Preparations are underway to implement a crucial training project for local governance

More than 35,000 class 5 and 6 government employees will be playing a key role in the smooth transition of Nepal’s local bureaucracy. Their training and orientation are crucial to prepare them for their roles at the local government level. In this context, the Local Development Training Academy (LDTA), with the support of the Governance Facility (GF), has kicked off preparatory work to train more than 2,000 of these employees. They will be staff from the metropolitan, sub metropolitan and rural municipalities, village councils, and District Coordination Committees from across the seven provinces.

The Project includes orientation and training on the rationale for federalism; the roles, duties, rights, and responsibilities of local governments as the third tier; the structure and staffing of local bureaucracy; change management and adjustments; and service delivery in a federal structure.

“This training project is a significant initiative and we need all the support we can get to make it successful,” said senior official, Under Secretary Nanda Raj Gyawali of the Ministry of General Administration (MoGA) speaking during a meeting at LDTA on 25 August 2017. The meeting, hosted by LDTA, shared ideas about the main subjects of the curriculum with senior officials and representatives from MoGA, the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the Embassy of Denmark, Local Governance and Community Development Programme (LGCDP), the Coherence Initiative, and the Governance Facility.

“We need to expedite our project as many government employees are looking for a lot of answers about management and coordination in the new federal structures at the local level,” said LDTA’s Consultant and former Secretary of the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development (MoFALD), Purna Chandra Bhattarai, who made the presentation on the curriculum concept, thematic areas, next steps, expected results, and tentative work plan.

“We need to prepare all our employees at the local level to ensure they provide their services to the people most effectively,” said LDTA’s Executive Director Bishnu Sapkota. He added that a key aspect of the program will also be to clarify the federal structure, and its significance at the local level.

“As they will be working closely with the elected representatives, which is new for most of the government staff at the local level, we need to support them to make that transition smoothly”, explained Sapkota.

DFID’s Governance and Security Team Leader, Tom Wingfield, underscored that explaining the change process was also a key aspect. “If change management is built into the program, it will help the employees cope with the process,” he said.

“We are very happy with the direction LDTA is taking with this orientation program,” said Caroline Vandenabeele, Head of the GF. She observed that during her recent field visits in several provinces, many people including government employees, civil servants, elected officials, and the public at large, were still found to be unaware about the underlying rationale and substance of federal restructuring and what changes will take place. Recognizing that this is a normal challenge in a country that is transitioning and has not had a federal system before, she emphasized that the program could be a good opportunity to provide such knowledge through the government employees, who deliver services and whose expanded knowledge and skills would be very valuable. She expressed her hope that, if proven successful, the training content, materials, and methodology could be used by other institutions providing training and orientation programs at the local level, thereby creating a multiplying effect.

Read for more information on the agreement between LDTA and the GF.