SUNY/CID Expanding Regional Parliamentary Programs in Africa
SUNY/CID NEWS STORIES 2003
SUNY/CID Senior Associate John Johnson spent two weeks in Windhoek, Namibia during June 2003 consulting with the Southern Africa Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF) to create an orientation program for Members of Parliament (MPs) in Southern Africa. This consulting assignment comes through a contract with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to work with SADC PF in developing and delivering an MP orientation program and handbook for the SADC nations (Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe).
One unique aspect of this program is the integration of gender issues into every program component instead of covering gender as a separate unit. The unit covering the budget, for example, covers gender budgeting and the unit on MP representation addresses gender issues related to representation. In addition to having a theoretical component, the overall program and handbook will build in comparative experiences in the SADC region as the training is delivered to each country's parliament. Country specific analysis and best practices will be developed and presented for inclusion in the handbook by local experts. The first pilot test of the program will be conducted for approximately 80 MPs in Lusaka, Zambia in August 2003. The second will be held in Lesotho in September or October of this year. After the two pilots, SADC PF will continue delivering and developing this program on its own with the goal to have a comprehensive guide for MPs in SADC countries within two years.
SUNY/CID is using its legislative expertise to partner with a growing number of local and international organizations in helping MPs and their staff better represent their constituencies, oversee government spending, and reform policies to resolve the many difficult issues facing developing nations. SUNY/CID also manages a Ford Foundation regional parliamentary program in East Africa. Through the Ford Foundation grant, SUNY/CID is helping to develop a legislative studies center at the US International University in Nairobi, Kenya to assist the parliaments of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Since 1992, SUNY/CID has conducted short or long term country specific activities with the parliaments of Namibia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Benin, Madagascar, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Zambia.