Improving service delivery for urban residents through the Horizontal Learning Process

Local news, 18.02.2019

SDC's Local Governance Initiative and Network (LOGIN) organised a three-day Horizontal Learning Process workshop in February for the Municipality of Ulaanbaatar (MUB) within the scope of the Urban Governance Project (UGP) implemented by The Asia Foundation.

At the Horizontal Learning Process workshop
At the Horizontal Learning Process workshop ©Asia Foundation

The Horizontal Learning Process (HLP) is an outcomes-based peer-to-peer learning methodology that aims to identify, share, adapt and replicate good practices among local governments to influence policy reform. It involves an exchange of information, in which users or doers learn from each other, instead of receiving top-down instructions.

Under the HLP, local governments identify the good practices they want to share with their peers and the good practices they want to learn from them. As the learning agenda is driven from within, and the good practices that are shared are ones that have been tested and proven to work, there is a higher rate of successful replication by local governments and subsequently, a greater chance that those good practices willl contribute to a tangible change in local governance performance.

The three-day workshop for the MUB aimed to prepare a pool of HLP facilitators, elaborate a proposal to integrate HLP elements into MUB’s annual Best Khoroo Competition, and develop an action plan to roll out the competition in 2019. During the workshop, the participants received a detailed overview of the six stages of HLP, including identification of good practices, sharing them with peers, learning about and prioritising the good practices of others, planning the replication of selected good practices, replicating good practices, and organising a peer review of the replication.

The workshop was a follow-up on the HLP orientation for MUB held in November 2018, which introduced the HLP concept and initiated a discussion about the potential practical application of the HLP in the context of MUB’s regular activities. In the course of the discussion, it was revealed that while there were many good practices at all levels of MUB, they were not identified, shared and replicated in a systematic and participatory way to similtaneously realise and maximise their potential for improving service delivery and the overall performance of local governments. In this light, improving the Best Khoroo Competition by enriching it with HLP elements was identified as a way to facilitate effective identification, sharing and upscaling of good practices by 152 khoroos in Ulaanbaatar. Based on the introductory orientation on the HLP, the participants developed and implemented small HLP pilot projects in their respective districts and khoroos.

The implementation of these pilot HLP projects was also analysed at the February workshop and served as the basis for developing a proposal for rolling out the HLP at the MUB on a more comprehensive basis in 2019 through organising the Best Khoroo Competition using elements of HLP methodology.

As the HLP presents a non-classroom, practice-based way of capacity development, it was also decided to integrate HLP in the Capacity Development Framework for Municipal Civil Servants that was elaborated with UGP support and approved by the Capital City Khural in January 2019. The net expected result of mainstreaming the HLP at the MUB are tangible, broad-based and sustained improvements in service delivery for Ulaanbaatar residents. In the future, the MUB aspires to share its best practices nationwide, potentially through a national forum with other cities and provinces.