Here, Dennis Hovenden, CEO of Frankston City Council in Victoria shares his thoughts on the visit
Frankston City Council was fortunate to host five delegates from across Nepal.
The opportunity to spend time with the delegates, and to get to know them and understand their needs and issues, has been mutually beneficial. They were engaged and engaging and very keen to learn from us and equally keen to share their experiences and express their needs.
Obviously, Frankston is very different from Kathmandu and even more different when compared to rural or regional Nepal. For a start, we have a beach which most of the delegates had never seen before!
We were also keen to make sure that they enjoyed their time with us and were exposed to as many, diverse experiences as possible.
With an emphasis on working with elected representatives, the delegates were exposed to a Council briefing, a meeting of our Audit and Risk Management Committee, and the whole gamut of Council’s responsibilities and activities.
At the same time, we also gained an insight into how different their roles and responsibilities are compared to Victoria, and how their central government controls much of what we take for granted as a local right and responsibility e.g. recruitment of staff to the Councils is undertaken and coordinated by the central government, rather than each Council.
The opportunity for a Council officer to spend time in Nepal and get a better first-hand understanding of the issues will assist us to continue to provide information, advice and support to the delegates.
Our host mentors enjoyed the experience and it has whetted our appetite to participate in the host program in the future, and to continue to support the development of effective, accountable and democratic local government in as many countries as possible.
Australia Awards are prestigious international scholarships and fellowships funded by the Australian Government. Australia Awards fellowships build capacity and strengthen partnerships between Australian organisations and partner organisations in eligible developing countries in support of key development and foreign affairs priorities. By providing short-term study, research and professional development opportunities in Australia, mid-career professionals and emerging leaders can tap into Australian expertise, gaining valuable skills and knowledge.