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Commonwealth leader lectures at Victoria

19 October 2005

Commonwealth leader lectures at Victoria

A Commonwealth leader in public sector management and reform is offering her knowledge to public servants from developing countries at a workshop in Wellington organised by Victoria University

Taboka Nkhwa, Deputy Director, Governance and Institutional Development Division of the Commonwealth Secretariat based in London, is participating in a two-week workshop for public service trainers and educators, organised by Victoria Executive Development.

Thirty trainers and educators from 25 developing countries are attending the workshop, part of a programme initiated with support from the Commonwealth Secretariat and NZAID in 2002. This is the fourth annual workshop and the largest so far, with 30 participants from a range of Commonwealth countries as well as Brazil and Laos.

Dr Jan Blayney, Director of the University’s Centre for Continuing Education & Executive Development, said the workshop was just one example of the host of short, intensive and topical programmes that Victoria Executive Development was able to offer.

“Being part of New Zealand’s capital city university, we can tap into the wealth of expertise from many Schools at Victoria University to offer public programmes that are open to organisations and individuals or to develop programmes specifically tailored to a particular organisation’s needs.”

The directors for the workshop are Dr Richard Norman, Senior Lecturer in the University’s Victoria Management School and Associate Professor Pak Yoong from the School of Information Management.

The trainers’ workshop complements a similar programme held in Wellington each February for more than 10 years, to provide senior public servants from developing countries the opportunity to learn from New Zealand experience with public sector change.

Ms Nkhwa is a former senior official with the Directorate of Public Service Management in Botswana where she played a major role in public sector reform. She was appointed to the Commonwealth Secretariat in 2003 to work with Commonwealth governments, particularly developing countries to improve the performance of public sector organizations. She is responsible for good governance programmes in Africa and for human resource management initiatives across the Commonwealth.

Ms Nkhwa says New Zealand is recognised as leading the way in public sector reform.

“These workshops bring people from the Commonwealth together to learn about the New Zealand experience. They talk to the leaders, and they experience the New Zealand transformation for themselves. These are experiences and learnings that they can take back and apply in their own countries.

To get effective change in developing countries “the commitment of the political leadership is vital. There has to be the political will, leadership from Ministers, and the public service leaders have to be accountable.

“The public service is not like a private organisation. There are many constituencies. To achieve reform successfully you have to have buy-in from the political leaders, from the public service and from the citizenry. What has to be understood is why reform is necessary, what they should expect from the reforms, how the reforms will take place and when.”


Background Material on Taboka Nkhwa

Taboka Nkhwa is the Advisor Human Resource Management and Head of Africa section in the Governance and Institutional Development Division, Commonwealth Secretariat. She has worked extensively in the areas of human resource management and public sector reform. She is a frequent speaker at international conferences and training seminars in the Commonwealth.

Ms. Nkhwa is a former senior public officer with the Directorate of Public Service Management, Government of Botswana. She was appointed to the Commonwealth Secretariat in the UK in 2003 to work with Commonwealth governments more specifically developing countries to improve the performance of public sector organizations.

At the time of new appointment in September 2003 the Daily News newspaper in Botswana reported the news in this way.

Taboka Nkhwa, 45, left on Sunday for London to take up a post as Deputy Director in the Governance and Institutional Development Division at Marlborough House.

Nkhwa told BOPA that she was joining a Regional Management Section that provides capacity building in public service for service delivery and sustainable development among the 54 member countries.

The section also provides technical assistance as and when member countries request for support in specific areas.

As a one of the coordinators of the Botswana public service reforms programme, Nkhwa had business relationships with the Commonwealth by facilitating reform initiatives. She has also made presentations at international forums on several occasions.

She was an assistant director in the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) working in the Public Service Reforms division. The division has in the past been invited to assist other Commonwealth countries in their public sector reforms.

Nkhwa, who beat seven other applicants from different regions, sees her appointment as “an indication of the confidence that the Commonwealth has in the government of Botswana and as an expression of confidence” in her capabilities.

“To me my success was the success of a country not an individual,” she added.

Nkhwa said the international community was also acknowledging Botswana’s performance in public sector reform initiatives.

To her six years at the Commonwealth Secretariat would not only benefit her but Botswana as a country. She said Botswana would benefit from playing a role in the bigger Commonwealth in that it would know what was happening within a bigger global environment.

Government has endorsed her appointment and she believes when she returns she will be more enlightened and in a better position to contribute not only to the public sector reform but to Vision 2016.

The single mother of two holds a degree in Public Administration and Policies she obtained from the University of Botswana Lesotho Swaziland in 1982 and a Masters Degree in Education Management and Administration from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1986.

Nkhwa also did a number of postgraduate courses on management and public sector reform both locally and in the United Kingdom (UK).

Nkhwa is a management consultant with a specialty in public sector transformation, organisational development and human resource management.

At the DPSM she was programme co-ordinator (public service reforms programme). Before that she was chief management consultant and then senior assistant director, public service recruitment.


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