Date & Time9:00am, 22 June 2022 - 10:30am, 22 June 2022
About the event
This interactive debate will discuss innovations that are bringing people into governance: giving them a voice in shaping their institutions and holding them to account.
The involvement of people in their governance is critical to democracy and democratic legitimacy. Citizens have a central role to play in helping to shape policies and decisions that affect their lives. They are needed to ensure that the right services are delivered at the right time and in the right way and that the institutions of government are held to account.
Where participatory governance works, we see citizens and civil society organisations regarded as vital partners who can bring new ideas and solutions to solve social, economic and political challenges. We see a recognition, particularly from government, that people’s needs, and expectations are complex and diverse and cannot be delivered through a top-down, ‘one-size fits all’ approach. We see a genuine commitment, on the part of government, to a public service that is representative and inclusive of society, in all its diversity. We see a whole-of-society commitment to transparency and institutional accountability. Through participatory governance, people interact with each other in the course of decision-making which also creates an opportunity to strengthen and build networks, thereby expanding social capital.
Participatory governance is a work in progress right across the Commonwealth. This session seeks to provide new ideas on governing by showcasing examples of innovations that have delivered tangible results. While looking right across the Commonwealth for inspiration, the session will focus particular attention on participatory governance approaches that have been trialled in Rwanda. What can we learn from Rwanda’s experiences and from other exciting examples? How can we scale up forms of participatory governance that are working well – from one country to another and from the local level to national contexts?
Key questions for the session
Setting the scene: What do we mean by participatory governance? Why is participatory governance so important now in the context we are in and since the pandemic?
Lessons and case studies: Using examples that have worked from the experience of the panellists, we discuss: How can participatory governance improve transparency and accountability of institutions? What common themes underpin successful participatory governance? How do we know that systems are truly participatory and effective? What do we have to do to ensure no one is excluded from participation?
Role of the Commonwealth: How can the CW ensure that Member States create opportunities for marginalised people at the discussion table? Where can the Commonwealth help improve and support participatory governance approaches?
Call to action: What can civil society and government do now to improve governance?
Dr Linda Yueh is Executive Chair of the Royal Commonwealth Society. She is Fellow in Economics at St Edmund Hall, University of Oxford; Adjunct Professor of Economics at London Business School; and Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She has written/edited 10 books; the latest is The Great Economists: How Their Ideas Can Help Us Today, which was a Best Business Book of the Year selected by The Times.
Mr. Musoni Protais holds a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering and a diploma in Public Sector Reform Management. Musoni Protais held a number of posts in public affairs in Rwanda as a Provincial Governor, Minister of state for Good Governance, Minister of Local Governance and Minister of Cabinet Affairs. He has led the Pan African Movement-Rwanda Chapter for two three-year terms since 2015 and is now serving the third as from Feb. 2022. While serving in Public Sector, the Ministry Of Local Government initiated many participatory forums for planning, conflict resolution, community participatory development and instruments for enhancement of the citizen voice. Pan African Movement- Rwanda chapter is built to be a mass movement that is tapping into the different organized bodies to form an inclusive organization that promotes voluntarism in solution finding for any challenges facing the Rwanda society in particular and Africa in general.
Dr Beth Chitekwe-Biti is managing director of Shack/Slum Dwellers International (SDI), a network of slum/shack dweller organisations federated in cities in the global South, pioneering innovation in the field of community-driven slum upgrading. Over the past 20 years, SDI has built a global slum dweller movement spanning approximately 32 countries. The movement brings together more than 1 million slum dweller households into savings groups that prioritise the central participation of women, building trust and collective capacity.
Dr Chitekwe-Biti has been at the SDI secretariat since 2019, previously serving as deputy director and acting managing director. She was the founding director of the SDI Zimbabwe affiliate NGO, Dialogue on Shelter, and also played a pivotal role in establishing SDI processes in Zambia, Malawi and Botswana. With a planning degree from the University of Zimbabwe and a Postgraduate Certificate in Housing from University College London, she also completed a PhD in development policy and management at The University of Manchester, which focused on the impact of social movements on urbanisation and urban land policy. Having worked with social movements mobilising to address tenure and service delivery issues for the past 20 years, Dr Chitekwe-Biti also holds the position of action research director at the African Cities Research Consortium (ACRC).
Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr OBE was sworn-in on May 2018 with a commitment to transform Freetown using an inclusive, data-driven approach to address challenges in the city. The 3-year Transform Freetown plan details 19 concrete targets across 11 sectors and covers issues ranging from tackling environmental degradation to facilitating the creation of jobs in the tourism sector.
A finance professional with over 25 years of private sector experience in strategic planning, risk management consulting and project management, Mayor Aki-Sawyerr’s public sector engagement began with her work during the 2014-2015 Ebola epidemic and her subsequent role as Delivery Team Lead for the second phase of a multi-stakeholder programme to drive socio-economic recovery in Sierra Leone post Ebola.
Mayor Aki-Sawyerr is a Chartered Accountant and holds an MSc in Politics of the World Economy from the London School of Economics and a BSc Hons in Economics from Fourah Bay College. She was recently recognized in the BBC 2020 100 Women list.
Sohela Nazneen is a Fellow based in the Governance cluster at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and leads the work on gender and politics. Before joining IDS, Sohela was a professor at the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh and a Fellow at the BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD). Her research on women’s empowerment, violence against women, and social and feminist movements in South Asia and sub Saharan Africa have been published widely.
Sohela has worked as a consultant for UNDP, UNWomen, FAO, SDC, the Gates and McArthur Foundation, designing and evaluating inclusive governance and gender equality programmes. She is a commonwealth scholar, holding a PhD in Development Studies from IDS, University of Sussex.
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