The MASAR project aimed to improve the capacities of local governments to engage in holistic, area-based planning while considering different scenarios that respond to the needs of host communities, refugees, and internally displaced persons, training to improve their skills in data management, urban planning, or strategic development.
Geographic Information System (GIS)
In December 2020 the MASAR-PCPM team did its first assessment of needs related to GIS. Based on the assessment, the local governments decided to establish specialized GIS units at each of the Unions of Municipalities, with the support of MASAR.
As a result of the cooperation, in 2012, a GIS database was created covering satellite imagery, digitalized cadastral information, zoning maps and decrees, ground elevation maps, road networks, land use maps, as well as regional and Union boundaries. Still the same year, 16 municipal staff and volunteers ready to support the work of the GIS units in each Union completed the GIS training, and
each Union of Municipalities received IT equipment for its GIS unit, including computers, external drives, printers and stationery.
Thanks to local governments efforts and MASAR support, in 2021, the GIS units were fully operational. In the following year, the units completed also field data collection projects with MASAR support. Each project aimed at supporting sustainable provision of public services or local economic development of the Unions through data updates and analysis.
In May 2021 the Union of Municipalities of Dreib El Gharby, Dreib El Awsat and Akkar El Chemaly with the support of MASAR-PCPM team launched three strategic planning processes, one in each Union. After the assessment phase, focus group discussions were organised and planning committees were formed ensuring participation of local communities. In order to ensure youth engagement in the planning process, a competition for the best development idea was organised, called “Fair of Ideas”. Participatory planning processes were completed, resulting in Union-specific development scenarios, including a list of quick impact projects. The plans were validated in December in 2021 in sessions with the Unions’ representatives and the reports were published using Unions channels.
In January 2022, 20 local government representatives and staff participated in a training on the role of municipalities in local economic development (LED) allowing their representatives to learn to formulate or take greater ownership of LED projects. Following a training for active youth of Dreib El Awsat Union in February 2022, youth committees supporting planning activities in the Union were formalized.
Another training was organised in June 2022, aiming at familiarising the local governments’ representatives with the mechanisms of co-funding of local initiatives. It was followed by a series of trainings for local governments and youth in project proposal writing. These trainings also included individual coaching for small groups working on a project idea.
Towards Project Sustainability
Adopting of the Geographic Information System as a tool in the municipalities will have a positive effect not only on the local governments’ service provision but also on many other levels: environmental, cultural, economic and institutional. In solid waste collection and wastewater collection, GIS contributes to a better control over the quality of those services positively impacting the environment.
Broader knowledge on local project formulation and fundraising will ensure bigger ownership of future projects.
Key data for development and spatial planning have become available at one click thanks to the development of the GIS database, which will open the doors for more informed decisions in the future. Longer-term development scenarios are in place allowing the Unions to orient their decision-making towards the identified goals.