Up-scaling Joint Action Development Forums in Rwanda for better service provision, and economic development

Since 2001 Rwanda experimented with multi-actor forums for participatory governance. The Joint Action Development Forums (JADF) are used for planning and monitoring, promoting cooperation between the private sector, civil society and the public sector to advance development at the local level. In 2007 the JADF was made official policy.

Rwanda acknowledges that accountability and voice are core principles for effective management of public affairs and achieve the development goals. The Joint Action Development Forums (JADFs) have shown to be contributing to improve Rwanda’s performance of these principles. JADF also treats issues such as gender equity, social inclusion of marginalised groups and environmental sustainability. While supporting the implementation, development partners as well as the district authorities recognized the importance of the mechanism to foster dialogue and cooperation between the development actors from private, public and civil society, and expressed a need for a more systematic approach to develop capacity of the JADFs.

After initial small scale experiences with the Joint Action Development Forum JADF in some districts developed since 2001, In 2007, the GoR enacted a Ministerial Instruction concerning the JADF. The JADF will now be installed in all 30 districts and 416 sectors of Rwanda. The JADF is now considered to be a key platform for assisting in the implementation of effective decentralization, consistent with the principles and objectives of the Government of Rwanda (GoR), as outlined in the Decentralization policy, the Decentralization Implementation Plan (DIP), and the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS). Various organizations have supported the set up and the functioning of the JADF most notably the Rwanda Association of Local Government Authorities (RALGA) and the Netherlands Development Organizations (SNV).

The Netherlands Development Organization (SNV) has been involved in pilot experiences with multi-actor forums in Rwanda from as early as 2001. Over time SNV developed both the methodology and guidelines on how to set up and support district level JADFs. RALGA was more prominently involved in the policy development and in informing the local government members on the mechanism. SNV developed a JADF study lessons learned that gave inputs to the development of a JADF strengthening program. The JADF experiences cover the overall district planning, information, coordination of development actors and some specific experiences were developed in health, agriculture and education. Despite the progress the mechanism it is believed that the JADF can do a lot more in terms of achieving improved service provision, accountability and economic development. This can be achieved by systematically approach aspects as voice, accountability and multi actor interaction. This resulted in the preparation of the Joint Action Development Forum Strengthening Program.

Year of publication: 
UNDP Capacity is Development knowledge fair
Themes and sectors: 
Civil society
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