The key task of VNG International is strengthening democratic local government. VNG International is a dynamic company annually managing some 60+ projects and programmes with a focus on decentralisation and capacity-building. VNG International supports local governments, their associations and training institutions in developing countries and countries in transition.
VNG International was founded in 1993 to exploit the experience of local governments in the Netherlands and their association, VNG. The parent organisation, VNG, was established in 1912 and is now one of the world’s oldest and strongest local government associations with 300 staff members and a vast resource of experiences.
VNG International is located in VNG’s headquarters and has easy access to all its know-how, experience and facilities. It has 49 staff members in The Hague and a further 14 in international project offices. In addition, VNG International mobilises local government expertise through a large network of professionals both in the Netherlands and abroad.
VNG International’s work is part-financed by the Netherlands’ Ministries of Foreign Affairs and of Home Affairs, the European Union, the World Bank and various United Nations agencies.
VNG International’s services for strengthening local government worldwide are practical and aim at well-defined, concrete results. Their services include project and programme management, advice, training, study tours, policy development and research, including evaluations. They always strive to coordinate their interventions with other donor programmes and to align with national reform agendas.
They provide these services for a range of clients such as the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The European Commission (EuropeAid), World Bank, bilateral donors such as USAID, SIDA, and others.
VNG International manages projects ranging from specialized and small-scale interventions to multi-year public sector assistance projects. Their current project portfolio covers countries in South Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe, Southern Africa, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Central and South America, the Middle East, and Asia.
VNG International has extensive experience in programme management. At present they manage programmes for international cooperation between local governments and their organisations, and for capacity building of associations of local authorities.
The advice VNG International experts give is always tailored to the needs of the client: it is practical and easily applied, sometimes long-term, sometimes short-term and sometimes a mix of both. The VNG International experts provide consultancy on all their fields of expertise.
Due to their strong local government roots, they have easy access to the specialised know-how of municipal staff and to the political experience of mayors, councillors and municipal directors. This practice oriented combination of technical and political experience is a key prerequisite for strengthening local government. As an active member, VNG provides access to the wealth of experience accumulated in the European and international local government representative organisations.
They work closely together with a group of 10 associate experts who have extensive practical experience in many areas of municipal management. In addition to this they draw experience from their own database with about 1000 local government experts
As part of its project activities, VNG International offers practice-oriented training, helps to develop training curricula and assists in setting up training institutes for local government officials.
Study tours are an important method of learning, because they widen one’s experience and inspire to assess existing approaches. They are also a strong tool for teambuilding and networking. VNG International organises study tours on a regular basis as part of its projects and programmes.
Policy Development and Research
The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs has invited VNG International to share its expertise on local authorities and development cooperation with the Ministry and other organisations. To this purpose the LOGO South programme was expanded to include policy development and research by VNG International. Themes in emphasis of VNG International’s policy development and research are: city diplomacy, local government in fragile states, accountability and policy dialogues, local governments and MDGs.
Another form of research, evaluations, is done mostly for Dutch municipalities. They ask VNG International to evaluate their international policy, or more specifically, their city links. These evaluations are financed partly by the municipalities themselves and partly through a grant of NCDO.
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