On 20th January, a new Local Government Coaching programme was launched at Hotel Portofino in Kigali. The programme is implemented by Rwanda Governance Board (RGB) with support from Belgian Government through the Rwanda Decentralization Support Programme, (RDSP), which is jointly implemented by the Belgian development agency (BTC) and the ministry of local government (MINALOC).
The programme is a Capacity Building initiative aimed at contributing to the improvement of service delivery to citizens as a result of capacity building at individual, organizational and institutional level of the districts. As recalled by Ambassador Fatuma NDANGIZA who officiated the launching ceremony on behalf of RGB, the new programme builds on lessons learnt from the two previous phases of the coaching program that were concluded in 2015. These include special attention to suitability of the approach to the Local Government set up/environment, the importance of an advisory role of coaches instead of gap filling/ substitution, attention for evidence based monitoring and evaluation of achievements, capacity and enhancement leading to organizational performance.
Lessons learnt: demand driven design
Building on these lessons learnt, the design of the new programme emphasizes on a demand driven approach for the coaching services; technical coordination by Provinces which have among others the mission to coach and provide advisory services to the districts; a clear Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) framework with SMART indicators; and regular information sharing among coaches and with other stakeholders. The demand-driven nature of the new design resides in requests for support being formulated by districts and being further analysed by Coaches before formulation of a tailor made intervention. The focus of the programme is organizational performance with Imihigo as the entry point. Specifically, the support targets addressing gaps in processes as per requests by Local Government (lesson learnt from previous phases: addressing gaps instead of filling them). Coaches hereby support districts in analysing and prioritization identified gaps; in designing the interventions required to address the gaps, and also advise the districts on how best to implement the interventions and monitor the implementation progress.
Implementation status of the coaching programme
The new program is implemented by RGB which avail 10 coaches based in Provinces and City of Kigali. A coordination unit comprising of the program coordinator and one M&E specialist is based in RGB. As Provinces and City of Kigali play a key role in the management of the programme, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between RGB and Provinces/City of Kigali to specify their respective roles and responsibilities in the implementation framework. During consultative sessions and the official launch at Province and Cilty of Kigali level, beneficiaries expressed their expectations in the program as well as their readiness to use the opportunity to boost district performance.
“The programme will certainly help us unlock our potential and raise our performance towards better service delivery to our citizens” said Mr JABO Paul, Northern Province Executive Secretary during the launch of the program in Northern Province.
Mr Cyprien NSENGIMANA, one of the coaches in Southern Province affirms that: “the program is highly appreciated by beneficiaries who consider coaching as a means to solve organisational performance problems. Since we started, local officials express different needs that we address through interactive sessions with coaching counterparts, peer learning among coaching beneficiaries, close collaboration with other partners, and advocacy to institutions concerned with local government capacity development.
The coaching programme among RDSP’s key activities in partnership with RGB and it is expected to substantially contribute to the improvement of service delivery through enhanced Local Government organizational performance.
 Imihigo (performance contracts) is a program of the Rwandese Government, based on Rwandan culture and traditional practices (Imihigo is Kinyarwanda for ‘to vow to deliver’) aimed at enhancing organizational performance of local governments.