Local solutions to local problems: public participation key to improving local governance and reducing corruption

Public participation is essential to improve local governance, hold public officials accountable and to reduce corruption. Public participation in governance creates a community that is well informed on policy and decision making in their local/national governments, understands how to address and approach local issues and work together with local leaders to reach solutions.

Transparency Maldives conducted civic education and civic forum workshops designed to increase civic education and encourage communities to participate in their local communities, politically and socially to enhance their quality of life. In the workshops held in partnership with local CBOs in over 12 islands, TM’s team worked with participants who joined us from all walks of life, to identify the most pressing issues in their communities, how to open dialogue about those issues and work with the local government, institutions and civil society groups to address issues.

After the workshop our partner council called for a civic forum open to all local residents, and successfully conducted civic forums discussing issues, concerns and possible solutions.

Civic forums were held in M.Muli and Dh.Kudahuvadhoo and was attended by local council leaders, police, educators, WDCs and a number of local residents. Our objective was to create a culture that initiated dialogue between local residents, government institutions and bridge the gap between local issues and reaching solutions as a community.

Over 70 local residents attended a civic forum held by M.Muli local government to discuss future plans and issues.

After TMs workshops and civic forum the M. Muli local government adopted the civic forum style meeting and conducted their own civic forums during the second and third week of March. Muli local government took the initiative to conduct these forums to create a platform to discuss their future plans with the public and to give an opportunity for the people to clarify their doubts regarding the council’s work and increase transparency and establish good governance at council level. The meeting also served as an opportunity for locals to give feedback to the council.

In the two civic forums council took a poll to identify issues that needed immediate attention and discussed the issues of waste management, cleaning and issues like lack of light post on entrance channel to island and possible solutions. Over 70 people attended both meetings and the discussion was lively and constructive.

Civic Participation Project is supported by the International Foundation of Electoral Systems (IFES) and  funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)