The European Union (EU) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) together with the Government of Lesotho have initiated a programme on civic education in Lesotho entitled Participatory Initiative for Social Accountability (PISA). The programme is co-funded by the EU and BMZ for a period of three years starting in June 2016. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) is responsible for implementation of the programme. GIZ is a German Government owned organisation implementing development projects globally.
The specific objective of the programme is to contribute to increasing citizens’ capacity and motivation to participate in democratic and developmental processes, while the expected results are; enhanced citizens’ knowledge on how to participate in democratic and developmental processes; active participation of citizens and community structures in dialogue forums; and improved opportunities for citizens to participate in public policy processes at community level.
The National Steering Committee (NSC) serves firstly to provide overall strategic oversight to PISA. It will guide the implementing agency and other stakeholders in the execution of the programme, through providing expertise and discussing key programme issues.
Secondly, the NSC serves the purpose of strengthening ownership and support for PISA by relevant stakeholders.
Thirdly, the NSC will serve as a forum for dialogue on civic education and public participation at the national level.
The main functions of the NSC are the following:
- providing overall guidance and orientation to the programme,
- discussing key issues related to the implementation of the programme, including determining issues of national importance and relevance that need to be addressed by the programme,
- approving work plans and budgets prepared by the implementing agency, and
- monitoring the implementation of work plans with regard to quality and timeliness.
The NSC’s membership is composed in line with its purpose of facilitating dialogue on civic education and public participation between government and civil society stakeholders at national level. Committee members contribute their organisations’ expertise and mandate to the advantage of the PISA programme. Every organisation will nominate one senior staff member as representative to the NSC. For continuity and ensuring the functioning of the committee, the same person should participate in NSC meetings every time. The institutions and organisations on the NSC might be adjusted for a second phase of PISA depending on the experiences during the first three years.
The NSC will comprise the following institutions and organisations:
- Ministry of Finance/National Authorising Officer (NAO)
- Ministry of Development Planning
- Ministry of Local Government and Chieftainship
- Independent Electoral Commission
- Office of the Clerk of Parliament
- Women in Law Southern Africa (WILSA)
- Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP)
- Rural Self-Help Development Association (RSDA)
- Lesotho Youth Federation (LYFe)
- Delegation of the European Union in Lesotho (observer)
- GIZ Gaborone (observer)
- GIZ Lesotho (secretariat)
- The chair of the NSC will be rotating annually between the government institutions and civil society organisations on the committee, starting with the IEC;
- The NSC will meet quarterly in Maseru; meetings may be shifted or waived depending on the urgency of agenda items.
- The NSC will be supported in its functions by GIZ Lesotho, which will serve as its secretariat and prepare the agenda, supporting documents and minutes for every meeting. Supporting documents are sent to the committee members one week in advance of every meeting. This shall enable committee members to consult the materials to have informed discussions.
- The NSC will aim to achieve consensus on decisions to be made, otherwise decisions may be made by simple majority vote amongst participating members. In the event of a tie, the chair will have an additional casting vote.