement du Territoire/Ministry of Planning and Territorial Development
Non-governmental organisation
Observatoire du Développement Humain Durable/Observatory of Sustainable Human Development
Outil Informatisé de Suivi Evaluation (base de données)/Computerised Monitoring/
Evaluation Tool (database)
Programme d'Appui aux Collectivités Territoriales/Local Government Support Programme
Programme d'Appui au Développement de la région de Koulikoro/Decentralisation Support Programme
in the Koulikoro Region
Programme d'Appui à la Réforme Administrative et à la Décentralisation/Support Programme for
Administrative Reform and Decentralisation
Plan de Développement Economique Social et Culturel/Economic, Social and Cultural Development
Programme National d'Appui aux Collectivités Territoriales/National Support Programme for Local
Programme National d'Infrastructures Rurales/National Rural Infrastructure Programme
Programme de Renforcement des Capacités nationales pour une Gestion stratégique du
Développement/National Capacity Building Programme for Strategic Development Management
Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper
Réseau de Réflexion et d'Échanges sur le Développement Local/Local Development Think Tank and
Discussion Forum
Reference Situation
Schéma d'Aménagement et de Développement/Development Plan
Système d'Information Essentielle pour la Commune/System of Essential Information for
Mission de Décentralisation et des Réformes Institutionnelles/Decentralisation and Institutional Reform
Système d'Information Géographique/Geographical Information System
Système Informatique de Gestion des ressources en eau au Mali/Computerised System for Water
Resource Management in Mali
Système d'Information Sanitaire/Health Information System
Organisation Néerlandaise de Développement/Netherlands Development Organisation
Réseau Synergie Décentralisation SYNergy DECentralisation
United Nations Development Program
recommendations on
further progress with the
For local actors
In relation to the regular use of the tool and the
monitoring of PRSP and MDG indicators, we
recommend that elected officers, town clerks and
regularly update, for instance on an annual
basis, the RS document in order to provide an
up-to-date picture and gradually to discover
other reliable sources of information;
carry out this updating and data analysis
work prior to the annual municipal programme
review and before the new annual programme
is drawn up;
regularly request the involvement of
technical services in updating work in order to
show a long-term interest in the compilation
and provision of municipal data;
share the updated documents with the
actors involved and disseminate them on
refer, in the management of municipal
business, to the data collected in order to make
decision-making mechanisms transparent;
test the relevance of data on a daily basis
and retain a critical spirit as regards the
reliability of data;
compare each local government RS with
those of other municipalities or ‘cercles’, and
share analogies or disparities;
follow up, or even become involved in the
discussion of the fine-tuning of the PRSP and
MDG indicators in order thereby to assess the
pertinence of the municipality's own
For national actors
With regard to the central, regional and local
services of decentralised state departments and
the provision of data at municipal level, we
promoting long-term internal technical
capacity building, down to the local level, for
the management of the data required by the
remit of the respective service;
promoting the breakdown of data to
municipal level and regular data updating;
giving local technical services access to the
statistics available at national level and training
them to process and interpret these data;
obtaining regular information on the
statistical services of the respective service.
For CCCs
With regard to the CCCs and their role as
intermediaries between local government and
their environment, we recommend:
assisting, through practical examples and
simple exercises, local government to update
and interpret data, in particular town clerks,
CPCs and working groups;
facilitating the dissemination of information
(sector programmes, PRSPs, MDGs), initiating
discussions at the CLO level and
strengthening local government and technical
service communication strategies;
organising exchanges between CCCs on
data management and successful cases (see
'link with other tools');
attaching particular importance to building
the capacities of local actors in analysis and
long-term planning;
facilitating exchanges and sharing data
between technical services, local government,
NGOs and local associations.
Options for improving and
consolidating the RS
Replication and improvement
apply the RS in the ‘cercles’ of Ségou and
Barouéli and apply the SIEC tool in the ‘cercle’
of Dioïla (under way). A process of stock-taking
and analysis is planned;
produce an RS user manual;
streamline the RS tool and break down the
draw up RS documents at the circle level
and specify the role and content of the RS.
at municipal level: specify how the RS is
subsequently to be used in the planning
development monitoring and evaluation system
based on the regular updating of the RS tool;
at ‘cercle’ level: reach a stage where the
structure (format, content) of the RS is
finalised so that it can be validated by the
departments (see the example of the ‘cercle’
of Kati);
involve the Association of Malian
Municipalities (AMM) with their resource
involve the ‘cercle’ councils in the
management/ supervision of municipal databases;
at regional and national levels: include
municipal data management and the
contribution of the RS in discussions of the
monitoring of PRSPs and MDGs.
Strengthen links with other tools
With a view to harmonisation at national level and
learning at sub-regional level, we have planned for
regular exchanges with the organisations involved
in monitoring and evaluation that have drawn up
similar or complementary tools:
DNCT/CCN DNAT (National Territorial
Development Directorate): PDESC drafting
REDL Mali, SNV Niger, Benin (ANCB, GTZ,
Helvetas), Burkina Faso (GTZ, MATD/DEP):
self-evaluation tool for local government
DNAT: drafting guide for the Development
Scheme (SAD) at ‘cercle’ and regional levels;
local government/support organisations/
treasury: municipal resource mobilisation
GTZ, SNV Mali and other structures:
geograph- ical information system (GIS);
SNV Mali: Essential Information System for
the Commune (SIEC) - HEALTH;
CCN: Computerised Monitoring/Evaluation
Tool (OISE);
sector and ODHD databases.
CCC KATI & PACT. 2004. Formation des acteurs
au développement du cercle de Kati sur la
Participant. Centre de Conseil Communal de
Kati and PACT. Kati.
MATCL. 2005. Programme national d'appui aux
collectivites territoriales, Phase II, 2006-2010.
Document de programme. Draft version.
MATCL & PNUD. 2005. Rapport sur l'état des
cercle de Ségou. Formation des membres du
réseau et des partenaires en élaboration du
PDESC. Centre de Conseil Communal de
Ségou and PACT. Ségou.
lieux de la déconcentration et le suivi
évaluation de la décentralisation. Secrétariat
du MATCL et Programme de Gouvernance
Locale, Décentralisation et Déconcentration
(GOLDD). Bamako.
DNATCT. 2004. Module de formation sur
MDRI. 2000. Guide méthodologique de program-
l'élaboration des PDESC. Draft à l'intention
des conseillers CCC. Guide du facilitateur,
élaboré par AGEFORE et BEFOR. Bamako.
DNCT. 2005. Projet de guide d'élaboration des
PDESC suivant les secteurs de la Direction
Nationale de la Planification et du Développement. Interim report.
mation du développement communal.
Méthodes et outils de programmation du
développement communal. Mission de
Décentralisation et des Réformes Institutionnelles. Bamako.
Ministère de l'économie et des finances &
système des Nations Unies au Mali. 2004.
année 2001. Direction Régionale du Plan et
de la Statistique, Région de Koulikoro.
Rapport de suivi de la mise en œuvre des
Objectifs du Millénaire pour le Développement (OMD). Bamako.
European Commission. 2005. Programme
Nassire, M. 2001. La problématique de la
d'Appui à la Réforme Administrative et de la
Décentralisation - PARAD. Brussels.
planification participative dans le contexte de
la décentralisation en Afrique. Le cas du
Mali. Dans MATCL/DNCT (2001): Planification participative dans le contexte de la
décentralisation en Afrique. Actes de l'atelier
international de Ségou, du 25 au 28 juin
2001, p. 16-31. - Bamako.
DRPS Koulikoro. 2003. Annuaire statistique,
General Assembly of the United Nations. 2000.
Millennium Declaration. Resolution adopted
by the General Assembly at its 55th Session,
item 60b of the agenda of 13 September
2000. A/RES/55/2.
Loi 93-008 déterminant les conditions de la libre
administration des collectivités territoriales,
modifiée par la loi 96-056 du 16/10/1996; loi 95034 portant code des collectivités territoriales
en République du Mali, modifiée par la loi 98066 du 30/12/1998.
Loi 95-034 du 12/04/1995 portant code des
collectivités territoriales en République du
Mali modifiée par la loi 98-010 du 15/06/1998
et modifiée par la loi 98-066 du 30/12/1998.
MATCL/DNCT. 2001. Planification participative
dans le cadre de la décentralisation en Afrique,
Actes de l'atelier international de Ségou,
confrontation des pratiques (étapes, méthodes,
outils, mesures d'accompagnement, modalités)
de mise en cohérence des divers niveaux de
planification du local au national. Bamako.
ODHD. 2004. Décentralisation et réduction de la
pauvreté. Rapport national 2003 sur le
développement humain durable au Mali.
Ministère du Développement Social, de la
Solidarité et des Personnes Agées, UNDP,
Observatoire du Développement Humain
Durable et de la Lutte contre la Pauvreté.
PACT. 2004. Planification Communale, Leçons
tirées de la Formation des Conseillers CCC
de la Région de Ségou. Rapport des CoFormateurs Dante, Gaoussou & Caspary,
Hans-Ulrich, June 2004. Etudes PACT/
Planification No 1. Exécution du module Plan
de Développement Economique Social et
Culturel (PDESC) du programme national de
formation des CCC 2003-2004 du DNATCT.
PACT. 2006. Enquête Planification. Le processus
République du Mali. 2004. Rapport de la deuxième
de planification communale 2005 en zone
d'intervention PACT. Capitalisation des
expériences du PACT. Étude PACT/ Planification N° 3, par Gabriel Coulibaly, ForanimConsult. Bamako.
année de mise en œuvre du CSLP. Version
provisoire du novembre 2004. Bamako.
PACT & EGLK/SNV. 2004. Groupe noyau
'Planification Communale'. Compte rendu de
la Rencontre No 5 du 28/10/2004. Bamako.
Réseau SYNDEC cercle de Ségou. 2005a. La
démarche d'élaboration des PDESC 2006 2010 dans le cercle de Ségou. Tome 1,
Rapport méthodologique. November 2005.
Réseau SYNDEC cercle de Ségou. 2005b.
PACT & EGLK/SNV. 2005. Groupe noyau 'Planification Communale'. Compte rendu de la
Rencontre No 6 du 03/05/2005. Bamako.
Rapport d'évaluation externe du processus
d'évaluation externe d'élaboration des
PDESC 2006 - 2010 et du fonctionnement du
réseau. December 2005. Ségou.
PRECAGED. 2001. Guide méthodologique d'élaboration du schéma d'aménagement et de
développement de cercle. Ministère de
l'Economie et des Finances, UNDP, Programme de Renforcement des Capacités
Nationales pour une Gestion Stratégique du
Développement. Bamako.
PRECAGED. 2004. Étude sur la planification locale
au Mali. Ministère du Plan et de l'Aménagement du Territoire, UNDP, Programme de
Renforcement des Capacités Nationales pour
une Gestion Stratégique du Développement.
PRIMATURE. 2003. Enquête nationale sur
l'évaluation de la pauvreté (EMEP) 2001.
Rapport de synthèse, November 2003.
Gouvernement du Mali, Ministère délégué
chargé du Plan, Direction Nationale de la
Statistique et de l'Informatique, World Bank,
Projet d'Appui aux Initiatives de Base (PAIB).
République du Mali. 2002. CSLP Final. Cadre
Stratégique de Lutte Contre la Pauvreté.
Document préparé et adopté par le Gouvernement du Mali le 29 mai 2002. Bamako.
SNV Mali. 2004. L'annuaire statistique des collectivités territoriales: expérience du PDRK.
SNV Mali. 2004. Guide de Planification Communale
Outils pour les acteurs locaux qui initient et
pilotent le processus d'élaboration du Plan
de Développement Economique Social et
Culturel (PDESC).
SNV Mali. 2005. Rapport Étape 1 de la planification
communale 2004, l'élaboration de la situation
de référence des collectivités dans les
cercles de Banamba, Koulikoro et Dioïla.
SNV Mali/KIT. 2005. Le Système d'Information
Essentielle pour la commune pour l'approche
suivi action dans le secteur Santé (SIEC-S),
draft version.
SNV Mali/UNDP. 2005. Participation de la Société
Civile dans le CSLP et les OMD au Mali quelques éléments de bilan et perspectives
par Sonia Le Bay et Karounga Keita. Bamako.
Resource persons:
Elsbet Lodenstein
Email: [email protected]
Ulrich Caspari
Email: [email protected]
Florence Dumont
Email: [email protected]
Consultation documents
on the RS:
■ Collection
guide for the drafting of the
Reference Situation (CCC network, July 2004)
■ Reference Situation drafting guide (PACT)
■ Collection guide for the drafting of the RS
(SNV, 2004 version)
■ RS analysis tools (SNV Mali, October 2004)
■ 41 RS of the communes of Koulikoro, Dioïla,
Banamba (available from SNV Koulikoro, CCCs
and municipalities)
■ 3 RS for the ‘cercles’ of Koulikoro, Dioïla,
The documents are available from the SNVKoulikoro and PACT offices (as electronic files
or printouts). The RS are also available from the
CCC and authorities (see useful addresses).
Useful addresses:
PACT (Programme d'Appui aux
Collectivités Territoriales)
BP.: 100, Bamako, Mali
Tel: (+223) 223 62 63
Fax: (+223) 223 38 05
BP.: 20, Koulikoro, Mali
Tel: (+223) 226 24 71
Fax: (+223) 226 20 92
3.1. Mali: Assessment of local government performance:
experiences with a self-evaluation tool
This study 'Assessment of local government performance: experiences with a self-evaluation
tool' has been prepared by Sonia Le Bay, in collaboration with Moussoulimoune Y. Maïga and Osé
Tiénou (see Annex IV).
The authors (who have also played their part in designing, testing and promoting the use of a
performance self-evaluation tool) describe the various stages involved in developing this tool. In a
context of municipal ownership, and drawing on the publication of the tool and the proposed
approach (MATCL/DNCT-SNV-HELVETAS-PACT/GTZ, 2004), they highlight the important role that
mentoring plays in self-evaluation exercises and the potential pitfalls that users might encounter.
They also examine the problems that the various stakeholders may come up against if they focus
solely on performance-based results and disregard the wealth of communication before and after
the exercises, which may well pave the way for shared responsibility and consensual decisions.
They show that a key factor in the success of a process of this kind, developed with and for local
government in Mali, has been the ongoing strategic alliances that have been forged between the
Ministry for Territorial Administration and Local Government (MATCL) and various development
organisations working with municipalities.
The authors caution all those keen to develop this kind of tool that the path from design to largescale use may be a long one fraught with problems. If an approach is to be participatory and draw
on the support of a wide range of actors, the interests and opinions of the stakeholders
(municipalities, civil society, the State, development partners, etc.), differing in some cases and
often changeable, have to be carefully managed over the long term.
At the same time, efforts to devise similar tools in neighbouring countries, encouraged by the
publication of the tool tested in Mali, show that these approaches have considerable potential for
replication. This is especially so because their aim is, in particular, to make it possible to pinpoint
the effects of capacity building through the improved performance of local government.
3.1.1. Methodology for stock-taking and analysis of the process
3.1.2. Presentation and analysis of the self-evaluation tool Working towards a common goal on monitoring and evaluation A key actor: the local government and its various components The option: self-evaluation Mentoring of the self-evaluation strategy: a necessity
3.1.3. Designing the tool and testing the approach Designing the tool Designing a method of use Testing and finalisation of the approach
3.1.4. Use and relevance of the approach Publication and dissemination of the self-evaluation tool The main effects of the approach
3.1.5. Ownership, sustainability and replication of the approach Signs of ownership Sustainability Examples of replication
3.1.6. Prospects
Annex I : Acronyms
Annex II : Bibliography
Annex III: Institutions and resource persons
Local government performance: everyone's business,
but who is responsible?
For us, as elected officers, and for municipal staff in general, decentralisation
and our mandate has meant that we spend our entire time in training. We
have hardly any time to spend on municipal business…
(Statement by a mayor from the 'Cercle' of Banamba, Koulikoro region - Mali, 2001)
In the late 1990s, the Malian government
devised a National Programme in Support of Local
Government (Programme national d'appui aux
collectivités territoriales) with the assistance of
donors and development organisations (TFPs). At
that time, decentralisation had just taken shape in
the form of 703 municipalities, 49 'cercles', 8
regions and 1 district (Bamako). Ninety-seven
percent of the municipalities had just been set up
and a whole new generation of elected
councillors were starting to learn their trade.
The aim of this national programme was to meet
the challenges likely to shape the success or
failure of decentralisation and, in particular, to
build the capacity of municipalities to take on and
perform their tasks. This included looking at the
role of elected municipal councillors as prime
movers of decentralisation, their capacity to rally
the various actors in municipalities around local
development and to ensure that devolution of
competencies and resources to municipalities
would take place.
The technical component of this programme,
which has since been implemented, revolves
around the support and training provided by the
centres de conseil communal (CCCs) (municipal
advisory centres) and private service providers. It
also relies on the decentralised State services
(services déconcentrés), which are to assist the
munic-ipalities and provide information to them117.
The National Programme in Support of Local
Government is intended to be temporary. It is
expected to build municipal capacity, chiefly in
municipal administration and management, local
planning, and ownership. For this purpose, the
municipalities draw up a support plan stating their
specific needs of assistance.
In 2001, the Direction Nationale des Collectivités
Territoriales (DNCT - National Local Government
Directorate) along with some development
organisations were keen to find a way to track the
outcome of capacity building with elected municipal
councillors and municipal staff. Moreover, they were
interested to see how the municipalities in different
environments were functioning and facing the
challenges of development. At the same time, the
municipalities were anxious to be operational and to
be able to meet the different expectations of
citizens, the supervisory authority118 and the development organisations.
This led various actors involved in the
decentralisation process to pool their experience
and skills. They designed a participatory and
educational approach to performance selfassessment, which could provide answers to their
117- These public service providers represent and implement the policy of the central government at the sub-national
level. They are managed by their respective ministry.
118- Over and above their specific duties, governors, ‘préfets’, ‘sous-préfets’ and tax collectors ensure that laws,
regulations, decisions and guidelines from central government are enforced.
While this seemed to be attempting the
impossible, it was a worthwhile challenge to
Figure 1: Title page of the guide on the local
government performance self-evaluation tool
It was this challenge that finally led to the
publication of the 'Local Government Performance
Self-Evaluation Tool' in April 2004 (see Figure 1). In
the following chapters, we would like to share our
experience with designing, testing and replicating
this tool with the various actors, in Africa and
elsewhere, who are thinking about or taking steps
to build local capacity to monitor and evaluate
decentralisation and local governance.
If you can't stand smoke, you won't get any
(Peul proverb)119
During such a wide-ranging and complex multiactor experiment, taking place over several years,
documentation often builds up informally.
Documents (such as personal notes, mission
reports, minutes of meetings and workshops,
information on instruments having similar
objectives, summaries of questionnaires carried
out during the test phase, comments gathered on
preliminary documents, photographs, etc.) are
filed away and often forgotten. This case study
offers an excellent opportunity to draw on this
documentation and to look at certain issues in
more detail. It is then possible to :
reconstruct the main stages of the process;
put the initial objectives and those actually achieved
into perspective, while attempting to take the points
of view of the various stakeholders into account
(bearing in mind that, in practice, users' initiatives
may well improve the approach over time);
compare the options chosen with the results
actually obtained;
go beyond the lessons learned, to find out what
challenges still exist, what avenues remain to be
explored and what strategies can be used to meet
these challenges, along with the potential
alliances that could help mobilise additional actors.
For this study, a guideline120 was distributed to a
number of volunteers, who had been involved in
designing and testing the self-evaluation tool, in
order to help them to jointly take stock, analyse
and document their experiences with the authors
of this study. Their contributions were collated by
one volunteer acting as a focal point. This main
author was also responsible for drawing up an
initial version of the information and analysis. This
was then sent to the initial contributors and to
three resource persons. Two of these resource
persons had taken part in the design and use of
the tool. The third was more 'external'; she was a
recent user of the results obtained by local
governments for the creation of a geographical
information system (GIS)121. Taking into account
the comments received, the person acting as a
focal point then drew up a second version for
discussion at a sub-regional seminar122. This
version was then fleshed out with information
from exchanges in the plenary sessions and
workshops and from the informal discussions
between delegates from various backgrounds in
six West African countries.123
119- The proverbs were collected by Sonia Le Bay.
120- See C. Loquai and S. Le Bay (2005).
121- The GIS experiment was presented at the sub-regional seminar 'Building capacities for monitoring and evaluation
of decentralisation and local governance in West Africa: exchange of experience and learning; Bamako 17-18 May
2006. See Foranim Consult (2006). It was also used in the case study 'Mali, Geographical information systems
for the development of rural municipalities'.
122- See preceding footnote.
123- This relates in particular to the examples of replication in other countries: Niger, Benin and Burkina Faso. See
chapter 3.1.5. and Foranim Consult (2006).
It was mainly the staff of donor agencies and
development organisations, who had worked on
the approach as a whole, who was involved in the
drafting stage, but it was possible to obtain a
direct contribution from the various stakeholders
by taking account of the following:
Collectivités Territoriales (DNCT) and its National
coordination unit for technical support for local
government (CCN), along with donor agencies
and development organisations, particularly the
members of the Réseau de Réflexion et
d'Échanges sur le Développement Local (REDL).
the information provided by user municipalities
at the time of the self-evaluation exercises (late
2005 and during 2006) and the discussions of
various ways of improving the strategy that had
taken place with them;
discussions that took place throughout 2005
and 2006 with the Direction Nationale des
This method of work was chosen as a result of
lessons learned in previous exercises of joint
stock taking and analysis. If such an exercise is to
be truly participatory, it has to be well managed. It
is not feasible to involve all those who have
participated in the design and testing of the selfevaluation tool or are users.
To help the various actors to capitalise on this
experience and enable readers to better
understand the process of conceptualisation,
testing and replication and its dynamics, we have
drawn up a summary table showing the
timeframe for the main stages, the measures
taken and the actors involved (see Table 1).
been kept. Nobody imagined, however, that
almost 30 months would pass between the
design stage and the publication stage. Had the
actors involved known that this would be the
case, it might well have undermined their
motivation. In retrospect, a 'critical number' of
actors managed to retain enough motivation to
overcome the challenges and achieve the
objective, perhaps even going beyond it.
When the process was launched, none of the
actors had any real idea of the time that they
would have to devote to it. Even now, it is difficult
to provide figures for individuals or stakeholder
organisations because detailed records have not
The publication is a collective work, drawing on
contributions from those directly involved as well
as many others who provided support.
Table 1: Summary of the process
Definition of roles:
- process coordination
- facilitation of the process and initiatives
- technical contributions to the process
- identification of stakeholders
DESIGN (08/2001-08/2002)
Pooling of concerns,
Devising the tool and its
method of use
DNCT/CCN, SNV, Helvetas, PACT/
Definition of basic principles (a tool for local
government), stages and a provisional
Dissemination of the outline document:
guide to the use of the tool for evaluating
municipal performance
Review of existing information:
documentary search/forging of contacts
Same actors with other TFPs/CCC
- Outline proposals/thematic discussions,
comments, adoption
DNCT/CCN, SNV, Helvetas,
- Proposals for the content of the tool
(indicators) and its methods/discussions,
comments, adoption
- Drafting of a provisional version of the tool
(04/2002) and an outline of the methods for
testing it
- Collection of comments at a workshop on
the provisional version (05/2002)
resource persons
- Meetings with potential users
(explanations, discussions, comments)
CCC with the CLO and municipalities
- Feedback workshop (07/2002)
DNCT/CCN, SNV, Helvetas,
- Finalisation of the tool and the methods
for testing it (08/2002)
TEST (09-12/2002)
PACT/GTZ, représentatives CCC
SNV, CCN for CCC (SNV, Helvetas,
PACT/GTZ advisors)
Testing of the selfevaluation tool for local
government performance
(list of indicators +
- Drafting of the terms of reference for the
test + standardised tools (grid for verifying
the relevance of the indicators and
feasibility of the tool + summary sheet of
the test results + proposed outline for
drafting of the report) 09/2002
- Testing on a representative sample of
municipalities: urban/suburban/rural,
different sizes and geographical areas (0911/2002)
SNV, DNCT/CCN with 'ForanimConsult'
Workshop to pool the
test results
- Drafting of terms of reference for
moderation of the workshop and proposed
programme (10/2002)
- Workshop to pool the test results
(11/2002): discussion of the general
summary of results provided by the CCCs,
proposals to improve the tool and its
methods, validation of the results
- Further development of the process and
allocation of tasks:
CCC with 3% of municipalities
(elected officers, municipal staff,
population, civil society and
supervisory authority)
CCC, REDL, 'Foranim-Consult'
Selection of service
provider and printing of
the document
Distribution of the
document to users,
potential mentors and
other interested parties
01/2005-to date
01/2005-to date
Drafting of the final
version of the tool and
its methods
Local government selfevaluation exercise
Take-over/adaptation of
the local government
performance selfevaluation tool: some
- Draft version
- Final comments
- Drafting the final version
- Validation of the final version
- Drafting the preface
Call for tenders (01/2004):
- selection procedures and criteria for
providers (technical publishing specifications,
number of copies to be printed/document
distribution key, work to be performed,
submission of bids, roles and responsibilities
of actors, work schedule, etc.) and creation
of a selection panel
- financial package
- technical follow-up
DNCT/CCN with SNV, Helvetas,
SNV, DNCT with 'Communicances'
7000 copies distributed to:
- direct users (60%)
- potential mentor organisations offering
counselling and support (20%)
including 20% as stock to meet emerging
needs in Mali and the sub-region
DNCT/CCN with SNV, Helvetas,
- Local governments informed at CLO
Regional monitoring officers of the
- Mentoring services proposed
- Synergy between technical partners for
joint mentoring of local government
CCC advisors, technical partners,
service providers
For instance: PGP/National NGOs/
SNV/CCC, PGP/National NGOs/
Helvetas, CCC Network, etc.
- Local governments evaluate their own
performance (17% had carried out the
exercise once by 06/2006)
Elected officers, municipal staff, local
populace, civil society and
supervisory authority
- Mali: 2004 plan to monitor the effects of
financial support for local governments and
to index their drawing rights (58% of
indicators taken from the tool)
- Mali: since 2005, during 'municipal
diagnostics', leading to capacity building
action plans, 90% of the questions asked
taken from the tool (in 36% of local
- Niger (a): 2005, adaptation of the tool to
include the MDGs (b)
- Benin: underway, adaptation of the tool to
include the MDGs (b)
- Burkina Faso: in development (b)
- Mali: 2006, national municipal competition
with fields and indicators taken from the tool
(64% of indicators used)
TFPs 'Decentralisation' Group, DNCT
By national NGOs, partners of the
Planning Ministry, SNV
ANCB, Helvetas, GTZ, SNV, PNUD
Source: Le Bay, S.(a). Experience shared at the 'sub-regional seminar',Bamako, 17-18/05/06.
(b). Millennium Development Goals.
136 Working towards
a common goal on
monitoring and evaluation
In consequence, from the very outset, these
organisations had to work out a number of things
in a participatory way (see Table 1, design stage),
particularly the following:
In early 2001, organisations that were involved in
implementing decentralisation and which
regularly pooled their experience, in the REDL
Network124 and with the DNCT quickly became
aware that they were focusing on the same
problem: ways of measuring the effects over time
of building the capacity of local government. The
DNCT was also trying to gauge these effects so
that the strategies being implemented nationally
could be fine-tuned.
role sharing: process coordination by DNCT/
CCN; process and initiative facilitation by SNV;
technical contributions to the process by DNCT/
CCN, SNV, Helvetas, GTZ, CCC, REDL;
adoption of common basic principles;
objectives to be achieved;
stakeholders, cooperation and sources of
information available;
an outline of the various stages of work to be
carried out, a draft time schedule and monitoring
mechanism, etc.
As a result, the Netherlands Development
Organisation (SNV), Swiss Association for
International Cooperation (Helvetas) and German
Technical Cooperation (GTZ) decided to share their
results. They pooled their efforts and resources,
and made the experience of their various advisors,
working groups, programmes125 and CCCs
throughout Mali available to the DNCT. The DNCT
was already engaged in various time-consuming
matters, which took up a great deal of its human
and financial resources. This support meant in
principle that it could make better progress
preparing a consensual and functioning approach.
This set-up itself entailed some challenges,
especially with regard to the ability of the various
partners to do the following:
to find a shared, harmonious and efficient way
of working;
to draw up a time schedule for common actions and
to follow it without holding up other commitments
to mobilise the necessary resources (human,
financial126 and physical) in a timely, flexible and
concerted way;
to share a common vision of the choices to be
made, including the approach, the methods,
options to meet the targeted objectives, etc.;
to communicate regularly with one another and
with other TFPs in order to keep them informed
about the process, ask for their contributions, and
prepare for the implementation phase of the
If you climb a baobab, you'll get more fruit, but if
you stay on the ground you'll know when you
are going home.
(Bambara proverb)
In retrospect, keeping to the schedule caused
the most problems, largely because:
the people working on the strategy had heavy
the work to be carried out was rather 'repetitive':
discussions, production of a draft version of
documents, calls for comments/discussions,
drafting a new version and so on;
the participatory approach required the
organisations involved to work together on a
regular basis and to devote considerable amounts
of time to cooperating with the other key actors,
depending on their availability, etc.
However, over and above these factors, which
complicated the process, the managements of
the various organisations always gave it priority,
and some people worked on it throughout to
ensure its successful completion.
Aside from the real need for this tool, two
factors undoubtedly played a part:
Donors and development organisations supporting
decentralisation and local governance were keen
to draw lessons from previous experiences. There
had been considerable individual investment in the
design of monitoring and evaluation tools that had
124- Specific objectives of the REDL: a) to share tools, documentation and information on support for implementing
decentralisation; b) to help to improve the tools and strategies devised by member organisations, to systematise
and to disseminate them; c) to analyse and share opinions on local development problems, concepts, approaches
and strategies; d) to share lessons from field experiences with the authorities responsible for implementing
decentralisation. See http://www.snvmali.org/actus/redlinfo0606.pdf
125- For SNV, the programs included the Decentralisation Support Programme in the Koulikoro Region (PDRK), Bamako
Urban Development Programme (PDUB), Development Support Programme for the Municipalities of Ménaka
(PDCM). For Helvetas, they were the Decentralisation Support Programme (PAD); and for GTZ, the Local
Government Support Programme (PACT) and Local Initiative Promotion (PRODILO) project.
126- Everyone took part in the programme during the hours they would normally work for their own organisation, so
the specific costs incurred by the activity arose only from the test phase onwards.
ultimately been used for a short time only in their
own areas of action (as part of the implementation
of a programme or project, for example) and by
only a few actors (almost solely by direct
partners). The latter often felt that these tools
had been proposed/imposed from outside.
The DNCT felt that this was an opportunity to
make headway in harmonising monitoring and
evaluation tools for local governance to make
them consistent. They also felt that coordinating a
multi-actor process to design an approach (tool
and methods) would help to build and consolidate
strategic alliances.
Following the years of relatively standardised training, support and advice, it was important for the
'supporters' to offer municipalities an opportunity to
examine their performance on a regular basis. This
would enable them to identify the specific technical
support that they still needed in order to carry out
their duties and provide their populace with highquality services. Analysing their situation would help
them to progress to the point where they were not
just consumers of services but real partners able to
negotiate with the outside world. Following the
municipal elections in June 2004, where the
renewal rate was 70%, these were increasingly
acute questions for the new municipal councils. A key actor: the
local government and its
various components
From the point of view of elected councillors,
the CCC advisors responsible for supporting a
large number of municipalities could not always
readily perceive their particular needs or help
them to identify these needs in order to draw up
a support plan.
In parallel, a multitude of 'supporters' (lacking any
coordination in some cases) were going from
municipality to municipality, all offering training of
variable quality without any particular concern for
real needs. Elected officers were also aware that
they did not really know what their needs were - or
could not agree on them - because they lacked any
tangible reference information. They also admitted
that rather than starting from actual observation
within their municipality or any problem-solving
strategy, they tended to refer to the titles of the
training modules they had heard about.
In the space of two years, I have attended,
together with other councillors, five training
decentralisation?' In hindsight, I know what I
think about the quality of these courses. . . . It is
always difficult, however, to talk about this issue
with the village chiefs, who do not understand
that things have changed. Even among the
people, those who have had training do not want
to understand because that often suits them.
(Statement in 2001 by a mayor from the 'Cercle' of Bougouni,
Sikasso Region, Mali)
Elected councillors, municipal staff, the populace,
the supervisory authority, deconcentrated State
services and the CCCs became increasingly aware
that the 'training approach' did not provide all the
answers. The grievances and malfunctions
reported in different municipalities often had
different causes. Some were due to a lack of
competence or the resolve to carry out certain
tasks, others seemed to be the result of poor
circulation of information, a lack of exchanges
between the actors in decentral-isation and the
lack of any common vision or shared objectives.127
Mayors were keen to take up any approach that
would help them tackle these problems and put
them in a better position for discussions with the
populace, the supervisory authority and the
'actors' (donors, projects/programme, NGOs,
CCCs, service providers, etc.).
The priority for the DNCT and its partners was to
enable elected officers to take the lead within the
monitoring and evaluation approach. The aim was
to respect the role of mayors as municipal leaders
responsible for the development and functioning
of their municipalities, while enabling them to
'lead' by working in synergy with other actors
(municipal staff, the people, civil society associations, groups, NGOs, private sector,
service providers, etc. - supervisory authorities).
The idea was to encourage them to play an active
role in analysis. At the same time, the initiative to
analyse the performance of their municipality had
to come from the mayors, if it was to be credible.
127- This was confirmed in the study conducted by the DNCT/CCN in June 2003 (see Annex II).
Figure 2: Groups of actors at the municipal level
Elected councillors
Municipal staff
Populace The option: selfevaluation
There were very few ways in which responsibility
for a planned strategy on the part of local government
in both urban and rural areas could be reconciled with
the many objectives targeted by the various groups
of actors. These included the following:
verification by all the actors of the functional
nature of the municipality and its performance;
providing better information to the donors and
development organisations and the elected
councillors as a basis for better decision-making
(in terms of steering);
providing better information to citizens in order
to improve their contribution to/understanding of
decisions and participation in the implementation
of these decisions;
promoting the notion of accountability among
elected councillors and of democratic control
among citizens;
improving each actor's understanding of the
role of other actors and the inter-relationships
between these roles and their complementary
building the analytical capacity of local
governance, particularly with elected councillors;
learning about development and local
governance, etc.
In theory, only two approaches were possible:
Evaluation: which is a valuable tool for any kind
of organisation. Its main purpose is to provide a
basis for decision making following critical
examination of a situation and the lessons learned
from previous experience. The evaluation period
gives the organisation an opportunity to gain
Civil society
information, assess actual facts, ask questions,
think about and try to project itself into the future,
and to take decisions likely to improve the
Self-evaluation: which, as experts agree, is one
of the best methods of evaluating the performance
of an organisation. Its particular feature is that
the main actor is the organisation and its various
components. In the present case, for example, this
would be the elected officers of the municipality
and the various actors with whom they work.
In practice, it was obviously in the interests of
the various stakeholders to use a self-evaluation
approach because it could, at one and the same
time, be all of the following:
Tool for communication and thinking: a
maximum number of actors can be made aware of
the information available on the local government
and take part in analysing it. They can ask each
other questions and exchange views on their own
experiences. This helps to flesh out individual,
necessarily partial, perceptions and may well lead
to a more comprehensive overview of the
situation. It then becomes easier to analyse and
find answers to the main concerns of the moment.
Learning: as the analysis and decision-making
capacities of the municipality are gradually improved,
the various actors agree to listen to and learn from
other people's views, and to pool their experiences.
They may then raise new questions and find new and
possibly better angles of analysis. In this way, selfevaluation may also help build the municipality's
capacity for negotiation with the outside world since
the municipality will become capable of independently
developing areas of work more in keeping with its
context and of calling for more targeted support.
Development process: greater responsibility
on the part of the municipality for critical thinking,
internal negotiation and concerted decision
making means that the tasks of analysis,
monitoring and guidance are carried out in a more
collective way. This is a way of 'consolidating' the
municipality from inside and encouraging
periodical self-appraisal among councillors, as well
as among other actors at the municipal level.
However, opting for self-evaluation required
municipalities to have the capacity to steer the
approach and meant that elected officials had to
be willing to take firmer control of their future, if
the exercise was not to be seen as being
imposed from outside. Mentoring of the
self-evaluation strategy:
a necessity
The methodological choice for an approach of
self-evaluation meant that a critical point had to
be discussed in detail with elected officials: how
their self-evaluation was to be led. Did they feel
that they had sufficient capacity to lead the exercise
and to implement the approach in a relatively
independent way?
The ability to lead the exercise plays a very
important role and largely shapes the success of
this kind of approach. While the context was very
different in different municipalities, few
councillors were educated or literate, many
mayors and deputy mayors were still novices
from the point of view of running meetings such
as those of the executive or council. Many of
those questioned nevertheless said that they
were willing to carry out the exercise by
mobilising those councillors and municipal staff
best able to run meetings and speak in public (the
'village leaders', for instance). Initially, they also
relied on the support of the CCC advisors.
This issue of leadership remained on the table
for several months, which explains why, in the
initial versions of the document, 'self-evaluation'
long continued to be accompanied by the term
'assisted'. This term disappeared only after the
test stage, when it became evident that local
governments could, with practice and each at
their own pace, come up with the internal
resources needed to lead the exercise.
A participatory approach involving the
organisations mentioned above and a sample of
the main users was used to develop the 'local
government performance self-evaluation tool'
(see Table 1).128
During the design and test phases, elected
officers from urban and rural municipalities in
different areas of the country were consulted.
They took part, as did the other groups of actors,
in discussions led by the CCCs and in the selfevaluation exercises129. In parallel, a review of
what was already available was drawn up by other
technical and financial partners (see CARE 2001
and USAID/ARD 2000).
The objective was to design a tool that could
provide every municipality that used it regularly
with the following information:
how its competence was developing over time;
the fields in which the various actors encountered
problems and the nature of these problems;
concerted solutions that could be used with
different groups of actors;
any external support required for major
improvements, particularly in:
management and decision-making capacity;
the quality of services, products and
the democratic process and good local
strategies for popular participation (by men
and women) and resource mobilisation;
leadership of local development.
The entire iterative process was carried out with
an ongoing concern for the tool to be:
as complete as possible, while remaining
'light', so that it could be readily used by
municipalities at the lowest possible cost;
128- See MATCL/DNCT-SNV-Helvetas-PACT/GTZ. 2004. Outil d'auto évaluation des performances des collectivités
territoriales. Bamako: Ministère de l'Administration Territoriale et des Collectivités Locales, Part II.1: performance
evaluation indicators and fields.
129- In the case of the test, in particular, this included municipalities I and IV of the Bamako district, the municipalities
of Moribabougou, Sanankoro Djitoumou ('Cercle' of Kati); Banamba, Benkadi ('Cercle' of Banamba); Dégnékoro,
Kaladougou ('Cercle' of Dioïla); Sirakorola, Doumba ('Cercle' of Koulikoro); Tiémala Banimonotié, Danou ('Cercle'
of Bougouni); Gouandiaka, Séré Moussa Ani Samou ('Cercle' of Yanfolila); Kébila, Ména ('Cercle' of Kolondiéba);
Ménaka et Inékar ('Cercle' of Ménaka).
as targeted as possible, which made it
necessary to choose a small number of simple
and precise indicators, even if this meant that
changes in laws and decrees would make some
fine-tuning necessary at later stages;
as standard as possible, so that each
municipality could readily master the tool and
compare its results from one year to the next or
even compare its results with those of other
as comprehensible as possible, in order
to minimise incorrect interpretations of its
content and any sources of bias; it was decided, for
this reason, to include a section devoted to
explaining its various components.130
Fields: In terms of performance, the tool was
structured around five main fields, which were
well documented (MATCL/DNCT 2003): 'internal
organisation', 'administrative and financial
management', 'resources mobilisation (financial
and human)', 'local development planning and
programming' and 'local government services,
products and investments'.
Deciding on the indicators for each of the fields
of competence to be evaluated and the
assessment levels for each of these indicators led
to more lively exchanges between the various
stakeholders. A number of factors played a part in
the sensibilities (indicators) and ambitions
(assessment levels) of each stakeholder;
changes in topical themes and concerns, over
at the beginning of the process, the lack of
regular attendance of some stakeholders'
representatives from one meeting to the next,
which often meant that discussions were reopened on points on which consensus had
previously been reached.
The moderators of the discussion were always
able to settle discussions by referring to the basic
principles that had been adopted in a consensual
way and to the texts of existing laws and
regulations. Nevertheless, this situation helps
explain why some people lost motivation during
the process, as well as why the length of time it
would take was underestimated and how many
draft versions would be drawn up at the end of
the various meetings.
Indicators: Each of the five fields was ultimately
defined by an average of six indicators (tangible,
verifiable elements highlighting any changes that
might take place), based on the main obligations
legally incumbent on municipalities and on some
aspects of the operation of an 'ideal' municipality.
The tool contains a total of 33 indicators, which
can be evaluated and monitored from one year to
the next. They were drawn up in keeping with
various criteria so as to be
circumscribed in time, even if the
reference period might vary: the previous year,
the current year or a specific time (for instance:
the municipality has actively collected taxes and
duties from the previous year; the municipality's
administrative accounts clearly and correctly
describe all the accounting transactions during
the year);
sensitive to change over time, from one reference period to the next;
measurable, in quantitative terms, referring
to figures or rates (for instance: mean attendance
rate of elected officers at sessions in the last year,
number of ordinary sessions held during the last
year); in qualitative terms, they were made easy
to measure by devising four assessment levels
based on an increasing scale of values and on
standards (reference values) specified in the
active legislation (for instance: the municipality
has not mobilised any additional resources/the
municipality has mobilised less than 25% of its
investment budget from donors and the
population/… between 25% and 50%…/…over
50%…). To facilitate reviews for each field, each
assessment level was allocated a score whose
method of calculation is explained in detail in Part
III of the guide on the self-evaluation tool;131
reliable, in that the data are objectively
user-friendly, because they have to be meaningful and understandable for the various groups
of actors involved.
130- See MATCL/DNCT-SNV-Helvetas-PACT/GTZ. 2004. Part II.2: explanation of fields.
131- See MATCL/DNCT-SNV-Helvetas-PACT/GTZ (2004).
132- Possible sources of verification are listed in Part II.2 of the guide (MATCL/DNCT-SNV-Helvetas-PACT/GTZ. 2004).
141 Designing a method of use
Figure 3: Sample self-evaluation cycle
2. Conduct the
(3 to 4 days)
3. Feedback from
the self-evaluation
(1/2 day)
Optimum rate
= 1/yr
1. Preparation for
the self-evaluation
(1 to 2 days)
4. Use of the results of
the self-evaluation
In order to act as a reference framework, the
main stages of the approach were developed as an
outline when the approach was being designed.
Following the test phase, the content of each
stage was refined in order to provide 'methods' in
keeping with different contexts and to highlight
some points requiring the specific attention of
mayors and the people instructed by mayors to
carry out the process.133
The methods were intended to be educational
and appropriate for a target group of different
levels working in different contexts. The aim was
to explain, propose and present alternatives that
municipalities could use from the outset or during
the process without altering the approach or
losing its comparative element (changes in
performance from one year to the next). Testing and
finalisation of the
If you don't fight, you've fought well.
(Bwa proverb)
The test phase, scheduled for a period of three
months (see Table 1), was run by the CCCs with a
sample of volunteer local governments (3% of the
municipalities of Mali), assisted by advisors from
the partner organisations.
The test phase brought various considerations
to light and these were analysed at a workshop.
At this stage, a moderator who had not taken part
in the drafting process was selected to help the
partner organisations to stand back sufficiently
and make the most of any lessons.
Salient points emerging from the test were
related to the tool and, in particular, to methods
that had intentionally been only slightly formalised
in the test version, so as not to curb any initiatives
by the leaders of the self-evaluation exercise and
their mentors.
133- See MATCL/DNCT-SNV-Helvetas-PACT/GTZ. 2004. Part III: methods for the use of the local government
performance self-evaluation tool.
Figure 4: Evaluation of the performance fields
Internal organisation
Admin. and financial
Resources mobilisation
(financial and human)
Local development
planning and programming
Local government
With regard to the tool, the following main
adjustments were proposed:
reformulating indicators and definitions of
indicators and adjusting some assessment levels
to avoid any ambiguity or reluctance on the part of
specifying the timescale of some indicators in
a more precise way;
modifying the list of indicators by group of
actors, depending on their pertinence in terms of
their theoretical access to information.
With regard to the methodology, the main
proposals were related to the moderation and
organisation of the exercise, which largely shape
its success.
In respect to moderation, it was proposed
that people instructed by the mayor should take
the following steps:
ensure that everyone is aware of his/her role in
each stage of the exercise, for instance:
moderator, co-moderator, note-taker or even
process support and counselling (role played
initially by the CCC advisors and the other
technical and financial partners involved);
study the possibility of involving civil society, or
even staff from deconcentrated State services, in
the leadership team alongside municipal staff or
members of the municipal executive;
translate some key words or concepts into the
local language ahead of time, or even translate
the whole tool, depending on the public involved;
Source: Le Bay, S.
introduce indicators related to gender issues
with reference to the surrounding culture;
work in parallel with several groups of actors in
order to shorten the time needed for the exercise;
draw up a summary after interviews with each
group of actors so that the data can be verified
and then analysed and fed back;
in rural municipalities, present the tool and the
results from each group of actors in a visual way in
order to facilitate feedback and proposals for action;
use the reference documents only as a last
resort for verification (of a score for an indicator)
and discuss reasoned answers rather than the
scores themselves (the score is the very last
develop strategies to cope with people
monopolising the floor and having a strong
influence on discussions;
prepare the feedback workshop well: present a
summary of the various views of municipal
performance, and analyse it without calling into
question the answers given or seeking consensus
at any cost;
help the actors to devise concrete proposals for
action and to share responsibility for carrying
them out.
For organising the exercise, the mayor should:
issue advance invitations to take part in the
self-evaluation and feedback to the various
groups; ensure that these groups are properly
represented (in both quantitative and qualitative
terms) and that the same participants take part
throughout the self-evaluation process;
respect the availability of the different groups
of actors, while not leaving more than a week
between the various self-evaluation and
feedback sessions;
for the future, plan for any costs incurred in
mentoring the exercise, with a view to regular use
of the approach, bearing in mind that subsidised
CCC services are likely to come to an end.
submit the 'questionnaire' to the supervisory
authority in advance, so that any responses from
the supervisory authority (which might not be
available to take part in the exercise in the
municipality) can be taken into account in the
in the short term, set up an archiving system to
facilitate information searches (MATCL/DNCTDNAM-AFVP-SNV-PACT/GTZ. 2004);
include the costs134 incurred by the exercise in
the municipal budget and ensure that all the
actors are aware of the ways in which they are
All these points were taken into account when
the tool was being finalised. This stage proved to
be rather long (see Table 1). Although testing did
not call the work carried out up to then into
question, having to make some final adjustments,
after drafting several provisional versions, led to a
degree of 'exhaustion'. In keeping with the
deadlines required by the tendering procedure
coordinated by the DNCT, the publication was not
available until April 2004-more than two and a half
years after the launch of the process.
3.1.4. USE AND
While the test bore out most of the hypotheses
connected with the self-evaluation approach, its
effects became more evident after 2005 when it
was used on a larger scale. In June 2006, 17% of
the municipalities had carried out the exercise at
least once.
If camels spent the day gossiping about their
calluses, they wouldn't get round to eating.
(Tamashek proverb) Publication and
dissemination of the selfevaluation tool
The publication, with a preface by the Minister
for Territorial Administration and Local
Government, symbolised a common endeavour. It
reflected the completion of a participatory design
process. At the same time, it meant that some of
the people who had worked on the tool up this
point chose to stand down.
However, in the view of the initiators of the
process, it was more necessary than ever to take a
fresh look at new challenges over and above those
overcome since August 2001. A new 'building site'
was facing them: designing a support system for
the use of the tool. The aim was to present it to
users nationally and, depending on demand, to
support municipal actors as they carried out their
first self-evaluation exercises.
As municipal elections were scheduled for June
2004, just after publication of the tool, the MATCL
decided to postpone distribution until the new
teams were in office. The DNCT sent each
municipality a 'mayor's toolkit' that contained all
the reference and guidance documents that
councillors and municipal staff would need in
order to perform their duties properly. The CCCs
and other potential mentors for the exercise also
received several copies of the publication.
This tool was only one of the many instruments
in the toolkit, so it was necessary to raise
awareness of the tool among people other than
the CCC advisors and municipalities that had
played a part in its design and testing, especially
as some municipal teams had not been re-elected. The main effects
of the approach
Over time, there has been a perceptible
improvement in municipal competencies. While
some effects were predicted and expected, others
were not.
Participants in the exercise learned more from
the discussions of the indicators than from the
choice of a level and the ultimate score. Even
though some people's initial instinct, at the
outset, was to try to set a level, they found it
difficult to persuade the others if they could not
134- This depends largely on the number of villages/fractions of nomadic tribes making up the municipality, its area,
the level of participation that the mayor wants and the length of the exercise. The cost varies on average from
XOF 50,000 to 500,000 (EUR 1 = XOF 656). The main costs are elected officers' fees, transport, participants'
meals, and communication costs in connection with the exercise. Travel by the supervisory authority may entail
additional costs.
come up with any cogent arguments. Building an
argument together and comparing points of
view was a way for participants to come to a
better understanding of their own role and
the roles of other participants within the
As a result of a number of problems that my
association has encountered, I now know that I
can negotiate some matters with the mayor.
(Statement in 02/2006 by the chairwoman of an association of
shea butter producers,
'Cercle' of Kati, Koulikoro Region, Mali)
As everyone has an opportunity to voice his or
her opinion on various issues, the exercise helps
to develop a sense of constructive criticism
and self-criticism. Everyone needs to
understand the difference between being critical
and 'attacking' someone. While mayors are used
to comeback from political opponents, they are
less willing to take criticism from municipal staff.
In practice, they are not used to employees
speaking out on such issues, particularly in front
of third parties. It is therefore very important for
the moderators to manage exchanges during the
exercise and to advise the various groups,
encouraging them, for instance, to take their
concerns to the mayor in a timely way and not
just bring them up during the exercise. In order to
pre-empt any negative points of which they are
aware and which might be brought up, mayors are
increasingly likely to bring them up themselves.
The exercise helps users identify the main
strengths and weaknesses of the municipality.
When feedback is being given, presenting the main
performance fields in a visual way helps analysis
and enables comparison with the prior situation.
Users can see whether or not the municipality is
carrying out its duties and providing the expected
services, as well as the quality of these services.
Following the self-evaluation exercise, I was
contacted by a mayor who asked me to help him to
put together his ANICT plan so that nobody could
say that he had not respected the procedures.
(Statement by a CCC advisor,
'Cercle' of Kati, Koulikoro Region, Mali, May 2006)
In all cases, the municipal exercises led to
organisational improvement plans. What
matters, when the results are fed back, is the
pooling of ideas and the quality of discussions
among the actors. This shapes the relevance of
the measures to be planned and the participants'
commitment to implementing them. This is also
the time when these actors become aware that
they must all perform their duties properly if
the municipality is to be run properly.
In 2006, following the test phase of the selfevaluation tool, frameworks for consultation
between municipalities and civil society were
being set up in the local governments of the
Koulikoro region so that any lack of
understanding could be permanently ironed out.
Figure 5: Comparison of performance by field for sample municipality
Percentage 2005
Percentage 2006
Source: Le Bay, S.
The results achieved and the outcome of
discussions made it easier for mayors to take
decisions. It was also easier for them to
allocate responsibility for the implementation
of these measures.
If a needle falls into a deep well, few will go
down into it but many will look.
(Senoufo proverb)
In municipalities in which the exercise has been
repeated, it is possible to evaluate capacitybuilding effects by comparing the measures
taken under the plan with any advances in the
level of each field's indicators. This information
may provide councillors with arguments on
which they can base their negotiations for aid-not
just from the CCCs but also from the donors and
development organisations. As these exercises
continue, municipalities also become better at
The information on municipal life that is
available to the actors is improved because a
great deal of information is provided on the
operation of the municipality (town hall,
executive, working committees) and its relations
with other actors, even outside the municipality.
Because every participant can ask questions, the
elected officers are made aware that they are
accountable, not just from the point of view of
the supervisory authority's checks on legality, but
also to the people.
Saying 'fire' doesn't cause one.
(Bozo proverb) Signs of ownership
Given that municipalities have only recently
started to use the tool, it is more realistic to talk
about signs of ownership than of ownership per
se. Some of the factors discussed below may
help facilitate ownership and ensure that it can be
sustained among the various stakeholders. It is
encouraging to note that all the municipalities that
carried out the exercise for the first time have so
far repeated it in the following year.
Municipalities freely choose to carry out
the self-evaluation exercise as there is no
external 'pressure' (legislation, sanctions or
incentives). It is up to the mayors to decide to run
the exercise, at the time that best suits them, and
to channel whatever budget they want into it. This
lack of 'obligation' nevertheless makes the
mentoring process rather difficult. The CCC
advisors can freely decide whether to provide
municipalities with initial instruction, and
mentoring depends on the pace of demand,
which may lead some organisations to encourage
their planning to be more consistent.
In some 'cercles', municipalities are also
devising ways to facilitate the self-evaluation
process and follow up the decisions to
which this process leads. For this purpose, the
local guidance committees (CLO)135 are setting up
small monitoring units that include mayors and
staff from decentralised technical services and
external development partners.
Municipal leaders from various authorities in
the same 'cercle' are pooling their experience
and helping one another to prepare for selfevaluation exercises.
Mayors, together with the process moderators and
mentors, generally tend to adapt the methods to
their own context and needs (municipal financial
resources have a direct effect, for instance, on
method options, as was discussed in section Although provisions had already been made
for various alternatives, the mayors have not been at
all reluctant to be creative in facilitating the exercise
or ensuring that its effects are more sustainable.
The tool is also being adapted in terms of
its indicators. Over and above the revisions
necessitated by changes in legislation, the
tendency is to fine-tune the list of indicators
depending on the groups of actors involved. This
135- The CLOs (Comités Locaux d'Orientation) are responsible for implementing the decentralisation process and for
defining, guiding, monitoring and evaluating the technical support offered to the local governments of 'cercles' in
the context of the National Programme in Support of Local Government.
was already part and parcel of the approach
because the representatives of the five groups of
actors (see Figure 2) do not have to give views on
all the indicators. In practice, the issue is not so
much one of avoiding putting an unnecessary
burden on participants or of taking account of
their main centres of interest, but rather avoiding
the representatives of a group having to admit
that they are unable to give an opinion on an
indicator because they lack information.
Generally speaking, as the approach has been
published, some users are rather hesitant to
change any of it. Between one exercise and the
next, municipalities therefore take time for further
discussion with the mentors of various indicators
and the methods used in order to shape both the
environment surrounding the self-evaluation
exercise and the quality of the results obtained.
According to surveys among people who have
taken part at least once in a self-evaluation
exercise, over half are able to explain the
main stages, propose improvements to the
approach and also cite the measures
included in their plan. There is an ongoing
demand to translate the tool into the various
languages spoken in Mali. Mayors and leaders
see this as a necessity if all the participants are to
understand the exercise and play a full part in it.
The call for publication in the various languages
comes from those who are not literate in French.
Discussions with users at the sub-regional
seminar 'Building capacities for monitoring and
evaluation of decentralisation and local
governance in West Africa: exchange of
experience and learning' (Foranim Consult. 2006)
bore out these trends, as did subsequent
discussions, during field visits, with participants
from neighbouring countries and users from
some municipalities close to the capital.
To a certain extent, the notion of ownership also
needs to be tackled from the point of view of
other local government levels, which were not
initially targeted. 'Cercle' councils, for instance,
have already used the approach to measure
their performance. These experiments by
municipal councillors show that the list of
indicators needs to be specifically adapted to this
level of government.
Is it also possible to speak of ownership by
the donors and development organisations
and the MATCL? Some trends might lead us to
think that the answer is 'yes'. In early 2004, for
instance, a working group was set up by the
partners of the Malian government to think about
a common list of indicators for measuring the
effects of the financial support channelled into
local government. They used 58% of the tool's
indicators. Since 2005, most of the partner NGOs
in the Shared Governance Programme (PGP) have
been using 90% of the tool's indicators in 36% of
Malian municipalities to draw up municipal
baselines as a basis for capacity-building action
plans. In the same year, the TFPs in the various
regions of Mali forged relationships to train their
staff to mentor this approach and to introduce
municipalities to performance self-evaluation
From the point of view of the MATCL, guidelines
have been issued to CCC advisors asking them to
rally round mentoring tasks for the self-evaluation
exercise. During his various field visits, the
Ministry's Decentralisation Advisor regularly
undertakes surveys among mayors and
representatives of the supervisory authority in
order to monitor how the process is being used
and what effects it is having in local governments.
In 2006, in order to encourage a competitive spirit
among municipalities, the Ministry also devised a
national competition in which their results for the
period 2003 to mid-2006 were compared in three
priority areas (local democratic governance,
promotion of local development and resource
mobilisation) with prizes for those obtaining the
best results. Sixty-four percent of the tool's
indicators were used for this purpose. Sustainability
If a fisherman sells his boat for a camel, he has
made some serious decisions.
(Songhai proverb)
There are still some unanswered questions as
regards the sustainability of the approach;
whether the value of the approach will stay the
same over time is another important issue.
Monitoring of the use of the approach by the
various stakeholders, and the surveys conducted,
show that mentoring is extremely important
during the initial exercises. In the new
specifications (2006) for each CCC operator, the
annual self-evaluation exercise comes under the
heading 'assistance with the operation of the local
government and its organs'. The winding up of the
CCCs, scheduled for 2007, nevertheless raises the
question of the availability and accessibility of this
mentoring (particularly in regard to financing).136
Although many councillors may be re-elected in the
forthcoming elections and, therefore, there may be
a number of councillors available who have already
been trained to lead the exercise, most mayors
believe that external counselling and advice during
the exercise is valuable. Is this just a lack of
confidence in their own ability to steer the process
and lead the exercise? Only the future will tell.
Throughout Mali, increasing numbers of donors
and development organisations are joining forces
to play a technical and financial part in supporting
the system for mentoring the use of the tool.
Various programmes have initiated partnerships to
support this, along with the measures planned by
various state organisations. It nevertheless takes
time to provide coverage throughout the country.
Other complementary tools for use by local
governments are being developed in parallel.
For instance, since 2003 the donors and
development organisations, in conjunction with the
National Directorate for the Archives of Mali
(DNAM), have been helping the DNCT to design a
practical guide for the management of local
government archives (MATCL/DNCT-DNAM-AFVPSNV-PACT/GTZ. 2004) and the introduction of a
system for mentoring, monitoring and evaluating
municipal performance (DNCT-DNAM-SNV-PACT/
GTZ. 2005). This has helped to flesh out the initial
system by making it easier for municipalities to
access basic data that they can use in their analysis
and decision-making work137, not just during the
exercise but also in their day-to-day operations.
Local governments that have adapted the tool
during successive exercises are asking how the
on this responsibility, especially in regard to
indicators. Should the tool be standardised to
ensure that it always mirrors existing laws and to
enable municipalities to compare their results
from year to year and with one another? Or
should each municipality be free to develop its
own tool? Both options have pros and cons that
need to be discussed by users and the tool's
original designers (chiefly MATCL/ DNCT).
The observation during exercises that users are
in some cases very quick to introduce
changes raises a number of questions. For
example, there is the situation where mayors
have reduced the list of indicators for the various
groups of actors involved. The main consequence
of all this fine-tuning will ultimately be that the
results obtained from year to year are no longer
comparable. Would it not be useful to ask
whether, in future, the best option would be to
ensure that all the groups are in a position to
answer the maximum number of questions? In
the case of changes to methods, a list of those
elements that absolutely have to be included to
ensure the quality/reliability of the results
obtained should also be drawn up.
Over and above these thoughts about the use of
the tool, which are likely to determine whether or
not it is sustainable, the results of exercises are
coming under increasing scrutiny. This not
from the point of view of the action plans drawn
up, but from the point of view of the scores
achieved, and it is coming from actors outside the
municipalities. This runs counter to the selfevaluation approach, where the results belong to
those carrying out the exercise. The main issue,
often raised by both the TFPs and the State, is
that of connecting aid to local government
performance (overall performance or performance
in specific fields). Municipalities that are
performing well would then have greater drawing
rights.138 Such a development would make it
necessary for all Malian municipalities to carry out
the exercise and publish their scores. If this were
actually implemented, it might well introduce a
major bias during exercises and could, in the long
run, impede ownership of the approach by users.
changes they have made are to be validated.
Moreover, these changes are not being
capitalised on. Most would like the State to take
These are developments that are not specific to
Mali. They are part and parcel of an ever-growing
136- Until 2007, the task of CCC operators is to prepare, implement and monitor the operation of the Services
Communs aux Collectivités Territoriales Cercles et Communes (SECOM - Common Services for Local
Government in 'Cercles' and Municipalities).
137- The chance of municipalities reaching a high performance level for indicator 18 ('the municipality has a file storage
and archiving system') is then greatly improved.
138- The local government financing mechanism is administered by ANICT (National Local Government Investment
Agency) and is based on certain weighting criteria (in 2006, for instance, population, rate of collection of the
Regional and Local Development Tax, remoteness and poverty).
trend among the donors to introduce monitoring
systems for decentralisation and local governance in
which the impact of financial aid is measured by a
common list of performance indicators. As the
amount channelled into budgetary aid increases, a
number of networks and working groups are
working on this issue globally and are attempting
where possible to forge links with poverty-reduction
strategies (Arndt and Oman. 2006; Kaufmann, Kraay
and Mastruzzi. 2006). In Mali, developments of this
type include, for instance, the introduction by the
European Union in 2006 (Foranim Consult 2006 and
http://www.snvmali.org/ actus/paradeumali. pdf) of
a system that includes 12 indicators139, with a
more comprehensive set of indicators to
gradually be developed so that the Poverty
Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) can also be
taken into account. The aim is to be able to
monitor the institutional reform process in greater
detail, as the indicators will make it possible to
assess how the government is using its policy
resources and whether interim results (decided in
a concerted manner) have been achieved.140 Examples of replication
Listen carefully because everything speaks,
everything talks, everything has something to tell us.
(Dogon proverb)
While, in the development area, a standard recipe
covering all situations is no more than a mirage, 'reinventing the wheel' is still very common practice. It
is often due to a lack of information or a lack of
confidence in the reliability of an existing tool or
approach. While no strategy to promote the
replication of the 'local government performance
self-evaluation tool' has actually been drawn up, it
would appear that the stakeholders, founders, users
and supporters of the process have helped to
disseminate the information widely. This has led to
a proliferation effect in West Africa (see Table 1).
Some factors have encouraged replication of the
approach. Many countries, in the midst of
decentralisation, are looking for practical tools that can
be readily mastered and immediately put to use or
which provide a starting point. Mali has much to offer
as it is something of a pioneer in decentralisation and
local governance. Growing numbers of exchange
visits by various groups (representatives of TFPs,
State services, local government organisations, civil
society, etc.) are helping to disseminate the practices
currently being used. Donors and development
organisations are increasingly keen to capitalise on
and share experiences between the different
countries. This is also encouraging them, as in the
present case, to contribute to publications paving the
way for the large-scale dissemination of these
experiences. The staff of aid organisations are also
increasingly mobile in the sub-region and are drawing
on the experience acquired in order to adapt it to
different contexts and types of demand.
An example of replication in Niger is discussed
in the case study 'Planning and monitoring/
evaluation in municipalities, focusing on poverty
reduction' (SNV-Niger 2005a, b; Republic of
Niger/SNV-Niger 2005; Sadda 2006). Here,
therefore, we shall discuss only some elements
by way of introduction.
Following a test phase run by SNV in 2005, in
conjunction with Niger's devolved services and
other partners, the tool is now being used on a
much wider scale. Now that alliances have been
forged with other TFPs, the aim is for the system
to be institutionalised by the Ministry of Territorial
and Community Development (MATDC). This
system is modelled on processes that have been
tried out in Mali and the lessons that have been
learned about participatory planning of municipal
development (MDRI. 2000) and self-evaluation of
local government performance. These two
approaches have been combined to provide
answers to the concerns of the municipal
authorities elected in 2004, who are required to
undertake development measures and properly
perform their duties and the State's concerns to
achieve the millennium development goals and
poverty-reduction strategy at the local level.141
The self-evaluation tool takes the same form as
in Mali (33 indicators and four assessment levels
to which a score is allocated). Some adaptations
have been made, particularly in terms of the fields
(three out of five concentrate on municipal
functions) and the nature of the indicators (11
have been taken up and the others have been
reformulated to take account of a particular
139- Six indicators are connected with decentralisation, three with the interdependence between decentralisation and
devolution and three with reform of the State. All come from various strategy documents providing a framework
for institutional reform. There has been agreement with the Malian authorities on the final list and the associated
reference values and targets, responsibility for data production and collection, verification sources, deadlines for
production and possible revision mechanisms.
140- As the European Commission noted in its Communication 'Good governance and development' (20 October
2003) 'developing appropriate processes to identify and agree upon governance-related indicators remains a
challenge', especially in Mali, where the statistical apparatus leaves much to be desired.
141- This aim is also part of the partnership agreement signed in October 2004 by SNV World and the UNDP.
context, specifically to include more genderrelated points). From the point of view of
methods, leadership of the exercise is the task
of previously trained resource persons
(representatives appointed from different socioeconomic strata), working within a municipal
technical committee chaired by the mayor.
The example of replication in Benin is the result of
a general reaction by local governments to a UNDP
report evaluating their performance (UNDP 2004
and http://www.snvmali.org/actus/beinnancb.pdf).
In 2005, with a view to contesting the report's
findings, the local governments commissioned
the National Association of Benin Municipalities
(ANCB) to represent their points of view. The
ANCB asked GTZ, Helvetas, SNV and UNDP to
help mentor a process to design a reliable
approach and a tool that could measure progress
in municipal performance, nationally. In addition,
they wanted further support with the ongoing
process of decentralisation by building their
monitoring and evaluation capacity and finding
ways in which locally available resources could be
transparently managed.
Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso is keen to steer the implementation
of decentralisation in a more efficient way (see
http://www.snvmali.org/actus/burkina.pdf). For this
purpose, the Ministry of Territorial Administration
and Decentralisation (MATD) is introducing a
monitoring and evaluation system to steer the
process in a more coherent way and to forge links
with devolution, national policies on good
governance and poverty reduction, and the
development of the legislative framework. A
national coordination unit, attached to the MATD
General Secretariat, is responsible for management
and works with a mixed committee, including State
bodies, TFPs, PRSP, etc.
In addition to monitoring general indicators and
introducing frameworks for concerted action,
Burkina Faso plans to draw on Mali's experience to
carry out self-evaluations using specific indicators.
The aim of this approach is to 'force the actors to
draw on the resources available to them to find the
best possible solutions' by placing them in a
position to ask, 'what quality of performance do
we want to achieve to work towards the targeted
A steering group within the ANCB is working
with the donors and development organisations
and has the task of validating each stage
undertaken by the departmental associations. The
design process draws on the process used in Mali.
Some fields have been adapted (four out of five
have been included). The indicators are being
devised, and training is planned for mentors, as is
a system for centralising and analysing data.
At present, the actors of decentralisation are
drawing up criteria for quality and the desired
quality levels. This is based on their own
perceptions and is a first step towards improving
municipal performance. Although the approach is
intended to promote self-management by
municipalities, it is also expected to promote the
concerted inter-municipal action likely to raise
awareness and facilitate decision making.
The results will be disseminated at departmental
and national levels so that municipalities can
better negotiate the support they need. Thinking is
already taking place about ways of managing
possible problems (competition between
municipalities, for instance) and remedying them
(by introducing a control mechanism for the
information collected, for instance, especially in
the run-up to elections).
These examples of the experiments that various
actors (development organisations, municipal
associations, the State) are involved in, show the
relevance of the monitoring and evaluation needs
being put forward. They also highlight the
importance of self-evaluation approaches when
monitoring and evaluation systems that aim to make
the stakeholders permanently responsible are
introduced. There is little doubt that transparent
borrowing from everyone's experience paves the
way for rapid and more efficient reactions during the
design and implementation of relevant approaches.
3.1.6. Prospects
The experience gained from self-evaluation of
local government performance has a great deal of
potential to open up prospects for those actors
who are keen to improve not only their monitoring
and evaluation capacity but their effectiveness in
terms of local democracy and development. Over
and above the replication experiments discussed
here, experience in Mali has also been a source of
inspiration for other actors working in similar
For example, in 2006, a number of privatesector actors endeavoured to promote economic
de- velopment based on promising agricultural
options. They encouraged critical thinking by basic
cooperatives about the operation of their
organisations, the capacity they needed to build
and the measures to be taken by local producers'
unions, in conjunction with their umbrella
organisation. The Association of Professional Rural
Organisations (AOPP), with the support of their
technical partners, has developed a simple tool for
the self-evaluation of the management capacity of
basic cooperatives, along with a set of methods
(Traoré, Wenninck and Babin. 2006) enabling wideranging participation by the actors involved, as
well as collective learning through discussions
structured around five management fields142, 18
indicators and three assessment levels.
In late 2002, drawing on the experience gained
with local government, SNV, like many other
technical partners providing aid and advice for civil
organisations, was keen to work with these
organisations to find more targeted ways of
building their capacity. This led to the idea of the
participatory design of a tool responding to the
needs of the various kinds of civil organisations one that could measure their progress. One of the
challenges was that this strategy should meet the
technical partners' concerns during the capacitybuilding period and also make it possible for the
civil organisations themselves to monitor the
progress of their performance sustainably and
independently from any external actors. In early
2004, this process led to the publication of a selfevaluation guide and tool (see SNV-MALI 2004,
republished in 2006), focusing on three main fields
and broken down into five indicators143, which
were further broken down into five sub-indicators
in the form of questions.
As these processes are designed and used, they
offer an opportunity for democratic debate
between groups of actors. They enable all the
participants to improve their position and fine-tune
their role. However, experience shows that, in
addition to the critical points discussed above,
each actor has to keep an eye on changes in the
overall context of decentralisation. These changes,
which often provide a starting point for fresh
experiments, continue to have a major influence
when the tools are being used. In multi-actor
processes in which relationships are constantly
changing, steps need to be taken to ensure that
issues remain topical.
After a number of years of support, the tolerance
threshold for defects in local government
performance seems to be declining. The State,
donors, development organisations and municipal
associations are placing increasing stress on best
practice, especially in regard to accountability and
compliance with management procedures for
public funds. Technical support is becoming more
targeted and its cost will, in the near future, be
directly borne by local governments, and new
criteria are being developed144 to make access to
financial aid (especially additional funds) more
selective. These factors, as well as the ongoing
transfer of competencies from the State to local
authorities, are laying firm foundations for these
authorities to use tools that can help them
become responsible for their own performance.
142- The five fields are (1) governance and leadership, (2) social cohesion and understanding, (3) member services, (4)
internal resources (human, financial and material) and (5) external relations.
143- The three main fields were (1) internal organisation (systems, structures, staff, etc.), (2) external relations with
other actors and (3) services and products offered by the organisation. The five indicators included four 'standard'
indicators and a 'specific' indicator in keeping with each type of civil organisations, its fields of action and its
particular target groups.
144- In 2006, for instance, ANICT's management board decided that local governments' rate of mobilisation of internal
resources should be a criterion for receiving financial aid.
Foranim Consult
Association des Organisations Professionnelles Paysannes/Association of Professional Rural
Association des Municipalités du Mali/Association of Malian Municipalities
Association Nationale des Communes du Bénin/National Association of Benin Municipalities
Agence Nationale des Investissements des Collectivités Territoriales/National Local Government
Investment Agency
Centre de Conseil Communal/Municipal Advisory Centre
Cellule de Coordination Nationale des Appuis Techniques aux Collectivités/National Coordination Unit for
Technical Support for Local Government
Comité Local d'Orientation/Local Guidance Committee
Consultancy, communication and advertising agency
Direction Nationale des Archives du Mali/National Directorate for the Archives of Mali
Direction Nationale des Collectivités Territoriales/National Directorate for Local Government
Training, leadership, consultancy office
Geographical Information System
German Technical Cooperation Agency
Swiss Association for International Cooperation
Royal Tropical Institute
Ministère de l'Administration Territoriale et des Collectivités Locales/Ministry of Territorial
Administration and Local Government (Mali)
Ministère de l'Administration Territoriale et de la Décentralisation / Ministry of Territorial
Administration and Decentralisation (Burkina Faso)
Ministère de l'Aménagement du Territoire et du Développement Communautaire/Ministry
of Territorial and Community Development (Niger)
Millennium Development Goals
Management Systems International
Non-Governmental Organisation
Programme d'Appui aux Collectivités Territoriales de la GTZ/GTZ's Local Government Support
Programme (followed on from PRODILO in 2002)
Programme d'Appui à la Décentralisation d'Helvetas/Helvetas' Decentralisation Support
Programme (became PAAD in 2005: Programme d'Appui aux Acteurs de la Décentralisation/Support
Programme for the Actors of Decentralisation)
Programme d'Appui à la Réforme Administrative et à la Décentralisation/Support Programme for
Administrative Reform and Decentralisation (9th European Development Fund)
Programme d'appui au Développement des Communes de Ménaka de la SNV/SNV's Support
Programme for the Development of the Municipalities of Ménaka
Programme d'Appui à la Décentralisation dans la Région de Koulikoro de la SNV/SNV's Support
Programme for Decentralisation in the Koulikoro Region
Programme de Développement Urbain de Bamako de la SNV/SNV's Programme for the Urban
Development of Bamako
Programme Gouvernance Partagée/Shared Governance Programme (MSI/CARE/Save the Children
consortium financed by USAID)
Promotion des Initiatives Locales de la GTZ/GTZ's Promotion of Local Initiatives (project closed in
December 2001 and incorporated into PACT)
Poverty Reduction Strategy
Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper
Réseau de Réflexion et d'Échanges sur le Développement Local/Local Development Reflection
and Discussion Network
Services Communs aux Collectivités Territoriales Cercles et Communes/Common Services for Local
Government in 'Cercles' and Municipalities
Netherlands Development Organisation
Taxe de Développement Régional et Local/Regional and Local Development Tax
Donors and Development Organisations
United Nations Development Programme
Arndt, C. and C. Oman. 2006. Uses and
DNCT-DNAM-SNV-PACT/GTZ. 2005. Suivi et
abuses of governance indicators. Paris:
OECD Devel-opment Centre.
évaluation des performances des collectivités
territoriales en matière de classement et
développé dans les communes des Cercles
de Koulikoro et de Barouéli. Working
document. Bamako: Direction Nationale des
Collectivités Territoriales.
BDPA-foranim Consult. 2002. Etude de
conception du système de suivi évaluation du
Dispositif National d'Appui Technique aux
Collectivités Territoriales. Bamako: Foranim
Bratton, M., M. Coulibaly and F. Machado.
2000. Popular perceptions of good governance in Mali.
Afrobarometer Working
Available on-line:
CARE International au Mali. 2001. Projet
PACOB: fiche d'efficacité des communes.
Working document. Bamako: CARE
International au Mali.
CCC. 2006. Réseau des CCC de la Région de
Koulikoro. Expériences des CCC dans l'appui
à l'application de l'auto évaluation des
performances des collectivités territoriales.
CCC Bulletin July 2006: 2-3.
CCN. 2003. Guide du système de suivi évaluation
du Dispositif National d'Appui Technique aux
Collectivités Territoriales. Document de
travail des Chargés de Suivi régionaux.
Bamako: Cellule de Coordination Nationale
des Appuis Techniques aux Collectivités.
Foranim Consult. 2006. Rapport de l'atelier
sous régional sur le renforcement des
capacités pour le suivi et l'évaluation de la
décentralisation et de la gouvernance locale
en Afrique Occidentale, Bamako 1718/05/2006 (MATCL/ SNV-Mali/Réseau REDL/
ECDPM). Available on-line:
Kaufmann, D., A. Kraay and M. Mastruzzi. 2006.
Governance matters V: aggregate and
individual governance indicators for 19962005. Washington DC: The World Bank.
Available on-line:
Leclerc-Olive, M., S. Le Bay, A. Keita and M.
Maiga. 2006. Participations et démocraties locales:
rendre visibles et lisibles les dynamiques
d'initiative et de responsabilité des
organisations et des populations. Guide
méthodologique. Paris-Bamako: Fondation
de France.
Loquai, C. and S. Le Bay. 2005. Building
Cho, W.
Political institutions and
satisfaction with democracy in Sub-Saharan
Africa. Afrobarometer Working Papers No
39. Available on-line:
No39-2. pdf.
2003. Étude diagnostique
d'identification des besoins de formation des
principaux acteurs de la décentralisation.
Bamako: Direction Nationale des Collectivités
capacities for monitoring and evaluating
decentral-isation and local governance in
West Africa. Facilitating capitalisation and
learning: meth-odological guidance for the
preparation of case studies. Joint activity
SNV/REDL-ECDPM. Bamako: Netherlands
Development Organisation. Available on-line:
2001. Recueil des textes de
l'Administration Territoriale et Communale Textes législatifs et réglementaires. Bamako:
Ministère de l'Administration Territoriale et
des Collectivités Locales.
MATCL/DNCT. 2003. Lois et décrets de la
décentralisation (5th edition). Bamako:
Ministère de l'Administration Territoriale et
des Collectivités Locales.
MATCL/DNCT. 2006. Annexe 'Formulaire de
participation'. In Règlement spécial du concours
entre les communes 2006. Working document.
Bamako: Ministère de l'Administration
Territoriale et des Collectivités Locales.
MATCL/DNCT. 2006. Note explicative des critères d'évaluation du concours entre les
communes 2006. Working document. Bamako: Ministère de l'Administration Territoriale
et des Collectivités Locales.
2004. Outil d'auto évaluation des performances
des collectivités territoriales. Bamako:
Ministère de l'Administration Territoriale et
des Collectivités Locales. Available on-line:
outilautoeval. pdf.
MATCL-DDC/HELVETAS. 2002. La décentralisation au Mali - 50 questions réponses (2nd
edition). Bamako: Ministère de l'Administration Territoriale et des Collectivités Locales.
MDRI. 1997. Guide pratique d'installation d'une
commune. Bamako: Mali National Decentralisation Authority.
MATCL/DNCT. 2006. Règlement spécial du concours
entre les communes 2006. Document de
travail. Bamako: Ministère de l'Administration
Territoriale et des Collectivités Locales et
annexe 'Formulaire de participation'.
MATCL/DNCT/CCN-SNV. 2002. Atelier méthodologique du test de l'outil d'évaluation assistée des
performances des collectivités: résultats des
discussions et travaux en sous-groupes Bamako
11-12/07/2002. Working document. Bamako:
Ministère de l'Administration Territoriale et des
Collectivités Locales.
MATCL/DNCT/CCN-SNV-Foranim Consult.
2002. Restitution des résultats du test et
finalisation de l'outil d'auto évaluation
assistée des performances des collectivités
territoriales, Bamako 26-27/11/2002. Working
document. Bamako: Ministère de l'Administration Territoriale et des Collectivités
2004. Guide pratique de gestion des archives
descollectivités territoriales. Bamako: Ministère de l'Administration Territoriale et des
Collectivités Locales. Available on-line:
La décentralisation au Mali: maîtrise d'ouvrage.
t.1 réussir l'élaboration d'un plan de développement communal [p. 27]; t.2 réussir la
formulation d'un projet communal [p. 25]; t.3
réussir la mise en oeuvre d'un projet communal
[p. 34]. Bamako: Ministère de l'Administration
Territoriale et des Collectivités Locales.
MDRI. 1998. Lois et décrets de la décentralisation.
Bamako: Mali National Decentralisation
MDRI. 1999. Guide pratique du Maire et des
Conseillers. Bamako: Mali National Decentralisation Authority.
MDRI. 1999. Guide pratique d'administration
communale. Tome I Recueil de fiches
techniques. Bamako: Mali National Decentralisation Authority.
MDRI. 1999. Guide pratique d'administration
communale. Tome II Recueil de documents
type. Bamako: Mali National Decentralisation
2000. Guide méthodologique de
programmation du développement communal.
Bamako: Mali National Decentralisation
MDRI/HELVETAS. 1999. Manuel de formation
de base des élu(e)s et professionnels.
Bamako: Mali National Decentralisation
Republic of Niger-SNV-Niger. 2005. Conférence régionale de Zinder 17-18 novembre
2005. Un an d'appui au processus de
décentralisation et de gouvernance locale.
Niamey: Government of Niger.
REDL. 2002. Contraintes liées aux pratiques de
SNV-MALI-CEDELO. 2004. Decentralisation in
l'unicité de caisse vécues par les communes
rurales. Bamako: Réseau de Réflexion et
d'Échanges sur le Développement Local.
Mali: putting policy into pratice. KIT
Development, Policy and Practice-series:
decentralisation and local governance. Bamako:
Royal Tropical Institute. Available on-line:
Sadda, L. 2006. Commune urbaine de Birni
N'Konni: laboratoire d'une planification
communale prenant en compte la SRP et les
OMD, dans Labary No 23. Publication
bimestrielle d'information de la SNV-Niger.
Organisation. pp. 6-7. Available on-line :
SNV-NIGER. 2005a. Méthode et outils de
planification communale intégrant les OMD
et les indicateurs de la SRP. Working
Development Organisation.
SNV-MALI. 2001. Guide d'utilisation de l'outil d'ap-
SNV-NIGER. 2005b. Guide de planification com-
préciation des performances des communes.
Working document. Bamako: Netherlands
Development Organisation.
munale intégrant des indicateurs OMD et
SRP. Niamey: Netherlands Development
SNV-MALI. 2002. Outil d'auto évaluation assistée
Traoré, A., B. Wenninck and P. Babin. 2006.
des performances des collectivités territoriales. Working document. Bamako: Netherlands Development Organisation.
Auto évaluation des capacités de gestion des
coopératives de base : programme de
Développement Économique de la Région de
Koulikoro, SNV-Mali. Working document.
SNV-MALI. 2004 [republished in 2006]. Auto
évaluation des performances des organisations de la société civile. Tome 1: justification
et guide d'utilisation Bamako: Netherlands
Development Organisation. Available on-line:
osctomb1. pdf.
SNV-MALI. 2004 [republished in 2006]. Auto
organisations de la société civile. Tome 2:
l'outil. Bamako: Netherlands Development
Organisation. Available on-line:
http://www.snvmali.org/ publications/ae_
osctomb 2.pdf
UNDP. 2004. Projet de mise en place d'un
mécanisme de suivi de la gouvernance locale
au Bénin: rapport national sur la gouvernance
locale dans 77 communes du Bénin, état des
lieux. Cotonou: United Nations Development
USAID-ARD. 2000. Outil quantitatif de mesure
de l'efficacité des communes. Working
document. Bamako: United States Agency
for International Development.
Forename and Name
Ibrahima SYLLA
(+223) 222 42 12
(+223) 222 42 67
(+223) 229 72 98
[email protected]
Cheick Mohamed
(+223) 223 72 97
[email protected]
Sonia LE BAY
(+223) 223 33 47
(+223) 223 33 48
[email protected]
(+223) 226 24 71
[email protected]
Yéhiya MAÏGA
(+223) 265 10 39
[email protected]
(+223) 223 62 63
[email protected]
Youssouf KONE
(+223) 229 72 07
[email protected]
Boubacar COULIBALY (+223) 292 11 90
[email protected]
(+223) 227 23 46
[email protected]
Mamoudou DIABATE
(+223) 227 23 46
[email protected]
Mme KEITA Hawa
(+223) 226 26 19
[email protected]
Cheikné SIDIBE
(+223) 225 60 89
[email protected]
(+223) 281 00 04
[email protected]
(+223) 224 13 52
(+223) 224 17 34
[email protected]
4.1. Mali: Towards a basic health-sector information
system for municipal actors (SIEC-S)
This study, ‘Towards a basic health-sector information system for municipal actors’, has
been prepared by Jurrien Toonen, Dramane Dao and Thea Hilhorst (see Annex IV).
This study capitalises on the experiences of an action-research project to test a tool for monitoring
and managing basic information on public health at a decentralised level. The approach taken by this
research project was to provide a basic package of information for the various key public-health
actors at local government level (including elected officers, community health associations and
technical departments). This project is known as the ‘Système d’Information Essentielle pour la
Commune dans le secteur de Santé’ (SIEC-S) (Basic Health-Sector Information for Municipalities).
The authors show that joint collection, sharing and analysis of health information and indicators
may help to enhance cooperation between the actors concerned and improve their understanding
of public-health challenges and therefore their capacity for action. It is for this reason that this
research project is also a very practical experiment that paves the way for the transfer of healthsector powers to local governments.
4.1.1. Background National decentralisation policy Health-sector policy Transfer of powers
4.1.2. Approach used in the action-research project Actors Phases involved in building an effective partnership
4.1.3. Information as a prerequisite for active involvement The national health-information system Municipal councils’ growing need for health data Monitoring micro-planning and performance contracts
4.1.4. The
SIEC-S: starting point and structure
Approach used
Criteria for choosing SIEC-S indicators
Local actors’ understanding of indicators
Presentation and analysis of information
Stages involved in the SIEC-S
4.1.5. Conclusions and prospects
Resource persons, online documents and useful addresses
Basic indicators
In Mali, health indicators are still at worrying levels, and the public sector’s
performance in supplying basic services has to improve if poverty is to be
reduced. The challenge for the various actors involved with health at the
municipal level is to work effectively together in order to provide public-health
services that are tailored to local needs, including those of the most
vulnerable groups.
After the municipalities were established in
1999, the way in which public health was
organised institutionally was completely
overhauled. The municipalities are now
responsible for certain basic services, which
means that roles and responsibilities must be
redefined, particularly between local government,
the Ministry of Health and the community health
associations. As municipal representatives are to
be increasingly involved in health management, it
is becoming essential for everyone to have
access to appropriate information on priorities
and to be able to monitor progress, so that they
are in a position to take informed decisions.
This report describes our experience developing a
minimum health-information package to enable local
government and the community health associations
(ASACOs) to assume their new responsibilities and
to be actively involved in managing public health.
Known as the ‘Système d’Information Essentielle
pour la Commune dans le secteur de la Santé’
(SIEC-S-Basic Health-Sector Information System for
Municipalities), this package is based on data
collected by the Ministry of Health. It aims to
provide municipalities and ASACOs with access to
data from the National Health Information System
(SNIS). SIEC-S is not so much about introducing a
new data-collection system, as it is about building
on existing health services.
The SIEC-S forms part of a programme of
activities and tools developed to support the
transfer of responsibilities from ministries in
various sectors to local government. The whole
approach is designed to improve coordination and
cooperation between the various actors.
We will begin by describing the general context,
the action-research project itself and the
problems associated with health information. We
will then look at the approach developed for the
SIEC-S, the first experiences of applying it in the
field and, finally, the lessons learned.
4.1.1. BACKGROUND National
decentralisation policy
The collapse of the one-party state and the
military dictatorship in 1991 was a decisive turning
point in Mali’s political development. One
consequence was that all the state institutions
were called into question. At the national
conference in 1991, decentralisation was regarded
as a strategic priority in the construction of the
future Malian state and it was therefore enshrined
in the new Constitution. The process of devolving
powers paved the way for a fundamental change
in relations between the state and ordinary
citizens and for bringing public services closer to
the people.
Framework Law No 93-008 lays down the
conditions for the independent administration of
local government through legislative and
executive bodies. It provides for the introduction
of four types of local government: municipalities
(703), ‘cercles’ (49), regions (8) and the district of
Bamako. These have no hierarchical relationship
and are managed by elected councils. The
municipal elections in 1999 marked the start of
the implementation of this institutional reform.
The various local authorities then became the
appropriate statutory areas for local development
and are now responsible for developing and
implementing economic, social and cultural
development programmes in their territory. Health-sector
In 1990, the Mali government adopted a
comprehensive framework for action in the health
field. This new policy is mainly based on the
devolution of certain responsibilities from the
Ministry of Health to the ASACOs (which are
legally recognised entities authorised to recruit
staff, manage financial reserves and own
buildings). In order to increase the area covered by
the health services, the Ministry of Health adopted
a policy promoting the setting up of ASACOs and
giving them a greater role in mobilising resources
and managing the community health centres
‘Le Programme de Développement Sanitaire et
Social’ (PRODESS - Health and Social Development
Programme) started in 1998, before the new
administrative divisions were in place, so its
planning system and procedures did not take the
new local government responsibilities into account.
Investment continued to be managed directly by
the Health Ministry’s administrative and financial
directorate, including investments made on behalf
of the municipalities, ‘cercles’ and regions. In 2004,
the PRODESS was revised (PRODESS-II) to include
the responsibilities of local government. The
Ministry of Health is currently adapting the SNIS
indicators to provide the information needed by
PRODESS II. For instance, special emphasis is now
being placed on quality of care from the users’
point of view. Transfer of
In June 2002, the government signed decrees
transferring powers in the health, education and
water sectors145, spelling out the powers,
resources, funding and assets to be transferred
from the State to the local authorities. The
municipalities can then delegate management to
specialised bodies such as the ASACOs.
Box 1: Activities resulting from the transfer
of powers in the health field to the
Developing and implementing the healthdevelopment plan;
Creating and maintaining infrastructure;
Issuing licences to set up community health
Drawing up mutual assistance agreement with
Funding ASACOs;
Recruiting staff;
Establishing initial turnover stock of essential
Combating the black-market trade in
Providing health information, education and
Implementing national policies and strategies
to prevent and combat disease;
Encouraging local support for social and health
The transfer of certain powers from the Ministry
of Health to local government also offers the
following potential benefits:
National resources (financial and human) in the
health field can be allocated more appropriately
and fairly if planning is based on local needs and
if there are specific allocation criteria;
Health experts can concentrate on health
services once the financial and administrative
tasks involved in constructing and managing the
infrastructure have been transferred to local
The involvement of local government makes it
easier to have an inter-sectoral approach to public
health and better coordination with sectors such
as drinking water supply and sewage disposal,
nutrition and education, and the prevention of
HIV/AIDS and other diseases;
The involvement and engagement of the municipalities in public health could increase the
mobilisation of resources and encourage local
support for prevention campaigns in the health field;
If local government and the ASACOs are more
actively involved in public-health decision-making,
it could strengthen the idea of ‘accountability’
between users and health services and thus bring
about an improvement in the quality of care.
145- The transfer of powers was automatic in the case of public records, among other things. Preparations for
transferring powers related to the management of natural resources and state-owned property are not yet very
Progress is slow, however. During this phase, a
degree of mistrust has arisen between the
technical staff and the municipal authorities.
Moves towards a more concrete transfer of
powers are being held back by the negative views
held by some of the staff already ‘decentralised’
by the Ministry of Health, stemming largely from
bad experiences of this staff with this reform
process and working with the ASACOs.
The Ministry departments in question also have a
number of reservations, mainly about the fact that
local government does not have the human
resources and technical capacity to cope with the
responsibilities that are to be transferred. However,
as far as financial management is concerned, a
number of local authorities have proved
themselves capable of managing the funding
earmarked for infrastructure (ANICT, 2004).
Nevertheless, the Ministry of Health is
increasingly coming to realise the opportunity that
decentralisation offers for implementing its policies
and strategies more effectively by involving new
actors, and it is trying to harmonise them with
decentralisation policy. The decentralisation
support unit in the Ministry has been working on
this since 2006.
The legislation on the transfer of powers does
not make it clear how the various actors are to
work together. Furthermore, if local government
is to participate effectively, tools will be needed to
allow non-specialists to take part in policy
discussions and to monitor the health system’s
This is why, since 2004, SNV-Mali and the Royal
Tropical Institute (KIT) have been working with the
actors involved to develop approaches and
practices that will make it easier to establish
effective local partnerships in the public-health
field, which will improve the actors’ performance
and increase their empowerment (Hilhorst et al.,
2005). This has involved a series of discussions
and exchanges of opinion and experience
between the key actors, linked to practical,
functional proposals to ensure that activities are
in line with resources. Actors
In the rural environment, the Community Health
Centre, the ASACO and the municipality are the
main actors involved in running public health, though
some municipalities also have non-governmental
organisations (NGOs) working in this field. There are
very few private doctors working in rural areas and
often only traditional healers. Some pharmacies have
been opened and itinerant salesmen sell medicines
on the market. In towns, the private sector plays an
important role in providing health care.
Each of the actors has a relationship with the
authorities at the ‘cercle’, regional and central
level. The community health centre has
hierarchical relations with the reference centre at
‘cercle’ level. The ASACOs are organised as a
federation at ‘cercle’, regional and national levels.
The municipalities are represented in the ‘cercle’
council, even though there is no hierarchical link
between the municipality and the ‘cercle’. Phases involved
in building an effective
The following phases are important for building
effective partnerships between the Ministry of
Health, local government and the civil organisations
involved with the community health centres:
1. Establish a basis of trust between the various
partners. This means, for instance, ensuring that all
the actors are equally well informed,
particularly about decentralisation and health policy.
2. Accept that certain powers are to be
transferred from the Ministry of Health to local
government, as required under the relevant
legislation, and develop effective working
3. Design a consultation framework that
encourages discussion and negotiation. This
can start off informally, but should subsequently
be given a formal basis.
4. Help local government to have a better
understanding of public-health activities from a
7. Encourage greater empowerment at grassroots level so that more weight and importance
multi-sector point of view. The challenge is to
improve skills in municipalities so that councillors
and their staff can understand, monitor and, if
necessary, act on performance indicators.
is given to ordinary people, particularly the poor,
thereby encouraging all actors to take account of
local needs and customer satisfaction.
5. Identify activities that act as catalysts.
Although establishing functional working
relationships is a long-term process, it is
important to begin with activities that are
priorities for all actors that are achievable in the
short term and that are unlikely to create conflicts
of interest. In Mali this cooperation could start
with the organisation of immunisation campaigns
and health activities funded by the municipality,
before moving on to more complex and difficult
issues, such as transferring responsibility for
health-sector investment and human resources to
local government, which is required by law.
6. Drawing up tripartite performance contracts
could prove useful since discussing the contracts
could enable the partners to define what they
expect from each other.
Our action-research project seeks to develop
approaches and tools that are likely to promote
effective cooperation. Relationships will be
studied and analysed as they develop and
conclusions drawn about the problems and
opportunities presented, along with possible
solutions to them.
Box 2: Tools produced during the actionresearch project
Information and communication
Health-policy information guide for
councillors and their partners
Information guide for local actors on
decentralisation and the transfer of powers in the
health field
Partnership tools:
Basic health-sector information system
for municipalities
Annual micro-planning guide for health
measures in the municipality
health-information system
The Ministry of Health runs a national healthinformation system in order to monitor progress
on the ‘minimum package of activities’ defined in
Data are collected regularly on the performance of
community health centres as regards developments
in their geographical accessibility, use of their
services and their coverage. At village level, data are
also collected on certain things such as latrines,
coverage of iodine-enriched salt, level of membership
of the ASACO, collection of contributions, monitoring
of certain preventive medical consultations
(immunisations, antenatal examinations) and
distribution of impregnated mosquito nets. The
community health centre’s financial management,
management of stocks of medicine, proper holding
of meetings (including keeping of minutes), action
plans, fulfilment of commitments and communication of results to beneficiaries are also regularly
monitored by the Ministry.
The main data-collection document is prepared at
the national level. In the community health centre,
the data are collected by the nurse (who keeps a
copy, in theory), forwarded to the ‘cercle’
authorities and then on to higher levels, where
they are collated and published in a regional
statistical yearbook.
The ‘cercle’s’ health technicians use these
municipal data when they visit community health
centres to assess progress on targets set at
the start of the year. The ASACO sometimes
attends these quarterly inspections. The ASACOs
and the municipalities also receive a copy of the
quarterly reports, which are huge documents,
containing extremely detailed information, and
are very cumbersome to use.
Data in the National Health-Information System
are fairly inaccessible for non-specialists in the
form in which they are currently presented. Moreover, municipal councillors have many other fields
to deal with, with limited staff and resources. It is
therefore much more efficient to concentrate on
priorities and to assemble a minimum package of
basic information (the SIEC-S) that will allow them
to understand and take decisions on public health.
Lastly, the SIEC-S can help the municipal council
to make the results of its support more tangible
and visible. Help in supplying health services
could thus become just as visible as investments
in build-ings and equipment. councils’
growing need for health
It used to be the case that the ASACO had a
mutual-assistance agreement with the Ministry
of Health for the running of the community health
centre, but since the new local authorities were
set up, the ASACO now has to sign such an
agreement with the mayor of its municipality. Up
to now, however, councillors have generally failed
to get to grips with the content of these mutualassistance agreements, and their role often
remains a passive one. Talks are currently being
held about this, mainly involving the ASACO
federation (FENASCOM). A system like the SIECS could make it easier for all actors to play a more
active part, since it takes account of the
challenges and substance of the commitments
given and makes it easier to monitor progress.
The Ministry of Health is trying harder to be more
dynamic in bringing municipal planning (in the form
of Economic, Social and Cultural Development
Plans - PDESCs) into line with the health-sector
programme at the ‘cercle’ level. The chairman of the
‘cercle’ council already chairs meetings of the
reference health-centre management council. All
mayors are members of this management council
but their involvement is often passive because they
do not have access to the relevant information.
Clearly, if the municipal council is to have effective
dialogue with the Ministry of Health and if it is to
have greater responsibilities, it needs regular
access to reliable information on the public-health
situation in its own municipality. The local
authorities and the ASACOs have voiced this need
at a number of meetings and workshops organised
as part of the action-research project. As a result,
the municipal councils and ASACOs have been
increasingly involved in the supervisory visits by the
‘cercle’s’ health technicians. This has been a huge
step forward in strengthening partnership in the
public-health field, showing once again just how
necessary it is for reliable and comprehensible data
to be circulated regularly by all actors. Monitoring microplanning and performance
Micro-planning was introduced as part of the
Accelerated Strategy for Child Survival and Development (SASDE), supported by UNICEF, in order
to encourage active involvement in improving
indicators within the community health centre
areas. It is carried out every six months following a
meeting to monitor community health centre
activities attended by all the relevant actors.
Micro-planning has become a national practice,
but municipalities do not feel engaged in the
process because they are not involved in many of
the phases, most of which involve meetings
between the community health centre and the
reference health centre. Some community health
centres currently invite the municipal council to
attend these meetings, but nothing is done to make
their involvement more dynamic: councillors are
not prepared in advance about the state of play and
the factors involved, and there are no tools to help
them to understand and therefore to participate.
One way of giving micro-planning greater weight
is to follow it up by signing performance
contracts. The Ministry of Health is currently
developing ‘standard’ contracts at various levels
(municipality, ‘cercle’, region). Two types of
performance contracts are planned: one between
the Ministry and local government, and the other
between the Ministry and NGOs. The contracts
set out expectations and responsibilities and
define the performance indicators to be used for
monitoring purposes. This practice, which is a
monitoring tool in itself, could also be used with
the SIEC-S.
During the action-research project, discussions
with the municipal actors (ASACOs, community
health centres, municipal councils) produced an
annual health micro-plan to be used as a reference
for the commitments undertaken by all the
parties involved. The commitments are to be set
out in a performance contract for their
implementation. Supervisory meetings will be held
to monitor performance, attended by all the actors
concerned, which is why the SIEC-S is important in
the process.
The purpose of the SIEC-S is to enable
representatives of the municipal councils and the
ASACOs to monitor the state of public health, to
identify priorities for their municipality, to take an
active part in discussions with the Ministry of Health
and to monitor the progress of the community
health centres, micro-plans, performance contracts
and mutual-assistance agreements. The SIEC-S also
serves as a basis for dialogue in the context of
tripartite cooperation.
The SIEC-S research project aims to develop an
approach that enables priority data to be selected
in a given municipality and presented in a format
that local actors can understand. The SIEC-S
mainly uses data from the existing SNIS and does
not alter either the way in which information
circulates within the Ministry of Health or the
monitoring and advisory system. The Ministry of
Health is fully involved in developing the SIEC-S.
The data provided by the SIEC-S should provide
a sound basis for identifying priorities when joint
health plans are developed within the municipality.
The SIEC-S should make it possible to manage the
municipal resources available (financial, human
and material) efficiently and effectively.
Box 3: Impact chain in a programme monitoring providing health services
To illustrate the principle, let us take the
example of a programme to monitor diarrhoeal
diseases in a municipality that has decided that
one of its priorities is to reduce infant mortality. A
diagram can be drawn up showing how different
elements interlink, and certain indicators relating
to inputs or services can then be identified, which
allow the performance of the system to be
monitored. Of course, other diseases also
contribute to infant mortality, such as malaria,
acute respiratory diseases, malnutrition, etc., and
identical diagrams can be drawn up for these.
Box 4: Example of a programme to monitor diarrhoeal diseases
Input indicator
Resources invested in construction, information,
education and communication (IEC)/training
services and activities
Activity indicator (process)
Latrines, awareness-raising IEC, distribution of oral
rehydration salts (ORS)
Service indicator
Number of latrines, number of trained mothers,
availability of ORS
Result indicator
Incidence of diarrhoea and number of dehydrated
Effect indicator
Proportion of children who have died of diarrhoea
Impact indicator
Infant mortality rate Criteria for
choosing SIEC-S
It is essential for the SIEC-S to focus on a small
number of indicators for planning and monitoring
the performances of services in order to avoid
overwhelming users with a mass of data and
creating a system that is unwieldy in terms of
workload and cost. It therefore needs to be
limited to providing basic data with which to plan
services and monitor their performance. A
procedure is required that will first allow users to
prioritise their information needs and then allow
indicators to be selected on an informed basis.
The data provided by the SIEC-S must do the
satisfy municipalities’ information needs;
inform municipalities about performances and
results in the health sector (quality and
cover aspects of the sector that the
municipality can influence, and encourage it to
take action;
enable the municipality to take decisions about
the joint management of the health sector on the
basis of reliable data;
be flexible in order to be able to fulfil the
specific needs of different municipalities.
In 2005 a meeting was held with representatives
of the municipalities and the ASACOs to define
their information needs. The SNV/KIT technical
team then used this as a basis for proposing
indicators (see Annex IV for a full list), which were
adopted by the representatives after modification.
Each pilot municipality and its ASACO, working
with the health services, then selected the
indicators that corresponded to their specific
information needs from this list.146
A form for identifying and analysing the chosen
indicators was then drawn up as a reference and
the following details were requested:
information user;
type of indicator;
significance and use;
frequency of indicator;
method of calculating indicator;
classification (green, orange, red [see section]).
146- A municipality may have priorities that are not covered by the Ministry's regular monitoring system. Where that
is the case, new indicators must be developed, together with a system for collecting and analysing the data.
Box 5: Examples of Indicators
Field of interest
Principal diseases
Use of curative services
Expanded programme on immunisation (EPI)
Coverage of preventive services
Immunisation coverage
Antenatal checks
Assisted births
Health promotion
Accelerated Strategy for Child Survival and
Development (SASDE)
Drinking water and latrines
Vitamin A coverage
Financial coverage for AIDS sufferers
Perception of quality of services
Reception given and respect shown by staff
Management of financial and
human resources and medicines
Community health centre operating accounts
Average cost per case
Average cost per prescription
Staff availability
Operation of bodies involved
Membership rate
Proportion of women in ASACO decision-making
Involvement of villages in
activities of community health
Proportion of villages having benefited from
immunisation campaigns
Productivity and
quality of care
Consultation Local actors’
understanding of indicators
The first challenge was to check whether all the
actors involved understood the indicators, so we
tested the SIEC-S in two municipalities in the
‘cercle’ of Dioïla (Wacoro and Nangola).
In January 2006, we analysed to what extent local
actors in the municipality of Wacoro understood
certain SNIS indicators. Representatives from the
Ministry of Health also attended these meetings.
Our discussions with the municipal council and the
ASACO covered what the indicators meant, how to
analyse them and how they could be useful for the
measures to be taken. The test showed that they
understood the indicators very well, and once we
had overcome a few problems, some even wanted
to go into them in more detail. Representatives
from the Ministry of Health also attended these
Examples of indicators
The first indicator considered was that for
antenatal examinations (ANE), which play an
important role in reducing maternal mortality.
Pregnant women are recommended to have three
ANEs. The indicator was presented in a descriptive
form rather than as a percentage: ‘Out of 100
women, 90 attended the community health centre
once for an antenatal check and 37 attended the
community health centre three times for antenatal
checks.’ The corresponding results were ANE-1:
90% and ANE-3: 37%. The local actors clearly
understood this indicator.
The ANE-trend chart drawn up during the
supervisory visits is already up on the wall of one
of the community health centre offices. It was
presented to the local actors, but although they
understood the meaning of the ANE indicator and
the rates in their municipality, they were initially
unable to interpret the chart. However, once the
principles behind the graph and the chart were
explained, it seemed that a whole new world
opened up before their eyes. One person said:
‘We thought the pictures on the wall were meant
to make the community health centre look nicer.
We didn’t realise they were technical figures that
we could understand.’
We immediately started a discussion about the
graph, the target for the municipality and the
results obtained. The participants concluded that
the ANE-3 rate was too low. In analysing why this
was the case, general explanations (not always
correct) were first put forward, such as ‘the
women are ashamed to let people see they are
pregnant.’ In the end, more detailed explanations
added substance to the debate. One of the
municipal councillors suggested that one problem
might be that husbands refused to let their wives
attend the examination. In that case, the
participants themselves concluded, rather than
focusing awareness-raising solely on women,
men also needed to be made more aware, in
order to overcome the economic and social
problems preventing women from deciding for
themselves. Clearly, only detailed analysis will
generate relevant comments and suggestions.
The second indicator discussed with the
municipal actors was the rate of use of curative
care, which was 0.25% for Wacoro. This indicator
was explained as ‘if everyone attends the centre
just once, the figure is 1, but a person may visit
the centre more than once.’ The participants
agreed that almost everyone in the municipality
would fall ill at least once a year. So a figure of
less than one would mean that some patients did
not come to the community health centre, either
because they sought treatment elsewhere or
because they just stayed at home. A further
discussion was then held about why this should
be: ‘Why not all villages are covered?’ ‘Who are
the other health-care providers?’ and ‘What
should be done to change this?’
The third indicator chosen was coverage of
impregnated mosquito nets. In the municipality of
Wacoro, 35% of the population have an
impregnated net. This indicator was clear and the
participants asked for more details: ‘Impregnated
mosquito nets for women or children?’
The municipal actors genuinely welcomed this
working meeting. Because relevant indicators
were presented in a comprehensible form, they
were able to analyse them on the basis of results.
This gave them a better understanding of the
problem and made it easier for them to identify
appropriate and feasible measures. The chairman
of the mayors’ association said: ‘This is great. It’s
just what we needed. Now we can get a better
idea of the state of health in our municipality. Before,
we thought we were making good progress
because we weren’t analysing the figures
properly, but now we can also find out where the
problems lie.’
The Ministry of Health representatives also
welcomed the discussions and realised that even
unspecialised and sometimes illiterate actors can
follow data provided by the SNIS. This should get
municipalities more involved in tackling health
problems — if the indicators are clearly explained
and presented in an appropriate way. They thus
realised the importance of the SIEC-S and its
usefulness for the Ministry. Presentation and
analysis of information
The second challenge was to develop a way of
presenting the data to make them accessible and
comprehensible to local actors (municipalities and
ASACOs), who were not health specialists.
It is important to take account of the municipal
councils’ objectives and the way they communicate
with local people. First of all, the language used
must not be technical. Since councillors are
elected for five years and usually seek reelection, a five-yearly presentation usually suits
them best, particularly if it means that, at election
time, they can show local people what has been
done and what results have been achieved. They
are primarily interested in the results, not how the
value of the indicators has been calculated. In
addition, since many of them are illiterate, it is
vital to present the information in visual form.
In order to be able to estimate the value of an
indicator, it is important to compare it with figures
from previous years for the community health
centre concerned and/or the results for
neighbouring centres (see Figure 1). Such a
comparison allows the municipal council and the
ASACO to judge the results for their community
health centre. The actors can choose from three
options for comparing the data collected in their
compare indicators for the municipality with
the average for the ‘cercle’;
compare indicators for the municipality with
the national or regional norm;
compare indicators for the municipality with a
target set when the SIEC-S started.
Figure 1: Sample graphs comparing data on antenatal checks
Coverage: antenatal examination
ANE coverage compared with 100% target
D Stages involved
in the SIEC-S
The starting point for the SIEC-S is a tripartite
agreement between the municipal council, the
ASACO and the Ministry of Health in which they
identify priorities, choose indicators and
determine the ‘standards for comparison’.
Before beginning to put together the SIEC-S, an
information and training meeting in the local
language is held with all the participants and with
representatives of the other local associations
working in the public-health field. The participants
must first understand the objectives and
principles of the monitoring system and the
meaning of the list of indicators. They need to know
how to measure and interpret the graphs.
Special forms have been developed for the SIEC-S (see Figure 2).
Figure 2: Sample SIEC-S form for a municipality
Field of
use of curative services
principal diseases
percentage of cases referred:
➞ from the village to the community
health centre
➞ from the community health centre to
the reference health centref
exacerbation of an EPI-preventable
proportion of sick children
- acute respiratory infections
- diarrhoeal syndromes
The indicator form must be filled in every three
months by representatives of the municipal
council and the ASACO on the basis of the
information supplied by the community health
centre’s technical team. It is filled in colour, either
green, orange or red, depending on the target set
when the SIEC-S starts. These colours or ‘traffic
lights’ mean the following:
green: when the results are as desired;
orange: when the results suggest less
progress than anticipated;
red: when the results are declining or negative.
The data needed for the indicators chosen are
supplied by the community health centre’s
technical team and are among the data already
collected for the SNIS. With the ASACO’s help
they are calculated and recorded on special forms
and given to the mayor. The municipal and ASACO
representatives then analyse the data and decide
which colour to give for each indicator. Then,
before the ‘cercle’ team arrives for its inspection,
they fill in the tables with the appropriate colours.
The indicators are also presented in graph form by
the munic-ipality’s medical officer, helped (if
necessary) by the ‘cercle’s’ health-information
system (SIS) officer.147
The results of the SIEC-S and the graphs are
presented and discussed during the Ministry of
Health supervisory visit148. It is important for the
‘cercle’ officials to check, by asking detailed
questions, that the municipal actors have
understood the significance of the results. They
can only take appropriate measures once they
have understood the source of the problems. At
the end of this joint analysis, an action plan is
drawn up, including how responsibilities are
divided, and progress is checked at the next visit.
The results of the SIEC-S are also used at municipal planning meetings. With the SIEC-S, it is
possible to evaluate work carried out in the publichealth field and the results obtained. It provides a
basis for the municipality’s annual planning. The
council can also use the SIEC-S to show local
people what the municipality is doing about public
health and what it has achieved.
147- During the action-research project we worked with some SIS officers to make this information easier to read
rather than merely providing a table full of figures. Their first reaction was usually to be doubtful and
unenthusiastic. However, when they saw at the meetings how much their work was appreciated and the effect
it had on the quality of the discussions, they recognised the importance of this type of presentation.
148- As we said earlier, quarterly inspections of the community health centres form a regular part of the monitoring
The approach for drawing up the SIEC-S is now
fixed, and parts of it have been tested in two
municipalities. Training in using the guide is to be
provided during 2006. Although the provision of
funding to complete the testing is behind
schedule, it will be applied in other municipalities
in order to validate the approach.
To their great surprise, the municipal
representatives have proved quite skilful in
understanding and analysing the indicators,
discussing their significance with the devolved
departments and identifying priority measures to
be taken. They have shown enthusiasm for taking
part in these activities. This shows that municipal
councils have little involvement in public health
not because they are not interested, but because
they have not known how to talk about it.
The great strength of the SIEC-S is that it does
not involve setting up a new data-collection
system, since it uses only information already
collected and available from the community
health centre. What is new is the way in which
information is made accessible to local people
and officers in the municipality, and the SIS officer
can play an important part in supervising the
community health centre’s technical team and
local actors.
The SIEC-S allows non-specialists, including
those who are illiterate, to take part in
discussions on health-system results, progress
and the reasons for failures or successes. Local
actors and the Ministry of Health have welcomed
the practical approach of the SIEC-S and
recognised its importance for bolstering public
health in municipalities. Setting up a basic
information system for municipalities in this field
could make it easier to create similar systems in
other sectors, such as education, for instance.
One effect of the SIEC-S is that discussions between municipalities, ASACOs and the
decentralised Ministry of Health departments are
no longer limited to health funding, as they used
to be. Now, they also look at ‘public health’. The
SIEC-S makes it easier to analyse and talk about
the current situation, priorities, progress made
and work to be done in the health field, and it thus
encourages the various stakeholders to discuss
and work together. The joint analysis encourages
the actors to pool ideas in seeking solutions and
discussing how tasks should be distributed.
The SIEC-S thus helps to improve consultation
and increase mutual trust, because each partner
is better informed. Experience has shown that
actively involving local actors in monitoring can be
an important way of improving cooperation in the
health sector and system performance at the
local level.
To be continued…
Antenatal Examination
Agence Nationale d'Investissements des Collectivités Territoriales/National Agency for Local
Government Investment
Association de Santé Communautaire/Community Health Association
Centre de Santé Communautaire/Community Health Centre
Expanded Programme on Immunisation
Fédération Nationale des Associations de Santé Communautaire/National Federation of Community
Health Associations
Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
Information, Education and Communication
Royal Tropical Institute
Non-Governmental Organisation
Oral Rehydration Salts
Plan de Développement Social, Économique et Culturel/Economic, Social and Cultural Development
Programme de Développement Sanitaire et Social/Health and Social Development Programme
Accelerated Strategy for Child Survival and Development
Système d'Information Essentielle pour la Commune dans le secteur de la Santé/Basic
Health-Sector Information System for Municipalities
Système d'Information Sanitaire/Health-Information System
Système National d'Information Sanitaire/National Health-Information System
Netherlands Development Organisation
ANICT. 2004. FICT 2001-2003, rapport de fin
d’exercice. Bamako: Agence Nationale
Territoriales (ANICT).
Hilhorst, T., D. Bagayoko, D. Dao, E. Lodenstein
and J. Toonen. 2005. Dynamiser la
santé communale - construire des partenariats efficaces dans l’espace communal pour
améliorer la qualité des services de santé.
Bamako: Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV) and Royal Tropical Institute (KIT).
Resource persons:
Jurrien Toonen (KIT)
Email : [email protected]
Thea Hilhorst (KIT)
Email : [email protected]
Dramane Dao (SNV)
Email : [email protected]
Documents and links for
Hilhorst, T., D. Bagayoko, D. Dao, E.
Lodenstein and J. Toonen. 2005
Building effective partnership for improved
basic social services delivery in Mali. Bamako: Netherlands Development Organisation
(SNV) and Royal Tropical Institute (KIT). 30p.
Available on-line
Online resources:
Useful addresses:
Royal Tropical Institute
Mauritskade 63, Amsterdam
BP. 95001
1090 HA Amsterdam, Netherlands
Tel: (+31) 20 5688 272
Fax: (+31) 20 5688 286
BP. 20, Koulikoro, Mali
Tel: (+223) 226 24 71
Fax: (+223) 226 20 92
Field of interest
Principal diseases
monitoring monitoring
Use of curative services
% of cases referred
Priority diseases
Number HIV-positive (prevalence)
and quality of
Coverage of
preventive services
Health promotion
Perception of quality
of services
Antenatal examination
Family planning
Proportion of children malnourished
Integrated advanced immunisation strategy
carried out in X% of villages in the area
Coverage: drinking water
Coverage: latrines
Coverage: impregnated mosquito nets
Reception given and respect shown by staff
Operating account: medical treatment
Management of
financial, material
and human
Immunisation coverage (<1 year fully
Operating account: essential generic medicines
Average cost per prescription
Staff availability for treatment
Condition of buildings, equipment and transport
Operation of bodies
Involvement of bodies in consultation meetings
Compliance with regulations and internal rules
Villages' participation
in activities of
community health
Proportion of villages that took part in
immunisation campaigns
Proportion of villages regularly represented in
community health centre management
4.2. Benin: Public control in the education sector, pilot
phase of the participatory local impact monitoring
methodology (SILP)
This study, 'Public control in the education sector: the pilot phase of the participatory local
monitoring methodology (SILP)', has been prepared by a team of three authors: Anne Floquet,
Roch Mongbo and Silke Woltermann (see Annex IV).
The authors describe their experience of the test phase of a pilot SILP scheme for the primaryeducation sector. This scheme involved 15 schools in three municipalities of the department of
Atakora where development indicators are at very low levels.
This trial is part and parcel of the poverty reduction strategy (PRS) and decentralisation in Benin.
It came about because, using quantitative evaluations of the implementation of policies to alleviate
poverty, it is not always possible to identify all the barriers that block the proper operation of
decentralised public services. The SILP is intended therefore to provide supplementary information
on factors that might cause problems, and on appropriate corrective measures.
For this purpose, the SILP follows an iterative process of consultation and exchange, involving
sector actors at a number of levels (municipal, departmental, national) and various groups of actors
(citizens, local government representatives, state services, parents' associations, central
institutions, development partners, etc.). The stress is on two aspects of the public spending cycle:
tracing the resources allocated and evaluating service quality, which are jointly reviewed by public
and community service users and suppliers, using their own criteria.
4.2.1. Methodology
4.2.2. Presentation and analysis of the approach The SILP in the context of decentralisation Reasons, objectives and demand for the SILP approach The choice of the education sector The main principles of Participatory Local Impact Monitoring Stages of the SILP strategy pilot phase After the pilot phase
4.2.3. Conclusions
Annex I : Acronyms
Annex II : Bibliography
Annex III : Resource persons and useful addresses
One of the objectives of decentralisation is to enable the state and its
departments to meet the needs of the population better, while at the same
time, respecting the principle of 'subsidiarity', i.e., delegating responsibilities
and the performance of tasks to the lowest possible level. However, even
the level closest to citizens has to ensure that the services it offers are of high
quality and in keeping with users' needs.
Most West African countries have a poverty
reduction strategy (PRS) in which policy
programmes are set out for priority sectors,
particularly social sectors.
Most social services in the areas of basic
education, drinking-water supplies and public
health are offered at a municipal level.
Decentralisation means that the powers related
to these services are, in principle, transferred to
municipalities. It is therefore essential for
decentralisation to function properly if povertyreduction strategies are to be implemented.
Assessments of the implementation of PRS and
the degree of decentralisation of social sectors
often take a quantitative approach. They are based
on household surveys and statistics on the new
social infrastructure for the various services
(schools, water points, health centres), but do not
examine whether this infrastructure is actually
functional. Often, local populations make only
low-level use of the new infrastructure or they
refuse to use it. The data provided by these
assessments do not make it possible to ascertain
why this should be the case. Generally,
circumstances or factors that financing bodies
have failed to take into account have prevented
the proper use of the resources that have already
been allocated in these sectors. As a result, these
assessments often mean that resources are
shifted to sectors that appear more promising.
In this context, a participatory local impact
monitoring methodology (SILP) (suivi d'impact
local participatif) makes it possible to obtain further
information that can help to pinpoint the causes of
good or bad public-service performance. It is
hoped that this case study will provide a model for
municipalities that want to find out more about the
performance and quality of their services - and
whether the local populace consider them to be
useful. The monitoring and evaluation departments
of the ministries concerned could also use this
model to adapt and improve their sector strategies,
including, of course, their plans for decentralisation
and devolution of the services offered. Over and
above these sector ministries, the bodies
responsible for PRS monitoring and evaluation
could obtain information to improve and
supplement their analyses. Finally, development
partners could draw on this strategy to underpin or
strengthen an approach of this kind in their areas of
support and advice.
The pilot SILP approach was tested in the area
of primary education, since this is one of the
priority sectors in Benin's PRS. This sector can
draw on resources from the Initiative for the
Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC), a debtrelief initiative. Expenditures in this sector were
analysed for 15 schools. SILP workshops were
held, during which participants evaluated the
quality of the services provided by their schools
and drew up action plans. The SILP team led
these workshops and monitored the action plans
as they were put into practice.
The SILP is a multi-level approach: it involves the
municipal and national level. Activities take place
with school stakeholders at both levels. At the
community level data on school services is
produced in an interactive way. Statistics are
collected, information is shared and analysed and
feedback provided at the municipal, departmental
and national level.
It also involves different structures at various
levels, the bodies responsible for monitoring and
evaluating the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper
(PRSP) and the schools. At the national level, there
is a SILP Steering Committee answerable to the
Observatoire de Changement Social (OCS)
(Observatory of Social Change). The OCS is one of
the two bodies responsible for PRSP monitoring
and evaluation, alongside the Permanent Secretariat
of the Commission Nationale pour le
Développement et la Lutte contre la Pauvreté
(CNDLP) (National Development and Poverty
Reduction Commission). The Commission's
members include representatives of the CNDLP's
Permanent Secretariat, the Ministry of Primary and
Secondary Education (MEPS), the technical and
financial partners (TFPs) involved in the common
fund for building the capacity for PRSP monitoring
and evaluation, the Fédération Nationale des
Associations de Parents d'Élèves (FNAPE) (National
Federation of Parents of Schoolchildren) and civil
society (including World Education, a nongovernmental organisation). The FIDESPRA Institute
(Forum International pour le Développement et
l'Échange de Savoir et de Savoir-faire au Service
d'une Promotion Rurale Auto Entretenue
/International Forum for Development and
Exchanges of Knowledge and Expertise promoting
Self-Sustaining Rural Development), which
undertook the SILP pilot phase, is also a member.
The strategy has been piloted in 15 schools of the
Atakora department in the north of Benin. This
department was chosen because it was lagging
behind in terms of school attendance rates,
something that the various actors in the education
sector are attempting to rectify. The schools selected
reflect a wide range of educational performance in
the department, ranging from schools that are very
well off, accessible and performing well to
disadvantaged schools that are isolated and not
performing well. These characterisations were
validated at departmental level at a workshop
bringing together representatives of the various
school stakeholders, where the choice of pilot
schools was decided by consensus.
Each of the school communities chosen in this
way was analysed to evaluate the performance of
its schools. At the outset, the SILP strategy
facilitators identified the various types of actors
using the school, concerned about the school
and/or having an opinion on its services. This
inevitably led to three groups: 'pupils', 'teachers'
and 'parents'. Distinctions were made within each
of these groups, including 'permanent teachers',
'supply teachers' or 'community teachers'.
Moreover, students dropping out of school or not
attending school, parents who were not members
of the parents' association (APE) (Association des
Parents d'Élèves) and women selling foodstuffs
close to schools were also taken into account.
Open or semi-structured interviews conducted
with a number of people from each group enabled
the team to draw up an initial picture of these
various actors' perceptions of the schools and of
existing problems and opinions.
'Interface workshops' were then organised.
Initially, the SILP strategy facilitators encouraged
the different stakeholders of the community to
evaluate their school by conducting interviews in
homogeneous groups. The groups then shared
their conclusions with the other groups using
scoring grids for school performance. The open
question that provided a starting point for this
evaluation was 'what do you like or dislike about
your school?' A number of aspects were
evaluated: infrastructure, teaching staff, parents,
school performance in relation to criteria other
than children's educational results, quality and
availability of teaching materials, etc. It was very
difficult to explain these assessments to all the
participants as there was a risk of conflict when
people became aware that others were criticising
them and felt that these criticisms were
unjustified or exaggerated.
However, this is only one aspect of the SILP
strat-egy, in which group evaluation is combined
with concerted planning of remedial measures,
with local actors in the areas of action for which
they are responsible. In this instance, mayors
released school grounds or provided support for
the construction of school buildings, the head of
the school district improved the allocation of
teaching materials within the limits of what was
available, parents' associations undertook to
perform their advisory and consultative role in the
area of school management, pupils improved
their attitudes toward their work, teachers
undertook to be more assiduous and parents
worked with teachers and undertook better
supervision of their children at home.
Some time after this, a further collective
assessment workshop made it possible to measure
the progress that had been made and to plan new
measures, since a lack of supervision often meant
that some of these undertakings had come to
nothing. This was the role of the facilitators.
Various documents were produced as the SILP
process took place, in particular, workshop reports, a
brochure on the SILP strategy (Floquet and Mongbo
2006), and an article. A final report on the testing of
this monitoring strategy, and a training manual is
being prepared. The trial of this new strategy was
covered by the media through broadcasts on local
radio stations and articles in the press. The various
documents produced before and during the trial of
the SILP strategy have all been validated at a
municipal-level seminar, by representatives of the
various groups of actors. A national validation
workshop has also been organised with
representatives of MEPS, the Prefect of Atakora,
mayors and representatives of civil society.
In parallel with its work with communities, the
SILP team analysed the public resources allocated
to schools (teachers, infrastructure, furnishings,
teaching materials, operating subsidies, etc.) from
the source to the beneficiaries. This made it
Put together by consultants from FIDESPRA and
the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) expert
responsible for the SILP, this study draws on
these various documents. Bearing in mind time
constraints and the geographical dispersion of the
actors, it has not been possible for everyone
involved to participate in its production; however,
this study contains only information that has
already been validated by all those involved.
context of decentralisation
Much of the power for delivering and managing
social services has been transferred from
ministries to local government as part of the
decentralisation process in Benin.
Basic education is a service where power is shared:
some tasks continue to be the responsibility of
MEPS, while others have been transferred to the
municipalities. The construction of primary schools is
now the task of municipalities, for instance, while
teachers' pay and supervision is the task of the
Ministry. Locally, the parents' organisations comanage the schools, together with the school board,
which is a devolved service of the Ministry. The SILP
is able to provide a picture of the quality of
possible to evaluate allocation and planning
methods, as well as the routes through which
these resources passed.
decentralisation in a municipality, creating at the
same time a space in which democracy can be
effectively exercised, at least in the educational field.
The information produced locally through the SILP
is then forwarded nationally. This makes it possible
to adapt national policies and programmes to the
needs of municipalities and local users. In parallel,
the SILP strategy encourages better transfer of
information from the national and departmental
levels to municipalities. For instance, publishing
planned transfers of resources from the national or
departmental level to municipalities and schools
makes it possible for the information to circulate
properly and ensures greater transparency in what
resources are available. The SILP can then be used
to monitor how the provisions on decentralisation
are being implemented and to make any
adjustments that may be needed. Reasons,
objectives and demand
for the SILP approach
Why launch a SILP pilot programme? The
following reasons should help readers to
understand the overall rationale.
A first PRSP for the period 2003-2005 was drawn
up for Benin. A second PRSP is currently being
prepared. In parallel, budgetary reforms have been
implemented in priority sectors: social sectors
(such as health, water, education) and others such
as agriculture. These reforms have made it
possible to strengthen medium-term budgetary
planning and to introduce planned budgets. These
are helping to consolidate the link between the
budgetary procedure and development planning
geared towards poverty reduction.
Benin's PRSP includes a number of monitoring
and evaluation instruments such as the impact
monitoring system. The involvement of civil actors
is one of the requirements of the PRSP design,
implementation and M&E process. However, no
instrument to ensure this was proposed in the
PRSP and monitoring and the M&E bodies lack
appropriate methods.
The development of result indicators is an
important advance from the point of view of
monitoring the performance of sector strategies.
The impact on poverty is measured by surveys of
household living standards and by monitoring
various poverty indicators. However, on its own,
this system is obviously not enough to provide
policymakers with information and to explain why
an increase in resources does not always bring
about positive changes in the indicators of results,
effects and impact. Even though the resources
allocated to social sectors have been increased,
some poverty indicators (such as standards of
living in rural environments, maternal and infant
mortality and the number of children reaching the
required level at the end of primary education)
have not improved.
The central ministries that decide on finance and
development policies and the development partners
were therefore keen to set up a participatory
system to monitor public action in the key sectors of
the fight against poverty. The OCS, responsible for
coordinating PRSP monitoring operations on behalf
of the CNDLP, is supervising the development and
institutional consolidation of this kind of system.
The various civil actors in Benin have often
pointed out that the participatory element of the
PRSP process exists only on paper; however,
there had been no direct demand from school
communities for an M&E instrument such as the
SILP, largely because they were unaware that
such a strategy existed. Municipal authorities
were not just unaware of its existence, but were
endeavouring to find out how the powers
transferred to them by decentralisation could
actually be exercised. Once they had been
informed, some schools took an interest in this
approach and decided to take part in the exercise.
It is in this context of strengthening PRSP
monitoring and evaluation that GTZ, the
Permanent Secretariat of the CNDLP and the OCS
started to devise a participatory strategy to
monitor local impact in order to help PRSP
monitoring and eval-uation. The World Bank helped
to design the strategy and financed the pilot
phase. In developing the strategy, GTZ drew on its
experience of strategies that had been developed
and tested outside of Benin, particularly 'Kenya
Participatory Impact Monitoring' (KePIM) and
'Qualitative Impact Monitoring in Malawi' (QIM).
Although the SILP was initially intended to
provide information for PRSP monitoring bodies,
it also provides interesting information on the
implementation and effects of decentralisation.
By evaluating users' perceptions of school
operation and performance, it provides an overall
snapshot of this sector of decentralisation. These
data can also be made available to all the actors in
the public service in question, with the result that
local governance in this sector becomes more
transparent. The choice of the
education sector
A strategy enabling the measurement of a public
sector's performance and the monitoring of
allocated resources was presented at a seminar in
2004. The primary-education sector was chosen
for an experimental trial since its budget was at
that time being increased from less than 3% of
Benin's gross domestic product (GDP) to over 4%,
and it was also receiving additional resources from
Benin's external debt relief (HIPC)149.
In Benin's PRS, primary education is a priority
sector, the aim being to achieve 'primary
education for all by 2015'. It therefore seemed a
particularly good time to find out whether the
additional resources being channelled into this
sector were improving school performance. With
the agreement of the Ministry of Primary and
Secondary Education, GTZ and the World Bank
decided to invest in this SILP pilot project.
A team of researchers developed and tested the
SILP method in 15 schools in three municipalities
the Atakora department, where development
indicators are poor. The team came from
FIDESPRA, a research and action institute of the
University of Abomey-Calavi, and was assisted by a
local consultancy office (CARP International) based
in the department. The researchers presented their
findings to a steering committee, chaired by the
OCS and made up of various representatives from
the education sector, the development partners
and the institutions responsible for drawing up,
implementing and monitoring the PRSP. The main
principles of Participatory
Local Impact Monitoring
There are various ways in which citizens can
monitor public spending: through independent
analyses of the national budget by groups of civilsociety actors at the beginning of the budgetary
cycle, for instance, with an independent review of
public spending at the end of the cycle (Diagram
1). Another option is to involve citizens (especially
the users of a public service such as a school or
health centre) directly in drawing up the budgets
of public bodies, at municipal level, for instance.
The SILP focuses on two aspects of the public
spending cycle: tracing the resources allocated
and evaluating quality of service.
149- Actions financed by HIPC resources are generally known as 'social measures'.
Diagram 1: Budgetary cycle, public monitoring approaches and the approaches
developed for the SILP
Independent policy
Analysis and review
- of policies
- and public spending
Independent audit
by civil society
- of a strategy
- of a budget framework
Establishing objectives
- of performance
- of service quality
Evaluation of
performance by
Budgetary cycle
Resource mobilisation and
Preparation and vote on
Monitoring of execution
- monitoring of activities
- monitoring of accounts
Joint management
of public services
budget analysis
Budget execution
- transfer of funds
- allocation of staff
Key : Budgetary cycle stages
Tracing of public
Budgetary cycle stages
Stages of public monitoring
of public spending
Tracing public spending
The SILP monitors how the public and
community resources earmarked for the service
in question are being allocated in order to
ascertain whether they are reaching their
beneficiaries and are being properly used. This
kind of tracking makes it possible to locate any
problems and to decide on corrective measures.
The kinds of problems that arise may be due to
the fact that resources are not being allocated
where they should be or that resources are not in
keeping with needs. They may also be due to a
lack of cash forecasting and to delays in the
payment of aid.
Source: Floquet A. and R. Mongbo (2006).
Community evaluation of publicservice performance
The SILP enables public and community service
users and suppliers to develop their own
evaluation criteria to evaluate the quality of the
services in their locality; in this case, their primary
and secondary schools.
A particular feature of the SILP approach is that it
is not just limited to pinpointing deficits, but also
tries to correct them by helping actors to identify
and plan corrective measures. In this way, the
SILP is an iterative approach combining evaluation,
planning, implementation and monitoring of
measures (Diagrams 1 and 2).
Diagram 2: Interaction of monitoring and action plans in the context of the SILP
Concerted diagnosis of
school services
Drafting of action plan 1
Resource mobilisation and
implementation of action
plan 1
Monitoring of the use of
resources and progress
Drafting of action plan 2
Source: Floquet A. and R. Mongbo (2006). Stages of the
SILP strategy pilot phase
Information workshops were held in February
and June 2004 in Natitingou in the north of Benin
in order to explain the objectives of the SILP to all
the actors involved in the school system at
departmental and municipal level. These actors
included representatives of the school
administration, teachers, members of parents'
associations, municipal elected officers and
representatives of NGOs. The purpose of these
information workshops was to encourage them to
support the strategy and to pinpoint schools in a
range of different situations that could be used as
a sample. Parents' representatives, teachers and
members of the school administration then chose
five schools per municipality, on the basis of
various criteria: school attendance, rate of
achievement of the Certificate of Primary
Education (CEP), whether or not the school had all
six grades, isolation, quality of infrastructure, etc.
In March 2005, at the beginning of the new
academic year (which was disturbed by social
unrest), the SILP team held interviews in the
schools selected with each group of local actors
in order to collect their opinions of their school
and to identify any conflicts that might flare up
during the workshops.
In May and June 2005, evaluation and
planning workshops were organised in each
school. Community evaluation based on simple
questions had led each interest group in the
school community (pupils, children not attending
school, parents, APE representatives, teachers,
canteen workers, parents who were not APE
members) to discuss the school.
This discussion was guided by a moderator in order
to draw up a list of criteria for evaluating school
performance. The moderator then formulated each
criterion in as neutral a way as possible and the
group evaluated each of these using a four-point
scoring grid, as follows:
carried out the various measures concerning
school administration or the municipality. In
August 2005, actors from the 15 schools and
elected municipal officers attended a mid-term
evaluation workshop.
These criteria and their scores were then
handed out and discussed in a plenary meeting.
While there was unanimous agreement about
some scores, in other cases different groups gave
very different scores. The average scores were
then colour-coded:
50 - 75
25 - 50
< 25
All the scores were then put into a matrix in
order to provide an overall view of schools and
criteria at a time 't'.
In addition to evaluation criteria linked to national
norms and standards (as regards infrastructure or
number of teachers per school, for instance), the
local actors wanted to include other indicators,
which, in their view, related to factors that had a
bearing on the performance of their school: for
instance, reading and writing skills of pupils in the
middle grade, the sociability of children attending
school, the type of men and women produced
(lazy or not), teachers' punctuality and social
integration, the type of canteen and the quality of
its management, whether or not the school was
transparently managed, etc.
During the second day of the workshop,
participants split into thematic groups and drew up
proposals for corrective measures, along with a plan
and a list of the people responsible. These proposals
were amended and validated in the plenary meeting.
The team of facilitators helped to convert this plan
into a time schedule for each group of actors to make
it easier for them to monitor its implementation. The
parents' association was responsible for distributing
the results to all the parents in a village or district.
The action plan was launched locally and the
team of facilitators monitored it on a regular basis
(between July and September). Members of the
parents' association and the school administration
In July 2005, the results of the trial were
presented to the MEPS: analysis of planning
methods and resource allocation in the education
sector, monitoring of the resources allocated to the
15 schools (tracing of public expenditure) and the
main results of the initial evaluation workshops.
In December 2005 and January 2006, there
were radio broadcasts and press reports on a
number of 'successful' cases, i.e., case histories
of schools that had made progress as a result of
the strategy.
In January 2006, six months after the initial
evaluation, a second workshop was held in each
school in order to score the criteria again, analyse
progress and adjust the action plan.
In April 2006, the pilot phase was evaluated and
strategy discussions were held at a national
validation workshop. After the pilot
The pilot phase raised the question of whether a
system of the SILP type could be developed on a
larger scale, leading to improved performance and
providing information for policy decisions whose
benefits would outweigh any additional costs. To
answer this question, the lessons learned from
the pilot phase from the point of view of capacity
building, ownership and viability of the approach
had to be analysed.
The SILP strategy can be sustainable only if the
actors involved actually own it. The capacity of
the main actors has to be strengthened if they
are to do more than simply support the strategy.
Using such a strategy is in the immediate interest
of the parents' associations, for instance, and they
could be its institutional supporters, ensuring that
it is implemented and promoting its results. If they
are to play this role, however, both local
andnational capacity needs to be strengthened.
It would be very beneficial to involve NGOs working in the field of basic education. They could play a
major role in facilitating the SILP process; however,
their capacity also needs to be strengthened if
appropriate methods and instruments are to be
available. Involving NGOs could also have a major
impact on the costs of the strategy.
The strategy also has some weaknesses.
Unless it is properly supervised, it may bring
latent conflicts to a head without providing an
opportunity to transform them into constructive
discussion. While the SILP builds self-corrective
strategies among actors at all the levels, it may
also lead to more covert strategies to circumvent
or exclude actors, possibly even within the APEs.
External support for the process therefore has to
be kept up, even though the need for this support
may tail off in schools that are already working on
the SILP.
Again, as regards ownership, the pilot phase
showed that the SILP tends to be naturally
disseminated. Schools that were not selected
asked participating schools about the strategy so
that they could implement it as well. It would be
interesting to learn the results of this, but
unfortunately, the pilot-phase team did not have
the resources to monitor it.
A number of factors obviously have an impact on
the costs of the strategy. The first and most
obvious is the number of schools involved. Costs
per school also vary and, indeed, decrease as the
number of participating schools increases, since,
once trained, the SILP team members can work
in several schools. Other factors, such as the pace
of work of the SILP (yearly, two-yearly), the
rotation and location of schools, among other
things, also have an impact on costs.
Mentoring and workshop organisation, which
make public spending more efficient, entail costs
that are not offset by additional benefits as they
are in income-generating sectors, such as health.
Financing therefore has to be envisaged at the
highest level and included in the PRS budget. At
the same time, efforts need to be made to reduce
the costs of facilitation by training a core of local
people who are as close as possible to the
schools involved. NGOs could, for instance,
recruit skills from among the Coordinations des
Associations des Parents d'Élèves (CO-APE)
(Coordination Units of Parents' Associations) and
retired teachers.
Even though, after only a few months, it is still
too early to measure the effects of the SILP in
quantitative terms, it would appear that the
strategy has had a direct effect on the efficiency
of public spending, by improving the roles played
by the most important actors (teachers and
parents, as well as pupils) and by establishing
self-corrective mechanisms. The SILP thus helps
to mobilise local resources (whose real value is
rarely appreciated and whose extent and
importance are often disregarded by national
planners) as well as the external resources
provided by the state and the development
partners, paving the way for better overall
management of these resources.
It would also seem that the strategy tends to
disseminate itself and bring about changes in
local practices, especially if there is good media
support and successful cases are well publicised.
The SILP does not, therefore, have to be run
every year in every school to generate selfcorrective effects.
If the SILP is to make the resources channelled
into basic education more efficient, the
information gathered locally does not just have to
be forwarded nationally (to the MEPS), but also
has to be put into the system to provide a basis
for decisions on national education policy.
Information-forwarding mechanisms therefore
need to be promoted, and the bodies involved at
the national level, such as the national federation
of APEs and NGOs, need to be strengthened.
In order to foster information-forwarding
mechanisms, taking the system already in place
as a starting point, action needs to be taken in the
following areas:
the school hierarchy and its monitoring system;
the PRSP participatory monitoring system
(departmental monitoring committees);
municipal monitoring systems;
the APEs and their umbrella organisations,
which have a key role to play as supervisors and
instigators; if they are to take up this role, they
need reliable information relating to all levels.
A number of solutions have been envisaged to
extend the scale of sector and poverty-reduction
choosing a random sample of schools from the
entire country;
identifying municipalities from among all the
country's municipalities and selecting a number
of schools in each municipality (extension of the
current strategy to other departments);
locating various contrasting situations, such as
a rural department and a large town (minimalist
The total size of the sample also depends on the
priority objectives, i.e., whether the aim is to
'inform' the poverty-reduction strategy or to couple
municipal planning with school planning and to
bring about self-corrective mechanisms at all levels
of the school system. In the first case, a smaller
sample, reflecting differing school and economic
situations, may be enough, while in the second
case, all municipalities have to be covered and all
the schools in a municipality have to be able to
forward their action plans (with a view to equity) to
be prioritised and aggregated at the municipal
level. In the third case, the number of schools per
municipality has to pave the way for the changes of
practice that natural dissemination brings about in
all the other schools throughout the country.
Finally, the OCS has decided, in conjunction with
the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education,
to extend the sample gradually. Schools taking
part in the pilot phase will continue to participate
to provide in-depth knowledge of the SILP. Other
schools from other departments will also be
chosen. The OCS is aiming to achieve a
representative sample of schools for monitoring
and evaluation in the context of the PRSP.
Concerning decentralisation, the SILP is important
because it is both an instrument of public scrutiny
and a monitoring tool that central government can
use to monitor how decentralisation is progressing.
Further discussion is needed in the Ministry of the
Interior, Public Security and Local Government
(MISPCL), which is responsible for steering the
decentralisation process.
The initial results of the SILP show that an
instrument of this kind can help to make public
services more efficient, by improving knowledge
of strong and weak points in the efficient use of
financial resources on the one hand, and on the
other hand, by mobilising local actors. The
attractiveness of this strategy to the institutions
concerned can be seen from the way in which it
tends to disseminate itself.
However, if the SILP is to become an instrument
serving PRSP monitoring and evaluation, as well
as a valid instrument of public scrutiny, civil
organisations, such as the APEs and NGOs, need
to be involved as closely as possible. Capacity
building is necessary for these organisations so
that they can play their role effectively. The cost
issue must be considered in regard to the SILP's
sustainability, so various options for reducing
costs (such as involving NGOs and building the
capacity of parents' associations) need to be
The Ministry of Primary and Secondary
Education is now in favour of this approach and no
longer sees it as a method of control.
Reservations of this kind are quite normal
because the approach is novel and raises fears
because the results that it might have are
uncertain. Moreover, the change of government
and the ministry team have helped to improve
ownership. These are all favourable factors, but
how the Ministry will use the information
provided by the SILP and how civil organisations
could be involved in planning to extend the
process from the local to the national level and
then implementing it, remains to be seen.
Association des Parents d'Élèves / Parents' Association
Cellule de Concertation et Suivi de la Réforme de l'Administration Territoriale/Consultation and
Monitoring Unit for Reform of the Territorial Administration
Certificat d'Études Primaires/Certificate of Primary Education
Commission Nationale pour le Développement et la Lutte contre la Pauvreté/National Development and Poverty
Reduction Commission
Coordination des Associations de Parents d'Élèves/Coordination Unit of Parents' Associations
Forum International pour le Développement et l'Échange de Savoir et de Savoir-faire au Service d'une
Promotion Rurale Auto Entretenue / International Forum for Development and Exchanges of Knowledge and
Expertise Promoting Self-Sustaining Rural Development
Fédération Nationale des Associations de Parents d'Élèves/National Federation of Parents' Associations
Gross Domestic Product
German Technical Cooperation
Highly Indebted Poor Countries
Kenya Participatory Impact Monitoring
Ministère des Enseignements Primaire et Secondaire/Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education
Ministère de l'Intérieur, de la Sécurité Publique et des Collectivités Locales/Ministry of the Interior,
Public Security and Local Government
Non-Governmental Organisation
Observatoire de Changement Social/Observatory of Social Change
Plan de Développement Communal/Municipal Development Plan
Poverty Reduction Strategy
Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper
Qualitative Impact Monitoring (Malawi)
Suivi d'Impact Local Participatif/Participatory Local Impact Monitoring Methodology
Secrétariat Permanent/Permanent Secretariat
Technical and Financial Partners
Floquet A. and R.L. Mongbo. 2006. Suivi
d'Impact Local Participatif - SILP: manuel
d'application dans le secteur de l'éducation
primaire. Cotonou: FIDESPRA.
Floquet A., R.L. Mongbo, P. Tohinlo, C.
Eteka, and F. Dossouhoui. 2006. Suivi
d'Impact Local Participatif (SILP), une
démarche citoyenne. Brochure. Cotonou:
Floquet A., R.L. Mongbo, P. Tohinlo, C.
Eteka, and F. Dossouhoui. 2006.
GTZ Benin. October 2005. Good practice
Contrôle Citoyen dans le secteur d'éducation
au Bénin: résultats et analyses d'une phase
pilote de Suivi d'Impact Local Participatif.
Working document. Cotonou: FIDESPRA.
sheet: making poverty reduction strategies
work. Implementation of the monitoring and
coordination mechanism (OCS) for the Benin
Resource persons:
Anne Floquet, FIDESPRA
Email: [email protected]
Roch Mongbo, FIDESPRA
Email: [email protected]
Silke Woltermann, GTZ-Benin
Email: [email protected]
Useful addresses:
Campus d'Abomey Calavi, Faculté des
Sciences Agronomiques
01 BP 526 Cotonou, Benin
Tel: (+229) 21 30 41 39
Email: [email protected]
GTZ Benin
Development Programme
GTZ Offices
08 BP 1132 Tri Postal, Cotonou, Benin
Tel: (+229) 21 30 45 08
Email: [email protected]
5.1. Mali: Participatory monitoring and evaluation as a
means of empowering local government in the region of
This study case, 'Participatory monitoring and evaluation as a means of empowering local
government in the region of Mopti', describes and analyses the initial stages of design and
testing of a participatory monitoring and evaluation system for the PACOB (Support Programme for
Municipalities and Grassroots Organisations) of CARE International in Mali. This programme
focuses on natural resource management and local governance in a region that, according to
poverty surveys and maps, is one of the most disadvantaged in the country.
The study has been prepared by a team of four authors (Abdoul K. Coulibaly, Rokia Diarra Konaré,
Mamadou Y. Keïta et Ahmed Ag Aboubacrine) working for CARE International, all of whom have
been closely involved in the design and testing of this new participatory approach to monitoring and
evaluation (see Annex IV).
This approach was developed and tested as a result of the process of reflection and learning
taking place within CARE International, with a view to 'making the organisation more responsible
to communities, particularly the most vulnerable'. The new approach has therefore been designed
and tested in the context of PACOB, bringing together a wide range of different actors involved in
resource management and new governance structures at various levels: village, rural municipality,
subregion (or ‘cercle’), region. These actors are also the protagonists of the new ascending
monitoring and evaluation system intended to meet both CARE's needs and the need for better
systems of information and accountability in Mali's new local governance structures.
5.1.1. Participatory monitoring and evaluation: strategic considerations What is participatory monitoring and evaluation? How can PM&E be implemented in projects?
5.1.2. Design and implementation of the PM&E system by PACOB PACOB (Support Programme for Municipalities and Grassroots
Organisations) Participatory planning as the foundation of the PM&E system Joint development of a PM&E plan Design of data-collection tools Ascending structure of new PM&E system and roles of actors
5.1.3. Early experiences and lessons learned
5.1.4. Conclusion and prospects
Extract from PACOB PM&E plan
Extract from guide for developing participatory collection tools
Resource persons, online documents and useful addresses
For a long time now the approaches used in development have tended to
keep the beneficiaries (the communities involved) at arm's length. The very
term 'beneficiary' implies a passive recipient rather than an actor. For years
the Western model has been imposed on the very different realities of
countries in the South, with development theorists and programme
designers assuming that these countries needed to go through the same
stages as the West in order to 'develop'.
The limitations of such approaches soon became
clear when they failed to produce the expected
results: much of the infrastructure created quickly
fell into disrepair through lack of maintenance, and
although awareness campaigns helped to improve
knowledge, they did not really change behaviour. It
became apparent over time that any achievements
in such a context would never produce lasting
results because the communities involved could
not really take ownership of the approaches used.
communities had little involvement in monitoring
and evaluation systems, mainly playing a passive
role as providers of data and having no real
decision-making power. Armed with these
findings, CARE Mali, in its December 2004 review
of its long-term strategic plan, made it a priority to
implement a participatory system for monitoring
and evaluation that would give genuine decisionmaking power to communities in designing,
monitoring and evaluating its programmes.
All of this begged the question of whether a
development programme can really be effective if
it does not involve the 'beneficiary' communities
in every stage of its cycle (design,
implementation and monitoring/evaluation). And
who are development projects really for? Should
the 'beneficiaries' not be placed at the heart of
the project, so that they can define their own
priorities and be involved in developing
mechanisms for monitoring and evaluation?
CARE Mali's Programme d'Appui aux
Communes et Organisations de Base (PACOB Support Programme for Municipalities and
Grassroots Organisations), then in its early stages,
was chosen to test an integrated system of
participatory monitoring and evaluation (PM&E).
This was based on the interest shown in this
approach by its financial partner (CARE Norway
and the Norwegian Government), local councillors,
civil society and the technical departments in the
region of Mopti, all of which had been heavily
involved in designing the programme.
It was in this context that, in 2003, CARE
International, as part of its process of ongoing
learning, introduced six programme principles
that were to guide all its future activities. The
principles make CARE more responsible to
communities, particularly the most vulnerable, by
placing them at the heart of all its operations and
giving them genuine decision-making power in
programme design, implementation, monitoring
and evaluation. In order to put these programme
principles into practice, CARE International in Mali
(CARE Mali) evaluated all its programmes for
compliance with them. The study showed that
This case study describes and analyses the first
steps taken in designing and testing the PACOB
PM&E system. We start with a description of the
methods used to design the approach and then
move on to the approach itself and the problems
encountered during the testing. Although it has
been running for barely a year, our experience
should enable other organisations working in the
governance field to benefit from the early lessons
Before the PACOB PM&E approach was
designed and tested, CARE Mali held strategic
discussions on the features of the approach, the
problems it would present and its effects on the
organisational structure of the programmes. The
idea was first to harmonise how CARE Mali's
project staff and partners understood the concept
of PM&E, and then to identify strategies through
which it could be put into practice in the PACOB
programme and, eventually, to extend its use to
all CARE Mali programmes. A discussion
workshop was held from 11 to 15 April 2005,
bringing together staff from the various CARE
Mali projects as well as certain local150 and
international151 partner organisations.
The main aim of the workshop was to:
gain a clear understanding of PM&E from
CARE International's previous experience of
monitoring and evaluation in various contexts;
operationalise the application of PM&E in
develop a methodological approach to PM&E
that would involve all actors, by defining phases
of implementation within a given project.
negotiation, to reach agreement about what
will be monitored and evaluated, and how and
when the data will be collected and analysed;
learning, as the basis for subsequent
improvement and corrective action;
flexibility, since the roles and skills of
stakeholders and the external environment
change over time.
Both these views are very much in line with
CARE International's programme principles, with
the result that systems give 'beneficiaries'
genuine decision-making power. As one of CARE
International's programme principles states: 'we
seek to be held accountable to poor and
marginalised people whose rights are denied. . . .'
There are thus a number of aspects of PM&E that
are different from the traditional monitoring and
evaluation previously applied by CARE Mali: the role
of the beneficiaries, the measurement of results
and the approach used, as shown in Table 1. What is
participatory monitoring
and evaluation?
According to Professor Deep N. Pandey (1998),
'PM&E is a shared process of problem-solving
through the generation and use of knowledge. It is a
process which leads to collective action by involving
all levels of users in shared decision-making.'
The author thus views PM&E as an horizontal
process between the project team and the
'beneficiaries', who are regarded as actors rather
than just recipients.
Guijt and Gaventa (1998) consider PM&E to be
based on four key principles:
participation, which means opening up the
process to include those most directly affected
by the project and agreeing to analyse data
150- Cellule d'Appui aux Initiatives de Développement (CAID) (Development Initiatives Support Unit), Action Recherche
pour le Développement des initiatives Locales (ARDIL) (Research Project for the Development of Local
151- Management Systems International (MSI) and Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC).
Table 1: Comparison of traditional and participatory monitoring and evaluation
Traditional monitoring and
Participatory monitoring and evaluation
Who plans and directs the
The directors responsible for the
project and/or outside experts
Local people, project staff, project directors
and other partners with the help of a
Role of the main
Solely to provide information
Formulating and adapting methods,
collecting and analysing data, sharing
results and translating them into action
How are the results
Using quantitative indicators, often
defined externally
Using indicators, many of them
qualitative, defined by the actors
Predefined, rigid
Source: Guijt and Gaventa (1998).
It should be stressed that this was not CARE
Mali's first experiment with PM&E, but previous
attempts had had certain limitations when it came
to actually involving communities throughout the
process. The idea then had been to encourage
communities to implement their own monitoring
and evaluation system separate from the project
system, which did not put them at the heart of
the decision making. There were also no real links
between their system and the project system for
recording results, effects and impact.
The present experiment is particularly important
because the process of decentralisation in Mali,
under which local government has powers of
independent management, offers an opportunity
to institutionalise an integrated PM&E approach
involving all the actors. How can PM&E be
implemented in projects?
The workshop laid the foundation for a new approach
to PM&E for CARE Mali. The approach aimed first to
make project staff aware of how their practices and
attitudes affected 'beneficiaries'. The second stage
was to identify problems in implementing PM&E, to
define their ideal PM&E and, depending on that, to
examine the roles that each of the stakeholders in the
process wanted to play.
Introspection exercise focusing on
practices and attitudes
At the workshop the participants considered
certain questions (see Box 1), which made them
realise that their own attitudes (internal barriers)
tended to restrict PM&E. The discussions often
showed that there was a tendency to take
decisions on behalf of communities in order to
obtain instant results, and to underestimate the
abilities of the communities.
Box 1: Introspection exercise
1. How do I regard my opinion or conviction
compared with those of other people?
2. Do I communicate my thoughts to others? Do
I listen to other people? Or do I assume that I
know what is best for other people?
3. Do I consider other people's ideas and opinions
to be as important as my own?
4. Do I acknowledge that when I have to take a
decision or action, another stakeholder could
do it instead?
5. Am I aware that I tend to forget to involve other
people, simply because I am in a hurry?
Source: CARE Mali (2005a).
Identifying problems with PM&E
Those taking part in the workshop then identified
various problems with PM&E at all stages of a
project cycle. Prejudices about communities'
abilities, the desire for instant results and the
financial partners' demands were all factors which
emerged as limiting the effective participation of
'beneficiaries' (see Table 2).
Table 2: Problems with PM&E in a project cycle
Problems with PM&E
Short submission deadlines of
calls for tender
Predefined objectives and
target/fields of calls for tender
Limited amount of money
Monitoring/evaluation systems
predefined and nonparticipatory
Targets and areas already
Short project duration imposed
Monitoring and
Limited financial
envelope for monitoring
and evaluation
Limited time: instant
results wanted
Sophisticated methods
required for reliable results
Participation involves high
Not available during
Difficulty of representing all
project schedule
target groups
Time taken up with
Not much involvement in
Lack of project design skills
No self-critical ability
development of tools
Not enough money to contribute
Inability to use
to project budget
monitoring tools
Project staff
Skills of 'beneficiaries'
Staff focus on achieving
project results in a short
Feeling of knowing more about
time (project duration)
'beneficiaries' problems than
Perception of PM&E (not
they do themselves
supported by actors
Limited time to reply to calls for
Unilateral financial
Always seeking to keep the
financial partner happy, to the
detriment of the 'beneficiaries'
Other types of
Baseline: national policies and
External actors do not
strategies not always designed
support validity of PM&E
to be participatory
Other actors involved do
Councillors' political allegiances
not apply PM&E
lead to differences of opinion
that are not always constructive
Overwork leading to stress
Not enough capacity to
direct the approach
Resistance to change of
Prejudices about
Source: CARE Mali (2005a).
Finding a solution to these problems is a
challenge for the PACOB programme, which, as
we said earlier, is testing the integrated approach
to participatory monitoring and evaluation.
Three months after the discussion workshop,
work started on designing a PM&E system for
PACOB on the basis of the workshop
recommendations. PACOB (Support
Programme for
Municipalities and
Grassroots Organisations)
PACOB is funded jointly by the Norwegian
Government (NORAD) and CARE Norway, and
was devised with the involvement of local
councillors, technical departments and civil
society representatives in the region of Mopti. It
is based on the experiences and lessons learned
between 2000 and 2004 from an earlier
programme of governance and support for
municipalities in the ‘cercles’ of Koro and Bankass
(the Koro and Bankass Municipalities Support
Programme - PACKOB).
The overall aim of PACOB is as follows: 'by
December 2009, the elected municipal
representatives and natural resources user
organisations from twelve municipalities will
management of natural resources, thus helping to
improve living conditions, particularly for the most
vulnerable people, in the ‘cercles’ of Koro, Bankass,
Bandiagara and Djenné, in the region of Mopti.'
PACOB thus responds to four priorities in the
Mali Government's Poverty Reduction Strategy
Paper (PRSP):
good governance;
promoting broad public involvement;
human development and access to basic social
helping to develop production sectors and
Area covered
PACOB, which was launched in January 2005, is
primarily concerned with issues related to the
decentralised management of natural resources
in the region of Mopti, and, more specifically, in
12 rural municipalities in the ‘cercles’ of Koro,
Bankass, Bandiagara and Djenné.
The Mopti region, in central Mali, covers an area of
79,017 km2 and is one of the most densely
populated areas of the country, with an estimated
1,720,918 inhabitants in 2004152. The main ethnic
groups are the Peulh, Dogon, Songhai, Bambara,
Bozo and Somono. According to the PRSP, the
Mopti region has one of the highest poverty indexes
in the country, with more than three-quarters of its
population living below the poverty line.
PACOB is based on the idea that involving
communities in planning, implementing and
designing the system for project monitoring and
evaluation will give them real decision-making
power and achieve more sustainable results. There
is every indication that local governance will only
become efficient if the grassroots development
actors become genuine partners in any operations
affecting them.
Actors and stakeholders
PACOB is being carried out by CARE Mali in
partnership with three local NGOs. Each of these
is responsible for implementing the programme
in one of the ‘cercles’ in the area covered:
Association malienne d'Initiatives et d'actions
pour le Développement (AID-Mali) in the ‘cercles’
of Bankass and Koro, Yama Giribolo Tumo (Yag-Tu)
in the ‘cercle’ of Bandiagara, and Association pour
l'Appui au Développement Intégré (AADI) in
152- Projection by the Direction Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Informatique (DNSI, National Statistics and
Informatics Directorate) based on data from the 1998 General Population and Housing Census.
194 Participatory
planning as the
foundation of the PM&E
The approach for carrying out PACOB involved
selecting three municipalities in each ‘cercle’,
giving a total of 12 partner municipalities. These
were selected in cooperation with the Comité
Local d'Orientation (CLO), the local steering
committee, which includes all the mayors of the
municipalities in a ‘cercle’, the president of the
‘cercle’ council and representatives of the
Chambers of Agriculture and Trade. It is chaired by
the ‘préfet’153 and meets every three months. The
various municipalities in the four target ‘cercles’
competed with each other in a tendering
procedure in which they had to demonstrate a
genuine desire to establish natural resources
management (NRM) as a priority.
Once the partner municipalities had been
selected, a workshop to validate the logical
framework was organised in July 2005 with
elected officers. The aim was to involve local
actors in all phases of the implementation of the
project. A total of 34 people attended, including
20 municipal councillors154. At the workshop, the
actors were given training in how to develop a
logical framework, along with outcome, effect
and impact indicators. They then, themselves,
defined indicators for each objective in the logical
Finally, during the first week of August 2005, the
PACOB steering team (made up of staff from
CARE Mali and the three local NGOs) met to
capitalise on the lessons learned from this first
training session, finalise the logical framework
and, last, develop a method for drawing up the
PM&E plan. Joint
development of a PM&E
A monitoring and evaluation plan is a tool that
fleshes out the logical framework by defining
methods, coherent planning and responsibilities
in the monitoring and evaluation of a project. It
answers the following questions for each
indicator: What tools should be used to collect the
data? What will the collection method be? Who
will be responsible for collection and how often?
Who will analyse the data and how will the
information be used?
Following validation of the programme's logical
framework, it was decided to organise workshops in
each participating ‘cercle’ in order to define the
PM&E plans. These workshops brought together
municipal councillors, the natural resources user
organisations (NRUO), the Mousow ka Jiguiya Ton
(MJT)155 , i.e. women's savings-and-loan groups, and
the technical departments and State administration
from the PACOB target villages and municipalities
(see Table 3). The meetings were held in the local
languages by staff of the local NGOs.
Table 3: Number and categories of workshop participants
municipal staff
and technical
Civil society
Total participants
Total female
Source: CARE Mali (2005b).
153- The ‘préfet’ is an appointed government officer who represents the central administration at the level of the
154- It should be pointed out that the project's target organisations were not involved in this phase of reviewing the
logical framework because the project had not yet finalised the process for selecting partner organisations.
155- MJT or 'hope for women' is an empowering savings-and-loan mechanism that CARE Mali has been running since
2000, based on a similar experiment in Niger.
The PM&E plans that were developed place the
communities at the heart of the monitoring and
evaluation process. Responsibility for collecting
and analysing data, which used to lie with CARE
and the local NGOs, has now been transferred to
the communities (see Annex II: Extract from the
PM&E plan).
After these workshops, the PACOB steering
team met to harmonise the products from the
four workshops and to produce a final PM&E
planning document. Design of datacollection tools
The next phase involved developing datacollection tools for each indicator in the logical
framework. In order to do this, the team organised
mini-workshops in each ‘cercle’ between
December 2005 and January 2006 to get the
communities themselves to develop these tools.
One of the main challenges for a successful
monitoring and evaluation system is still how to
ensure that the quality of the project is continually
improved by the use of the data. Each stakeholder
needs to see his or her interests taken into
account through the data collected, which is why
emphasis was placed on ensuring that the
information was, first and foremost, useful for the
grassroots actors, thus enabling them to take
steps to make improvements. The PACOB steering
team developed a guide to help those running the
workshops at which the data-collection tools were
designed (see Annex III: Extract from guide).
Box 2: Phases in the development of the
PACOB PM&E system
Phase 1: Validation of logical framework
14 to 15 July 2005: workshop with elected
officers to validate the logical framework, training
in how to develop a logical framework and its
3 August 2005: final review of the logical
Phase 2: Joint development of a PM&E plan
5 August to 16 September 2005: workshops to
develop a PM&E plan in the ‘cercles’ of
Bandiagara, Djenné, Bankass and Koro, with the
target communities.
26 to 28 September 2005: consolidation
workshop, incorporation of products from four
workshops into a final PM&E plan and definition
of operating methods for implementation.
Phase 3: Design and testing of data
collection tools
December 2005 to January 2006: series of miniworkshops to develop data-collection tools for
each indicator in the logical framework. Ascending
structure of new PM&E
system and roles of actors
The partnership with the communities is
pyramidal in form, rather than hierarchical, going
from the village to the region via the
municipalities and ‘cercles’.
The actors at the village level are the leaders
of the MJT, the village agents, the NRUO and the
community relays.
At the municipal level, they are the
environment committee and the ‘sous-préfet’.156
At the level of each of the four ‘cercles’, an ad
hoc committee was set up comprising one councillor
from each municipality, the ‘cercle’ technical
departments, the ‘préfet’, the ‘cercle’ council, the
Chamber of Agriculture and representatives of the
women's NRUOs and the MJT groups.
At the regional level, there is a committee
comprising a development advisor, members of the
Réseau Gestion Durable des Ressources
Naturelles en 5ème région (GDRN5 - Natural
Resources Sustainable Management Network,
Region 5), the Direction Régionale de la
Conservation de la Nature (DRCN - Regional Nature
Conservation Directorate), the four ‘cercle préfets’,
the ‘cercle’ council presidents, the regional
assembly president, the regional monitoring officer
and the 12 mayors from the programme area.
Box 3 and Figure 1 explain the roles and
responsibilities of each stakeholder in the system.
156- The ‘sous-préfet’ is a local representative of the government.
Box 3: Role of the various actors implementing the PM&E
Group leaders and village agents:
collect data from MJT groups and forward them to relays;
analyse data with the help of the Community Development Assistant (CDA);
attend six-monthly general 'programme assessment' meetings with relays and NRUOs;
share data collected with MJT groups.
Natural Resources User Organisations:
NRUO chairpersons/secretaries are responsible for collecting data and forwarding them to relays;
analyse data with the help of the CDA;
attend six-monthly general 'programme assessment' meetings with relays and NRUOs;
share data collected with NRUOs in the village.
centralise and analyse data from NRUOs and MJT groups in each village;
fill in village monitoring/evaluation sheets;
organise six-monthly 'programme assessment' meetings with MJT and NRUO leaders to evaluate
indicator levels;
share monitoring/evaluation data with MJTs and NRUOs to encourage them to emulate NRM activities;
pass monitoring/evaluation data (indicator levels, monitoring of project activities, lessons learned,
recommendations) on to the municipality's Environment Committee.
Environment Committee:
compile data supplied by the various relays;
fill in municipality's monitoring/evaluation sheets;
organise six-monthly 'programme assessment' workshops involving relays from each village, the
municipal technical departments, the ‘sous-préfet’ and representatives of the NRUOs and MJTs;
pass monitoring/evaluation data on to ‘cercle’ level.
attend six-monthly 'programme assessment' workshops.
Ad Hoc PM&E Committee:
This comprises one councillor for each municipality, the ‘cercle’ technical departments, the ‘préfet’,
the ‘cercle’ council, the Chamber of Agriculture and representatives of the NRUOs and MJTs. The
Committee is appointed by the CLO to give it credibility. Its role is to:
centralise data from the ‘cercle’s’ three partner municipalities;
organise the 'programme assessment' workshops for the ‘cercle’;
pass monitoring/evaluation data (indicator levels, monitoring of project activities, lessons learned,
recommendations) on to the regional level;
take part in defining the methods and developing the research tools for the project;
return monitoring/evaluation reports to the CLO.
Regional Committee:
This comprises a development advisor, the GDRN5, the Regional Nature Conservation Directorate,
the four ‘préfets’, the ‘cercle’ council presidents, the president of the regional assembly, the regional
monitoring officer and the 12 mayors. The Committee meets once a year.
Its role is to:
centralise data from the four ‘cercles’;
organise an annual data-consolidation workshop;
pass monitoring/evaluation data (indicator levels, monitoring of project activities, lessons learned,
recommendations) on to the Comité Régional d'Orientation (CRO - Regional Policy Committee) and
the national level.
PM&E Regional
Ad Hoc PM&E Committee
assessment and
Local NGOs:
supervisors and CDA
Village general
assessment and
planning meeting
Responsible for
collecting, analysing
and returning data
MJT leaders and
village agents
monitoring sheet
Local NGOs: CDA
Village monitoring
Key :
Advice and support links
Information forwarded to decision-making bodies
Decision-making body responsible for planning and data analysis
Monitoring and evaluation tools/reports
monitoring and
evaluation report
Centralise all data on
Local NGOs:
PACOB general
monitoring and
evaluation report
PACOB advisors
Figure 1: Circulation of information among PACOB stakeholders in the PM&E system
5.1.3. EARLY
The process of implementing PM&E was not
entirely problem-free. Each time a problem arose,
the steering team tried to come up with
appropriate solutions.
The following lessons may be learned from all
PM&E is an effective way of transferring skills,
but time and patience are required to put it into
The main problem had to do with the many
different languages and dialects spoken in the
areas covered which did not always make it easy
for participants to interact and required time for
translation. As a solution to this, all of the
documentation was translated into three main
languages (Dogon, Peulh and Bambara), and at
meetings, the participants were divided into
groups according to the language spoken.
participants need to be given plenty of time to
absorb the information they receive;
it is vital to choose able participants from
among the 'beneficiaries' if the process is to be
illiteracy is an obstacle to the participants
taking ownership of the different monitoring/
evaluation tools;
Another problem stemmed from the different
levels of education among the participants, which
meant that some tended to be 'leaders' and
others 'followers'. The solution here was to divide
the participants into groups on the same level, so
that everyone's point of view could be heard.
translating the tools (logical framework,
monitoring and evaluation plan, facilitation guide,
etc.) into local languages leads to greater
community involvement and encourages more
rapid ownership;
A further problem was that the various bodies
were not always represented by the same people
at different meetings, and the people attending
generally did not report back to their grassroots
group. Given that there was no effective reporting
system anyway, this was an obstacle to the
development of the process. The team emphasised
the need to report back to the grassroots,
systematically encouraging participants to do this
when they returned to their villages.
the participants linguistic diversity means that
more time is needed because multiple translations
are required;
the commitment of the steering team is a key
factor in the successful operation of PM&E. The
team has to take the PM&E philosophy on board
and apply it in practice in everything it does.
PM&E needs to be clearly separated from earlier,
less participatory, methods of managing projects.
Finally, the number of women taking part
remained low, which meant that one of the most
disadvantaged groups was underrepresented.
The approach is currently still being tested, but
from the very first phases, it was clear that the
communities involved wholeheartedly supported
the process. The next step will be to carry out the
grassroots survey and analyse the results. One of
the main challenges is still how to put the plan for
circulating information into practice, involving
'beneficiaries' in collecting and analysing the data.
Association pour l'Appui au Développement Intégré/Association for Supporting Integrated
Association malienne d'Initiatives et d'actions pour le Développement au Mali/Malian Association of
Initiatives and Action for the Development of Mali
Action Recherche pour le Développement des Initiatives Locales/Research Project for the
Development of Local Initiatives
Cellule d'Appui aux Initiatives de Développement/Development Initiatives Support Unit
Community Development Assistant
Comité Local d'Orientation/Local Steering Committee
Comité Régional d'Orientation/Regional Policy Committee
Christian Reformed World Relief Committee
Direction Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Informatique/National Statistics and Informatics
Direction Régionale de la Conservation de la Nature/Regional Nature Conservation Directorate
United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation
Réseau Gestion Durable des Ressources Naturelles en 5ème région/Natural Resources Sustainable
Management Network, Region 5
Institute of Development Studies
Monitoring and Evaluation
Mousow ka Jiguiya Ton (women's savings-and-loan groups)
Management Systems International
Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation
Natural Resources Management
Natural Resources User Organisation
Programme d'Accompagnement des Communes et Organisations de Base dans le cercle de Koro et
Bankass/Support Programme for Municipalities and Grassroots Organisations in the ‘Cercle’ of Koro and
Programme d'Accompagnement des Communes et Organisations de Base/Support Programme for
Municipalities and Grassroots Organisations
Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation
Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper
Recensement Général de la Population et de l'Habitat/General Population and Housing Census
Yama Giribolo Tumo
Source of data
agents (records,
Village heads,
NRUOs and
% of
municipalities in
which a
system for
managing natural
resources is in
% of
municipalities in
which there are
fewer conflicts
linked to natural
% of households
receiving basic
social services
Discussion and
assessment of
quantitative and
qualitative data
at general
(after each
Chairman of
Discussion and
assessment of
results at general
meeting of
village heads in
each municipality
Analysis of
strengths and
weaknesses for
each criterion at
general meeting/
workshop for
each municipality
Type of analysis
Monitoring of a panel of
Data analysis
Qualitative survey of
conflicts in municipalities
Municipal survey of NRM
Data-collection method
Data collection
Information required
Number of women
carrying out
activities in
Name of tool
Natural resources
management sheet
for women
Key questions (*)
Collection method
1. How many women
in your organisation
are carrying out
2. List the different
activities carried out
by members of your
Interviewer: MJT
members of MJT
Analysis of
usefulness of data
for grassroots actors
Have data for taking
decisions on how to
correct incomegenerating activities
Frequency: sixmonthly
3. How do these
activities protect the
(*) These key questions will be included in a better-structured collection tool at a later stage.
Campilan, D., Drechsel, P. and D. Jöcker.
Méthodes pour le suivi évaluation et son
adaptation à l'agriculture urbaine et
périurbaine. 11p.: Resources Centres on
Urban Agriculture and Food Security (RUAF).
Available online:
CARE Mali. 2005a. Rapport de l'atelier sur le
SEP. Bamako: CARE Mali.
CARE Mali. 2005b. Plan de suivi évaluation de
PACOB. Bamako: CARE Mali.
FAO. 1992. The community's toolbox: the ideas,
methods and tools for participatory
assessment, monitoring and evaluation in
community forestry. Rome: Food and
Agriculture Organisation of the United
Guijt, I. and J. Gaventa. 1998. Participatory
monitoring and evaluation: learning from
change. IDS Policy Briefing n°12. Brighton:
Institute of Development Studies. Available
Pandey, D. N. 1998. Joint resource management.
New Delhi and Udaipur: Himanshu Publishers.
Resource persons:
Abdoul Karim Coulibaly
Email: [email protected]
Rokia Diarra Konaré
Email: [email protected]
Mamadou Yoro Keïta
Email: [email protected]
Ahmed Ag Aboubacrine
E-mail: [email protected]
Online resources:
Useful addresses:
CARE International au Mali
Korofina Nord, Rue 110, Porte 368
BP 1766, Bamako, Mali
Tel.: (+223) 224 22 62
Fax: (+223) 224 75 32
5.2. Mali: Public perceptions as a barometer of local
This case study 'Public perceptions as a barometer of local governance' has been prepared by
a team coordinated by Fatou Cissé from the Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) (see Annex IV).
The study describes an experiment to analyse public perceptions of local governance in northern
Mali. As well as being an institutional, organisational and operational audit of the implementation of
decentralisation and participation by civil society in local governance, this analysis helped NCA to
plan activities for vulnerable social groups more strategically, by highlighting their perceptions of
local governance.
Bearing in mind the very few surveys on local governance themes that have been conducted
among electors in West Africa and current thinking about barometers of governance, the
experiment described in the study makes an interesting contribution to the debate.
5.2.1. Context and background
5.2.2. Research approach
5.2.3. Existing documentation
5.2.4. Development of in situ research tools
5.2.5. Data collection in the field
5.2.6. Data processing and drafting of project report
5.2.7. Lessons learned
5.2.8. Conclusions and prospects
Annex I : Acronyms
Annex II : Bibliography
Annex III : Resource persons and useful addresses
Following the crisis in public administration and the traditional models of
service provision, Mali has moved from an administrative and political system
based on centralised power and run by government actors (who plan and
implement development policies and strategies) to a system that encourages
responsible governance. In this highly participatory system, society is
managed on the basis of growing interaction, negotiation and partnership
between all the relevant public and private actors and civil society.
The future of the democratic process in Mali now
depends on sustainable development and the
acquisition of governance skills at the local level.
In terms of monitoring/evaluation, local
governance can be analysed by looking at
developments in the system itself and in the
decision-making, policy-making and resource
distribution mechanisms. Similarly, local people's
access to basic services is an indicator of the ability
of elected officers to manage their municipalities.
The ability of people to stimulate government
action to satisfy their interests and needs, which
is the very cornerstone of 'people power', can be
assessed at the most decentralised level from the
perceptions that individuals have as users of
public services.
Figure 1: The concept of people power or empowerment
People power is the ability of people to stimulate government action to satisfy their
practical needs and strategic interests.
People's practical needs:
People's strategic interests:
In terms of satisfaction, practical needs are
analysed and may be satisfied in the short
term. They vary, depending on the
individual, and tend to be day-to-day
needs: food, water, housing, income,
health, etc. They can be satisfied by
specific measures: help with production,
water supply, health infrastructure, etc.
They are expressed in terms of 'access to
resources and services'.
In terms of determining policy, strategic
interests are long-term. They have to do
with the fact that people are subject to
vulnerability, poverty, a lack of resources
and education, etc. They can be satisfied
by a strategy of creating capacities,
raising awareness, training, greater selfconfidence, strengthening organisations.
They are expressed in terms of 'access to
and controlling resources and benefits'.
Satisfying basic needs can improve living
conditions and does not usually involve
changes in existing roles and social
relationships. It is a condition for taking
strategic interests into account.
Satisfying strategic interests enables the
beneficiary individuals/organisations to
become development actors, and can
improve the overall social situation. It leads
to greater involvement in public life and
fairer involvement in decision-making
bodies. It is a condition for fair and sustainable
The indicators most commonly used for
monitoring/evaluating decentralisation in Mali are
designed to inform stakeholders about the
outcomes of current policies, strategies, projects
and programmes. As a result, the systems and
mechanisms used pay little attention to:
whether people are exercising their fundamental
role of 'stimulating government action';
people's perception of the extent to which their
needs and interests are being taken into account
by the bodies steering, coordinating and
implementing government action and social,
economic and cultural development locally;
how people assess the protection, defence and
effectiveness of their rights to be involved in local
governance and development activities;
people's opinion of the relevance, viability and
sustainability of the governance and development
approaches applied locally by public and private
The indicators commonly used are suitable for
analysing people's understanding of the process
but need to be fleshed out to give a better picture
of the development of people power.
Box1: Examples of the most commonly used indicators in Mali in the field of local
governance and decentralisation157
The monitoring and evaluation system of the Programme in Support for Administrative Reform and
Decentralisation (PARAD) financed by the European Union (EU), relates only to the following type of
indicators: the quantitative measurement of public services and products, compliance with the
regulations for government action (both local and central government), the degree to which the local
government apparatus has been strengthened, the rate of transfer of resources from the State to
local government and, last, the establishment of structures that could help to improve the
mobilisation of internal resources in local government.
The indicators used in the Self-Assessment Tool for Local Government Performance, developed by
the National Local Government Directorate (DNCT), with the help of SNV (Netherlands Development
Organisation), PACT/GTZ (Local Government Support Programme/German Technical Cooperation
Agency) and Helvetas (Swiss Association for International Cooperation), to assess measures to make
decentralisation in Mali more effective, are designed to measure the impact of strengthening the
capacities of elected councillors and municipal personnel and the way in which municipalities operate
(tasks, services to be provided for local people, development challenges). Measurements are taken
in five performance fields: 1) internal organisation; 2) administrative and financial management;
3) mobilisation of resources; 4) local development planning and programming; and 5) local government
services, products and developments.
The Computerised Monitoring and Evaluation Tool (OISE) of the National Programme in Support of
Local Government provides information on technical support for local government, maps and key
statistics (population, availability of basic social services). It identifies local government developments,
partners and service providers, as well as offering a series of products for operational research in this
field: reports/studies, programming, planning, implementation and monitoring/evaluation of local
governance and decentralisation activities, and local government planning, management and
development documents.
157- The tools referred to here were presented at the 'Sub-regional seminar on building capacities for monitoring and
evaluation of decentralisation and local governance in West Africa: exchange of experience and learning', Bamako,
17-18 May 2006.
A pilot study of users' perceptions of
decentralisation carried out by the Norwegian
Church Aid (AEN) and its partners provides an
opportunity to enhance the monitoring/evaluation
of local governance, in that:
it creates the conditions for correctly identifying
the measures and instruments adopted by local
government in response to the aspirations of all
local people;
it offers a better understanding of the effects
and impact of the approaches adopted;
it could allow the development of 'comprehensive'
approaches incorporating all the stakeholders and
subjects to be covered by the monitoring/evaluation.
In the following description of this pilot study, we
will begin by explaining the context and
background to the research, before moving on to
describe the methods used and analysing the
relevance, ownership, viability, suitability and
replication of the approach. This will be followed by
the main results of the research. The case study
will end with the researchers' conclusions and the
prospects for other government actors in Mali and
elsewhere to capitalise on the experience.
For over 20 years, AEN and its partners have
been providing general support for the
empowerment of vulnerable social groups (VSGs)
in the northern regions of Mali. The aim has
always been the following: 'Vulnerable social
groups should devise and implement sustainable
local measures in order to improve their quality of
life. Exploiting community potential is both useful
and equitable here.'
of collective participation in political actions and
requires people to be actively involved in order to
ensure that the redistribution of resources helps
all elements of the community. It is vital here to
consolidate strengths and assets that are often
unrecognised and unused, particularly those of
the VSGs (e.g., their position as majority voters,
their ability to innovate and adapt, the relevance of
their needs for development partners, and so on).
When it comes to local governance, AEN and its
partners talk about the idea of 'empowering'158
the VSGs. In other words, this involves giving
poor and vulnerable men and women the power
to secure and enjoy their basic social, economic
and cultural rights, both as individuals and also
taking the 'social and community perspective'
into account. In this way empowerment
contributes to the development of the community
through the following:
Under the current legislation in Mali, the
stakeholders in local governance range from
ordinary people to the highest political authorities
and include bodies and structures for design, policymaking, coordination and implementation at all
levels, as well as technical and financial partners,
both international agencies (multilateral, bilateral
and organisations involved in decentralised
international cooperation) and national agencies.
These stakeholders fall into a number of categories:
public, private and/or civil society. They have
sectoral and/or cross-sector responsibilities,
particularly in the areas of the national povertyreduction strategy, gender and development,
HIV/AIDS and environmental protection.
attitudes and values (linked to individuals'
capacities (including the knowledge and skills
of members of the community);
organisational structures (referring to the
development of local organisations);
leadership (for individuals and organisations,
'leadership' is the opportunity to use their
initiative at the community level).
Community empowerment becomes a process
as soon as synergy, cooperation, transparency
and the circulation of information, based on
potential assets, start to develop. It is the product
With the establishment of the decentralisation
policies and strategies, AEN and its traditional
partners (community-based NGOs) realised that
there were opportunities to add to their portfolio
of programmes. Wishing to remain faithful to its
target group while still taking on the sort of multiand inter-sectoral projects and activities provided
for in the legislation, the 'AEN family' conducted
158- For a definition of the concept of 'empowerment' and the process of 'community empowerment', see Hawley E.
and E. McWhirter, 1991, and Lackey, A.S., Burke. R, and M. Peterson, 1987.
an exhaustive review of its mission, vision and
strategies. The result was a general policy
framework for activities for the period 2005-2009,
whose main objective was 'to open up scope for
actors who can create the conditions for giving
VSGs an important role, full participation and
meaningful involvement in the design, coordination,
implementation and monitoring/evaluation of
policies, strategies and projects/programmes for
local governance and sustainable social, economic
and cultural development at local and sub-local
Having resolved on this, AEN and its partners
began strategic planning for the projects and
activities to be carried out with elected officers
and local government staff, state supervisory and
technical departments, and service providers at
the local (municipal) and sub-local (neighbourhood,
village and fraction of nomadic tribes) level, in
cooperation with and for the benefit of VSGs and
their organisations and groups.
AEN wanted to base its participatory planning on
a body of information that would ensure that the
approaches adopted were sustainable and that the
appropriate partners were chosen, so it commissioned a study on Civil society for responsible
governance in the regions of Timbuktu, Gao and
Kidal159. The general aim of the study, which was
put out to tender among the national research
institutes and consultancy agencies was 'to carry
out a diagnostic study of the implementation of
decentralisation and the state of governance in
the regions of Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal, and to
put forward proposed measures for the
establishment of a multi-annual civil society
programme for responsible governance'.
Of the five proposals received in response to the
call for proposals, two were selected. The first
proposed an institutional, organisational and
operational audit of the implementation of
decentralisation and an analytical study of the
involvement of civil society. The second focused on
studying the VSGs' perceptions of government
action and analysing the strengths, weaknesses,
advantages and disadvantages of having the VSGs
and their organisations fully involved in local
governance and social, economic and cultural
Realising that the two proposals overlapped, the
sponsors negotiated an approach that combined
those with rights to
knowledge and power
promoting the
enjoyment of basic
rights to participate in,
be involved in and
steer local governance
and local social,
economic and cultural
involving economic, social,
cultural and political components. The research looks at
society as a whole and is
based on the active
involvement of local people:
rights explicitly taken into
VSGs given specific consideration.
those with duties to
promote (and not to
harm), acknowledge,
take into account and
respect the basic
rights of VSGs.
159- CEDREF-Koni Expertise, 2005.
In accordance with AEN's guiding principles that
a general, human-rights-based approach should
be taken to development globally, the team of
researchers, working with members of AEN,
focused on two basic ideas:
Women and girls, marginalised young people,
children, those suffering from and affected by
HIV/AIDS and the organisations that these groups
set up are right-holders. Their practical and
strategic needs should be given greater
consideration by local governance stakeholders. If
they are to be fully involved in local governance,
they need to be put in a stronger position, but this
has been ignored up to now by the other
decentralisation actors and their technical and
financial partners.
For the research to be successful, the team felt
it necessary to begin by exploring the existing
documentation on the monitoring and evaluation
of governance. As with the country's other
development sectors, this documentation is
widely dispersed and largely unexploited. It is
uncommon for the results of monitoring/
evaluation projects and activities to be formally
distributed, which made the task very difficult.
The legislation and regulations covering the
framework, system and mechanisms of local
governance were collected and analysed in order
to establish the statutory framework for local
governance. Data and documents on the
implementation of decentralisation were used to
flesh out this assessment and to serve as a
baseline for planning and preparing the in situ
The data in the OISE database (see figure on the
most commonly used indicators) offer an
opportunity to monitor/evaluate and research
governance, but delays in inputting data and the
limitations of the user applications made this
database difficult to exploit.
In order to overcome these problems, the team
called on the services of documentation and dataprocessing experts, who were instructed to
identify, collect and exploit the sources available.
The experts found numerous paradoxes and
contradictions in the data from the different
documentary sources, so they carried out
triangulations and checks on key data for the aids
and tools used in the in situ investigations.
The resources and time needed for this work
affected the timetable and scale of the research:
the operations took longer and were more
expensive than planned.
A set of 14 tools, including questionnaires (with
closed and open questions), interview guides and
discussion topics suitable for all the target
Local councillors, traditional chiefs, supervisory
and technical departments and organisations
involved in local development are duty-holders.
They need to encourage the VSGs to be more
involved in local governance. The institutionalisation
of their behaviour very much depends on their
ownership and promotion of the strengths and
potential assets of the VSGs and their organisations.
The current systems and mechanisms take little
account of the fact that the latter need to be put in
a stronger position.
groups, was prepared for the field surveys. Table
1 below summarises the survey target groups
and the topics discussed with each of them.
Table 1: Target Groups and Topics
Perceptions of interviewees
Local people
- roles and responsibilities of stakeholders: councillors, supervisory and technical
departments, traditional chiefs, civil society organisations (CSOs), local people;
- impact of decentralisation on quality of life;
- relevance, availability and accessibility of services and products depending on local
people's personal and professional needs;
- quality of consultation and information provided by councillors for local people;
- degree to which councillors take local people's opinions into account;
- degree to which councillors find out about local people's interests;
- level of political activism of men/women/young people/traditional chiefs/CSOs;
- effects/impact of decentralisation on quantity and quality of services;
- evolution of information given to people on their rights and duties;
- identification of structures/persons able to solve local people's problems;
- local government's capacity to provide a sustainable local response in the field of social,
economic and cultural development;
- local people's access to education, health, water and public records;
- accessibility and relevance of local people's means of redress if dissatisfied;
- change in cost of living since decentralisation;
- relevance and applicability of tax policies;
- change in income-generating opportunities since decentralisation;
- equal opportunities for men and women to be involved in local governance;
- degree of involvement of young people in managing local government;
- measures and steps to be taken to promote the greater involvement of vulnerable social
groups in local governance.
Officers from civil
society organisations
- roles and responsibilities of stakeholders: councillors, supervisory and technical
departments, traditional chiefs, CSOs, local people;
- review of instruments and documents governing the operation of the organisation,
its activities and its relations with the other local governance actors;
- assessment of the organisation's involvement in consultation bodies;
- self-evaluation of the organisation's institutional, organisational and operational capacities;
- organisation's assessment of governance.
- roles and responsibilities of stakeholders: councillors, supervisory and technical
departments, traditional chiefs, CSOs, local people;
- democracy of organisation's governance;
Target actors who are
- organisation's institutional, organisational and operational capacities;
members of civil society
- organisation's ability to respond to members'/local people's practical and strategic needs
(depending on the organisation's mission);
- members' assessment of decision-making process and members' involvement;
- expectations of organisation's members.
Mayors and key personnel
Presidents of the
councils at the level of
‘cercles’ and
key personnel
- roles and responsibilities of stakeholders: councillors, supervisory and technical
Presidents of the
departments, traditional chiefs, CSOs, local people;
regional assemblies and - review of instruments and documents governing the operation of the organisation,
key personnel
its activities and its relations with the other local governance actors;
Prefects and key personnel - assessment of stakeholders' involvement in local governance;
- self-evaluation of the structure's institutional, organisational and operational capacities;
Sub-prefects and key
- greater involvement of VSGs in local governance: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities
and problems.
Tax collectors
Technical departments
at ‘cercle’ level
Devolved departments
at regional level
Municipal advisory
centres (CCCs) and
those responsible for
- knowledge of stakeholders' roles and responsibilities in local governance;
- representativeness of local governance bodies and structures;
- relevance and democratic nature of instruments of local governance bodies and structures;
- greater involvement of local people and their organisations in local governance: strengths,
weaknesses, opportunities and problems.
Those in charge of
- knowledge of stakeholders' roles and responsibilities in local governance;
- representativeness of local governance bodies and structures;
- relevance and democratic nature of instruments of local governance bodies and structures;
- greater involvement of local people and their organisations: strengths, weaknesses,
opportunities and problems.
5.2.5. DATA
Three teams (two for the Timbuktu region alone,
because of its size, and one for the regions of Gao
and Kidal) were set up for the field work, each
headed by a survey specialist familiar with
northern Mali. All of the data were collected over
a two-week period.
The research was carried out on four levels: in the
three main towns of the regions, in the main towns
of seven “cercles”, in 18 municipalities and in 54
communities (i.e. in towns with a population of over
5,000 and of under 5,000, and in villages, hamlets
and fractions of nomadic tribes) chosen at random.
In order to ensure a representative sample of the
various social groups, in line with the project criteria,
the teams collected the perceptions of a number of
groups at each of these levels, particularly from
traditional chiefs, those responsible for relations
with the administration160, young men, young
women, female members of farmers' organisations
and female members of other CSOs.
For the survey, the CSOs were broken down into
four groups in line with the European Union's
approach in the mission to identify support
measures for civil society161:
The first group is Class 1 CSOs: basic
organisations, often fairly informal, funded from
members' contributions (women's and young
people's organisations, etc.).
The second group is Class 2 CSOs, made up of
formally recognised, more structured actors.
These may have different types of missions, such
as protecting and defending local people's rights
and interests, seeking to secure members'
interests (trade unions, trade associations) or
contributing to sustainable development (service
providers in the development field).
The third is Class 3 CSOs, known as umbrella
organisations. These are made up of groups of
organisations joining forces around a particular
issue and/or in a geographical area. Their basic
mission is to coordinate and strengthen their
The fourth group is Class 4 CSOs, known as
organisations of umbrella organisations. These
are designed as consultation forums in order to
present a united front when dealing with shared
external problems. There is almost no formal
structure and relations between the actors are
also often very informal.
The field teams thus met 266 members of the
public (including 127 women and 156 young people),
83 CSO officers, 63 people from groups of target
actors belonging to a CSO, 28 elected officers, 43
actors from devolved State departments, 8 advisors
from municipal advisory centres (CCCs) or regional
decentralisation monitoring system, and 7 people
responsible for local, regional or national projects/
programmes in support of decentralisation and local
160- They are often the most highly educated in the locality and are appointed by local people as someone who can
'understand and make themselves understood'.
161- Floridi, Corellla et al., 2004.
Table 2: Survey Sample by Region
Target groups
Civil society
Target actors who are members of CSOs
Elected officers
“Cercle” council chairmen
Regional assembly chairmen
Decentralised State departments
Tax collectors
Technical departments at “cercle” level
Decentralised departments at regional level
CCC advisors and monitoring officers
Development projects and programmes
General public
The general conditions, size of area covered and
distances between locations in the north of Mali
presented serious logistical problems for the in situ
investigations. In order to deal with this, the team
identified interviewers with experience of the area.
To prevent any 'familiarity' from skewing the
results (particularly those of the questionnaires and
open discussions), the aids and tools contained a
number of repetitions, allowing the information to
be cross-checked. This made the system more
cumbersome, which in turn affected the timetable
and scale of the research.
personal' and others could not see how their
perceptions might be useful for devising
development strategies. Some actors (elected
councillors, staff of the supervisory and technical
departments) were easily able to quote the
statutory definitions of the roles and responsibilities
of the various stakeholders, but when it came to
sharing their thoughts on the actual level of skills
and ability of the actors concerned, many were
reluctant to do so, either because they were afraid
of overstepping the mark, or because they feared
that the research results would not be objective.
As well as these logistical challenges, the teams
encountered problems inherent in the originality of
the approach, which was not understood by the
interviewees. Women, for instance, were reluctant
to share their opinions, particularly with male
interviewers. Some found the exercise 'too
The research had a strategic objective: the
results were to be used for future planning by
AEN and its partners. Despite this, the
researchers did not have the impression that
those interviewed tried to give 'tactical' replies in
order to have favourable treatment in future.
5.2.6. DATA
With the help of data-processing and statistics
specialists, the documentary data and field
surveys were processed using Statistical Package
for the Social Sciences (SPSS) and Excel
software. The following subject classifications and
cross-checks were applied:
stakeholders' knowledge of the statutory
stakeholders' actions and perceptions and
duty-holders' skills and abilities, taking account of
the general situation and specific regional factors
in local governance;
participation and cooperation between local
governance actors (generally and by region);
general results, effects and impact of
decentralisation (generally and by region);
presentation of civil society, local people and
organisations (generally and by region);
participation and involvement of civil society in
local governance (generally and by region);
5.2.7. LESSONS
perceptions, capacities and political, institutional,
organisational and operational skills of those
holding rights in local governance;
strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and
problems of civil society for empowering VSGs in
local governance.
Two analysts (one in governance and the other in
institutional and organisational development) drew
up the project report on the basis of all the results
obtained. The report contains an assessment of
progress in decentralisation in the northern regions,
a study of the actors' perceptions, together with
general strategic recommendations for improving
the work done by AEN's partners, and a logical
framework for strategies designed to empower
vulnerable social groups, particularly women and
young people.
Special skills and measures are
needed to collect perceptions that fall
outside the usual statistical field.
As with the other problems encountered, these
measures, though helpful, generated additional
delays and costs.
Interviewers needed additional training because
of the innovative work involved in measuring
actors' perceptions, opinions and assessments.
The final product is complex and
difficult to summarise because of the
wide range of subjects covered.
The interviewees, particularly women and those
in government departments, were accustomed to
'standard' data being collected on governance and
decentralisation and were reluctant to reveal their
own personal perceptions. In order to reduce this
bias, the field team leaders organised preparatory
meetings with senior figures from the survey
locations before the interviewers arrived. In this
way, they were able to ask for their help in
ensuring that the research went smoothly. The
interviewers were also given documents
guaranteeing the confidentiality of the information
obtained. If there were major problems, they
could ask their team leader for help.
The terms of reference of the study cover 15
specific objectives and eight expected outcomes
linked to three main products: an assessment of
the current state of local governance, a study of
the perceptions of the actors involved, and
recommendations and proposals for planning
activities. The final product is thus highly complex
and difficult to use, both for those who
commissioned it and for the actors and
In order to make the results easier to understand
and summarise, the sponsors organised a
'handover' workshop bringing together the actors
and stakeholders directly and indirectly involved in
the research. These included national and local
representatives of government departments,
organisations working in development (international,
national and local) and CSOs (international, national
and local). A delegation of right-holders and dutyholders from each of the areas where AEN operates
also attended the workshop.
There are three ways in which the outcomes of
the study could usefully have been distributed:
by developing tools to promote and
disseminate the methods used, in order to
encourage the inclusion of the perceptions,
opinions and assessments of governance actors
in the overall monitoring/ evaluation mechanism;
by summarising the main conclusions of the
study to make them accessible to the actors and
stakeholders directly or indirectly involved in the
by producing a general summary and specific
summaries (by region, type of actor, etc.), thus
making the information accessible to the various
local actors and stakeholders for them to exploit.
The study shows that
decentralisation is now established in
northern Mali, but…
Generally speaking, the results of the audit show
that decentralisation is becoming established in
northern Mali; however, it is regrettable that the
poor level of skills and capacities of the dutyholders and the strong influence of socio-cultural
traditions restrict the full involvement of all the
actors, particularly in the region of Kidal.
terms of representation, local government in
area barely reflects the social breakdown of
electorate, since women occupy very few of
decision-making posts.
As in other regions of the country, the local
authorities in the north have poor levels of institutional,
organisational and operational skills and capacities.
Meetings are not held regularly. There are
inconsistencies in planning and budgeting. The
implementation rate is usually low, and the overall
rate of mobilisation of internal resources is among
the lowest in the country. The transfer of powers
and resources from the State to local government is
proving problematic in the area, particularly in the
region of Kidal. The rate of devolution of government
departments is low, particularly in the same region.
The technical support provided by the
Municipal Advisory Centres (CCC),
responsible for strengthening local
government capacity has brought
improvements, but also imbalances.
The technical support provided by these centres
has been focused on improving the operating
skills and capacities of the decision-making
bodies and structures and their staff.
There have been some improvements in the three
regions as regards the drafting of the administrative
account, the award of contracts, operating as
contracting authorities and administrative
correspondence. This has also led to improved
relations between the supervisory departments,
elected officers and their staff.
However, these improvements have had a major
impact on the overall governance dynamic, with
technical service providers and civil society now
out of step with the capacities of the elected
officers. Support is therefore needed to bring
these actors up to speed.
The arrival of the Support Programme for
Administrative Reform and Decentralisation is
encouraging a more integrated, fairer and more
balanced approach in strengthening technical and
financial capacities. This programme is designed
to help all actors, both duty-holders and rightholders, to be better able to assume their roles
and responsibilities in decentralisation.
The work done by the National
Agency for Local Government
Investment (ANICT) and the other
technical and financial partners is
important in many ways.
A significant amount of infrastructure has been
constructed thanks to outside technical and financial
support. Local people see this infrastructure as a
concrete expression of the idea of 'decentralisation'.
More than 60% of the people interviewed said
that, in their eyes, this investment was evidence of
change. They felt that investment in buildings
(whether functional or not) was a guarantee that,
sooner or later, the services they were supposed to
house would be provided. They also felt that these
buildings were an important step towards giving
people general access to the services they need.
For the other actors, the relevance, viability and
sustainability of these investments were a cause for
concern, particularly in view of the number of
buildings that were barely functional or not
functional because there were not enough staff
and/or material and financial resources to run them.
It is vitally important that the services advocated
should actually be provided as soon as possible.
The traditional chiefs' dissatisfaction
and local people's customs are a
source of risk.
Apart from the traditional chiefs, all of the actors
are moving towards responsible local governance.
So, while all the other actors are seeking to enjoy
their statutory prerogatives, the traditional chiefs,
unhappy with the role they have been given under
the legislation, are trying to find ways to exercise
greater influence.
This dissatisfaction and people's current
behaviour are a threat to peace and stability in the
area, particularly in the region of Kidal, where the
traditional chiefs are most noticeably dissatisfied
and local people are most likely to turn to them to
resolve their problems. These findings need to be
discussed in greater detail to consider what
measures should be taken.
Over 52% of the people surveyed turned first to
their traditional chiefs for problems to do with
citizenship. Only 3% would seek a legal remedy
from the supervisory authorities, which are
responsible for compliance with the law under
the current legislation.
Some CSOs have ethical leanings
that undermine their legitimate
An analysis of the perceptions of representatives of
Class 2 and 3 organisations suggests that these
organisations are easily diverted from their role of
helping civil society to be more involved in local
governance, in order to focus on the socio-economic
objectives of their promoters and members.
According to the results of the surveys, officers
from these organisations classify their roles as
creating income-generating activities for their
members and the organisation;
mobilising funding for projects/programmes to
be carried out by their members;
and only thirdly providing technical support and
advice for elected officers and traditional chiefs.
None of the 60 or more officers interviewed
regarded themselves as having a role in
promoting the involvement of civil society in local
governance. Fewer than 10% of the CSO
governing bodies interviewed felt that they had a
role in promoting, protecting or defending local
people's rights and interests, even if that was
theoretically one of their tasks.
Over 75% of the members from Class 2 and 3
organisation interviewed (whose mission included
protecting, defending or promoting local people or
participating in sustainable development) focused
instead on satisfying the needs of their members,
who made their membership and payment of their
contributions conditional on having their needs
These responses from the structured civil
society organisations, whose stated mission is to
defend, promote and/or protect local people's
needs and interests, indicate a risk that their
legitimate role is being compromised. Conflicts of
interest could delay the strengthening of local
people's capacity to stimulate government action
in response to their real aspirations and needs.
Perceptions of equal opportunities for
men and women in governance are
Overall, people think that women are involved in
Over 90% of the sample thought that women
were politically active simply because they took
part in elections.
However, an analysis of the composition of
municipal councils indicates that there are almost
no women in political posts.
Women account for fewer than 3% of all
municipal councillors in the area. More than 75%
of municipal councils do not have a single female
Curiously, 73% of the women surveyed said that
they have the same opportunities as men and as
much chance as men of being elected in northern
The heads of the decision-making bodies did not
see this paradox, and felt that women were well
More than 80% of the heads of the decisionmaking bodies thought that their respective
bodies were a 'good' or 'perfect' reflection of the
society they represented.
These findings raise some worrying questions.
First, what will the stakeholders have to do to
contribute more to the national 'gender and
development' objectives? Next, do the stakeholders'
statements reflect the internalisation of certain
inequalities? Last, do the women in question have a
different concept of equal opportunities from that
used in 'gender and development', or are they hiding
their real perceptions for fear of socio-cultural, socioeconomic or other reprisals?
The methods used and the results obtained in
this study on civil society for responsible
governance in the regions of Timbuktu, Gao and
Kidal provide an overview of the dynamics
between the various actors.
The methods used measured the following:
the extent to which governance is being
implemented in the area, by evaluating the
development of the institutional, organisational
and operational capacities of the duty-holders;
the extent to which local people are taking
ownership of and effectively pursuing their role of
encouraging local governance to meet their needs
and interests, by analysing the perceptions,
opinions and assessments of local governance
Including an analysis of perceptions could
potentially improve the current system for
monitoring/evaluating local governance. If the tools
and aids used (particularly indicators) took account
of the perceptions, opinions and assessments of
the actors involved, the duty-holders would be
better equipped to ensure that the approaches
adopted for governance and development were
relevant, viable and sustainable. Local people
would thus be making a greater contribution to
national construction.
The project report has been widely disseminated
since the national 'handover' workshop. AEN is
preparing local workshops to deliver the results,
and is to publish a version for a wider readership.
AEN has opted to strengthen the capacities of
right-holders and duty-holders and is holding talks
on how to make governance a cross-sector
theme in its main areas of intervention.
Initially the emphasis will be on getting women
more involved in public life. Work has started on a
project designed to increase the rate of women
voting and standing as candidates in the three
regions of northern Mali. AEN and its partners
have begun a process with Women in Law and
Development in Africa (WILDAF), which is already
carrying out a similar programme in the south of
the country, funded by the European Union. In
parallel with this, AEN is a stakeholder in an
initiative by SNV-Mali to develop a joint action
programme between development organisations
and State structures in order to encourage
women to take part in the 2007 presidential and
parliamentary elections and the 2009 municipal
Aide de l'Église Norvégienne/Norwegian Church Aid
Agence Nationale d'Investissement des Collectivités Territoriales/National Agency for Local
Government Investment
Centre de Conseil Communal/Municipal Advisory Centre
Centre d'Études, de Documentation, de Recherches Et de Formation/Study, Documentation, Research
and Training Centre
Civil Society Organisation
Direction Nationale des Collectivités Territoriales/National Local Government Directorate
European Union
Swiss Association for International Cooperation
Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
Non-Governmental Organisation
Outil Informatisé de Suivi Évaluation/Computerised Monitoring and Evaluation Tool
Programme d'Appui aux Collectivités Territoriales (Local Government Support Programme)/Gesellschaft
für Technische Zusammenarbeit (German Technical Cooperation Agency)
Programme d'Appui à la Réforme Administrative et à la Décentralisation/Support Programme for
Administrative Reform and Decentralisation
Organisation Néerlandaise de Développement/Netherlands Development Organisation
Statistical Package for the Social Sciences
United Nations Development Programme
Vulnerable Social Group
Women In Law and Development in Africa
AEN. 2005. Code de financement AEN/OADS
Hawley, E. and E. McWhirter. 1991.
(document de travail). Bamako: Aide de
l'Église Norvégienne.
Empowerment in counselling. Journal of
Counselling and Development, 69:222-227.
AEN. 1984-2005. Documents de projets et
Katz, R. 1984. Empowerment and Synergy.
programmes sur le suivi évaluation à l'AEN
(document de travail). Bamako: Aide de
l'Église Norvégienne.
AEN. 2004. Plan quinquennal AEN 2005-2009.
Bamako: Aide de l'Église Norvégienne.
Prevention in Human Services, 3:201-226.
Lackey, A. S., Burke, R. and M. Peterson.
1987. Healthy communities: The goal of
community development, Journal of the
Community Development Society, 18:2, 1-17
Brun, O. and O. Sy. 2003. Document de référence
MATCL-SNV-Helvetas-PACT/GTZ. 2004. Outil
pour l'appui du PNUD à la gouvernance
démocratique et locale au Mali (2003-2007).
Bamako: United Nations Development
d'auto évaluation des performances des
collectivités territoriales. Bamako: Ministère
de l'Administration Territoriale et des
Collectivités Locales.
CEDREF-KONI Expertise. 2005. Etude sur la
Ministère de la Santé, des Personnes Agées
et de la Solidarité. 1998. Programme de Dévelop-
société civile pour une gouvernance
responsable dans les régions de Tombouctou,
Gao et Kidal, rapport final (document de travail).
Bamako: Centre d'Études, de Documentation,
de Recherches Et de Formation.
pement Sanitaire et Sociale (PRODESS)
1998-2002, MSPAS. Bamako: Ministère de la
Santé, des Personnes Agées et de la
CERCA. 2002. Rapport final sur la société civile
Ministère de l'Éducation Nationale. 1998.
au Mali, tome 1 analyse des résultats
(document de travail).
Programme décennal de Développement de
l'Éducation (PRODEC). Bamako: Ministère
de l'Éducation Nationale.
Cornwall, J.R. and B. Perlman. 1990.
Organizational entrepreneurship. Burr Ridge,
IL: Richard D. Irwin Inc.
Programme d'Appui à la Réforme Administrative et à la Décentralisation. 2005.Cadre,
Direction Nationale des Collectivités
Territoriales. 2003. Rapport d'étude diagnostique
dispositif et mécanismes de suivi évaluation
du PARAD. Bamako: Programme d'Appui à la
Réforme Administrative et à la Décentralisation.
pour l'élaboration d'un schéma national
opérationnel de transfert des compétences
et des ressources de l'État aux collectivités
territoriales. Bamako: Direction Nationale
des Collectivités Territoriales.
Floridi, M. et al. 2004. Rapport final de la mission
d'identification des mesures d'accompagnement de la société civile au Mali (Projet
9 ACP MLI 01). Bamako: European Union.
Gibson, C.H. 1991. A concept analysis of
empowerment. Journal of Advanced Nursing,
Projet Gouvernance Locale Déconcentration Décentralisation. 2005. Rapport d'étude
sur l'état des lieux de la déconcentration au
Mali. Bamako: Projet Gouvernance Locale
Déconcentration Décentralisation.
Rappaport, J., Hess R. and C. Swift (Eds)
1984. Studies in empowerment: Steps toward
understanding and action. New York: The
Hayworth Press.
Zimmerman, M.A. 1990. Taking aim on
Loi n° 0044 du 07/07/2000 déterminant les
empowerment research: On the distinction
between individual and psychological
concepts. American Journal of Psychology,
ressources fiscales des communes, des
cercles et des régions.
Government of Mali. 1993. Constitution de la
Loi n° 00-042 du 07/07/2000 et décret 00386/P-RM du 10/08/2000 portant création
République du Mali. Bamako: Government of
de l'Agence Nationale d'Investissement des
Collectivités Territoriales (ANICT) et fixant
son organisation et son fonctionnement.
Ordonnance n° 41/1959/PCG sur les associations.
Décret n° 05-268 P-RM de 1999 instituant les
Loi n° 93-008 du 11/02/1993 déterminant les
comités régionaux et locaux de planification
du développement.
conditions de la libre administration des
collectivités territoriales, modifiée par la loi
n° 96-056 du 16 /10/1996.
Décret n° 00-269/PM-RM du 08/06/2000
arrêté n° 2301/MATCL-SG du 26/07/2000.
Loi n° 95-034 du 12/04/1995 portant code des
collectivités territoriales en République du
Mali, modifiée par la loi n° 98-010 du
15/06/1998 puis modifiée par la loi n° 98-066
du 30/12/1998, déterminant les attributions
et les ressources des différents niveaux de
décision n° 001/DNCT du 22/08/2000, portant
création du Comité National d'Orientation
(CNO) des appuis techniques aux collectivités
territoriales, fixant l'organisation et les
modalités de fonctionnement du CNO et du
Centre de Conseil Communal (CCC).
Resource persons:
Fatoumata Cissé (AEN)
Email: [email protected]
Stéphanie Diakité (independent consultant)
Email : [email protected]
Useful addresses:
Aide de l'Eglise Norvégienne
BP 8031 Badalabougou, Bamako, Mali
Tel.: (+223) 222 51 50
Fax.: (+223) 222 62 74
Email: [email protected]
Hallassy Sidibé (independent consultant)
Email: [email protected]
Documentation, de
Recherches Et
Email: [email protected]
Koni Expertise (Consultancy Agency)
Email: [email protected]
5.3. Mali: Evaluating the impact of decentralisation
This study, 'Evaluating the impact of decentralisation', has been prepared by Djoumé Sylla and
Hamidou Ongoïba on behalf of the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) (see Annex
The authors describe UNCDF work analysing the impact of the decentralisation process in the
Timbuktu region of northern Mali. The UNCDF has been working to support decentralisation and
local governance in this area since the 1990s, with very specific objectives of poverty reduction. It
was within the framework of the project and a broader UNCDF initiative that the UNCDF and its
partners in northern Mali decided to design a conceptual framework for and then to analyse the
impact of decentralisation on various dimensions of poverty.
As the study shows, methods were a real challenge, bearing in mind the scarcity of statistical data
on local development and the lack of any reference situation.
5.3.1. Description of the region of Timbuktu
5.3.2. Conceptual framework of the local development programme
5.3.3. Framework for analysing the impact of decentralisation on poverty
5.3.4. Impact of socio-economic investment on poverty reduction
at the local level Food security Covering drinking-water needs Evaluation of the impact of action on poverty
5.3.5. National impact of project action
5.3.6. Conclusion
Annex I : Acronyms
Annex II : Bibliography
Annex III : Resource persons, online documents and useful addresses
Alleviating poverty is a priority of the Malian government, according to the
Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP), a reference document on Mali's
development policy for the period 2002-2006. The PRSP goal is to reduce
poverty from 63.8% to 47.5% by maintaining the growth of the gross
domestic product at an average rate of 6.7% between 2002 and 2006 and
by implementing a coherent set of measures.
These measures are to be implemented in the areas of institutional
development, improved governance and participation by all stakeholders162 in
the areas of sustainable human development, as well as better access to
basic socio-economic services, infrastructure development and support for
production sectors.
According to the PRSP, poverty is a widespread
phenomenon that, while afflicting rural areas in
particular, is increasingly to be found in larger
towns as a result of a deteriorating labour market
and migratory movement.
In the area of institutional development, a key
aim is, among other things, to build institutional
capacity so that public affairs are better
managed. This is to be done by implementing
decentralisation, strengthening the rule of law
and reforming public service.
Against this background, it is possible to assess
the extent to which immediate goals (effects) and
development goals (impact) have been met. By
monitoring and evaluating the effects and impact
of decentralisation on poverty, the following can
be achieved:
At a local level, action can be steered to help
poor populations better.
At the national level, the country's authorities
can capitalise on locally successful initiatives and
replicate them on a larger scale through wellinformed policies, strategies and programmes.
If the impact of decentralisation on poverty is to
be monitored and evaluated, three key concepts
have to be taken into account:
Decentralisation is an administrative system
in which roles and responsibilities are shared by
the state and local government, with the state
(which then has a supervisory role) transferring
powers and resources to local government (which
has actual responsibility) with a view to local
The impact of a measure can be defined as the
set of changes that it may initiate or bring about changes that would not take place without it.164
Poverty takes three forms: poverty of living
conditions or mass poverty is the first. This is
reflected by a situation in which people lack water
and electricity, education, health, employment,
housing, etc. The relative poverty levels given in
the introduction refer to this dimension.165 The
second is monetary poverty, where people lack
income, which is reflected by insufficient
consumption. The third is a poverty of potential
where people lack capital (access to land, credit,
equipment, etc.) and power.
Nowadays, poverty tends to be defined less
narrowly in terms of a lack of income and material
deprivation, but in a more subtle, multidimensional and qualitative way, including access
to and control of production resources, human
deprivation, a lack of resources for action and
power and, last, insecurity.166
The consensus currently emerging within development organisations is that democratic
governance paves the way for sustainable
development and poverty reduction. Local
governments, through their institutions and the
knowledge that local elected officers have of their
areas, have a paramount role to play in this new
162- Local government, community civil organisations, devolved services.
163- Sylla, D. (1999).
164- UNDP (2003).
165- For further details of the concept of poverty of living conditions and the calculation of poverty thresholds, see
PRSP (2002).
166- Bonfiglioli, A. (2004a).
paradigm as a result of their geographical and
political proximity to their populations.
This article looks at the conceptual framework of
the United Nations Capital Development Fund
(UNCDF) for local development action, the
analytical model used to monitor and evaluate the
impact of decentralisation on poverty and the
impact achieved at various levels.
The UNCDF has been working in the north of
Mali since 1983 in partnership with the United
Nations Development Program (UNDP).
The region of Timbuktu has an area of 497,926 km2
and accounts for 40% of the territory of Mali. It has
five ‘cercles’: Timbuktu, Diré, Gourma Rharous,
Niafounké and Goundam. It is made up of 52
municipalities (49 rural and three urban), 528
villages and 343 nomadic factions. According to
In drafting this work, it was necessary to draw
on the literature produced by the UNCDF167 on the
role of local government in the fight against
poverty, especially the various in-house and
external evaluation reports on the Support
Programme for Rural Municipalities in Timbuktu
(PACR-T) and our personal experience of these
issues. It is intended for specialists with an
interest in the problems of supporting local rural
governments, with a particular interest in
monitoring and evaluation.
projections based on data from the 1998 national
census, the region's population is around 550,000,
approximately 5% of the Malian population.
Approximately 80% of this population lives along
the river, where there are greater economic
opportunities, chiefly farming and stockbreeding in
a fragile and vulnerable environment. The average
number of people per household is 9.2, and poverty
levels are among the highest in the country.
When the local development programme was
being designed, one of the main hypotheses was
that there is a very close link between bad
governance, along with a lack of capacity and
responsibility on the part of local actors, and any
form of poverty. As a multi-dimensional
phenomenon (political, economic, social and
cultural), poverty requires an appropriate response,
and good local governance with better management
of natural resources seems to be one of the ways in
which access to basic infrastructure and public
services can be improved in a sustainable way. This
line of thinking has had a strong influence on the
UNCDF programme in Mali, which works in the
following areas:
institutional development to demonstrate
how important local institutions are in improving
the roles and powers of local institutional actors
and, as these actors become responsible for all
aspects of local development, in helping to
establish standards for their individual and
collective action;
capacity building to enable local institutional
actors to take on the new responsibilities
incumbent upon them as a result of
decentralisation, including information, awareness
raising and training initiatives for all stakeholders
(local elected officers, community leaders,
managers of devolved technical services, etc.);
financing local development to enable local
governments to gain access to the financial
resources that they are required to manage in
accordance with the principles of good governance.
Projects call upon the local development fund (LDF)
through which resources can be allocated to
support decentralised planning and deliver a basic
socio-economic infrastructure and public services
(health, education, transport, markets, etc.). The
LDF may also include a component for financing
activities geared towards improving natural
resource management and environmental
governance systems;
167- UNCDF is a multilateral international organisation and donor, set up in 1966 by Resolution 2186 of the United
Nations General Assembly for small-scale investment in the poorest (least-developed) countries.
delivering basic services and infrastructure,
on the grounds that improved local infrastructure
and service delivery are key components of any
strategy to reduce poverty and that local
institutions are best placed to realise the local
infrastructure. Local leaders may well be more
reactive to local problems with which they are
familiar and where they are, at the same time,
more accountable for their actions, and where the
institutions to which they belong are in principle
permanent, have legal capacity and can reach
local populations more readily.
In its approach to local governance, the UNCDF
also emphasises the desired impact of
decentralisation policies, along with the objective
of pilot programme replication by governments or
other donors so that the impact of such
programmes is wider ranging. The conceptual
framework of these projects is very much shaped
by the complexity of poverty. They have been
carried out in partnership with the UNDP, the
Government of Mali, the Belgian Survival Fund,
Luxembourg and the United Nations Volunteers
(UNV) programme.
As a result of the mechanisms and approaches
described above, all of UNCDF's local development
programmes (LDPs) are geared towards achieving
the following specific results:
combating poverty to help achieve the United
Nations Millennium Development Goals, through
social and economic infrastructure, and public and
community investment in keeping with the
wishes of local populations, and natural resource
involving civil society more closely in
pinpointing development priorities by promoting
structured dialogue with local elected officers;
making local investment schemes more
efficient, reactive and transparent by developing
participatory local planning, budgeting and
implementation procedures;
building the capacity of local governments and
community institutions in order to promote
transparent local institutional mechanisms
involving civil society;
locating and implementing innovative pilot
initiatives in the field of decentralised public
investment, which may subsequently be used to
shape national policy or provide the basis for
institutional reforms, or which may be replicated.
Measuring the impact of decentralisation on
poverty reduction is a 'path strewn with pitfalls'
because, among other things, situations with and
without decentralisation have to be compared
and measures connected with decentralisation
have to be separated out from action in other
The PACR-T analysis model differentiates between direct and indirect impact:
Direct impact is assessed at the institutional
level in the broad sense, among the international
donor community, national governments, local
governments and rural communities. It is
reflected by the creation of an environment (local,
institutional, etc.) favourable to decentralisation
and local development.
Indirect impact can be seen at an individual
(household) and collective (public service) level
through the provision of services that meet
Box 1: Framework for analysing the impact of decentralisation on poverty, as used by the
Practical innovations
Expected results of institutional
reforms: more capacities
Direct impacts
International community and donors:
policy, design, programming,
National Government: political, legal
and regulatory framework
Local governments: policy, communitybased planning, budgeting,
Rural communities: planning,
implementation, monitoring
Impact on poverty indicators:
reduction of food dependence
improved levels of literacy
access to drinking water
access to education
greater household income
Infrastructure and services: end result
5.3.4. IMPACT
Our focus here is on the impact of socioeconomic investment because the dimension of
poverty most widely experienced in the Timbuktu
region is precisely one of gaining access to basic
socio-economic services. In order to analyse this
question, the PACR-T team conducted an internal
evaluation based on the indicators of the project's
logical framework; this was followed, in March
2004, by an independent impact evaluation.
The main constraint that we encountered during
this exercise was the mediocre quality of the
information available on the reference
situation. In practice, some data were not
available largely because statistical information
was not broken down to the municipal level. To
remedy this situation, the project team tried out a
new qualitative surveying approach based on
'method consensus'168 so that beneficiaries'
perceptions of the programme's impact on
poverty could be assessed in a participatory way.
The other constraint we encountered was
sociological in nature. In most case studies,
there is no tradition of measuring the quantities of
products obtained. For instance, the volume of
168- CCP/PACR-T and PAVD/Timbuktu (2003).
water supplied by a well or a borehole is not
normally measured. Similarly, in types of farming
for own consumption, agricultural output and
(even less) yield, tend not to be estimated. In the
pastoral field, products are largely for own
consumption with the result that, in most cases,
their quantities are not measured. Moreover,
births and deaths are not systematically reported,
making it difficult to draw up reliable statistics on
which an impact evaluation can draw.
In order, therefore, to evaluate the impact of
action in supplying drinking-water, the evaluator has
to cross-reference data on the functional
infrastructure of drinking water, with data on
people's access to this water and data on satisfying
the need for drinking water, according to the
standard of 18 litres of water per day per inhabitant.
If there are no reliable data on births and deaths,
i.e., on population numbers, it is impossible to
make a reliable assessment on the impact a
measure has had in terms of meeting the standard.
Most local government investment in the
context of PACR-T comes under the heading of
food security and access to drinking water.
Method consensus makes it possible to
define perceptions of poverty from the point
of view of beneficiaries: methods of use
Local perceptions are used to rank the villages
and wards of each municipality, from the poorest
to the least poor. Within each municipality, the
various communities are then divided into three
poverty classes: the poorest 25%, intermediate
50% and the least poor 25%.
Participation by the various communities in the
planning process and the use of municipal
investment funds for each community are then
analysed to identify which of the three classes
has received the most investment.
For the purposes of this work, 14 of the 27
municipalities covered by the project were
chosen at random: three in the ‘cercle’ of
Timbuktu, five in the ‘cercle’ of Gourma Rharous
and six in the ‘cercle’ of Diré. Food security
A great deal of equipment and infrastructure has
been installed in the villages and wards where the
poorest communities are. This infrastructure is
helping to improve food security. Even though this
investment has not as yet brought about significant
changes in beneficiaries' living conditions, these
conditions nevertheless seem set to improve:
Controlled submersion works will ensure
agricultural output for families.
Irrigated village-perimeter developments
and motor-pump equipment have been financed
by municipalities at the request of the poorest
communities. These developments will place
some agricultural production on a secure footing.
Even though the newly developed area seems
derisory at present - a meagre 20 hectares for two
villages with over 2000 inhabitants - this represents
a major investment for the poorest communities.
Municipalities have provided four mills and
husking machines for the poorest female
population. This equipment is intended to lessen
the manual work involved in milling cereals and
husking paddy rice. Beneficiaries have confirmed
that this equipment has helped to alleviate
domestic tasks.
In the village of Amaragoungou in the municipality
of Séréré, the husking machine has helped to
reduce the distances that women normally had to
travel to mill or husk cereals, which was usually to
villages located over 5 km away.
The number of pastoral boreholes provided
will have an impact on food security because they
increase the viability of large expanses of
pastureland that had not previously been possible
to use. The availability of better pasture will
improve reproduction conditions for livestock and
therefore increase the number of animals. As
these animals will be better fed, they will also
produce larger quantities of higher quality meat
and dairy products. This new infrastructure seems
likely to have an impact on the lifestyles of
nomadic stockbreeders because they will not
have to travel so far to find water and pasture. Covering
drinking-water needs
Well boring accounts for a substantial proportion
of the development programmes run by the
UNCDF. These wells account for 47% of the 55
projects on infrastructure and equipment set in
motion to help those communities considered by
the people themselves (method consensus) to be
the poorest. This highlights the importance of
satisfying the needs for drinking water in these
communities. In most cases, these wells are for
both domestic and pastoral use. In 84.5% of cases
(i.e., 22 out of 26 wells), they are the only source
of drinking water for the beneficiary communities.
These achievements have already had a
perceptible impact. The wells have made it
possible to improve the state of health of the
local people and to reduce the mortality rate.
Consuming water from ponds and the river caused
disease, in particular infant diarrhoea. In many
cases, the people themselves were of the view
that the decrease in water-related diseases was
due to water from the recently bored wells. An
aside regarding issues of safety is that boring wells
in pond beds, after the surface waters had dried
up, frequently led to fatal accidents. Well delivery
is therefore limiting this dangerous activity.
The wells have also made it possible to reduce
the distance people had to travel to find water.
This means that they are expending less
energy and saving time that can be used for
other activities.
In the 21 villages and other areas that had no
source of drinking water before the municipal
wells were bored, water collection was a genuine
concern for women in the Songhai villages and
men in the nomadic factions. The average
distance travelled to find water was 7 km.
These developments are helping to make
nomadic populations more sedentary. Because
a lack of pasture and water was leading to cattle
losses, many nomadic factions were trying to
settle on their traditional lands. Those groups
considered to be the poorest - and benefiting
from the initial wells - have already started to
become more sedentary. In the PACR-T area, five
of the poorest nomadic fractions are in the
process of settling because a well has been
financed by their municipalities. If they become
more sedentary, they should be able to diversify
their economic activities and send children
(especially girls) to school, which will play an
important part in reducing poverty.
The environmental impact of wells can also
be seen. The increase in the number of wells has
made it possible to ease the pressure around
water points where over-pasturing was leading to
degradation of the natural environment. Access to
new, previously unused pastures is now possible.
In the short term, there is every chance that
natural vegetation could grow again in the old
animal-transit areas.
From an environmental point of view,
however, traditional extraction methods (largediameter wells) are major consumers of wood for
the production of the forks. In view of the number
of such wells, this practice has an adverse impact
on this already fragile ecosystem. The development
of new modern hydraulic structures may therefore
be a way of combating deforestation.
A large-diameter well requires about 10 largediameter tree trunks, which are rare in this predesert zone.
Installing hydraulic structures has already had an
impact on land disputes. There has been a
remarkable drop in the number of conflicts
around water points as there is less pressure on
each well. However, the provision of viable new
pasture zones is currently raising a problem with
land ownership. Areas that had not been openly
coveted in the past are now being claimed by
different nomadic factions, once they have been
improved by a well, and the resulting conflicts are
often bloody. Evaluation of the
impact of action on
An independent evaluation was conducted in
March 2004 and, to some extent, bears out the
effects described above. The purpose of this
evaluation was to assess the impact of action by the
project on poverty and policies and the replication
and sustainability of measures. The evaluation
method combined quantitative techniques
(household survey) and qualitative techniques (by
target actor group, key informers). The methods
used nevertheless had their limits: as the evaluators
assessed the success of the project on its own
merits and focused on municipalities benefiting
from PACR-T action, they were unable to compare
the effects on poverty between these areas and
other areas outside the scope of PACR-T action.
The household survey covered a sample of 200
households, made up of 5 to 7 people. The total
population of the “cercles” involved is 250,000.
Percentage of people surveyed who
thought that their total household
income had increased since the start
of the project
62,3 %
Percentage of people surveyed who
thought that the food security of their
household had improved since the
start of the project
72,5 %
As regards impact from empowerment, the
survey findings show a high level of participation
in decision making and project choices among all
social strata and, in particular, among women.
Attending meetings, however, does not necessarily
entail genuine participation in decision making. In
almost half of the cases, households reported that
decisions had been taken by traditional chiefs.
Moreover, local representatives had been elected in
only 20% of the cases; in most cases, they had been
appointed by village chiefs or local PACR-T
5.3.5. National impact of project action
Nationally, the PACR-T pilot experiment has had
a positive effect on, among other things, the
procedures used to implement the local
government investment fund administered by the
National Agency for Local Government Investment
(ANICT), especially as regards control of
investment by municipalities, distribution criteria
for investment funds and methods of payment
from the public exchequer.
Control of investment by municipalities
Among PACR-T's action procedures, an innovation
from the point of view of the financing of
investment was to make municipalities responsible
for all stages of the work. ANICT subsequently
used this same procedure nationally for all local
Distribution criteria for investment
In an attempt to distribute its investment funds
(local government [FICT] and special investment
funds [FSI]) in an equitable way among the
various municipalities, PACR-T used two criteria
that were subsequently used by ANICT:
demographic size and degree of remoteness.
Methods of payment of investment
funds from the public exchequer
PACR-T successfully tested the method of paying
municipal investment funds via regional payment
offices and public exchequer offices. This
mechanism was also taken up by ANICT to pay
entrepreneurs for their services on receipt of
payment orders from local government authorising
5.3.6. Conclusion
The monitoring and evaluation of a programme is
a key stage in any development process. For the
UNCDF, the quality of monitoring and evaluation
depends on a number of preliminary measures,
which include a reliable reference situation when
work is started, establishing a participatory
framework for planning and programming,
introducing participatory monitoring and evaluation
tools, conducting a mid-term evaluation and
evaluating impact within scheduled deadlines.
As there is not as yet any clear and convincing proof
of a linear relationship between decentralisation and
poverty169, monitoring and evaluation of support
programmes for decentralised authorities are crucial
in order to ascertain whether there are functional
links between these two processes - and what these
links may be.
In our experience, three lessons are worth
highlighting, i.e.:
However pertinent the framework and the
monitoring and evaluation tools of a project,
measuring its impact on poverty depends on the
availability and quality of locally generated basic
information (sector and multi-sector) and on
access to this information within a reasonable
time. Failing that, a method consensus may be an
alternative, although the information collected
might not be completely reliable.
169- Bonfiglioli, A. (2003) p. 49.
Evaluation of a measure's impact on poverty
should not be limited to the areas covered by that
measure. If it is possible to compare the results
with those of another area, the performance or
limits of the measure can be analysed or, at least,
bearing in mind that few areas receive no
support, seen in relative terms.
In most cases, in a precarious and poor area
such as northern Mali, there is a strong
correlation between the delivery of services
meeting the needs of local populations and the
reduction of conflicts within and between
At present, work to monitor and evaluate the
impact of decentralisation on poverty reduction
seems to be the concern of only researchers and
donors. This kind of work nevertheless enables
critical interpretation and is therefore a way of
looking with hindsight at the basic hypotheses
underpinning the approaches on which
development work is based. If decision makers in
developing countries were to make monitoring
and evaluation into a systematic management
practice, the living conditions of poor populations
would undoubtedly benefit.
Our advice to decision makers, therefore, is that
monitoring and evaluation should be used as a
learning tool, paving the way for participatory and
strategic management of development. Although
this may be problematic for national authorities
coping with the various pressures of day-to-day
management, a process of this kind could be
gradually introduced on a limited scale in a pilot
project (one or two public services) so that its
strengths and weaknesses can be assessed.
The UNCDF is in the process of forging
systematic links between the lessons learned
from evaluations and the design of new
measures, with the participation of the national
authorities of the countries being aided so that
their overall control of this process can be
Agence Nationale d'Investissement des Collectivités Territoriales/National Agency for Local
Government Investment
Fonds d'Investissement des Collectivités Territoriales/Local Government Investment Fund
Fonds Spécial d'Investissement/Special Investment Fund
Local Development Fund
Local Development Programme
Projet d'Appui aux Communes Rurales de Tombouctou/Support Programme for Rural Municipalities in
Projet d'Appui des Volontaires des Nations Unies à la Décentralisation/United Nations Volunteers
Decentralisation Support Programme
Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper
United Nations Capital Development Fund
United Nations Development Program
United Nations Volunteers
Bonfiglioli, A. 2003. Empowering the poor.
United Nations Capital Development Fund.
2002. Poverty reduction strategy paper
2002-2006. Bamako: Government of Mali.
Bonfiglioli, A. 2004a. Capitalisation des
experiences des PACR (T/M) au Mali
[Capitalising on PACR (T/M) experiences in
Mali]. United Nations Capital Development
2002. PRSP document.
Government of Mali.
Sylla, D. 1999. La perception des acteurs locaux
decentralised management of natural
Development Fund.
du processus de décentralisation au Mali
decentralisation process in Mali]. Thesis.
Louvain: Faculté Ouverte en Politique
Économique et Sociale - Université
Catholique de Louvain. 57p.
CCP/PACR-T and PAVD/Timbuktu. 2003; La
UNDP. 2003. Évaluation d'effet du processus de
maîtrise d'ouvrage communale et le ciblage
des communautés les plus pauvres
[Municipal responsibility and the targeting of
the poorest communities]. Bamako: Cellule
de Coordination du Projet, Projet d'Appui aux
Communes Rurales de Tombouctou.
décentralisation au Mali [Evaluation of the
effect of decentralisation in Mali]. United
Nations Development Program.
Bonfiglioli, A. 2004b. Lands of the poor: local
Resource persons:
Djoumé Sylla
Email: [email protected]
Hamidou Ongoïba
Email: [email protected]
Documents and links for
Online resources:
Useful addresses:
United Nations Capital Development Fund
Bamako, Mali.
Tel: (+223) 222 01 81
Fax: (+223) 222 62 98
United Nations
Bamako, Mali.
Tel.: (+223) 222 01 81
Fax: (+223) 222 62 98
The case studies and exchange of experiences
brought forward a wealth of lessons learned. The
following were particularly in evidence:
Joint design and testing
of tools needs time.
Designing and testing M&E tools that involve
different actors in decentralisation at the national,
regional and local levels takes time. When
working with councillors and local civil society
actors who have little or no experience with M&E
tools, they need to be allowed time to learn how
to identify, discuss and interpret indicators and
statistics. This is a key aspect of capacity building
for M&E of decentralisation and local governance.
Furthermore, many cases show that trust among
actors and working procedures are not built
overnight. In multi-ethnic and multi-lingual
contexts, time for translations is also required.
Otherwise the various stakeholders involved in
designing and testing a tool could feel
uncomfortable interacting and articulating their
Identification and finetuning of indicators is a
This holds true to some extent for most M&E
exercises. But it is particularly relevant for the
Decentralisation and local governance have a
process dimension. It is therefore unrealistic to
try to define too many indicators at the start of a
test-run of a specific M&E tool. Even once
formalised, it is important that a tool retain some
flexibility for fine-tuning, if necessary even
changing indicators to reflect the dynamic nature
of reform processes. For instance, a newly
established municipality may initially choose to
focus performance self-evaluation on key
functions, financial and resource management,
running the registry office and mastering the
process of development planning. Later, as more
responsibilities and resources are devolved,
performance self-evaluation may come to include
active fields as well, such as natural resource
management, promotion of local economic
development and provisioning of basic services
(e.g., health, education, water). New indicators
would then need to be defined and tested for
assessing performance in these fields.
Strategic alliances have
A number of our case studies emphasise the
importance of strategic alliances between donors,
development agencies, local government actors
and central authorities in testing and replicating
M&E tools for local governments. Undoubtedly, an
approach that is jointly tested, used in a variety of
local contexts and validated by the central
government will be better suited for broad,
nationwide dissemination and institutionalisation
than a small initiative tested in just a few localities
by only one actor. Strategic alliances can pay off in
terms of time as well, as they allow testing a tool
simultaneously in different parts of a country and
pooling of financial and human resources of
different agencies and institutions.
There are challenges
involved in managing the
dynamics of multistakeholder processes.
As the case study on the performance selfevaluation tool in Mali illustrates, those engaging
in multi-stakeholder exercises and strategic
alliances when designing and testing M&E tools
should be cautioned: the path from design to
widespread use may be long and fraught with
problems. If an approach is to be participatory and
draw on the support of a wide range of
representative actors, with different views and
opinions, contributions have to be carefully
managed. The assistance of an external
consultant or resource person experienced in
applying such an approach is a valuable, if not
necessary, asset.
M&E results need to be
followed up.
Most of the approaches and tools described
provide participants of the M&E exercises with
new insights on the performance and effects of
local governance. These include not only
information on positive changes and good
performance, but also on things that went wrong,
were only moderately productive or which need
to be changed. Care has to be taken that
corrective measures are firmly agreed and
followed up. Otherwise, local actors’ interest and
incentive to engage in M&E will fade. Besides, all
of the stakeholder groups will be challenged to
adapt their attitudes and ways of working so as to
dissolve any sources of misunderstandings or
distrust identified during M&E exercises.
M&E tools for use by stakeholders of local
governance and decentralisation are bound to
face many challenges. For instance, participants
might not be used to working together and might
therefore lack clarity on their respective roles,
rights and duties. The following are – amongst
others – areas of challenges highlighted in the
case studies drawn upon:
Dealing with historical
experiences and
administrative tradition.
After a long history of authoritarian rule, citizens
of many West African countries are unused to
posing questions about governance. In particular,
the rural majority of the population still tends to
be barely informed of their rights and duties as
citizens. They are not aware of or are hesitant to
make use of options for holding their elected local
representatives accountable. Even those who are
informed about their rights, for example, to attend
council sessions which are open to the public,
may not dare to attend or speak up if not explicitly
encouraged to do so. This reality has to be taken
into account when jointly designing M&E tools
with stakeholders of local governance.
Reducing cultural barriers
to constructive criticism.
The case studies illustrate that cultural barriers
have to be overcome when testing M&E tools.
Initially, the participants of (self-) evaluation
exercises in Mali were reluctant to voice criticism
directly. At public meetings in particular, open
criticism was not considered culturally
appropriate. The design and use of M&E tools
should gradually help actors to deal with such
hesitations, anchored as they are in culture and
local custom. This also means that a tool
successfully tested in one municipality may not
be used in exactly the same way in another. In
this regard, the assistance of a facilitator or
experienced user can help address cultural
barriers and create an atmosphere of trust.
Ensuring that design and
utilisation of M&E tools is
All of the methodological approaches and tools
presented in this brief have been promoted by
development organisations or developed with
their active support. Development organisations
have provided methodological advice and (co-)
financed facilitators, meetings and necessary
materials. In many cases, it is difficult to get a fair
idea of the cost of the design and utilisation of the
proposed M&E tools, including the ‘cost of
participation’. From the discussions at the regional
seminar it became clear that when designing a
tool too little attention has generally been given to
the cost of its continued utilisation by the local
government and other participating actors. The
challenge is therefore to devise methodologies
that can help local governments to upgrade their
M&E capacities and produce information at a cost
commensurate to their financial capacities and
the availability of local stakeholders to engage in
a joint M&E process.
Achieving sustainability of
capacity building efforts.
Sustainability has different dimensions in the
context referred to here. One dimension is
certainly the above-mentioned financial one.
Another is more institutional and linked to the
complexity of the proposed methodologies and
tools. Simple tools that are easily understood and
applied by actors with diverse educational and
professional backgrounds lend themselves to
more sustainable use than complex tools. This is
a clear lesson from the stocktaking exercise and
related discussions. Another factor to enhance
the institutional sustainability of an M&E tool –
apart from ownership of the methodology by local
actors – is validation and efforts by central
authorities to spread the use of a tool throughout
a country. This can help to institutionalise an M&E
approach that has proven successful and ensure
that local governments set aside or receive the
resources necessary for continued capacity
building and use of the tool.
instrumentalisation of
local M&E tools and
After an M&E tool has been successfully used at
the local level, attention must be paid to making
certain that utilisation continues to strengthen the
M&E capacities of local governments and
contributes to local self-governance. As the case
studies show, a participatory process of M&E tool
design and testing enables local governments to
gradually move towards conducting M&E
exercises on their own in a first phase. Then, in a
second phase, when local governments and other
stakeholders are employing the tool successfully,
the central state, donors and development
organisations may become interested in
standardising the information generated in locally
conducted M&E exercises with a view to
comparing data from different locations. Yet this
can run counter to the objectives of strengthening
autonomous local M&E capacity and empowering
actors at the local level, even if this trend does
help meet new national M&E goals.
Contributing to the
sharing of experiences
with capacity building for
monitoring and evaluating
decentralisation and local
Describing and analysing the capitalisation
process undertaken with different stakeholders in
several West African countries — together with
sharing the reflections and exchanges focusing on
the case studies — represents merely one
possible learning experience for actors committed
to change. It can certainly be worthwhile to share
one’s experiences, to compare them with those
of others, to seek other points of view and to
reflect on the implications before continuing one’s
activities. No matter what category of actor we
belong to, this process is directly related to a
shared desire that leads us to improve our
practices and those of others on the basis of our
experiences and lessons learned. But, for a
number of reasons (some of which have been
discussed above), it is not easy to build
knowledge that can be shared. Too often, this is
still viewed as ‘extra work’ (as it is seldom
planned or budgeted) and even as ‘undermining’,
since – be it at the individual or group level – it
requires participants to challenge themselves and
call into question their practices and convictions
as other stakeholders look on. Hence, the
importance for all of us to consider devoting our
efforts to establishing a tradition of exchange — a
dynamic of sharing between actors in
decentralisation and local government from a
multilevel development perspective.
Association of Malian 'Cercle' and Regional Authorities
African Evaluation Association
Association of French Volunteers
Association of Malian Municipalities
National Association of Benin Municipalities
National Agency for Local Government Investment
Community Health Association
Municipal Advisory Centre
National Coordination Unit (for Technical Support for Local Government)
Commissariat for Institutional Development
Community Development Resource Association
Canadian International Development Agency
International Study Centre for Local Development
Country Led Evaluation
Local steering committee
Development Assistance Committee
Financial and Administrative Directorate
Delegation of the European Commission
National Directorate for Local Government
National Statistics and Informatics Directorate
European Centre for Development Policy Management
International Forum for Development and Exchanges of Knowledge and Expertise Promoting
Self-sustaining Rural Development
Consultancy office 'training, moderation of workshop, expertise'
Geographical Information System
Ghana Poverty Reduction Programme of the Social Investment Fund/Social Investment Fund
German Technical Cooperation
Higher Local Government Council
Swiss Association for International Cooperation
Human Development Index
International Development Research Centre
Municipal Poverty Index (Indice de la Pauvreté Communale)
Royal Tropical Institute
Ministry of Territorial Administration and Local Government
Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation
Millennium Development Goals
Ministry of Social Development, Solidarity and Older People
Monitoring and Evaluation
Ministry of Public Service, State Reform and Institutional Relations (Ministère de la Fonction
Publique, de la Réforme de l'État et des Relations avec les Institutions)
Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and the Environment
Norwegian Church Aid
National Development Planning Commission of Ghana
Non-Governmental Organisation
Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation
Observatory of Sustainable Human Development
Computerised Monitoring and Evaluation Tool (database)
Support Programme for the Actors of Decentralisation
Support Programme for Rural Municipalities in Timbuktu
Local Government Support Programme
Support Programme for Administrative Reform and Decentralisation
Economic, Social and Cultural Development Plan
Institutional Development Programme
Municipal Development Partnership
Shared Governance Programme
National Support Programme for Local Government
Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper
Local Development Reflection and Discussion Network
Swedish International Development Agency
Basic Health Sector Information System for Municipalities
Participatory Local Impact Monitoring Methodology
Netherlands Development Organisation
'Solidarité, Union, Coopération' (Canadian NGO)
United Nations Capital Development Fund
United Nations Development Programme
United States Agency for International Development
Baser, H., P. Morgan (2008)
Capacity, change and performance. Study
Report. Maastricht: ECDPM.
Besançon M. (2003)
Good governance rankings: The art of
measurement. World Peace Foundation
Reports No 36. Cambridge, Massachusetts:
World Peace Foundation.
Bratton M., Coulibaly M., F. Machado (2000)
Popular perceptions of good governance in
Mali. Afrobarometer Working Papers n° 9
Comité de pilotage du PARAD (2007)
indicateurs du PARAD tranche variable N°1,
période du 02 au 12/04/2007, Arama E. P.,
Jourdam H. et Casas C. Bamako: PARAD.
FORANIM Consult (2006)
Rapport de l’atelier sous régional sur le
renforcement des capacités pour le suivi et
l’évaluation de la décentralisation et de la
gouvernance locale en Afrique occidentale,
Bamako 17- 18/05/2006. Bamako: MATCL/
www.snvmali.org /actus/seminbko052006.pdf
Graugnard G., Quiblier V. (2006)
Note de synthèse du module de formation:
Introduction à la capitalisation d’expériences.
F3E, Groupe initiatives. Lyon: CIEDEL.
Guijt I., J. Gaventa (1998)
Participatory monitoring and evaluation:
Learning from change. IDS Policy Briefing No
12. Brighton: IDS.
Hauck V. , Hasse O., M. Koppensteiner (2005)
EC budget support: Thumbs up or down?
ECDPM Discussion Paper No. 63.
Maastricht: ECDPM.
European Commission/EuropeAid (2005)
Proposition de financement du programme
d’appui à la réforme administrative et à la
décentralisation (PARAD). N° 9 ACP MLI 21.
Brussels: European Commission.
Hilhorst T., I. Guijt (2006)
Participative monitoring and evaluation: A
process to support governance and
empowerment at the local level. A guidance
paper. Amsterdam: KIT.
European Commission/EuropeAid (2007a)
Supporting decentralisation and local
governance in third countries. Tools and
Methods Series, Reference Document No. 2.
Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications
of the European Communities.
European Commission/Europe Aid (2007b)
Guidelines on the programming, design &
management of general budget support.
Tools and Methods Series, Guideline No 1.
Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications
of the European Communities. Luxembourg:
Office for Official Publications of the
European Communities.
Hutchinson P., A. La Fond (2004)
Monitoring and evaluation of decentralisation
reforms in developing country health
sectors: Conceptual framework and careful
study design will improve decentralisation
evaluations. The Hague: Partners for Health
Reform Plus.
Kaplan A. (1999)
The developing of capacity. Cape Town:
Keijzer N., Ørnemark C., P. Engel (2006)
Networking for learning: The human face of
knowledge management? ECDPM Policy
Management Brief no. 18. Maastricht:
Loquai C., S. Le Bay (2007)
Building capacities for monitoring and
evaluating decentralisation and local
perspectives. InBrief No 19. Maastricht:
Land T., V. Hauck (2003)
Building coherence between sector reforms
and decentralisation: Do SWAps provide the
missing link? ECDPM Discussion Paper No.
49. Maastricht: ECDPM.
Le Bay S., C. Loquai (2006)
Sharing local governance M&E tools: West
Africa shows the way. Capacity.org, issue 29,
September 2006. Monitoring and Evaluation.
Le Bay S., Loquai C., A. Keïta (2007)
Building capacities for monitoring and
evaluating local governance: Experiences
from a process of facilitating joint
stocktaking, analysis and learning by
stakeholders of decentralisation in West
Africa. Paper presented at the Fourth AfrEA
Conference 2007, 15-21 January, Niamey
Lopes C., T. Theisohn (2003)
Ownership, leadership and transformation:
Can we do better for capacity development?
New York: UNDP.
Loquai C., S. Le Bay (2005)
Building capacities for monitoring and
evaluating decentralisation and local
governance in West Africa. Facilitating
capitalisation and learning. Methodological
guidance for the preparation of case studies.
Joint activity SNV/REDL-ECDPM. Bamako:
Lusthaus C., Anderson G., Adrien M.-H., E.
Murphy (1995)
Institutional assessment: A framework for
strengthening organisational capacity for
IDRC’s research partners. Ottawa: IDRC.
Maina B. (2004)
Monitoring and evaluation of support to
decentralisation and local governance: Kenya
case study. ECDPM Discussion Paper 61.
Maastricht: ECDPM.
Massuangahe I.J. (2005)
Participatory monitoring & evaluation at
district and local level: Mechanisms,
evidences and practice (MEP). Consolidated
review of case studies, best practices and
regional experiences launched on GovNet,
PovNet, Evalnet and Net. Maputo: UNDP
MATCL, DNCT (2005)
Document cadre de politique nationale de
décentralisation (2005 – 2014). Bamako:
Capitalisation des acquis et de l’évolution
institutionnelle de la CCN. Bamako:
CENAFOD réseau.
Outil d’auto évaluation des performances
des collectivités territoriales. Bamako:
MATCL/SG (2008)
Directive no. 000313/MATCL-SG dated 23
January 2008. Bamako: MATCL.
Décentralisation et réduction de la pauvreté.
Rapport national 2003 sur le développement
humain durable au Mali. Bamako: MDSSPA.
Profil de pauvreté des communes au Mali:
Indice de pauvreté communale (IPC).
Bamako: MDSSPA.
Programme de développement institutionnel,
plan opérationnel 2005-2008. Bamako:
Morgan P., S. Taschereau (1996)
Évaluation des capacités et du rendement.
Quebec: CIDA.
Morgan P., Land T., H. Baser (2005)
Study on capacity, change and performance:
Interim report. Discussion Paper 59A.
Maastricht: ECDPM.
OECD (2005)
Paris declaration on aid effectiveness. DAC of
the OECD. Paris: OECD.
Ribot J.C. (2002)
African decentralisation: Local actors,
powers and accountability. Programme on
Democracy, Governance and Human Rights,
Paper no. 8. Geneva: UNRISD.
Schmidt P. (2006)
Budget support in the EC’s development
cooperation. GDI Studies, no. 20. Bonn:
German Development Institute.
Sébahara P. (2004)
Monitoring and evaluation of support for
decentralisation and local governance: A
case study on Burkina Faso. Inbrief No. 7.
Maastricht: ECDPM.
Simon K. (2004)
Theoretische Gründe für partizipative und
Selbst evaluierung von Verwaltungszusammenarbeit: Demokratietheorie, PolicyAnalyse und Institutionenökonomie. Pages
87-105 in Verwaltungen, Experten und Bürger
Evaluierung von Verwaltungszusammenarbeit mit Entwicklungsländern publié par K.
Simon. Baden-Baden: Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft.
Steinich M. (2000)
Monitoring and evaluating support to
decentralisation: Challenges and dilemmas.
Discussion Paper No. 19. Maastricht:
ECDPM. www.ecdpm.org/dp19
UNDP (1997)
OECD, DAC (2006)
Harmonising donor practices for effective aid
delivery. Volume 2. Paris: OECD.
Reyes C.M., L.E. Valencia (2004)
Poverty reduction, decentralisation and
community based monitoring systems. In
The evolving roles of CBMS amidst changing
environments. Proceedings of the 2004
CBMS Network Meeting, June 16-24, 2004,
Senegal and Burkina Faso. Manila: CBMS
Network Coordinating Team.
Capacity development. Technical Advisory
Paper 2. Management Development and
Governance Division. New York: UNDP.
UNDP (2003)
Évaluation d’effet appliquée au thème de la
décentralisation par Boniface C., Diabaté M.,
Fomba B., Oloko G. New York: UNDP.
UNDP (2006)
La gouvernance: le chaînon manquant. New
UNDP/DESA (2007)
Public governance indicators: A literature
review. New York: UNDP.
United Nations (1999)
Élimination de la pauvreté, renforcement des
capacités, ressources et financement,
rapport du Secrétaire général. Conseil
économique et social. Geneva: UN.
Watson D. (2005)
Monitoring and evaluation of capacity and
capacity development. A case study
prepared for the project ‘Capacity, Change
and Performance’. Discussion Paper No. 58B.
Maastricht: ECDPM.
Watson D. (2006)
Monitoring and evaluating capacity and
capacity development: Embracing innovative
practice. Capacity.org, issue 29, September
2006. Monitoring and Evaluation. Leiden:
Source : Loquai C., Le Bay S. (2005)
Chapter/section/issues to discuss and questions to reflect on
1. Introduction
Max. number of
Try to attract the attention of the reader : e.g., start with a question or a strong statement.
Interest and relevance of the experience described and analysed in the case study
Why do you think that the experience / approach presented in the case study is of relevance and
interest to actors of local governance in West Africa?
Why do you want to share your experience?
Who is the case study addressed to (target audience)?
Focus and scope of the case study
Which questions / issues are you going to elaborate on?
Which questions / issues of potential interest to the target audience are you not going to deal with,
because of lack of data/time/room for analysis?
Briefly explain how you are going to proceed (order of questions / issues to be dealt with in the
different chapters)
2. Methodology
How have you documented and analysed (capitalised) the experience described in the case study?
How did you proceed (methodologically)? Who/Which actors have been involved in the
capitalisation exercise, i.e., in collecting information, analysing the experience with stakeholders,
documenting the results of this analysis, preparing a draft and discussing it with stakeholders
involved in the capitalisation process, getting their feedback?
To what extent does the case study reflect the different perspectives and experiences of
actors/stakeholders of decentralisation, involved in the experience you describe? How did you take
account of the views and perceptions of the 'end-users' of the approach to M&E you describe in the
case study?
Think about illustrating different viewpoints and perceptions in boxes.
Which sources of information could you draw on? (e.g.: reports, meeting documents, interviews,
group discussions etc.)
Which difficulties do you encounter in the process of capitalisation (e.g.: lack of documented
information on specific questions, including the perspectives of different actors, mobilising
stakeholders and resource persons for a capitalisation of experiences)
Chapter/section/issues to discuss and questions to reflect on
3. Presentation and analysis of the approach
a) Notes on the context (cf. the point annex « country context below)
Max. number of
In which decentralisation/local governance context has the approach been developed/applied?
Please, limit yourself to the most important characteristics and of the decentralisation process and local,
i.e., to those necessary to understand the case study (do not elaborate on the history of decentralisation
etc., more detailed information can be placed in the annex 'country context')
What other factors have had an important influence on the approach?
Feel free to visualise information on the political and administrative context.
More detailed information relating to the context of decentralisation should be featured in the annex of
your case study or in the country overviews.
b) Motives, objectives and demand for the approach
Why/for what purpose has the approach originally been developed (conception phase)?
On whose demand/initiative? In response to whose needs?
What purposes does the approach serve now?
M&E approaches are designed for a specific purpose or even for several purposes, such as
improving decision making
promoting democratic control
building capacities for self-evaluation with actors of local governance
facilitating learning (on specific aspects of local governance/development)
tracing and assessing effects and impacts of decentralisation processes/activities of local
accounting to central government/donors/citizens for use of resources
The different actors involved in the process of designing and testing an approach may have different
views on purposes/objectives.
The relative importance of the different purposes/functions of an M&E -approach may also change in
the course of time.
Moreover, an M&E approach may also generate positive side-effects that are worthwhile mentioning
(e.g., strengthening collaboration and dialogue between different actors of local governance, improving
local statistics, sensitising officials/citizens on specific issues of local governance/development, etc.).
Chapter/section/issues to discuss and questions to reflect on
c) Actors, stakeholders, users and moderators
Which actors/stakeholders of local governance have been involved in:
conceptualising the M&E approach?
testing it?
adapting or improving it?
What have been their respective motives for participation and roles?
Who is in the drivers' seat? Who controls the approach? (see also the point on ownership below)
Who benefits from the information and analysis generated by this M&E approach? For whom has
the approach been developed? Who are the users? How have they been involved in the design and
testing of the approach?
Does the approach rely on moderators/facilitators? What is their role?
What kind of knowledge and skills do local actors need in order to (a) contribute to the
development of the approach; (b) to make use of the approach (its results)?
d) Assumptions, instruments, indicators and benchmarks
Which are the underlying assumptions of the approach?
Please, describe the main components and steps of the methodology of the approach.
What kind of indicators and benchmarks does the approach rely on? (Which aspects of local
governance do they refer to? Do they try to measure results (output/products and services), effects
(outcome), or impact?
Please, give examples of the different types of indicators.
How and by whom have these indicators/benchmarks been defined? How (frequently) are they
monitored and by whom? Who is involved in the collection, processing and analysis of data and
the restitution of findings? What are the feedback-loops?
e) Procedures, formalisation, institutionalisation and complementarities with existing
M&E instruments and systems
At what level and how widely is the approach used?
To what extent is the approach institutionalised? Which institutions/procedures does it rely on?
What institutional innovations does the approach introduce? Please, visualise institutions, flows of
information, collaboration between different actors and stakeholders!
Does the approach complement existing M&E devices/systems (e.g., systems at the national level,
in neighbouring districts/municipalities)? Have links have been developed?
Max. number of
Chapter/section/issues to discuss and questions to reflect on
Max. number of
f) The process of developing and testing the approach
Has the approach been newly developed or 'just' adapted to a new context?
Please, describe the different stages in developing, testing and improving the approach. What
challenges and problems have been encountered? How have they addressed these challenges?
What interesting insights and knowledge have the different actors/stakeholders gained in the
process of developing and testing the approach? What have they learned?
How have they made use of these experiences and this new knowledge in the practice of local
What human, financial and other resources went into developing and testing the approach? Who
has provided them?
What kind of external assistance have development organisations/consultants provided in the
course of the conceptual and test phase? What has been their role?
g) Capacity building, political and administrative culture (see the methodological note)
Please, discuss the objectives and effects of the M&E approach with regard to the different aspects
of capacity building listed (classification of approaches).
How does the approach contribute to strengthening local capacities? What are the challenges in
strengthening the capacities of different actors of local governance?
How and to what extent does the M&E approach you present aim to change political and
administrative culture?
h) Ownership, sustainability, adaptation and replication of the approach
Who has the intellectual ownership of the approach? Who « controls » the related knowledge and
How can the users of the approach take ownership of the approach? Is the approach accessible to
all those interested in using it and in what form? Are their guides/toolkits, training courses,
possibilities to be trained on the job and how accessible are they to the potential users?
Here, the term sustainability does not refer to the « conservation » of instruments/approaches that
might have proven useful at a given time. It rather refers to the capacity of adaptation, the institutional
sustainability especially with regard to its resource requirements/cost.
Will the users of the approach be able to adapt the approach to their changing needs and the
dynamics of the process of decentralisation and local governance?
Will they be able to mobilise the necessary skills, develop the required organisational capacities
and take over the costs? Do they have an interest/incentive to continue using the approach?
Has the approach been designed with a view to replication?
Has it already been replicated? If so, please give examples.
Chapter/section/issues to discuss and questions to reflect on
Max. number of
i) The results of the approach and lessons learned
What use has been made of the information/findings generated?
What has changed due to the fact that the M&E approach has been tested/is being used?
What lessons have the different stakeholders of the approach learned in the process?
What are the strengths and weaknesses of the M&E approach you are presenting and related
What advise would you give to colleagues/organisations/local governments who want to engage in
a similar exercise?
4. Conclusions and perspectives
Summarise the most important points, lessons learned and messages you want to get across
Provide recommendations to policy makers at the national and local level and other actors of
decentralisation (civil society, private sector, NGOs, development agencies, donors)
Give an outlook on challenges or potential of the approach, e.g., with regard to necessary
adaptations or institutionalisation of the approach, replication in other locations, use of the
data/insights generated etc.
Bibliographic references: Literature and other material you used for preparing the case study
(documents, pedagogical material, protocols, guides, maps, legal texts, newspaper articles, radio
programmes etc.). Please, quote references as proposed in the style-guide!
List of interviews/discussions.
Contact details of institutions/resource persons (facilitators, key stakeholders) who have a
good knowledge of the approach and are willing to provide further information to interested
readers upon request).
In order to help the participants of the seminar
and the reader of the case studies to understand
the context of decentralisation and local
governance in each country, we propose to group
information from the same country in an overview
paper. This paper should providing basic
information on the process and state of art of the
decentralisation process in this country. We
would therefore like to ask one team per country
to provide us with the following information:
Annex to the « country-chapters »
1. The context of decentralisation and local government:
1 table with information on the sequencing of the process (e.g., featuring dates of key policy
decisions, the approval of important legal texts, municipal elections etc.)
1 scheme visualising the local government system and the relations between different actors of
local governance
2. Further reading
bibliographic references to other approaches for M&E of decentralisation and local governance
than the ones described in the case studies (e.g., tools/systems for monitoring effects and impacts
of decentralisation at the macro-level, approaches used by other organisations).
Max. Pages
Ag Aboubacrine Ahmed is now working as monitoring and evaluation coordinator with CARE
International in Burundi. He is a statistician specialising in decision-making aids. He was CARE’s
regional monitoring and evaluation coordinator in Mali up to 2005.
Asanga Christian has substantial experience in the area of forestry and natural resource in
Cameroon. He has helped to develop a number of local governance projects (currently for Helvetas Swiss Association for International Cooperation) and to place national decentralisation and participatory
natural resource management policies on an operational footing.
Caspari Ulrich has worked for the German Development Service (DED) in Mali. Until mid 2006, he
was a DED technical advisor on local planning to the Local Government Support Programme (PACT) of
the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ). He is currently working for this organisation in Benin.
Cissé Fatou is currently working for the Norwegian Church Aid (NCA). She has a postgraduate
diploma in modern literature and works as an adviser for the NCA’s National Programme with
responsibility for the ‘Civil Society for Responsible Governance’ and ‘Education in the northern regions
of Mali’ programmes. Since 1987, she has been highly involved in project design, monitoring and
evaluation and has taken part in a number of studies conducted chiefly in the northern regions of Mali.
Coulibaly Abdoul Karim, a statistician and demographer by training, is currently the coordinator of
CARE International’s monitoring and evaluation unit in Mali. He has wide-ranging experience in the
field of monitoring and evaluation and is the author of various publications on project evaluation and
socio-demographic studies.
Dao Dramane has a degree in finance and accounting and is an adviser at the Netherlands
Development Organisation (SNV-Mali), responsible for the issues raised by the transfer of powers and
resources to local authorities. In the past he has worked for various health organisations: as an SNV
adviser to the Regional Directorates for Health and Social Development in the context of Mali’s Health
and Social Development Programme (PRODESS) and as a manager of a number of local and regional
health programmes for government departments.
Dery Bruno B. is a Deputy Director with the National Development Planning Commission of Ghana.
He currently heads the decentralised M&E Division and is directly responsible for developing the
District M&E Framework. He had previously done research and development work with international
organisations in several countries.
Diarra Konaré Rokia is currently head of the Support Programme for Municipalities and Grassroots
Organisations (PACOB) of CARE International in Mali. A biologist by training, she has a wide range of
experience in the development field in decentralisation, micro-finance and participatory approaches.
Dorway Audrey is a development practitioner who is employed with the German Technical
Cooperation (GTZ) as a development planning specialist. She has experience relating to the local
government system in Ghana, and was a team member responsible for the nationwide
implementation of the poverty profiling, mapping and pro-poor programming exercise.
Dumont Florence is a tropical geographer (University of Rouen, France) and has been working for
some years as a freelance consultant in Mali. Specialising in the creation of Geographical Information
Systems and backup for their users, she is currently assisting the SNV and its partners with the design
and use of a GIS for the Koulikoro region. In the Mopti region, she is also assisting the regional
assembly and the team of an NGO, the New East Foundation (NEF), in this same field.
Floquet Anne, an agronomist by training, with a doctorate in agro-economics (University of
Hohenheim, Germany), is a researcher. She has many years of experience in Africa. At present, she is
working in Benin with FIDESPRA (International Forum for Development and Exchanges of Knowledge
and Expertise Promoting Self-sustaining Rural Development). She is responsible for designing and
implementing the SILP (Participatory Local Impact Monitoring Methodology) and for various research
and development programmes, promoting public control and research into poverty.
Hilhorst Thea is working for the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) at the economic development section.
She has specialised for a number of years in rural decentralisation and local governance. She
coordinates action-research projects throughout West Africa for SNV. In particular, she initiated the
project to develop tools facilitating partnership work in the area of public health, along with a potential
strategy to promote synergies between projects in municipal areas.
Ischer Markus has been a Helvetas (Swiss Association for International Cooperation) team
coordinator in various African countries. He is currently working in western Cameroon on a programme
supporting decentralisation, build municipal capacity and managing knowledge.
Keïta Mamadou Yoro is a statistician and regional coordinator of monitoring and evaluation for CARE
International in Mali. Currently working on PACOB (Support Programme for Municipalities and
Grassroots Organisations), he has worked for many years in the monitoring and evaluation field.
Le Bay Sonia, a tropical geographer by training, is an adviser on local governance, planning,
monitoring and evaluation at the SNV in Mali. During the twenty-odd years she has been working in
West Africa, she has helped to design several participatory monitoring and evaluation systems and to
implement development programmes under bilateral cooperation arrangements and for international
non-governmental organisations such as the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ), the Swiss Agency
for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the
World Conservation Union (IUCN), CARE International, etc.
Lodenstein Elsbet is a sociologist and SNV advisor. Currently based in Ghana, she is among others
responsible for documenting and assessing experiences in planning, local resource mobilisation and
health service financing. From 2002 to 2005, she worked in Mali in the field of municipal planning,
monitoring and evaluation, and the decentralised management of health services. She has contributed
to a variety of publications examining the problems of decentralisation and the health sector.
Maïga Moussoulimoune Y. is an economist and adviser to the Support Programme for the Actors
of Decentralisation (PAAD) of the Swiss Association for International Cooperation (Helvetas) in Mali.
He is responsible for capacity building among the elected officers and staff of municipalities.
Previously, he occupied various senior posts in the area of adult training at GTZ (German Technical
Cooperation) and the Centre for Audio-visual Production Services (CESPA).
Mongbo Roch, an agronomist by training with a doctorate in socio-anthropology (University of
Wageningen, Netherlands), is a researcher and lecturer at the Faculty of Agronomic Sciences of the
University of Abomey-Calavi in Benin. In 1990, with colleagues, he set up FIDESPRA as an institution
for adult education and practical research (International Forum for Development and Exchanges of
Knowledge and Expertise Promoting Self-sustaining Rural Development). He is currently FIDESPRA’s
coordinator. He has been taking part in pilot schemes for public control of public action at both the local
and national level.
Ongoïba Hamidou, an agricultural engineer and holder of a postgraduate diploma in development
studies from the University of Geneva, was the coordinator of the Support Programme for Rural
Municipalities in Timbuktu (PACR-T), a joint UNCDF, UNDP and Government of Mali project. At present,
he is working as a UNCDF consultant and resource person in the field of local governance in West,
Central and East Africa.
Ouédraogo Zeinabou, who has a business management diploma, is based in Niamey and is
currently responsible for gender mainstreaming and the promotion of women’s rights and women’s
leadership in the fields of decentralisation and local governance at the SNV.
Samaké Bakary, who holds a doctorate in agricultural engineering (Martin Luther Halle-Wittenberg
and Leipzig Universities, Germany), is an agricultural computer scientist specialising in statistics and
database analysis and management. Following training in cartography and GIS at the Institute of Urban
and Regional Planning of the Technical University of Berlin, Germany, he has been managing the GIS
of the Local Government Support Programme (PACT) of German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) in Mali
since 2003.
Sène Gaoussou, who has a Master’s degree in psycho-sociology, has been based in Zinder for the
last three years and offers support for governmental, non-governmental and private-sector
organisations in the fields of decentralisation and local governance. During a previous posting in Mali,
he helped, on behalf of SNV and as an independent consultant, with the design of several support
tools for local authorities and contributed to a number of publications.
Sylla Djoumé, a socio-economist by training, is currently local development adviser at the UNCDF
regional office in Dakar. Previously in Mali, he was a programme manager at UNCDF, a director of the
NGO ‘Association d’Appui à l’Auto Développement Communautaire’ (AADeC) and adviser to the
Ministry of Territorial Administration and Local Government (MATCL).
Sylla Ibrahima, planner, manages a consultancy office in Mali specialising in administrative and
financial management, evaluation, training of the actors of decentralisation and organisation of
workshops. Previously, he coordinated a decentralisation support programme in southern Mali for
Helvetas (Swiss Association for International Cooperation) for six years.
Tamini Jacques, agricultural engineer, is currently an adviser for Helvetas (Swiss Association for
International Cooperation). Specialist of southern Mali, he is responsible for forging links between the
actors of decentralisation and for supporting consistent development policies at municipal and local
level. Previously, he was a research assistant and project manager for national bodies.
Tiénou Osé is an economist and has been working in local development for fifteen years in Mali. He
runs a municipal advisory centre that provides advice and support for local governments. Previously,
he was head of the monitoring and evaluation division of GTZ’s project, Promotion of Local Initiatives
(PRODILO), and has worked as a consultant for a number of organisations (the Micro-Development
Programme of the Canadian International Development Agency and Plan International).
Toonen Jurrien is a doctor working for the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), in Amsterdam, coordinating
a number of health-systems development projects and activities. These include institutional aspects,
human resources, financing of health, monitoring and evaluation, and community participation. Since
1992, he has contributed to the development of the public-health sector in Mali, in particular when a
national policy on human resources was being drawn up and the national health programme
(PRODESS-I) was being evaluated.
Woltermann Silke, doctor of economic sciences, is responsible for the strands of local finance and
support for the monitoring and evaluation structures of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP)
within the Decentralisation Support and Municipal Development Programme of German Technical
Cooperation (GTZ) in Benin. In this context, she is helping the Observatory of Social Change (OCS) to
develop and use the SILP (Participatory Local Impact Monitoring Methodology).
Decentralisation and local
As in the rest of West Africa, the first steps
towards decentralisation date back to the colonial
period and the communes de plein exercice
(CPEs), i.e. municipalities with full rights170, but
financial and administrative decision-making
powers continued to be vested in the authorities
of the central state. From 1960 onwards, when
there was national sovereignty, there was a
certain willingness to break from the excessive
centralism. It was however only relatively late that
the decentralisation laws were actually applied,
even though governments were fairly keen to
break away from excessive centralism.
Shaped by Marxist-Leninist policies, the
administrative divisions and the 1981 reform171
based on democratic centralism did not enable
decentralisation to make much progress. Although
the State created provinces and districts, it kept
control of them through the organs of the single
party. However, new social and professional strata
started to exercise power during this period, and
local organisations were able to democratically
appoint their representatives to power, from the
village or city district to the Revolutionary National
Democratic decentralisation
Starting in 1990, the National Conference opened
up an era of democratic transition. The principle of
administrative decentralisation as a system of
territorial administration was adopted and included
in the constitution.172 The power of the executive
was counter-balanced by a presidential-type
system along with such institutions as the National
Assembly, Constitutional Court, Supreme Court,
etc. However, the draft decentralisation laws drawn
up in 1993 were not enacted until January 1999173
and March 2000.174 Decentralisation policy was not
really put into practice until the local and municipal
elections of December 2002 and January 2003 and
the legislative elections of March 2003, followed by
the installation of municipal councils.
Local government and territorial
The aim of decentralisation is to make populations
more responsible for managing their own local
affairs, thereby consolidating grass-roots democracy
and promoting sustainable development. The
constitution enshrines the freedom of councils
elected by universal suffrage to administer local
governments and, in their turn, to elect the major
and deputy mayors.175 There is no provision within
these councils for the representation of civil society
or traditional leaders. Power can be exercised only
by those who are democratically elected. The
municipality has a legal personality and budgetary
autonomy, but it is supervised by the 'préfet' (state
representative at the level of departments), who
has the right of prior scrutiny of the legality of the
most important council measures and who can
bring them in line with State measures.
170- Law 55-1489 of 18 November 1955 on municipal reorganisation in French West Africa, covering the CPEs of PortoNovo, Cotonou, Ouidah, Abomey and Parakou.
171- Law 81-009 of 10 October 1981.
172- Adopted on 11 December 1990.
173- Law 97-028 of 15 January 1999 organising the administration of the Republic of Benin; Law 97-029 of 15 January
1999 organising municipalities in the Republic of Benin; Law 98-005 of 15 January 1999 organising municipalities
with special status and Law 98-007 of 15 January 1999 setting out a financial system for municipalities in the
Republic of Benin.
174- Law 98-006 of 9 March 2000 setting out a local and municipal electoral system in the Republic of Benin.
175- Articles 150 and 151 of the Constitution.
The fields in which competence is transferred to
municipalities in decentralisation are economic
development, planning, housing, town planning,
infrastructure, equipment, transport, environment,
hygiene, sanitation, nursery and primary education,
literacy, adult education, health, social and cultural
activities, commercial services and economic
investment. Municipalities with special status are
also responsible for general education, vocational
training, transport and traffic, security and
communications. The law also requires municipalities
to take account of environmental issues in the
context of local development.176
Table 1: Administrative and Territorial Organisation
12 departmentsa
77 municipalitiesb
Deliberating body
Consultation and
Coordination Committee
Executive body
Municipal Council
546 districts
District Council
District Chief
3,828 villages
Village Council
Village Chief
Source: MDP. 2004. Decentralisation in Africa. Observatory on Decentralisation. Cotonou: Municipal
Development Partnership.
a. Administrative divisions without legal personality or financial autonomy (decentralised level).
b. Including three municipalities with special status replacing 'sous-préfectures' and urban circumscriptions
(cities of Cotonou, Porto-Novo and Parakou).
Implementing administrative reform
In Benin, decentralisation is part and parcel of
administrative reform and is steered by the
Ministry of the Interior, Public Security and Local
Government (MISPCL) with the assistance of
three separate structures:
The Mission de Décentralisation (MD)
(Decentralisation Mission)177 has been in operation
since June 1998. Answerable to the Ministry for
Territorial Administration, it is a joint ministerial
think-tank that makes proposals to the
government on drafting the legislative and
regulatory framework. These proposals have been
translated into a law on local government (code
des collectivités territoriales) and fed into reform
policies and strategies. The MD has also designed
administrative and technical working tools for the
new local governments and steers joint ministerial
The Maison des Collectivités Locales (MCL),
the Local Government Centre178, has been in
operation since December 1997. Set up to prepare
the way for municipalities and to support their
development, its main task is to enhance the
management ability of municipalities through
training, the development of decision-making aids
and the steering of a municipal counselling and
advisory network.
The Direction Générale de l'Administration
Territoriale (DGAT) (Directorate General for
Territorial Administration) is a permanent body of
the MISPCL. Its traditional role is to draw up the
State's general policy on territorial administration. It
is now responsible for implementing the changes
taking place within the central and decentralised
administration. It has two technical directorates.
The Direction de l'Administration de l'État (DAE),
the State Administration Directorate, is responsible
for questions relating to decentralisation and
territorial administration and is also responsible for
municipal supervision. The Direction des
Collectivités Locales (DCL), the Local Government
Directorate, works directly with municipalities and
is responsible for questions relating to
decentralised cooperation, local finance and
transfers of powers to municipalities.
176- Framework Law 98-030 of 12 February 1999 on the environment in the Republic of Benin.
177- Created by Decree 97-254 of 23 May 1997.
178- Public administrative establishment created by Decree 97-272 of 9 June 1997.
All these bodies meet regularly within the
Cellule de Concertation et du Suivi de la Réforme
de l'Administration Territoriale (CCSRAT), the
Territorial Administration Reform Consultation and
Monitoring Unit, chaired by the head of cabinet of
Achievements and challenges of
Municipalities have had a long period of
gestation as a result of the long-winded
procedure to adopt the legal texts and to organise
elections. With the transition from a system
without local government to a system of 77
municipalities, the main issues raised by
decentralisation include the following: how the
sharing of power and resources between the
State and the other public actors, including local
governments, can be politically managed, and
how the resulting administrative and financial
management can be organised. As the State is
the key actor in decentralisation, municipal
development depends on its support.
The creation and continued work of the MCL as
a 'supporter' and the MD as a 'spearhead' of
decentralisation is a major asset for the process
and for the new political entities at the local level.
This holds also true for the Association Nationale
des Communes du Bénin (ANCB), the National
Association of Benin Municipalities, which
represents the interests of the municipalities.
Donors are also continuing to give priority to
supporting the decentralisation process, which
will undoubtedly help to achieve one of the
government's four development goals: 'improving
governance and supporting institutional reform'.
The existence of a legislative and regulatory
framework forms a solid foundation for the whole
process. New decrees are to be drawn up so that
any changes in the context can be taken into
account. The regulatory arsenal is to be
supplemented on important issues such as intermunicipal arrangements, the local development
tax, the municipal investment fund, etc.
The transfer of competencies of the central
state to the municipalities and the modalities for
this transfer are clearly set out in the provisions of
the decentralisation laws. The powers of the new
local governments are clearly defined in each
particular field: own, shared, or delegated
powers. It remains to be seen whether the pace
of growth of municipal powers is adequate,
especially in a context in which municipalities are
not very stable, because they can easily become
insolvent and mayors are unable to resolve
internal conflicts.
Training the members of the new municipal
authorities is a real challenge because human and
technical capacity is lacking in most municipalities,
which are finding it difficult to discharge their
statutory powers and carry out their local
development tasks. The sub-municipal level is not
functioning satisfactorily, either, especially the
district councils, which have yet to come into
operation because the democratic elections of
village or district councils have not been held.
Meeting twice a year, the Conseil Départemental
de Concertation et de Coordination (CDCC)
(Departmental Consultation and Coordination
Council) supports consultation between the 'préfet'
(as the supervisory authority), mayors and their
deputies and representatives of the union of
producers, the consular chamber and the federation
of parents' associations at the departmental level.
Consultation of the CDCC on the municipal
development programmes and their coherence
with national programmes is mandatory.
'Préfets' have the task of scrutinising the legality
of measures taken by municipal bodies. A legality
monitoring committee, made up of the 'préfet's'
technical departments and deconcentrated
services, studies measures taken by municipalities
and submitted for approval by the 'préfet'. Although
new staff have been appointed to 'préfets' to help
them with assistance and advice for municipalities,
problems have arisen because there is little
coordination of the municipal assistance provided
by decentralised State services and there are not
enough appropriately skilled staff.
The Conférence Administrative Départementale
(CAD) (Departmental Administrative Conference),
a body proposing, standardising and monitoring
the work and activities of decentralised State
services at the departmental level, meets once a
month. Its members are the 'préfet', the
Secretary General and the heads of decentralised
technical services of the State (services
déconcentrés) State companies and offices.
From the point of view of both their own
resources and those transferred from the State,
the resources of the municipalities are
inadequate. The Commission Nationale des
Finances Locales (CONAFIL) (National Local
Finance Commission) is responsible for proposing
the amount of overall operating packages,
equalisation payments, compensation payments
and assistance funds to the Minister. It has been
set up but is not yet operational. The law setting
out a financial system for municipalities provides
for the creation of an inter-municipal solidarity
fund, which could provide the government with
an overall investment package, but this has yet to
be set up.
Another challenge that needs to be taken up is the
involvement of civil society as a municipal partner.
The democratisation of society has fostered the
gradual emergence of civil organisations, which are
increasingly being asked to help with devising and
implementing the general lines of development
policy. There are mechanisms for dialogue in the
context of national development, such as the
Economic and Social Council (a body representing
all components of society) or Parliament
(representing the people), but civil society needs to
organise if it is to show the extent of its
commitment to the process that is underway.
The context in which decentralisation is taking
place seems to have improved markedly since the
last presidential elections in March 2006. This can
be seen from several statements by the Head of
State. In his view, the acceleration of the transfer
of powers, institutional support for new
municipalities, the genuine functioning of political
and administrative bodies at village and city level,
the promotion of inter-municipal systems and the
establishment of the inter-municipal solidarity
fund offer a measure of the improvement in
administrative decentralisation. He has also said
that 'the third main strand of the Government's
development policy is grass-roots development,
one of whose management tools is
decentralisation. The Government, together with
municipalities, undertakes to speed up, organise
and support local development in order to create
regional development poles. The State will
encourage neighbouring municipalities to work
together on joint socio-cultural, economic or
ecological criteria to bring about shared areas of
development in a context of intermunicipal
Even though there are still some problems from
an administrative point of view, opportunities exist
for municipalities, as they are responsible for local
development. The various actors will have to grasp
these promising opportunities if progress is to be
made with decentralisation in genuine partnership
with the State. A move towards more collaborative
forms of governance has been the recent creation
of a High Commission for Concerted Governance
(Haut Commissariat à la Gouvernance Concertée HCGC). This new institution aims “to bring the
government and the population closer together
and deepen democracy and good governance in
179- Speech given by the Head of State on 31 July, 2006, at the occasion of the 46th anniversary of independence of
180- cf. Council of Ministers of 04/12/2007, Decision N°26/PR/SGG/Com/Extra on the endorsement of a decree
establishing the HCGC.
Decentralisation and local
Although the systems of decentralisation that
they introduced differed, the French and British
administrations launched the first experiments
with municipalities in Cameroon. The French
authorities started down the path of
‘municipalisation’ in 1941, leading to 71 mixed
urban municipalities and mixed rural municipalities
in 1955. A different kind of ‘municipalisation’, in
the form of ‘native authorities’, took place in
parallel in western Cameroon. Starting in 1932,
‘local governments’ started to take shape. There
were 30 such councils in 1967.
Local government and territorial
The 1974 reform181 ended this municipal dualism
by establishing two types of municipality: urban
municipalities (some of which are subject to
special rules) and rural municipalities. The
executive functions of urban municipalities are the
task of a mayor elected from within the municipal
council and of an authority appointed by the
government in the case of special-status urban
municipalities and rural municipalities. The number
of municipalities is continuing to grow: from 174 in
1977 to 362 at present.
A 1987 law182 created a new kind of urban
community to cover the major conurbations of
Douala and Yaoundé. Subdivided into urban
boroughs, these communities are administered
by a community council made up of elected
members from the councils of the boroughs. The
executive is appointed by the supervisory
authority. In 1992 a law183 established that mayors
of rural municipalities were to be elected.
In 1996, with the reform of the constitution,184
decentralisation moved into a new stage with the
conversion of the provinces into regions. A senate
was also created to ensure the parliamentary
representation of local governments. These
reforms have yet to come into force.
The decentralised authorities that have financial
autonomy and status as legal entities are the
region and the municipality. The 10 regions cover
the area of the former provinces. Each has a
regional council with a chairman. Regional
councillors are either representatives of the
divisions elected by indirect universal suffrage or
representatives of traditional leaders elected by
their peers, and have a term of office of five
years. Municipalities are administered by
municipal councils elected by direct universal
suffrage. A mayor is then elected from the
The supervisory system in force in Cameroon is
that of ‘prior scrutiny’. This power is vested in the
minister responsible for territorial administration
and, under his supervision, in the ‘gouverneurs’
(governors) and ‘préfets’ (divisional officers). The
supervisory authorities have a power of sanction
and scrutiny over municipal organs and their
actions and can approve, cancel, replace,
suspend and revoke them.
181- Law 74-23 of 23 December 1974 on municipal organisation.
182- Law 87-015 of 15 July 1987 creating urban communities.
183- Law 92-002 of 14 August 1992 setting out conditions for the election of municipal councillors.
184- Law 96-6 of 18 January 1996 revising the Constitution of 2 June 1972.
Table 1: Local Government and Administrative Organisation
Territorial division
Urban community
District Head
Source: MDP. 2004. Decentralisation in Africa. Observatory on Decentralisation. Cotonou:
Municipal Development Partnership, data updated by SNV-Cameroon.
a. Not as yet implemented. The provinces are continuing to function as administrative divisions.
Decentralisation and local
Under the Constitutional Law of 18 January 1996,
Cameroon became a decentralised unitary state.
The elected councils (composed of councillors
elected by direct universal suffrage, representatives
of traditional chiefs and parliamentarians elected at
regional level) can freely administer local
governments under the conditions laid down by the
law. Cameroon is endeavouring to reconcile
democratic legitimacy with historic legitimacy and
to resolve the federalist challenge from the Englishspeaking area.
Achievements and challenges of
The first three laws186 setting out the general
decentralisation policy and the rules applicable to
regions and municipalities were adopted in July
2004, but their implementing orders have yet to
be enacted.
Properly speaking, there has not as yet been any
transfer of competencies and resources from the
State to local government, especially to
municipalities. In the meantime, municipalities
have general competence over local matters
through the municipal council, which decides on
municipal affairs. It has prerogatives in the fields
of planning, town planning, development, culture,
sports and leisure. Its other prerogatives relate to
the internal functioning of the municipal
administration. These competencies are more
prerogatives of the municipal council than
municipal competencies, per se.
The large number of municipalities created by
the government raises acute problems of viability
since problems are rife. Municipalities do not
have a tangible existence (as they lack premises,
equipment, staff, etc.) and do not have sufficient
capacity to draw up municipal development policy
(municipal development plans, for instance).
The lack of any proper status for local government
officers is an ongoing problem. Little progress has
been made in the last few years with a draft decree
that has been on the drawing board since 1974.
However, today, in 2008, the Ministry of Territorial
Administration and Decentralisation (MINATD)
considers the creation of a civil service for local
government a priority. In the meantime, local
government officers are governed by the provisions
applying to state public servants. This situation
does little to make the management of staff more
rational because profiles and clear–cut prerogatives
are often lacking. In many cases, this is
exacerbated by shortages of occupational skills,
shortages that are widespread except in a few
185- At the time of writing, not all the Government delegates in urban communities had yet been appointed.
186- Laws 2004/017, 2004/018 and 2004/019 of 22 July 2004.
urban municipalities. However, the lack of
administrative competence raises more problems
than shortages of technical competence.
To help remedy the skills deficit in local
government, the State has seconded some
national civil servants, who often perform the tasks
of municipal secretary general or accountant by
order of the supervisory authority. However, the
hierarchical links that they continue to have with
their original department do little to promote
municipal autonomy.
Municipal investment falls well short of needs.
There are two forms of local taxation: own
taxation and taxation shared with the State. While
this is the main source of municipal revenue, it is
far from optimum. Reforms are underway,
particularly the creation of a tax register, but
tangible results are slow in coming. There is no
functional overall system of subsidies from the
State to municipalities, only a system of cross
subsidisation between municipalities, the
‘Centime Additionnel Communal’. Municipalities
have a relatively high capacity for saving
(especially rural municipalities). This helps to cover
payments and contributions to the ‘Fonds Spécial
d’Équipement et d’Intervention Intercommunale’
(FEICOM), the Special Fund for Intermunicipal
Equipment and Action.187 This fund provides for a
kind of solidarity between municipalities and acts
as a municipal bank. However it is subject to
increasing criticism due to constant problems of
mismanagement. There are also a number of
national programmes that indirectly promote local
development. Examples are the National
Programme for Participatory Development and the
Programme in Support of the Development of
Local Communities. Moreover, the State provides
its deconcentrated entities with investment
budgets, however, mismanagement of funds is
also a recurrent problem that limits the impact of
these national funds.
In practice, there are various limits of both an
economic nature (municipalities are finding it
difficult to finance the tasks for which they are
responsible) and a political one (some opposition
mayors have been replaced by government
delegates). Many challenges will have to be met
if regions and municipalities are to become areas
whose development is well thought-out,
implemented and evaluated and in which
democratic practices are the norm. There is,
moreover, a potential risk that the implementation
of regional decentralisation may aggravate some
existing problems (for instance the federalist
In October 2006, a new direction was taken in the
decentralisation process. A consultation committee,
answerable to the MINATD, was set up. Including
the three main types of actors involved in
decentralisation (ministerial departments, and
national and international entities), this committee
should provide a functional framework within which
the development partners’ actions, projects and
support programmes can be better coordinated and
harmonised. With a view to greater efficiency and,
in the long term, joint planning and pooled financing,
this committee monitors and evaluates activities,
ensures that information is circulated, and draws up
proposals for action by the bodies involved. In 2008,
this committee is also preparing to set up a national
decentralisation council under the presidency of the
Prime Minister (and the joint ministerial committee
on local services. As provided for in the law on
decentralisation policy, this national decentralisation
council and the joint ministerial committee on local
services look after the evaluation and the
implementation of the decentralisation process. This
includes the devolution of competencies and
resources from the State to local government.
Moreover several reforms are under way.
187- Decree 77-85 of 22 March 1977 setting out operating and management methods for the FEICOM, as amended
by Decree 96-098 of 7 May 1996.
Decentralisation and local
The initial steps towards decentralisation in Ghana
date back to the colonial period. At that time, local
governments, administered by traditional chiefs,
had customary law, political, administrative and
legislative functions. Their co-existence with local
representatives of the central government
nevertheless raised problems, as did the
hierarchical relations between them. Since 1950,
various constitutional reforms have installed
democratically elected local governments that have
gradually eroded the power of the traditional chiefs.
Democratic decentralisation
These constitutional reforms have been followed
by new efforts to strengthen local governments in
the context of the democratisation of Ghana’s
political system. The adoption of a decentralisation
policy by the State was reflected in 1988 by the
Local Government Law,188 which paved the way for
establishing the various councils (district, urban,
municipal). The 4th Constitution of the Republic in
1992 and the Local Government Act of 1993 laid
the foundations for democratic decentralisation.
This reform was intended to enhance the
competence, resources and capacity of local
governments and to involve all citizens at a grassroots level in governance and the development
process. The first local elections were held in
1993 and were followed by further elections in
1997, 2002 and 2006.
Local government and territorial
There is only one level of decentralised
government: the district. There are at present 138
districts. Their deliberating and legislative bodies
are known as assemblies and are referred to as
district, municipal or metropolitan assemblies,
depending on the number of inhabitants and their
urban or rural nature.189 The districts are also
divided into units to which powers may be
transferred: sub-districts in rural areas and zones
in urban areas. These bodies have councils but do
not have any legislative or financial powers.
The local governance system is a compromise
between direct and representative democracy:
70% of the members of district assemblies are
elected by the population and 30% are appointed
by the President of the Republic, in consultation
with district chiefs and other local interest groups,
on the basis of their competence. Half of the seats
allocated to appointed members are reserved for
women and 30% for traditional leaders. Women’s
representation in district assemblies nevertheless
continues to be low (under 10%).
The district assemblies are chaired by district
chief executives appointed by the President. They
have two roles: to run the district in line with the
decisions of the assembly and to represent
central government in the assembly. The district
assembly has a Presiding Member elected by the
assembly. They may call upon officers seconded
by the public service, such as a head of technical
services (‘District Coordinating Director’), a
treasurer, a planning officer and a local
government inspector.
188- Local Government Law, PNDC Law 207.
189- District assemblies have a population of at least 75,000 inhabitants; municipal assemblies have a population of
95,000 to 250,000; metropolitan assemblies for large conurbations of more than 250,000 inhabitants (such as
the capital Accra, Kumasi and Shama Ashanta East).
Competence of the 138 districts
within the 10 regions
Under the Constitution, districts have basic
competence in various fields, such as civil
records, brush-fire prevention and control, levying
of local taxes and duties, and planning and
mobilising resources for local development. The
1993 Local Government Act transferred a range
of other competencies to the districts in the
following areas:
planning and promoting local development;
promoting employment;
supporting production activities;
promoting protection of habitat and the
developing infrastructure;
upholding law and order;
promoting justice.
The law also requires district assemblies to
implement the national development plan in their
area, to supervise projects and programmes and
to encourage all the actors to play their part in
development plans and their implementation.
Above the districts, there are 10 regions, each of
which is chaired by a regional minister appointed
by the President, following Parliament’s assent.
Each region has a regional coordinating council
chaired by the regional minister and including his
deputies, the presiding members of the district
assemblies, the district chief executives, the
heads of decentralised ministerial departments in
the region and traditional leaders.
Table 1: Local Governments and Territorial Administration
Territorial body
Region (10)
Sub- district
Management organs
Administrative division
The Regional Ministry: runs State services and chairs the
regional coordinating council
Local government
The Assembly (district -124- municipal -10- or
metropolitan -4-), the deliberating body: elects an
executive committee from its ranks, which has
administrative and executive competence for the
A district chief executive appointed for a term of two
years coordinates the executive.
Consultative bodies without their own budget, some of
whose members are appointed, which carry out the tasks
delegated to them by the district assembly:
Sub-metropolitan councils
Urban councils
Zonal councils
Municipal councils
Administrative division
District sub-division
Source: MDP. 2004. Decentralisation in Africa. Observatory on Decentralisation.
Cotonou: Municipal Development Partnership.
Achievements and challenges of
The adoption of new laws and the enhanced
statutory competence of districts have helped
them to become a consolidated part of local
government in the Ghanaian political system.
However, some challenges remain.
The 2003 law setting out local government
services provided the necessary legal framework,
but implementation has proved more complicated
than expected and technical expertise is often
lacking. In the field, moreover, rivalry between
sectors is substantially hampering the process.
The creation of local government services has
taken place along with the creation of
decentralised services for education, health and
forests. These are important service providers for
a large proportion of the population, but they are
coming up against problems of local integration.
The capacity building that has accompanied
decentralisation has largely taken the form of
projects and programmes financed by donors.
Although this has made it possible to carry out
many activities in a short space of time, these
endeavours need to be coordinated and made
more complementary.
Recruiting and, more fundamentally, keeping
skilled staff, especially in districts, is an acute
problem. Rural districts, which lack appropriate
infrastructure and basic services, have few
attractions for skilled staff. Frequent turnover
means that institutional memory is lost and leads
to inconsistent operation. Ongoing efforts to build
local governance capacity are needed here as well.
In the case of fiscal decentralisation, reasonable
financial packages (bearing in mind existing
capacity at the district level) have been provided
for local governments. The national budget
continues, however, to be drawn up for sectors. If
there is no capacity to mobilise major local
resources, the budget packages of a district’s
sectors continue to depend on national bodies.
While the districts appear to be appropriate
structures for identifying local needs, local
communities still feel that these management
and decision-making structures are too remote.
The creation of the sub-districts could enhance
democracy and promote citizen participation in
local governance. However, their role continues to
be rather low-level, as they lack competence,
financial and human resources, and legitimacy.
Decentralisation and local
The long journey towards decentralisation in
Mali started in the colonial period. Mixed
municipalities were created in 1918, at the end of
the First World War, following territorial and
administrative reorganisation in France.190 This
status gave them legal personality and the
prerogatives of a fully functioning municipality.
Mayoral duties continued, however, to be the task
of an official from the colonial administration,
assisted by a municipal council whose members
were either appointed by the colonial
administration or elected, depending on the level
of development of the municipality. These
municipalities gained full rights in 1955,191 after
which their executive and decision-making organs
were elected.
At the time of independence in 1960, Mali had
13 urban municipalities in addition to its capital.
Under the 2nd Republic (1968-1991), the creation
of the six urban municipalities of the District of
Bamako increased the number to 19. It was under
the 3rd Republic, however, that the ideals of
peace, democracy and development led to
unprecedented levels of decentralisation.
Democratic decentralisation
Although the successive constitutions of the
various Republics all affirmed decentralisation as
a principle, the constitution of the 3rd Republic
(enacted on 25 February 1992) made it a priority
“as a fundamental reform to ensure progress and
economic development, regional balance and
social equity”. Six guiding principles translated this
priority into more concrete terms: safeguarding
national unity and territorial integrity, involving the
populace in the creation of municipalities,
democratic management of local government,
control of regional and local development by local
government, progressive and concomitant
transfers of powers and resources, and the
freedom of local government administration.
The legal framework of decentralisation,
enacted in 1993,192 established the principle of the
three levels of decentralisation (regions, ‘cercles’
and municipalities) and recognised that elected
councils should be free to administer local
government. In 1996,193 the law setting out
principles for the establishment and management
of local government created rural municipalities in
areas not covered by urban municipalities, in
accordance with socio-cultural, demographic and
geographic criteria as well as criteria of distance,
accessibility and economic viability. The
populations of villages and fractions of nomadic
tribes were given the freedom to decide whether
or not to become part of these municipalities. At
present, there are 703 municipalities (684 rural
municipalities and 19 urban municipalities), for
which councils have been democratically elected
on two occasions (1999 and 2004) for a term of
five years. In 1999, administrative and territorial
reorganisation was confirmed by a law194 creating
local authorities, ‘cercles’ and regions.
190- General Order of 20 December 1918: mixed municipalities of Bamako and Kayes in 1919, Ségou and Mopti in 1953
and Sikasso in 1954.
191- Law 55-1489 of 18 November 1955 on municipal reorganisation in French West Africa.
192- Law 93-008 of 11 February 1993, setting out conditions for the freedom of administration of local government,
amended by Law 96-056 of 16 October 1996.
193- Law 96-050 of 16 October 1996, setting out principles for the constitution and management of local government,
and Law 96-059 of 4 November 1996, creating municipalities.
194- Law 99-035 of 10 April 1999.
Local authorities and territorial
After municipal elections had been held, the
transfer of powers from the state to the new local
authorities was begun. Local elected officers
were given responsibility for local development.
Local government organs are responsible for
providing the conditions likely to encourage basic
initiatives and for ensuring equitable access to
local services and resources.
Table 1: Diagram of Decentralisation
Municipality (703)
'Cercle' (49)
Region (8)a
villages, and fractions of
nomadic tribes in the case of
urban and rural municipalities 'cercles'
rural municipalities
neighbourhoods in the case
of urban municipalities
regional assembly
municipal council elected by 'cercle' council composed of
composed of 'cercle'
proportional representation
municipal representatives
representatives elected by
by the municipality's citizens elected by and from within
and from within 'cercle'
municipal executive and
municipal councils
mayor elected by the
'cercle' council executive
regional executive
members of the municipal
composed of a chairman and
composed of a chairman
council (chaired by the
two vice-chairmen elected by
and two vice-chairmen
the 'cercle' council
elected by the regional
state representative at
'cercle' level
budgets and accounts: town and country planning, development programmes
creation and management of local government organs, works and supply contracts, leases
and other agreements, levying of taxes and setting of their levels in accordance with the law
loans and grants of subsidies, methods of application of personnel service regulations, etc.
pre-school education,
1st cycle of basic education
dispensaries, maternity and
community health facilities
road and communication
infrastructure for which
municipalities are
public transport and traffic
fairs and markets
rural or urban waterworks
sport, arts and culture
state representative at
regional level
2nd cycle of basic education
health and preventive health
road and communication
infrastructure for which
'cercles' are responsible
minister responsible for
local government
general, technical and
vocational secondary
specialist education
regional hospitals
road and communication
infrastructure for which
regions are responsible
ensuring that development
and town and country
planning strategies are
Source: Observatory of Sustainable Human Development and Poverty Reduction (ODHD) / United Nations
Development Programme (UNDP). 2003. Country Report. Bamako: Ministry of Social Development,
Solidarity and Older People (MDSSPA).
a. Alongside the eight regions, the District of Bamako has particular status in accordance with Law 96-025
of 21 February 1996.
b. According to Law 95-034 of 12 March 1995, establishing a local government code in the Republic of
Mali, as amended by Law 98-010 of 15 June 1998 and Law 98-066 of 30 December 1998.
Introduction of the reform
The roles of all the actors195 have had to be
clarified as a result of decentralisation. At the
same time, the State has had to be reformed to
bring its institutions and sector policies in line
with the new context and to organise the tasks of
sector services within a process of devolution.
While the state apparatus has focused on its
conventional functions (finance, expenditure,
police, foreign affairs), cooperation has been
organised between devolved authorities (technical
services, for instance) and decentralised authorities
(such as municipalities).
The National Support Programme for Local
Government (PNACT), steered by the Ministry of
Territorial Administration and Local Government
(MATCL196), was introduced in 2000. It was supported
by the technical and financial partners (TFPs), which
pooled their resources to enable the whole country
to be covered by a single system. The financial side,
formed by a local authority investment fund (FICT), is
managed by the National Agency for Local
Government Investment (ANICT) and is used for
financing local government investment. The technical
side, geared towards helping local government to
take control of its own affairs, has been implemented
via the municipal advisory centres (CCCs) at ‘cercle’
level and coordinated by the National Coordination
Unit (CCN), which answers to the DNCT and is
supervised by a national policy committee (CNO).
In parallel, implementation of an institutional
development programme (PDI), which was drawn
up by the Ministry of the Public Service, State
Reform and Institutional Relations (MFPRERI) and
adopted by the Government on 16 July 2003, has
been ongoing since 2005. This will pave the way for
administrative as well as political democracy. All
state and public components have been reviewed
in regard to enhancing governance through stable,
permanent and credible administrative structures,
against a backdrop of sustainable development. The
PDI has five main principles: reorganising central
government through methods and procedures for
managing public affairs, stepping up devolution,
consolidating decentralisation, upgrading and
enhancing human resource capacity, and communication and relations with users.
All these policy decisions are also part and
parcel of a global strategy for poverty reduction197
whose main priority is to “ensure institutional
development, improved governance and
Achievements and challenges of
There is a wide range of actors very closely
involved in the success of the reforms that are
taking place over the long term, as summarised in
the National Decentralisation Policy Reference
Document (DCPND) 2005-2014. This reference
and policy framework for decentralisation and
devolution provides a shared platform for the
work of the government and its bilateral and
multilateral partners, as well as the work of the
government and its national partners (local
authorities, civil organisations, the private sector,
etc.). Its aim is to prevent inconsistencies
between decentralisation and sector policies,
between the decentralisation process and other
reforms of the state and between development
programmes in general. It also aims to provide a
framework making it possible to regularly monitor
and evaluate how decentralisation is being
implemented, using clear, shared objectives and
In February 2005, the “decentralisation round
table” provided an opportunity for the
government and the TFPs to evaluate what stage
the process had reached, to look at achievements
and to assess the joint efforts to be made in order
to achieve the updated objectives.
At present, the main achievements of the
reform are the following:
from a legal point of view, the adoption and
application of the basic laws on decentralisation;
the adoption of the decrees on transfers of power
in the fields of education, health and water; the
adoption of the laws on local government public
service and syndicates of municipalities; and the
review of local government code;
from an institutional point of view, the
introduction of municipalities; the inauguration of
the Higher Local Government Council198 (HCC) and
the growing involvement of the Association of
195- New actors are appearing on the political scene, including economic actors set up as a result of privatisation.
196- Since February 2000, the MATCL, via its National Directorate for Local Government (DNCT), has taken over from
the Decentralisation and Institutional Reform Mission (MDRI), which (since 1993) had been responsible for
drawing up the legislative and institutional system needed to implement decentralisation.
197- Government of Mali. 2002. Final Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP).
198- The last institution set up in 2005 in accordance with Article 25 of the Constitution, providing national
representation for local authorities. It is required to give an opinion on all questions concerning local and regional
development policy, protection of the environment and improvement of the quality of life of citizens within local
Malian Municipalities199 (AMM) and the Association
of Malian ‘Cercle’ and Regional Authorities200
(ACCRM) in decision making;
the functioning of the national technical and
financial support system set out in the PNACT
through which local government can obtain
budgeted investment resources, offering a
harmonisation, which is gaining the support of a
growing number of TFPs;
implementation of the PDI’s operational plan
the high turnout and improved representation of
women in the municipal elections held in 2004,
bearing witness to the growing involvement of
citizens in the management of public affairs, the
credibility that the post of local elected officer has
now gained, and a national awareness of local
issues in the areas of social, economic and cultural
the existence of the DCPND to which the state
is committed at the highest possible level and
which is a tool for dialogue between actors,
offering a reference framework for steering
implementation of the reform.
The main challenges to be faced include:
a lack of economic and financial viability on the
part of local government as a result of the lack of
both internal and external resources;
ongoing delays in the transfer of powers, assets
and financial and human resources to local
a lack of effective devolution that would enable
state services to assist local authorities in
efficiently steering municipal, local and regional
development, together with the private sector;
delays in the Joint Services’ (SECOM) take-over
of the CCCs (the cornerstone of the technical
support system and permanent structures to be
managed by local authorities);
the fact that implementing procedures for the
various financial channels are not consistent or
complementary (between sector programmes and
the FICT, for instance), with sector planning taking
no account of local authority planning;
inadequate monitoring of the impact on actual
practice of the many initiatives to build the capacity
of the actors involved in decentralisation (elected
officers and local authority workers, supervisory
services, devolved technical services, civil society,
etc.), even though there are tools for monitoring
and evaluating performance that could be
systematically used;
a lack of articulation between regional and local
development throughout the planning, basic data
collection and analysis, and evaluation stages,
which is hampering cooperation between
municipalities as well as some decision-making
and follow-up action;
a low level of support for and participation in the
process by citizens, as they have not been made
aware of the benefits of decentralisation,
particularly through civic education and
communication schemes and improved access to
shortcomings of the steering system accompanying
decentralisation: new forums for consultation bringing
together all the actors of decentralisation—ministries,
HCC, Commissariat for Institutional Development201
(CDI), ANICT, organisations of elected officers, civil
society—and a joint ministerial committee to steer
reforms need to be set up in order to take up the
various challenges and to draw up a clear strategy for
a gradual shift away from the PNACT prior to its
expiration in 2010.
There have been some shortcomings in the
areas of planning, coordination and monitoring of
decentralisation during the first few years of
implementation of the system. This is the main
challenge for the State, which is keen to refocus
its tasks on the design of public policies, steering,
control and evaluation and to improve its
efficiency and performance. The CCN has already
been given the task of becoming more involved in
monitoring the impact of the system from the
point of view of the development of local
government capacity, particularly by analysing
data from the OISE database.202 Studies have
been conducted in order to set up an observatory
of decentralisation, for which most of the data
could, in theory, come from databases already
being run by the various actors involved in the
decentralisation process.
199- The AMM was set up on 22 November 2000, following the first national day for municipalities. It replaced the
Association of Malian Mayors, which had existed since 1993 and was formed by the 19 former urban
200- The ACCRM was set up on 21 October 2001 and is about to merge with the AMM.
201- Set up by Order 01-022/P-RM of 20 March 2001 and organised by Decree 01-374/P-RM of 21 August 2001, the CDI
is the starting point for drafting the PDI. In particular, its brief is to analyse the institutional changes brought about
by the democratisation process, to encourage and/or assist any institutional reform likely to help the process, to
draw up reform measures likely to strengthen the institutional and organisational capacities of the state and local
government and ensure that their implementation is monitored, and to provide support for implementing
devolution and decentralisation policy.
202- Computerised monitoring/evaluation tool: a database receiving data from the CCCs.
Decentralisation and local
The first steps towards decentralisation in Niger
were taken during the colonial period. A 1957
decree, gave territorial chiefs the power to set up
rural communities as legal entities and financial
independence. After independence in 1960,
decentralisation made very slow progress even
though a law organising local government was
enacted.203 Apart from the municipality of
Niamey,204 only two further municipalities, Zinder
and Maradi, were created in 1961. In 1964,205 new
administrative divisions were created: the
départements (departments), arrondissements
(districts) and communes (municipalities). The
arrondissements and municipalities were given
local government status. Deliberating bodies
were set up with elected municipal councillors in
the case of municipal councils and deputies in the
case of district councils.
The 1974 coup d’état put decentralisation on the
back burner. The councils, executive and deliberating
bodies were dissolved and replaced by consultative
commissions,206 which were themselves replaced in
1983 by village, district, department and national
development companies.207
It was only at the beginning of the 1990s, during a
period of democratisation208 and national dialogue,209
that there were genuine moves towards
decentralisation. Under a new administrative
decentralisation law in 1994,210 districts and
municipalities retained their local government status
and new districts and municipalities could be
created. The main lines of the new decentralisation
policy were maintained after 1996, despite a coup
d'état, but their implementation was delayed. It was
only in July 2004, after the constitutional referendum
of 1999 and two presidential terms (1999 and 2004),
that municipal elections, which had been postponed
on a number of occasions, actually took place,
bringing decentralisation into being.
Local government and territorial
Up to 1964, Niger’s administrative divisions were
administered by representatives appointed by the
State. Following the adoption of two decentralisation
laws,211 changes were brought about through the
endeavours of a special commission — in conjunction
with the Haut Commissariat à la Réforme
Administrative et à la Décentralisation (High
Commissariat for Administrative Reform and
Decentralisation) — to redefine the country’s
administrative divisions. The municipality (urban or rural)
is the basic level of local government. The department
is the intermediate level between the municipality and
the region. All local governments are administered by a
tripartite council, with officers elected directly by
universal suffrage (who then elect an executive within
the council), parliamentarians elected by the
community (who are ex-officio members but do not
have voting rights) and traditional leaders.
203- Law 61-50 of 31 December 1961, organising local government.
204- Under Law 55-1489 of 18 November 1955, the city of Niamey became a fully independent municipality.
205- Law 64-023 of 17 July 1964, creating administrative divisions and local government.
206- Decree 74-20/PCMS/MI of 13 August 1974, organising provisional participation by the people in the management
of public affairs while awaiting the re-election of councils.
207- Order 83-26 of 4 August 1983, organising the development company.
208- A new constitution, establishing a pluralist democracy, was approved by referendum on 26 December 1992.
209- The national conference, held from 29 July to 3 November 1991, addressed multi-party issues and the claim for
independence for the north of the country.
210- Law 94-028 of 21 October 1994, laying down basic principles for the freedom of administration of districts and
municipalities and their prerogatives and resources.
211- Law 96-05 of 6 February 1996, creating administrative divisions and local government, and Law 96-06 of 6
February 1996, laying down basic principles for the freedom of administration of regions, departments and
municipalities and their prerogatives and resources.
Table 1: Administrative Organisation
Executive body
7 regionsa
Chairman of
the Council
Urban Community of
Niamey (considered as a
Chairman of the
Other urban communities
(Zinder, Maradi, Tahoua)
Chairman of the
36 departmentsc
Chairman of the
155 districts
265 municipalities:
213 rural and 52 urban
Municipal council
Source: MDP. 2004. Decentralisation in Africa. Observatory on Decentralisation. Cotonou: Municipal Development Partnership.
a. Law 98-31 of 14 September 1998 established seven regions and determined their boundaries and the name of their capitals.
Law 2002-012 of 11 June 2002 laid down basic principles for the freedom of administration of regions, departments and
b. Law 98-33 of 14 September 1998, establishing the Urban Community of Niamey, on par with a region, whose territory is
formed by the territories of the three municipalities of Niamey, called Niamey I, II and III; as amended by Law 2002-015 of 11
June 2002, creating the Urban Community of Niamey.
c. Law 98-30 of 14 September 1998, creating 36 departments and setting their boundaries and the names of their capitals.
d. Law 2002-14 of 11 June 2002, creating municipalities and determining the names of their capitals.
Implementing administrative reforms
Implementing administrative reforms
The key aim of decentralisation is to bring
administration closer to those being administered
and to ensure that decisions are taken as close as
possible to their points of implementation, while
making local actors more responsible. Mayors
now have to work under the dual scrutiny of
electors and the State, whose scrutiny is
In February 2005, the management and
executive bodies of local governments were
established. Getting them up and running has
now become a priority because the municipal
councils of the 265 municipalities are responsible
for meeting the basic needs of citizens in a way
that also addresses poverty in line with the
national poverty reduction programme launched
in 1999 by the government. This means that they
will have to manage a number of competencies
that the central state has conferred on them.
Although there are differences between urban
and rural communities, these competencies are
largely to do with the main concerns of the
population: primary health; nursery and primary
education; roads and highways; social, health and
sanitation infrastructure; civil records; censuses;
municipal police, etc.
Achievements and challenges of
The Constitution states that ‘territorial
administration shall be based on the principles of
decentralisation and deconcentration. […] The law
shall determine the basic principles for the
freedom of administration of local governments
and their competences and resources.’213
Municipalities are starting to function
throughout the country through their municipal
councils, which are the genuine nerve centres of
deliberation and decision-making. Deliberating
212- Law 2001-023 of 10 August 2001, creating administrative divisions and local government.
213- Constitution of the Niger, 18 July 1999, Article 127.
and executive bodies have been set up and
municipal meetings are held regularly in line with
the principles laid down by law. Municipal
councils have executed the municipal budgets,
and some development activities are underway.
Even though full ‘municipalisation’214 has been
chosen, largely to prevent a two-speed
administrative system, the actual functioning of
decentralisation nevertheless varies considerably
from one region to another, from one department
to another, and even from one municipality to
another. Various factors play a part in these
variations. These include, for instance, the
capacity of the actors to take on their new roles
and responsibilities, many of which have yet to be
fully clarified. Low literacy levels are a problem
among rural elected officers and there is
inadequate supervisory help from the State. In
parallel, development issues are rallying
populations to very different degrees, and there is
a lack of appropriately skilled administrative and
technical staff. The presence or absence of
development organisations willing to provide both
technical and financial support to local
government, and the ability of elected officers to
attract them, may also be part of the problem.
From a technical point of view, municipalities
consider that support for municipal development
planning is a priority. In financial terms, the law on
the local government financing system sets out
various resources for municipalities and local
governments in general. These include the
municipality’s own taxation (including various
local taxes and duties) and some taxes within the
overall taxation system, which are to some extent
local taxes. The State pays back other taxes and
duties on an annual basis under the finance laws
for local governments. Municipalities may also
contract loans, take up the state subsidies
available to them by law and develop
partnerships. However, municipalities are in
different situations here as well, linked to the
wealth of their (natural and other) resources and
the ability to mobilise them and transform them
into tangible assets able to serve development.
This problem is also found at the State level as
public finance is beset by liquidity problems.
The State is responsible for implementing
decentralisation and getting it up and running, but
it is difficult to define roles and responsibilities in
such a way as to prevent problems of institutional
rivalry. The legal texts, drawn up chiefly to meet
the needs of effective decentralisation, do little to
meet the growing concerns shaped by changes in
both a national and international context.
Transfers of competencies and resources,
scheduled to be progressive, are delayed, which
is starting to raise some concerns among local
government managers in terms of the new
capacities to be developed, the financial assets to
be formed or the minimum resources to be
mobilised. This concern is shared by the State,
which is trying to make information and training
into a key strategy to strengthen municipalities so
that they are able to take over the initial
competencies transferred.
functioning of municipalities, such as the Haut
Conseil des Collectivités Territoriales (High
Council for Local Government), are starting to
emerge. Since the general meeting of the
Association of Mayors of Niger in 2003, its
restructuring has breathed new life into the
association: it has now become the association
for municipalities in Niger. It is electing its leaders,
who were previously appointed, and is trying to
standardise municipal practices in order to make
them more consistent nationally.
As decentralisation is being set up, alliances are
starting to emerge between actors who found it
difficult at the outset to see how they could work
together. The public administration, responsible
for leading the institutional system of support for
municipalities, is trying to reposition itself. Tools
backing up the process (such as the stabilisation
fund and the support fund for local government)
are starting to appear at the initiative of the State
and support partners. Civil society is also rallying
to support a process that is still very much in its
initial stages.
214- Division of the whole of the country into municipalities and incorporation of any human settlement in national
territory into a municipality.
Assessing decentralisation and local governance in West Africa
Sonia Le Bay and
Christiane Loquai (eds)
Assessing decentralisation and local governance
in West Africa
Taking Stock of Strengthening the Monitoring and
Evaluation Capacity of Local Actors
Fly UP