Between 2011 and 2015, Cités Unies France (CUF), GRET and Laboratoire Citoyennetés (LC) implemented the Agora project, which aimed to test innovative joint management methods for public services. The objective was to improve governance of public services in three towns in Benin, Burkina Faso and Mali. GRET is publishing the findings of this experimental project.
The Agora project was designed using an original research and action approach involving researchers in the definition and facilitation of a joint discussion system between operators, elected representatives, technical departments and users. The objective was to strengthen not just the technical skills of those involved, but also their “political skills”.
The findings of this project can be found in a publication entitled “Support for joint governance of local public services: the benefits of the Agora research and action project”. In particular:
- any intervention at local level aiming to strengthen skills is carried out in several stages: between time of diagnosis/debate and time of action; between the time necessary for the internalisation of new debating standards and the time necessary for a development project; between an objective to improve public service and an objective to improve local governance;
- establishing a structured dialogue at local level is an important lever for developing the capacities of local actors to develop “political skills”. This refers to their capacity to shift their “centre” away from themselves, express their point of view and depersonalize problems in order to solve interpersonal conflicts and institutional competition;
- building political skills is a complex process that requires consolidation in the long term, and by means other than a three-year development project funded by international aid.
Read the publication (in French only):“Appui à la gouvernance concertée des services publics locaux : les apports du projet de recherche-action Agora (Bénin, Burkina Faso, Mali)“