[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
AFRO-NETS> Decentralisation - A summary on the power thread
- Subject: AFRO-NETS> Decentralisation - A summary on the power thread
- From: Sylvia Vriesendorp <SVRIESENDORP@msh.org>
- Date: Tue, 26 Aug 1997 14:17:58 -0400
Decentralisation - A summary on the power thread
Hello everyone, here I am again. Am I the only woman sitting down at
this decentralization feast? I am digesting the flurry of responses
after my post. In front of me is a large white board on which I have
tried to summarize your many responses. Here is an attempt to give
you a glimpse of this whiteboard, albeit it through words.
I think there is general agreement that decentralization is
essentially a political process, that it is also a manifestation of
underlying democratization processes. Koen, through his UNICEF case
study presented decentralization as wedged in between competing
process, some favoring decentralization, some favoring
centralization. This is all in the center of the whiteboard, it looks
neat and orderly.
But then there is a lot of scribbling in the margins, and now it gets
messy, but that's where the fun begins. I'd call this getting into
the basement. On the stairs down we encounter some suggestions for
skills training, not so much management skills (although these too,
like planning, marketing, etc.), but rather political skills such as
negotiation, consensus and partnership building. Further down in the
basement we trip over culture (hyper-centralized even), long-
ingrained beliefs about the world, about hierarchy, about experts and
competence, and even further down we run headfirst into FEAR, and
there in the corner sits TRUST, and its shadows MISTRUST and
I think I have covered most of the ideas presented by you all and I
think we can find some gems in the basement, what we might do next...
This is what I heard us saying...
1. Bring people together who usually do not get together and have
thus formed all sorts of opinions and stereotypes about each
other. In a structured process they can learn to listen and
understand each other because, as someone said in a post, from
there comes acceptances and then we might actually get motivation
to change things around. It is also a way to focus away from the
losses one might suffer (loss of power, loss of comfort, loss of
benefits, loss of a job) to the gains.
2. Talk, talk and talk. Someone mentioned how important it is to
inform people about changed priorities (the South African story
about people still going to tertiary hospitals). I'd push a
little further, not just tell tell tell, but talk talk talk. I
don't think there is a shortcut to that.
3. Start with yourself...as someone else said, look at how you treat
your support staff. This include us socalled experts...we too are
concerned about lower quality if we don't do it ourselves, just
like the concerns of technical staff mentioned in the UNICEF
report....I think COMPETENCE is probably OUR biggest issue...the
fear of not being seen as competent...is that why I noticed most
everyone introduces himself with how much experience he has, like
the number of countries worked in, number of years in the field.
Why not tell people you are happily married and treat your staff
With the greates respect??? Ah but now I am drifting off a bit,
although COMPETENCE is an interesting thread to follow...why don't
top people often don't trust people lower down the foodchain? Does
it have to do wth perceived (inc)competence????
Enough said..let's move on to the next course. All my best with the
digestion. Maybe our French colleagues have a way to avoid une crise
Send mail for the `AFRO-NETS' conference to `firstname.lastname@example.org'.
Mail administrative requests to `email@example.com'.
For additional assistance, send mail to: `firstname.lastname@example.org'.