Centres of Excellence
The ‘Centres of Excellence for Gender in Local Government’ (COE’s) concept builds on experience that CLGF Pacific has gained over several years working at the local government level on adapting and implementing gender training across the Pacific region (most recently in PNG) using the UN-Habitat Gender in Local Government Toolkit. It has arisen from the realization that the only way to make a difference at the local level is to start council by council. The Pacific FLOW Program aims to target eight councils across Fiji, the Solomon Islands and Bougainville for the pilot phase of the COE’s.
The COE process allows for the provision of sustained support to a Council to incorporate gender into its policies, programs and service delivery. It involves interventions that bring together policy, capacity building through on-the job- training and council-to-council twinning, monitoring and evaluation, and the sharing of good practices.
The approach draws on the experience of GenderLINKS, a South African based NGO, which has worked with over 100 local municipalities across the SADC region since 2007 developing gender policies and actions plans, and is the creator of the COE for Gender in Local Government Concept. It has been further adapted by CLGF based on learning from its training, as well as several years collaboration with the International Women’s Development Agency on a women in local government program and the Local Government Managers Australia and PNG Department of Provincial and Local Government Affairs on the PNG Good Practice (council-to-council twinning) Scheme.
The objectives of the COE approach is to promote gender responsive local governance through:
- Political support: Getting buy-in at decision-making level
- An evidence-based approach: Conducting a gender strengthening review that is council specific and will help to address the needs of that council.
- A partnership-based approach: Establishing council-to-council twinning partnerships between Pacific and Australian local level government to mentor and support implementation.
- Context specific interventions: Conducting council-specific gender and action plan workshops that localize national and local gender policies and action plans
- Community mobilization: Working with local civil society organizations to help familiarize and empower communities to hold their council’s accountable.
- Capacity building: through on-the-job training with council officials, politicians, etc by doing local government specific modules with them around gender analysis and budgeting, media literacy and transformative leadership.
- Application of skills: Assisting councils and communities to apply these new skills through running major campaigns, e.g. 16 Days to End Gender Violence
- Monitoring and evaluation: Administration of score cards and other monitoring and evaluation tools that can be used to measure change in the immediate, medium and long terms.
- Knowledge creation and dissemination: Working to gather and disseminate best practices, case studies, etc. that can be presented at an annual gender justice and local government summit that provide councils and communities with a platform to learn from each other.
- Cascading the COEs: Working to ensure a multiplier effect/replication of the COE process among other councils/local level government through building the capacity of key national partners to lead the process, providing a platform for the sector to take ownerships and encouraging peer-to-peer/council-to-council support.