Looking back at three successful years of WFD’s collaborative programme with the Algerian Parliament
From 2019, the Parliament of Algeria started to increase its efforts on improving public knowledge of its operations. The institution in collaboration with WFD developed a communication and outreach strategy. As a result of the implementation of this strategy: work to improve the parliamentary website was taken forward following the visit by the parliament’s Secretary Generals (SGs) to the UK, where the Algerian delegation saw equivalent progress in Westminster and the Northern Ireland Assembly (and separately in Jordan); the SG and the Chef de Cabinet approved the final product of the new website – although it is yet to be launched; a collaboration project to create a parliamentary TV channel – drawing from international best practices, including the experience of the BBC Parliament channel – started from early 2022.
Following the June 2019 elections, WFD together with the Algerian Parliament inducted and oriented newly elected MPs. This introduced the parliamentarians to the functioning of parliament, parliamentary regulations, and essential financial and administrative procedures. It also increased the knowledge of the MPs on the legal framework of their assigned committees and stakeholders relevant to effective committee work, including civil society organisations (CSOs). To further provide information to the parliamentarians, the induction materials used were printed and distributed to parliament.
Under the programme, 30 senior parliamentary staff – among them 15 women – benefited from English courses provided by the British Council. These courses equipped the participants with the necessary language skills to interact with colleagues from non-francophone countries in the region. The courses additionally helped the parliamentary staff in effectively engaging with foreign organisations and in accessing information on issues relevant to their roles.
Parliaments play a critical role in shaping civic space. With this understanding, WFD engaged an expert in the development of a manual that was shared with both chambers of parliament in early 2021. The manual breaks down the policy cycle in Algeria and the role that CSOs can play at each step of the process. It also showcased the benefits of receiving policy alternatives and feedback from CSOs. Additionally, it outlines to MPs and staff how to analyse and deal with any policy alternatives and recommendations they receive from CSOs. The expert also conducted a 3-day webinar in April, which was organised to supplement the manual and allow participants to discuss the content of the material.
In 2020, the Lower House decided to strengthen the capacity of staff and MPs in public procurement procedures. A five-day workshop on public procurement was delivered that helped the Lower House senior officials to improve their skills and capacities in the topic. The Upper house also showed interest in the topic and the workshop was extended to include the upper house. In total, 74 senior staff and 4 MPs were trained. Later in 2021 and 2022, WFD in partnership with both chambers of Parliament organised a series of trainings on opening and evaluation of bids and developing terms of reference (TOR).
WFD is looking forward to continued collaborations with the Algerian Parliament in strengthening democracy in the North African country.