The Kosovo Local Effective Governance (LEGO) project seeks to help strengthen the ability of local governments in Kosovo to effectively engage and serve their residents, particularly non-majority populations that often feel excluded from local information sharing and decision making.
The five-year project, awarded to ICMA by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), has two objectives:
- Improve equitable, efficient, and transparent municipal governance that responds to citizens’ priorities with a focus on non-majority participation in democratic structures.
- Increase active citizen participation of both majority and non-majority communities in municipal structures.
To accomplish these objectives, ICMA has assembled a team made up of international and local partners to work with 14 of Kosovo’s 38 municipalities. To address specific technical challenges, ICMA's plan is to employ peer-to-peer learning, on-the-job training, and other hands-on opportunities. Throughout the project, efforts are being made to include women and youth in plans and activities.
The proposed work plan includes the following:
- Assist each municipality as it reviews its annual work plan, or develops a plan if none exists, and foster discussions of the plan between the municipality and the community.
- Review each municipality’s capabilities in regard to funding, community involvement, inter-ethnic interactions in decision making, and community needs.
- Support municipal initiatives to improve performance and accountability, as required by law.
- Encourage economic development and foster economic linkages between non-majority and majority businesses and between municipalities and the central government.
- Share successes and lessons learned with other municipalities, the central government, civil society, and donors to ensure sustainability after the close of the project.
An important component of the work plan is collaboration with other donor organizations, representatives of nongovernmental organizations, local businesses, research organizations, and officials and residents of the municipalities.
ICMA has worked in Kosovo on several other projects:
- Countering Violent Extremism in the Western Balkans, which sought to network, train, and mobilize mayors and municipal leaders across the Western Balkans region to identify and address risk factors associated with violent extremism.
- Democratic and Effective Municipalities Initiative, which assisted municipalities as they undertook new responsibilities that were previously in the domain of the central government.