Supporting democracy in Burkina Faso

May 5, 2017

Burkina Faso is currently experiencing a democratic renewal that saw its light as a result of the popular uprisings of 2014. These events, where the citizens demanded to be at the centre of the country’s development, led to the overthrow of the ruling government. Following a transition period, the successful November 2015 elections saw a new National Assembly, intent to improve its capacity to carry out its functions more effectively and transparently. The Canadian Government has shown its commitment to accompany Burkina Faso in its efforts towards democracy by signing a bilateral agreement between the two governments.

This is the background to the project “Supporting Democracy in Burkina Faso”, for which the Parliamentary Centre is the implementing agency. It is focused on strengthening the National Assembly of Burkina Faso through a multi-faceted and targeted support for the 127 MPs and the parliamentary staff that assist them to perform their functions of representation, legislation and oversight in a more effective, transparent and responsible manner. A special focus is given to ensure that parliamentarians are able take into account a gender perspective while performing these roles and responsibilities, as well as on providing them with the tools and capacity to engage citizens in their work and consult them on decisions that affect their daily lives.

The expected results of this three year project (March 2016 – March 2019) are as follows:

Ultimate Result: The National Assembly of Burkina Faso is more effective, transparent and accountable towards the citizens it represents.

Intermediate Result I: The needs for capacity building by MPs and parliamentary staff are identified in a coordinated and sustainable manner.

Intermediate Result II: The MPs and the staff that support them perform their functions of representation, legislation and oversight in a more effective, transparent and accountable manner.

The Parliamentary Centre believes that each legislature is unique and ensures to provide a support that respects the historical, cultural and political uniqueness of our partner countries while fostering greater transparency and accountability in government. We do not offer a one-fits-all solution, but always try and respond to specific needs that are communicated by the intended beneficiaries themselves. All our activities are carried out in a participatory and inclusive manner, working closely with locally based organizations and experts to help empower and build local ownership of results.

This is why the very first activity of the project was to conduct a Needs Assessment of the National Assembly with the participation of the MPs and parliamentary staff. This comprehensive assessment has served as a guide to target the project support to meet the identified capacity building needs. It has also been shared widely with other organizations working to support the National Assembly as an important reference document. For more information on this document, please click here (in French only).

The Parliamentary Centre also tries to ensure that all our support serves to build local capacity and helps to create sustainable results. This is why the Centre has partnered with a locally based organization, Yons Associates, to implement the project, ensuring a great knowledge of the local context wile levering the international and regional knowledge that the Parliamentary Centre brings from its previous experiences working with parliaments around the world. This will also help build a firm bridge between the National Assembly and our local partner, and other organizations like it that will be involved to provide expertise, even beyond the project.

To achieve sustainable results and greater reach and impact, a strong focus of the project is also put on helping to improve the coordination of efforts between the international donors and implementing agencies in order to promote cooperation and to avoid duplication of efforts towards the National Assembly. Regular meeting of this donor dialogue network will take place throughout the project, coordinated by the Canadian Embassy. As part of these efforts, the project will also help strengthen the National Assembly’s capacity and empower it to take an active role in the coordination and follow-up of all support to ensure that it meets its expectations and needs, while reaching as many beneficiaries as possible.

During the needs assessment, the National Assembly communicated one urgent need of support – to develop a Strategic Plan that would help guide and set out the strategic directions for the institution over the next four-year period. This plan, accompanied by a results-based operational plan and several special projects, have now been developed and adopted by the National Assembly. The Parliamentary Centre, supported also by PGF Consultants, were able to accompany the National Assembly during this very important process as facilitators, but the result is truly a reflection of the work of the Assembly itself. The Strategic Plan is also now the guiding document for all support to the National Assembly. For more on the strategic planning process, please click here.

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