Support to Dutch SSD Programme Burundi – Support to joint Burundi-Dutch Workshop to define Implementation Strategy for SSD Programme

20/03/2011 - 23/03/2011

Target country

Mandator

The Netherlands and the Burundian government are developing a joint 8 year SSD programme, structured in four phases of 2 years each. The ongoing work deals with 3 different fields: defence, police, and governance. Both parties are currently working on the second phase of the project. They have requested ISSAT advisory field support to help integrate SSD good practise into present discussion. 

Mandating organisation / agency / department / ministry

Mandate outputs / products

The main SSR principles are integrated in the 2011-2012 action plan signed by both governments.

Outcome objectives of mandate

Deliver a training session to local partners in charge of the programme, civil society and the international community (70 persons)

Facilitate two one day workshops for Defence and Police experts separately.

Start date

20/03/2011

End date

23/03/2011

Summary

  1. Informal Assessments: In order to fine tune a workshop to your audience, informal conversations with national actors and donors is a very good methodto understand the strengths and weaknesses of an audiences ability to absorb in concepts and willingness to accept those concepts.
  2. Balanced Partnership: The Dutch programme overall is with an end goal of moving from an equal partnership in planning to eventually the Dutch taking only a technical advisory role of the programme, which puts local ownership and sustainability as a top priority for the programme.
  3. New Concepts in Mid-Workstream: Be aware of the affects on local ownership trying to introduce a new concept can have that will alter work which has already been done. Be sure to have a mitigating strategy ready so that concepts can be integrated smoothly and a positive working relationship can be maintained.

Resources

OECD DAC handbook 2007, UN General Secretary report 2008, EU communication on SSR from Commission to the Council and Parliament 2006, “the SSR in a nutshell” from ISSAT.

Other Comments

The team noted a huge will to build a genuine SSD programme in line with all the SSR principles.The team also observed a true local commitment due to the balanced organisation of the teams in place. There were some fears however about the management of third pillar on governance, which is essential for the success of the whole programme.

Specific Lessons Identified

Successes

Clarity: There was a very good working relationship among the team as roles, responsibilities, and objectives were all made clear ahead of the mission.

Recommendations

Uniform Culture: When working with security actors, different uniforms (i.e. police, military) hold different traditions and institutional mentalities. If you can be aware of these factors well in advance, respect them, and work with them as opposed to working against them, then the collaboration with partners from these groups will greatly improve.

Tags

Challenges

Integrating Concepts Mid-Workflow: The workshops took place after the action plans for the military and the police had been written. For internationals external to the programme to come in after the fact to recommend new concepts for inclusion can come across as critical of national efforts and undermine local ownership. A very good communication strategy amongst the team, coupled with strong high level political support, is needed to mitigate the negative impacts of coming in late.

Successes

Partnering and Transferring Responsibility: The overall structure of the eight-year programme is designed to start with a shared responsibility between the Dutch and the Burundians, and progressively have the Dutch play more of a technical advisory role.

National Coordinator: The Burundian co-coordinator of the programme is very competent and has good relationships with both the Ministers of Interior and Defence. This allowed the programme to have substantive impact.

Tags

Challenges

Actions and words: The evaluation of impact is through a review of updated action plans for the military and police. The mission will be successful when we are able to observe evidence of SSR concepts from the workshop being incorporated into the updates. While this is one indicator that the concepts were learned, additional indicators need to be established to see if stakeholders can implement these concepts.

Tags

Challenges

Politics of SSR: Conveying the politics of SSR proved to be a concept that was difficult to transfer as not all uniformed participants viewed themselves as having a political role, rather they are neutral. While encouraging, there are still political aspects for all actors involved in SSR. This includes trainers wishing to convey the concept.

Successes

ISSAT Training: Portions of ISSAT’s Level 1 training were used to convey the key principles of SSR as well as fundamental components of supporting an SSR programme. The materials were well suited to be adapted to a specific audience.  

Recommendations

New Concepts: There will always be a challenge in instilling a new concept or methodology in people unfamiliar with the SSR approach. Make sure to be aware of their willingness and ability to take on a new concept. These two indicators can help in planning an initial engagement as well as follow on actions.

Politics of SSR: Be aware that discussing the politics of SSR is in itself political and plan accordingly.

Tags

Successes

Informal assessment: Ahead of the workshops, the training team met with Dutch staff to discuss expected attitudes towards the SSR concepts among the Burundian team. The informal nature of this discussion was quite useful to get a quick assessment of training needs and absorbsion capacity, and enabled the training team to tailor the training material to the audience.  Meeting informally, in this instance, as opposed to formal interviews also allowed the military and police officials to feel more relaxed and speak more openly about their thoughts.

Recommendations

Get to know the audience: As useful as the informal discussions with the Dutch team were, it would have been even more beneficial to have met informally with the Burundian counterparts. This would have given an even better idea of how to adapt the training, as well as established an initial rapport. 

Tags