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Governance and Urban Management

Since 2004, Global Communities has worked with municipalities to improve local governance through a tri-fold strategy of community participation, leadership development and service delivery, complemented by ongoing engagement with national policy development.

The "Center for Governance Excellence" model, is one of several key strategies developed by Global Communities that is helping local government be more responsive to citizen needs, participatory in planning, and efficient in service delivery.

The USAID-funded Local Government and Infrastructure Program (LGI) (2010-2015) builds on the successes of the Local Democratic Reform program (LDR) (2004-2011) and has already reached more than 60 communities in the West Bank, promoting an environment for good governance through support of local councils as they enhance service delivery for residents. 

I. Community Participation

Supporting communities and municipalities to create a participatory vision for their own development is the bedrock of Global Communities' strategy to improve local governance. Through LGI,  facilitated community planning is the first step in this process and involves the participation of the entire community. This planning process allows communities to identify their own needs and priorities for various types of infrastructure (e.g. municipal, social, community and economic).

As plans are implemented, community feedback is an integral part of each intervention stage. Civil society, including young people, are trained to help implement and monitor the activities resulting from the SDIP planning process. Global Communities then supports each locality to implement their plan, which may mean engaging in infrastructure projects, conducting training and installing systems to support the municipality to improve service delivery to citizens, and facilitating physical and metropolitan planning for the future development of the community.  

Key Innovation - Youth Local Councils

A key innovation to increase the participation of young people in local governance has been the Youth Local Councils (YLC). YLCs are democratically elected bodies made up of 11-15 members ages 15-22 years that mirror the elected local council in size and formation. Working in partnership with the municipality, the purpose of the YLCs is to sensitize youth to good governance practices and give them an opportunity to take a leadership role in their community. This initiative began under the Local Democratic Reform program (LDR) and now continues under the USAID-funded Local Government & Infrastructure program (LGI).

With partner Sharek, Global Communities has launched YLCs in 20 communities throughout the West Bank. As of April 2013, more than 10,000 Palestinian youth across 20 municipalities in the West Bank have registered as YLC voters, participating in 30 certified elections and helping to bring more than 400 youth into YLC elected positions.

II. Leadership Development

A primary goal of investing in local governance is to increase the capacity of municipalities to be more responsive, transparent, and efficient.  Leadership development is about enabling the municipality to plan effectively, operate efficiently and flexibly, and incorporate citizen feedback. Achieving these goals requires: 1) a thorough understanding of the baseline capacity of the municipality, 2) an action plan to address gaps and 3) implementation of training and systems to improve work efficiency.

To begin, Global Communities partners with each municipality to complete a Municipal Capacity Index, evaluating municipal performances in a number of areas, developing a capacity building plan and identifying appropriate areas for development, such as: further strategic planning, physical and land use planning, financial planning and management, HR and administrative training, resource development, and information management systems development and automation.
Physical and Metropolitan Plans will also be developed by larger, more urban communities to coordinate local development, transportation and zoning, improve access to public services and recreational spaces and ensure greater environmental protection. 

Key Innovation - GIS Spatial Data Management

The GIS Spatial Data Management and Administration System will be used in key municipalities to create an interactive database, coding and naming streets and mapping public and private infrastructure to facilitate municipal planning and access for emergency services.

III. Service Delivery

The service delivery component aims to ensure that a municipality has the necessary physical infrastructure in place to do its job effectively. Global Communities works with each locality to construct and rehabilitate prioritized projects such as schools, public parks, community centers, youth clubs and sports fields, as well as key government facilities like the Citizen Service Center (CSC). In the case of the CSC, Global Communities also works with the municipality to operationalize the new infrastructure.

Key Innovation - Citizen Service Center

The Citizen Service Center houses all municipal functions under one roof to make it easier for citizens to access services, reducing the time needed to process requests and enhancing the efficiency and transparency of municipal service delivery.
Funded by USAID, Global Communities under LDR and LGI has already constructed 21 Citizen Service Centers with an additional 7 to be completed by 2015.
More than just a building, the CSC is also equipped with modern equipment and software enabling fully automated records management and service delivery. Global Communities supports each municipality in streamlining their procedures before the CSC is open to ensure the greatest possible efficiency. As an exciting addition, the introduction of E-Municipality enables citizens to access municipal services online, easing congestion at the municipal offices and reducing time spent accessing services.


One of the best outcomes of the partnership between Global Communities and 'Illar Municipality is the pride we feel being a strong institution that is able to move forward to achieve the concepts of transparency, integrity and accountability. Citizens have the right to inquire about any work that has been carried out by the municipality. This has produced a real partnership, where they trust us and we trust them.”  Mr. Sufian Shadeed/ Mayor of 'Illar

IV. Influencing National Policy and Supporting the Ministry of Local Government

Under the Local Democratic Reform (LDR) program, Global Communities began engaging the Ministry of Local Government (MoLG) to assume a more effective leading role in the development and implementation of a democratic local governance system.

Global Communities worked with the Ministry of Local Government (MoLG) to develop a multi-year strategic plan to ensure the Ministry has the capacity to meet the needs of local citizens and effectively implement its goals. Under LGI, Global Communities has supported MoLG in updating that strategy, which can be found here.
In addition, Global Communities regularly works to bring local governance initiatives to the national governance and policy level. To this end, we are currently supporting the MoLG to finalize a Public Participation Manual based on our experience implementing Youth Local Councils, gender mainstreaming, and community participation in local governance.

Expansion to Urban Areas

LGI works in both smaller, more vulnerable communities and in mid-size municipalities. In 2013, the program expanded to target the West Bank’s largest urban areas (including the municipalities of Ramallah, Nablus, Al Bireh, Bethlehem and Jenin), beginning a long-term partnership to support each municipality’s ability to meet citizen needs and advance the municipality’s goal of being a responsive, efficient, and effective center for governance excellence.  

Key Innovation - E-Municipality

The E-Municipality strategy (developed with input from national-level stakeholders and informed by the implementation of the concept in similar contexts in Malaysia) is a comprehensive ICT (information, communication, technology) structural platform, consisting of the following key components:

  • Standardized Semantics & Terminology:  Semantics and standard terminology to use for information across intra- or inter- boundaries of municipalities
  • Network & System Interconnections: Interconnection standards related to networks, system development and layer requirements to enable communication between various systems currently used by municipalities.
  • Metadata & Content Management: Content management and metadata standards for managing and use of municipal information.
  • Information & Data Access for End-Users: Information access and presentation standards for data access, and means of access, by end users (could be the citizens, staff, and council members, MDLF, MoLG or other national entities).
  • Web-based Integration of Applications: Web-based services standards to connect and integrate web-based applications (such as the EDRMS) over the Internet.
  • Security Standards & Protocols: to ensure safe access and exchange of information both on the Intranet and Internet.
  • Alignment of Internal & External Processes: Standards for aligning internal and external business process related to service provision in municipalities.

Urban Areas with Expanded LGI Interventions


Participatory Planning and Strategic Investment Plan, in which community members take an active role in decisions that affect their lives by helping to develop the city’s Strategic Development & Investment plan that will serve as the guiding document for local economic and social development for the next 8-12 years.

Metropolitan Plan, which lays out the vision for Ramallah, Al Bireh and Beitunia to ensure proper planning for local development, transportation and zoning to enhance access to public services and recreational spaces and better environmental protection.

E-Municipality System, which will enable citizens to access municipal services online, easing long wait times at the municipality and reducing backlog when accessing services.

For more on our work in Ramallah, see the full municipal profile here. 


Community Infrastructure: Indoor Sports Complex, a state-of-the-art facility with courts for volleyball, basketball, handball and soccer, fitness areas and a theatre with more than 2,000 seats.

Urban and Physical Planning, including the development of GIS systems paired with street naming and numbering plans to enhance urban development.

Streamlined Procurement Procedures and Database, to make procurement procedures more efficient and transparent, while also developing a procurement database to institutionalize new procurement procedures and templates.

For more on our work in Nablus, see the full municipal profile here.

Al Bireh

Community Infrastructure: Expansion of Youth Foundation Club, which  includes a new media center, computers, music performance space and a language development unit.

Physical Planning and Metropolitan Plan, to ensure proper planning for local development, transportation and zoning.

GIS Spatial Data Management and Administration, to address the problem of scattered spatial data, providing the municipality with information required for physical and urban planning.

For more on our work in Al Bireh, see the full municipal profile here.


Human Resources Management Information System, which provides the municipality with an automated human resources and payroll management information system to improve HR operations and reduce operating costs.

Enhanced Internal Audits, to ensure that the municipality adheres to required procurement, financial and administrative regulations while enhancing transparency and accountability of the municipality.

Municipal Strategic Corporate Plan, which outlines how and when the municipality will address its institutional development priorities.

For more on our work in Jenin, see the full municipal profile here.


Physical Plan and Metropolitan Plan, to ensure proper planning for local development, transportation and zoning, and to ensure enhanced access to public services and recreational spaces.

Participatory Planning and Strategic Development and Investment Plan, to help guide Bethlehem’s local economic and social development.

Municipal Strategic Corporate Plan, based on a new municipal capacity assessment tool, that outlines how the municipality will address its institutional development priorities. 

For more on our work in Bethlehem, see the full municipal profile here.

Previous Governance Programs in the West Bank & Gaza

Local Democratic Reform (LDR; 2004-2011 ). The goal of LDR was to strengthen local government institutions and leadership to more effectively assess and prioritize needs, implement integrated strategic planning and performance monitoring processes, and deliver and manage infrastructure construction and basic service delivery in a way that is transparent and democratic, and holds those in authority accountable.

Key Governance Accomplishments Under LDR

  • Facilitation of a series of  Local Governance Roundtables to address issues pertinent to building the local government sector in the Palestinian territories, and foster dialogue amongst municipalities and other stakeholders.
  • Facilitation of community strategic planning process with 20 partner communities to construct a road map for their future development and link local governance plans to national level objectives. The process also allowed the municipalities an opportunity to actively engage with their citizens and national and local stakeholders.
  • Pioneering of the Youth Local Councils concept, and implementation of YLCs in 17 communities to engage youth more actively in the local governance process.