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APLA’s director participates in first CONNECT work placement

2 May 2018

At the end of April, the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG) received the CEO of the Association of Palestinian Local Authorities (APLA), for a temporary work placement.

The Association of Palestinian Local Authorities (APLA) reached out to CONNECT since it has suffered many difficulties in the past years. It requested assistance from a European Local Government Association, to be able to learn more about successful service delivery to members and effective lobby and advocacy on behalf of the municipalities. VNG answered to the call and facilitated an interactive work placement. Timing was perfect, as APLA is currently undergoing a reactivation process, aiming to become an effective and dynamic organization.

Dynamic exchange with colleagues

The temporary work placement at the VNG enabled Mr Abdallah Anati to meet with a variety of VNG colleagues, with specialties ranging from lobby and advocacy, to communication and financial management. The meetings were set up in such a way that there was lots of space for questions, as well as for joint work on APLA’s strategic plan, financial plan and communication plan. The VNG employees offered advice on concrete challenges, and gave guidance on the next steps to take for the CEO. “What I liked about this work placement, is that it were person-to-person meetings, and there was a lot of information and knowledge sharing. And most importantly, this work placement tackled the exact needs I wanted to learn about”, Mr Anati said. “Through this week, I had a very good chance to look at the VNG experience and the Dutch experiment”, he added.

Discussing the added value of an association

The work sessions at the VNG were complemented by study visits to three Dutch municipalities: representatives from the cities of Leiden, Rijswijk and Hoorn all took time to meet with Mr Anati and exchange on why their municipalities are a member of the VNG and what added value it brings to them, amongst other topics. In Rijswijk, the Mayor and an Alderman also presented how their municipality has embraced the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and has now integrated them in various activities. Based on this discussion, Abdallah Anati plans to reopen discussions with the Palestinian government on how to include Local and Regional governments in the implementation of and reporting on this agenda in the next years.

Follow-up activities

While filling out the CONNECT joint report form, Mr Abdallah Anati listed the actions he will take upon arrival in the Palestinian Territories, based on the experience at the VNG and some of its members. The work placement helped him prioritize and concretize the next steps for APLA. VNG International will also see how some of these actions can be integrated in the new, EU-financed, multi-annual programme with APLA, the ARD programme.