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Political Economy Analysis of the Local Governance Sector in Darfur
VNG International

VNG International are experts in strengthening democratic local government in developing countries and countries in transition. Local governments play a key role in the provision of basic services including water, waste management, health care and housing. They have a profound impact on areas such as safety, food security, rule of law and women’s rights. This is how our projects contribute in a sustainable way to better futures for people, communities and countries.

 City: Darfur
 Deadline: 31 July 2021

Stability Through Resilience Programme (2017- 2021)


Proposed Activity

Political Economy Analysis of the Local Governance Sector in Darfur

Activity name, description and number

PEA; analysis of LG mandate, involvement and response in conflict resolution- 11365.



Background of the STR Programme

The Stability Through Resilience (STR) programme (2017-2020) funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs is being implemented in West- and South Darfur by ZOA Sudan and World Relief. The programme focuses on addressing the root causes of conflict, instability and irregular migration by contributing to increased human security, increased resilience and improved livelihoods. The programme aims to contribute to  three objectives:

  1. Strengthened inclusive Community Based Conflict Prevention and Resolution Mechanisms reduce the number of newly arising conflicts (prevention) and resolve increased numbers of existing conflicts.
  2. Conflicts over access to natural resources including water and grazing land sustainably reduced.
  3. Vulnerable groups have enhanced access to livelihood opportunities through using market driven approaches.


Within objective 1 and 3, a special focus will be placed on the role of localities in achieving the set objectives, mainly focusing on conflict prevention and resolution and increasing the access to income and economic opportunities. ZOA Sudan and World Relief have sub contracted VNG International (the international cooperation agency of the association of Netherlands Municipalities) to support the ZOA/WR capacity development team in strengthening the capacities of 7 localities in Darfur. ZOA concentrates on 4 localities in South Darfur, whereas World Relief implements the programme in 3 localities in West Darfur.


Sudan recognizes state, locality level (on average 10 per state), administrative units (on average 3- 4 per locality) and villages (30- 70 per administrative unit) within a devolved system. Whilst states and localities are legally responsible for the provision of basic services (education, health, water, waste), a substantial share of economic planning & revenue raising, it is noted that the capacity of state and local level to deliver these is generally weak. This is mainly attributed to shortage of qualified staff and limited financial resources. It is also indicated that state and LG level play a critical role in security, development & dispute resolution in the localities. Local security committees consisting of Police, NIS, Customs, Army/ Militias respond to conflict, control borders to restrict the illegal export of goods and are re- active in kind. No genuine plans are made in how to prevent conflict.


At the same time, it is noted that at community level there are many committees set up (Community Based Development Committees, Peace and Reconciliation Committees), which aim to tackle local challenges and the lack of service delivery provided by localities. These community based committees exist at Village and Administrative Unit levels and are built on the notion that people are willing to contribute if they have a stake at play. In most cases these committees are established with assistance from NGO’s and have recognition from the government.


The community based committees are expected to work as per the government standards and procedures at village level, jointly with line ministries experts who work at the locality and/or state level. Though there is willingness to work together there seems to be a reluctance of both citizens and local government to cooperate.


Moreover in Darfur there is now a new group who is willing to take a seat at the table. How do state and local level governments engage with ex rebel groups?


Relevant Outcome and Output for this ToR

The most relevant outcome and output for this ToR is related to the 1st objective of the programme, being Outcome 1.2: local governments support community based conflict prevention and resolution mechanisms, and perform their task accordingly and accountably.


Output 1.2.1: Strengthened capacity of local governments to support community based conflict prevention and resolution mechanisms

The foreseen activities are as follows:

Activity  Provide local government with training on conflict and gender sensitive and inclusive planning, budgeting, dialogue and conflict resolutions and on engaging with civil society.

Activity Support the coordinating role of localities to bring different stakeholders responsible for public security- such as the police, justice, administrative bodies and civil society together to facilitate dialogue

Activity Link locality government to the Peace and Reconciliation Committees

Activity Support localities in doing a joint analysis of the security situation and prioritization of issues, as a result of the dialogue between the various partners

Activity Support the development of a Local (Security) Action Plan by this committee and table this plan at the public security forum (activity 1.4.2)

Activity Discuss the roles and responsibilities of each partner in relation to the implementation of these plans

Activity Support the implementation of this Local Security Action Plan by means of regular meetings, coaching and training on a variety of issues, tailored to needs (e.g. project cycle management, communication etc.)

Background of the country programme and expected results


Aim of this assignment

In order to get a proper understanding of the feasibility of the above mentioned activities, and to ensure effective implementation, it is key to be looking at the interests and incentives faced by the local governments and the community groups, and how this influences their interaction. What is the level of engagement, capacity and involvement of local government in peace building and reconciliation processes and how to identify those opportunities that can create, sustain and transform relationships over time and which can promote positive change between citizens and local government.

The aim of this assignment is to conduct a political economy analysis of the targeted localities in the STR programme, thereby specifically focusing on the “local governance structures in Darfur in relation to reconciliations, grassroots peace processes and recovery and development”.


Aim of this assignment

To conduct a political economy analysis of all the targeted localities in the STR programme.

Outputs (expected deliverables)

  1. Methodology for the PEA (1 week before field visit)
  2. Draft PEA report (2 weeks after the field mission)
  3. Final report

Reporting requirements

Routing of the reporting occurs according to the following guidelines:

  1. The expert will work in close collaboration with the ZOA/ WR capacity development team to ensure alignment of the activities
  2. The expert will ensure that a proper level of information prior to, during and after the activity is provided to ZOA/ WR
  3. The expert will report directly to the ZOA programme advisor

The expert will not report directly to the beneficiary

Assignment focus and scope of work

Among other relevant areas of inquiry, the assignment should seek to answer some of the following questions:


Roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders within the (local) government sector:

  1. Who are the key stakeholders?
  2. What are their roles and mandates (formal/informal)? In general and in relation to conflict mitigation, security, recovery and development.
  3. What is the balance between the central, state and local government in providing services?
  4. What are the key barriers in engaging with local security committees/ es rebel groups and the civil society in general?


Power relations

  1. To what extent is power vested in the hands of specific individuals or groups?
  2. How do different stakeholders outside government such as the security partners, local leaders and civil society influence the policies?
  3. To what extent does patronage influence choices and decisions within local governments?


Service delivery

  1. How isdeliveryof services in general and security in particular, structured within the local government sector?
  2. Who are the primary beneficiaries of services within the LG sector?
  3. Are there particular social, ethnic or regional groupsexcluded from services?
  4. What is the basis of their exclusion and how is it being addressed?
  5. Are subsidies provided and which groups benefit most?


Decision making, participation and implementation

  1. Who are the key actors in LG decision making processes?
  2. How is the decision making process structured, implemented and followed up?
  3. What influences override the decision making structures established?
  4. How do these influences affect the outcomes of the decisions made and their implementation?
  5. To what extent are capacity challenges a key obstacle in the decision making and implementation process?
  6. What are the opportunities and challenges at this transitional period in Sudan?


Ideological values and potential for reform

  1. What are the dominant ideological values or principles that shape the local governance sector?
  2. To what extent do these values and principles serve to constrain or promote change?
  3. Who are likely “winners” and “losers” from particular reforms? Are there key reform champions within the sector? 
  4. Who is likely to resist reforms and why?
  5. How can such resistance to reforms be overcome and concerns be redressed, particularly at this transitional period in Sudan?



Corruption and rent-seeking

  1. Is there significant corruption and rent-seeking in the sector?
  2. Where is this most prevalent (at the point of delivery; procurement; allocation of jobs)?
  3. Who benefits most from this arrangement?
  4. How is corruption being used?
  5. Any accountability measures, complaint, monitoring and feedback mechanisms?


Conflict-sensitive intervention

  1. How does the central government, local government structures, local leaders and civil society organizations influence drivers of conflict?
  2. Is there a risk that planned conflict-sensitive intervention(s) may exacerbate negative behaviours by these actors? Or could planned interventions support positive- peace promoting behaviours by these actors?
  3. What is the impact of corruption or absence of reliable government service delivery on public attitudes towards the state or particular groups associated with the state? Could such perceptions lead to conflict or violence?
  4. What is the nature and structure of civil society in this context? What are the focus of their actions and interventions? Which groups are potential partners for positive change or likely link to conflict and violence?


Gender-sensitive intervention

  1. What impact do gender identities have on conflict dynamics?
  2. What behavioural attributes of men or women encourage violence or promote peace on the basis of their gender identifies?
  3. How can positive gender identities be supported to address conflict and promote peace?
  4. How is conflict and violence impacting men, women, boys and girls?
  5. Who feels threatened or empowered by programme interventions? And how can the interventions be adapted to help those who feel threatened to participate in and gain from them?
  6. What risks may emerge for beneficiaries, partners and staff as a result of working on gender issues and the empowerment of women? Can these risks be mitigated?


Assignment Qualifications


  • Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in Public Administration, Economics, Business or other relevant field.


  • Excellent command of English;
  • Excellent writing skills;
  • Ability to provide an analytical reflection;
  • Pro-active and representative attitude;
  • Ability to work independently;
  • Computer literate (Microsoft Office);


  • Experience with the development and implementation of international and donor-funded capacity development programmes;
  • Proven experience of drafting political economy analysis in fragile context;

Professional experience with local governance, human security and gender in East Africa;

Period of the assignment and number of days of engagement

The assignment is estimated to cover a maximum of 25 working days to be implemented in July/August 2021 and will be structured into the following components:


Assignment component

No. of days

  1. Initial inception meeting and planning


  1. Design of methodology and tools for data collection


  1. Document review


  1. Interviews and meetings with key respondents


  1. Data analysis


  1. Report writing


  1. Stakeholder engagement and feedback on report


  1. Submission of final report


Total consultancy days



Place of the assignment

The place of the assignment is Darfur:

Contact details VNG International

Karim Boussak, Project Manager



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