Community participation increases access to social services in Mozambique

Democratic governance increases access to social services such as health facilities (Photo: UN Moz.)

People in Mozambique still have limited access to social services such as potable water, education, health, justice, among others. These challenges are more acutely experienced by the most vulnerable rural populations and in urban suburbs.

Often this poor access is due to poor infrastructure, limited resources, distant location of basic amenities among others constrains.

However, this situation is gradually improving for many people as the Government of Mozambique has been implementing a decentralization programme. This is to ensure that people at the local level are consulted and through their elected leaders in local Consultative Councils, they are able to voice their concern and most importantly determine their collective priorities.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Indeed, access to social services is made possible through participation and local governance in the development processes.
  • In its development strategic plans, the Government of Mozambique has identified districts as the centers
  • UNDP has maintained its support for the improvement of quality of this model participation at local level

“Decentralization has enable us attain such remarkable access to services that for us this process is irreversible”, says Mr. Chuma Habibo, a local member of the District Consultative Council (CCL) of Rapale Administrative Post in the northern Nampula province. With 22 districts, Nampula Province, one of the most populated in the country, was identified by the Government in cooperation with the UNDP as a priority Province for its Country Programme.

The election process for the district level starts from a village level. For instance, Mr. Chuma Habibo was first chosen by his village community peers as village representative at the upper next level, the Locality, and then validated by his Locality peers to be a representative at the Administrative Post level which is an upper intermediate level of the local administration before the District level.

In its development strategic plans, the Government of Mozambique has identified districts as the centers for development where the elected Councils determine their local priorities based on application of the more decentralized Budgetary Unit of the State.

“By conveying and fighting for our community’s aspirations, we are delighted to have been able to ensure that our district has more access to social services and the quality of life is improving for all of us”,  affirms. 

The cooperation between the local administration and the Consultative Councils is the backbone for the success of this pilot initiative. Rapale District Administrator, Mr. Armindo Gove, confirmed that “the government does not work alone. District actions reflect participatory decisions. It is easier to govern when knowing about peoples priorities and needs”.

Indeed, access to social services is made possible through participation and local governance in the development processes. UNDP/UNCDF are supporting the piloting of the participatory planning and finance approach aiming at building evidences for a different perception and action on the local governance process. On the Government side, the intervention aimed at strengthening Local Governance through the improvement of the Local Government processes and service delivery and ensuring that people’s aspirations are heard and reflected in a participatory manner into local plans and budgets. On the local communities’ side, UNDP/UNCDF contributed to develop the perception that people have a voice and their aspirations can become real and that it is worthy to participate in local decision making processes and action implementation.

Considered very successful by the local communities, the Government and development partners, this pilot project has, since the end of its first phase in 2006,  been subsequently replicated elsewhere and scaled up into a National Programme. The value of the participatory mechanism in local governance can be further demonstrated by the legal recognition through decree of the CCLs by the Government and the adoption of a standardized local governance process in Mozambique.

UNDP has maintained its support for the improvement of quality of this model participation at local level in the Provinces of Gaza, Nampula and Cabo Delgado in order to consolidate the participatory local governance process, the related legal framework as well as its sustainability

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