Strengthening local governance and promoting Community Cohesion

November 28, 2023

Participants with the Ambassador of Japan, Mr. Matsunaga Kazuyoshi and Deputy Resident Representative - Lealem Dinku

UNDP Nigeria/Amalachukwa Ibeneme

As conflicts leave communities fragmented, community cohesion becomes crucial. Effective leadership at the community level acts as a catalyst for rebuilding trust and promoting a sense of belonging. When local governance structures are effective, transparent, and inclusive, they can aid the restoration of social cohesion, and ensuring equal access to resources and services.  

To support community cohesion, The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through the ‘Fast track of early and sustainable recovery of conflict-affected communities in the North-East Nigeria’, funded by the government of Japan is working closely with the State governments of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe to ensure that destroyed basic services and infrastructure are restored while strengthening local governance in target communities. This in-turn will support the promotion of community cohesion and will help restore social contract between the government and the communities.

To further boost effective local governance, UNDP and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), in partnership with the North-East Development Commission (NEDC), conducted a capacity-building workshop for personnel from state and local governments in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe States. The three-day workshop, held in Abuja from November 7 to 9, 2023, aimed to equip participants with enhanced knowledge on leadership for local governance and community cohesion.

The workshop commenced with a notable remark from the Ambassador of Japan, Mr. Matsunaga Kazuyoshi, highlighting the strong collaboration between Japan and UNDP in providing support to conflict-affected individuals in Northeast Nigeria. The Ambassador highlighted the significance of working together to address the challenges faced by the communities in the region. "Japan is committed to standing alongside UNDP and the Nigeria government to make a meaningful impact in the lives of those affected by conflict. Our partnership aims to restore communities and strengthen the capacity of the local leaders to sustain the change, which is the primary objective of this workshop" remarked the Ambassador.

The UNDP Nigeria Deputy Resident Representative, Mr. Lealem Berhanu Dinku, underscoring the importance of strengthening local governance said, "effective local governance is key to UNDP as it helps improve and solidify the social contract between the people and the government. When the people see and feel that government both at the state and local level are functional, it instils a sense of belonging and trust in the government”. 

As part of the JICA delegation, Mr. Yamamoto Tetsuya, the Senior Representative of JICA in Nigeria, emphasized the organization's dedication to supporting the local communities. "JICA remains committed to working hand in hand with our partners to foster sustainable development in Northeast Nigeria. Through initiatives like this workshop, we aim to empower local leaders and communities to achieve sustainable peace," he said.

The workshop delved into the critical role of good leadership in enhancing community cohesion. Leaders at the local level play a pivotal role in guiding their communities towards recovery and sustainable development. The sessions explored practical approaches and strategies that can be employed to strengthen leadership skills, fostering an environment of collaboration and inclusivity, drawing lessons from the recovery process of Hiroshima in Japan. The collaborative efforts of UNDP and JICA in organizing this workshop reflect a shared commitment to making a positive impact on the lives of those affected by conflict in Northeast Nigeria.