Project Hetura: Reflections on an International Local Government Partnership
The objective of this paper is to provide an overview of the Townsville/Port Moresby partnership activities and explore the challenges and benefits to both Councils from the perspective of a Townsville City Council employee associated with the program.
Since 2002, Townsville City Council has been engaged in a capacity building project with the National Capital District Commission (NCDC) in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. The project, named Hetura, means mateship or friendship in Moto, the predominant language group in Port Moresby. Project Hetura is coordinated through the Commonwealth Local Government Forum’ (CLGF) Good Practice Scheme with funding from AusAID. Townsville City Council provides in-kind support through the contribution of staff time and participation while the National Capital District Commission provides a budget allocation for the project.
The overarching goal of Project Hetura is to strengthen management, planning, and governance within the NCDC and to improve the capacity of the organisation to deliver efficient, responsive, accountable services to the community. Rather than engaging in a traditional consultancy, the approach by participants of Project Hetura has been that of a partnership built through a relationship of trust and good-will developed over time between the two organisations. Within this partnership, the skills and contributions of all parties are valued, and team members work together to develop sustainable solutions to identified problems.
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