Connecting community and organisational resilience in Nairobi and Rotterdam

How can we better connect community resilience initiatives to local governments? A panel at the Trialog conference discussed this question with representatives of the local governments, NGOs, community organisations, and universities in Nairobi and Rotterdam.

The presentations showed that Rotterdam and Nairobi have a lot in common. In both cities, community initiatives have matured, with more capacity, variation, and networks. City councils have realised that top-down policies don’t work adequately and must be replaced or complemented by participatory approaches in support of community initiatives. Both cities move towards more collaborative and adaptive governance.

This transition however proves difficult. The panelists argue that it requires coordination by government, partnerships based on trust, time to develop these new partnerships, and peer-to-peer learning between communities. To do so, city councils should move from fragmented departmental structures towards more integration, both between departments and layers in local government. Ultimately, however, the link is strengthened at the level of the community. This requires a stronger presence of city council at the level of communities and organizations that span the boundary between governments and community initiatives. Both cities mention encouraging examples.

The panel ended on a positive note: connecting community and organisational resilience take time, but these processes have been put into motion. It is up to us to support these processes.

More information

  • Moderator: Jan Fransen
  • Presenters: Beatrice Hati and Beitske Boonstra
  • Panelists: Lilian Kieni, Charles Gachanga, Joseph Kimani, Marleen ten Vergert and Naomi Sonneveld

Want to know more about the Panel at the Trialog conference of 23 September 2021? Find it here.

Parklands, Nairobi, Keyna