In the summer of 2009, the eThekwini Municipality in Durban, South Africa initiated the formation of the first-ever local government-driven, practitioner-based Institute of Learning.
- This historic decision was partly in response to our national government’s Turn-Around Strategy which sounded the call for municipal collaboration to enhance local government practitioner capacity, and as part of our municipality’s knowledge-management strategy to position Durban as a Centre of Learning.
- A series of extensive consultations with key provincial, national and international stakeholders was held as part of the initial scoping exercise and overwhelming support for the formation of such an Institute was received.
- The key message that resonated from each of these interactions was the need for MILE to build strong partnerships with other institutions that are operating in the local government practitioner capacity enhancement field.
Strategic Objectives of MILE
The Municipal Institute of Learning (MILE), which is being run as a five-year pilot programme, has the following strategic objectives:
- To facilitate the enhancement of professional and technical capacity of local government professionals on the African continent;
- To position the eThekwini Municipality as a platform for innovating, learning and sharing with other municipalities, associations and networks, both locally and internationally;
- To leverage partnerships with tertiary institutions in order to promote collaborative research programmes that will ultimately improve the effectiveness of local government;
- To provide a municipal technical support service to other municipalities in an empowering and innovative manner; and
- To co-ordinate the internal knowledge management agenda within the eThekwini Municipality.
To be Africa’s premier learning Institute for local government practitioners
As a leading NEPAD city, and an active member of the United Cities and Local Government (UCLG) in Africa, our municipality has been playing an important leadership role in the coordination of learning around planning and sustainable development and local governance in cities on the continent. Whilst MILE is initiated and co-ordinated by eThekwini, it will be an institute of learning for all municipalities and other interested agencies involved in local government.
Every endeavour will be made to ensure that such municipalities and agencies are aware of and take ownership of MILE. Whilst our focus is initially in Africa, MILE will endeavour to collaborate with municipal partners and agencies from all over the world.
To support African municipalities with capacity and knowledge in order to be effective in the delivery of local government’s old and new core competencies.
In line with our Vision, the purpose of MILE is to help enhance the capacity of professionals working in local government on the continent (and beyond), to respond more effectively to meeting the continuum of developmental local government challenges – from getting the basics right, to effectively dealing with contemporary global challenges such as climate change.