Brazil: training for sustainable urban development

View of the ecological park "Mangal das Garças" in Belém, Pará, in the northern region of Brazil.

Developed by the Brazilian National School of Public Administration (ENAP) with support from the IKI project ‘ANDUS’, the ‘Leading for Development’ programme has produced more than 900 graduate mayors in local government – as well as winning an international award. 

Launched at the end of 2020, the training programme aims to provide support to new mayors in local government while strengthening local efforts at tackling global problems. By helping cities in their efforts to become more sustainable, this will also ensure they are better prepared for the impacts of climate change.

The programme is a training initiative that targets the needs of mayors working in the public sector. Points of focus include capacity building for local governments with a particular emphasis on management and leadership, as well as bolstering areas like urban planning, the digital transformation and climate change.

The programme closes a long-standing gap in training courses for management in local authorities caused by a lack of time to participate in such professional development. Viewing this challenge as an opportunity, the Leading for Development team confronted it head on, designing a made-to-measure programme for the target group.

Tailor-made training

The overall training course was split into six modules of 24 hours each and was modified to accommodate restrictions imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The methodological approach combines virtual and in-person units with live discussions and talks given by both Brazilian and international experts. The course also promotes the use of knowledge sharing and peer learning.

The aim here was to provide management personnel with the know-how they needed in order to achieve positive results in their first year in management and so make a start on local development activities.

Nearly 1,000 trainees in the programme – and satisfaction guaranteed

In 2021, ten trainee groups were used to train more than 900 mayors, representing 300 local authorities from all of the states within Brazil. In terms of the population served by these local authorities, this results in a total of 3.7 million people who could potentially profit from this course.

The first seven courses were held virtually because of the pandemic. As progress was made with vaccinations in Brazil and the rate of new infections started to drop, however, it was possible to hold three in-person courses – exclusively for mayors and deputy mayors – between October and December 2021.

To estimate the impact of the training course on participants, the IKI provided the National School of Public Administration with support for developing and implementing a quantitative/qualitative assessment method. The level of satisfaction was very high, with the overall grade given to all units in the course ranging from 9.5 to 10.

The programme is to be continued in 2022, and the schedule is currently being developed.

Group portrait
The IKI supports the training of Brazilian mayors in the field of sustainable urban development.

Winner of Apolitical’s Global Public Service Award

Nor was the quality of the training programme reflected solely in course participant satisfaction: ENAP’s Leading for Development team was also the recipient of the Global Public Service Team of the Year Award from Apolitical, winning the first prize in the ‘Community Innovators’ category. 

The programme was the only entry submitted by Brazil, and successfully saw off competition from 25 other finalists and hundreds of other candidates from around the world. 

Now in its fourth year in 2021, the Award is an initiative from Apolitical, a global platform based in the UK that promotes the sharing and discussion of learning successes and achievements for employees working in the public sector.

Programme partners 

To incorporate relevant topics for creating more integrative and sustainable cities into its training programme, ENAP worked together with the project ‘Support for the Brazilian National Agenda for Sustainable Urban Development (ANDUS)’ from the International Climate Initiative (IKI). 

The project is being implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH as a partnership with Brazil’s Ministry of Regional Development (MDR). More than 20 other partners have also participated in the programme, including Brazilian ministries, third-sector institutions and international organisations.

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