Module: Local Governance

This module in the Horn of Africa project will examine the forms of local governance, traditional and official, that exist across the region. Students will learn how, due to the weakness of most central governments, local governments have often provided the principal means for maintaining order, adjudicating disputes, and allocating property rights. The wide variation in forms of indigenous local governance will be stressed. Students will also be introduced to the decentralization experiments adopted by countries in the region to increase citizen participation in local decision-making, thereby promoting democracy as well as stability. One case study presented in this module will explore how Ethiopia’s ethnic-based federal system affects the structure and operations of local governments. A separate case study will discuss how local governments were established in the Somaliland and Puntland regions of Somalia, despite the absence of a functioning central government. A related exercise will ask students to apply the major lessons of the module to design a plan for the local governance of Somalia’s future reconstruction.