A study visit to Tallinn and Estonia for five Ugandan state and local municipality representatives

The foundation Tallinn Development and Training Centre organized from the 23rd of June to 30th of June 2019, a study visit to Tallinn and Estonia for five Ugandan state and local municipality representatives within a framework of a developmental co-operation project “Establishing service centres (one-stop-shop centres to provide public services) in Uganda and building their capacities on the example of Tallinn”. The visit took place in accordance with an approved action plan of the developmental co-operation project and participants of the study visit were high officials from the Ministry of Public Services of Uganda (MoPS), the Civil Service College of Uganda and city leaders of Mbale and Jinja.

The purpose of the Uganda-Estonian developmental co-operation project’s visit (the last of the ongoing developmental co-operation project) was to introduce experiences of providing public services, organization of work in different service halls, document management systems and ICT solutions used in Tallinn, Estonian municipalities (Pärnu and its rural municipality districts – Audru and Tõstamaa) and state institutions. In addition, the guests were provided with a comprehensive overview of both e-governance and various e-services used in Estonia and Tallinn.

First, the members of the Ugandan delegation were thoroughly introduced to the service halls of the City Government of Tallinn and its issues related to solving problems related to launching, developing and providing public services. Presentations and trainings were carried out by project experts: Tallinn City Secretary Toomas Sepp and manager of the City Government’s service hall Elle Veltmann. Project experts Jana Viital and Kalle Sepp complemented their presentations. The work of Nõmme District Government’s service hall and public services offered there as well as the structure and principles of document management system in force in Tallinn City Government (DMS and EDMS) were introduced to the Ugandan delegation by Deputy Head of Nõmme District Karmo Kuri and project expert and manager of Nõmme District’s service hall Jana Viital.

At a meeting in the Ministry of Finance of Estonia, head of Regional Administration Policy Department Kaie Küngas introduced the principles and consequences, as well as current opportunities and solutions of offering public service related to Estonia’s local governments’ reform. The so-called “state houses” project principles and issues related to their implementation in Estonia were introduced by its project manager Silver Salla. Very inspiring for the guests was seeing and getting to know the concept of Estonian “super ministry” with its modern working condition. 

The members of the Ugandan delegation met with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ head of External Economic and Development Cooperation Department Ann Hänni, specialist Annika Leek and political adviser Jaanus Varu. The head of the Ugandan delegation and its members gave an overview of the results of the previous joint developmental co-operation project and the follow-up activities they wish to achieve to the representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They also gave an overview about the activities and results of the ongoing developmental co-operation project.

Project coordinator from the Ugandan side Kenneth Kwarimpa-Atim presented the Ministry of Foreign Affairs a letter from the Minister of Public Service of Uganda Hon. Wilson Muruli Mukasa with a statement confirming the successful results of the current collaborative project (with 6 opened service centres in Uganda) and the MoPS’ desire and request to continue the joint developmental co-operation in the future.

Due to the desire of the Estonian project partners to give the visitors a diverse view of public services provided also outside the capital city, the guests visited service centres of the City of Pärnu and its rural municipality districts Audru and Tõstamaa. The Mayor of Pärnu Romek Kosenkranius gave an overview of the current activities of Pärnu and the results of the local governments’ reform. Head of Information Management of Pärnu City Government Teele Kurm and IT analyst Annemarii Hunt introduced the principles of providing public services and document management in the City of Pärnu.

Very interesting and inspiring for the guests was a visit to a new service centre of the International House of Estonia (IHE), where manager of the centre Annely Tank introduced the newest public services centre in Tallinn, which runs on the collaboration of the state, the municipality (Tallinn) and the private sector. 

The Ugandan delegation gave an overview of their activities, experiences and what they learned in Tallinn and Estonia to Raepress, who added the corresponding information to the website of the City of Tallinn and forwarded it to other media outlets. A story about the study visit was also broadcast on Tallinn TV evening section “News” on 26.06.2019.

Excursions to Tallinn and its old town, to Harju and Pärnu counties, City of Pärnu, as well as to other Estonian sights were organized for the members of the Ugandan delegation.  A particularly memorable event was the participation of the delegation in the festivities of Jaanituli at the Estonian Open Air Museum.

Questions related to launching of a new possible Uganda-Estonian developmental co-operation project, possible further joint activities in the establishment and further development of service halls providing public services in Uganda and the possibilities of implementing the principles of document management system used in Estonia in Uganda, were discussed during the summarizing meetings and discussions.

It was agreed that in spite of the completion of the ongoing developmental co-operation project, experts from Estonia will continue to advise representatives of the MoPS and Ugandan local municipalities participating in the project through various electronical information channels about the development of service halls work, document management and electronic document management (DMS and EDMS).

It was also agreed that the coordinator of the developmental co-ordinator project from Estonia would inform Ugandan project partners about the progress of negotiations with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to possibly launch a new developmental co-operation project.

Collaborative project funded by the Estonian Foreign Ministry’s Development Co-operation and Humanitarian Aid funds.

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