© Helvetas
Ethiopia

Taking Responsibility for Village Administration

© Helvetas

As in large Swiss municipalities in Switzerland, an elected municipal council in Ethiopia controls the work of the executive bodies. Thanks to Helvetas training, these politically inexperienced local councilors now know their capacities and use their office to further the development of their community.

  • Project Name
    Amhara Local Governance Project
  • Project Phase
    2019 to 2023
  • Funding
    This project is funded by donations and the Ethiopian government.
  • Thematic focus
    Governance, Peace & Migration
    Urban Engagement

Elected to get things rolling

A defective well that could be repaired at little expense. Schools without blackboards and latrines. Eroding hillsides. Bad roads. The failure to develop a village or region is not always due to a lack of funds. It often occurs because the responsible authorities do not know how to plan and implement water supply facilities, healthcare services, a school system or road works. This is the case in Ethiopia.

In close collaboration with the provincial government of Amhara, Helvetas has developed a successful training model that targets local councilors, in other words elected members of the legislative. They are elected for five years, but most of them are hardly prepared for their duties. They do not know enough about their powers and duties to support or oversee the work of the executive bodies. They do not sufficiently address issues that concern their constituency. Nor do they have access to state agencies that could fund development projects.

In Helvetas’ training program, local councilors gain a better understanding of their powers and duties, and how to discharge their responsibilities more effectively, through training as well as through brochures and contact with effective officials. In parallel, executive local officials are trained to carry out mandates from the legislature and to address the needs of the population.

Because trained council members have taken ownership of their roles and responsibilities through these trainings, they are now able to set their priorities, constructing schools, fixing roads, and fulfilling their urgent needs by mobilizing community resources. They have also gained the courage to hold executive bodies accountable, as in the case of the Yilmana Densa Woreda Standing Committee (SC), who, after the training, started keeping track audit findings and enforced repayment of money lost through fraud and mismanagement. 

The budget and finance standing committee head, Geremew Admasu (pictured above), reported, "After formally  investigating the fraudulent allocation of 1.09 million ETB for veterinary drug purchase, we were able to enforce the repayment of 1.6 million ETB."

ALGP works with the Amhara regional government and civil service organizations in the region to ensure the sustainability of these efforts and to reach other woredas in the region.

«We as local councils must be role models. We should demonstrate modern farming methods and health practices so that others can adopt them.»

Zenebe Wondermagegn, municipal councillor and chairwoman of the Women's Association, Ethiopia

Governance, Peace & Migration

In many countries where we work, men and women are unable to claim their rights and participate actively in decision-making processes.

How Helvetas Supports People in Ethiopia

Learn how farming families in Ethiopia cope with climate change and how young people improve their income through training.

Multimedia Story: Yezina Overcomes Every Hurdle

Yezina will not let her disability get in the way: she wants to be a successful tailor who carries her life in her own hands. Have a look at our portrait.