Hivos International

Liberia and South Africa communities of practice

Blog | October 17, 2014 | Precious Greehy

A key element of Making All Voices Count is learning, and we have found that there is a ready appetite among our partners in-country to share experiences and ideas to support the work each is carrying out.

Below, Programme Officer Precious Greehy reflects on the third round of Community of Practice (CoP) meetings that were held last month in Liberia and South Africa.

Community of Practice Contributors

The Making All Voices Count Community of Practice (CoP) brings together a wide range of actors to reflect, learn and share from those working on governance through innovation. The main focus is for individuals and organisations, both partners of Making All Voices Count and relevant actors, to share proposed ideas, receive critical feedback and explore areas of potential collaboration.

Last month, the third round of CoP meetings were held in Liberia and South Africa. During these, discussions centered on the growing alienation of youth from politics and the need for multilingual tools. Partnerships were established between participants and Liberian partners discussed the possibility of a joint response to fight Ebola. An impression of the South Africa meeting can be viewed here:

Citizen Engagement

At the South Africa CoP, participants discussed various challenges and new initiatives. They spoke broadly about the growing alienation of youth from politics and the need for politicians and governments to better connect with youth. They also stressed the need for more platforms where young people can inform and influence change through legitimate political channels for better governance. As Sisanda Mbokotho, founder of Y-Lead commented:

“We need to train young leaders to cover the significant gaps in capacity in South Africa, and expose them to opportunities to both advance and influence democratic processes in our country.”

Community of Practice presentation

Amandla.mobi, an independent social justice organization, reflected on their process of designing tools that employ local languages to cater to non-English speaking citizens. This initiative was met with great enthusiasm from participants who expressed the need for multilingual tools and citizen-powered platforms, especially for those affected most by corruption and unemployment.

Collaboration

At the conclusion of the previous CoP, areas of collaboration between partners emerged. Yowzit will work as advisors on the technology stream to support a project implemented by Black Sash to receive and report on citizen feedback. In turn, Black Sash will facilitate discussion to enhance dialogue between citizens and government. In addition, the Foundation for Professional Development and Yowzit said a strategic partnership has been confirmed.

Ebola

Community of Practice discussions

During the Liberian CoP, partners spoke of ways in which to support country wide efforts to mitigate Ebola. The impact of the disease on the relationship between citizens and the State is a critical feature of what will be the legacy of this tragedy, and we will be talking to our partners in-country to explore ways in which innovation can be harnessed to address this aspect of the crisis.

Looking Ahead

As many partners expressed interest in deepening their collaboration with government, the next CoP meeting will be hosted in collaboration with the South African Local Governance Association (SALGA).

About the author

Precious Greehy is Programme Officer for Making All Voices Count

This blog was originally posted on the Making All Voices Count website

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