Mahmoud Al-Qasim is a chemical engineer who has vast previous experience in working in the field of agriculture, soil and chemical fertilizers, in the Ministry of Local Administration in the Environment Department.
Mahmoud has said that:
‘Following the start of the conflict in Syria, the need to establish bodies that provided aid and relief to the people and work to coordinate and distribute such assistance emerged.’
Over time, however, the need was not limited to humanitarian assistance, but it was evolved to provide essential services, which led to the establishment of a civilian body to manage civil and service matters in cities and towns. At that time, the councils were being formed in most of the liberated areas in a random way based on the specificity of each region. Dara’a city council was one of the first councils to be formed, followed by a number of local councils in the city, including Jasim city council.
Jasim city council was always distinguished by the services it provided to its community, but its work at that time was random and inconsistent, which called for a strategic action plan to help move to an organized approach and manage the city’s resources properly.
Since then, I started to research and collect information about governance with the aim of assisting and empowering local councils to build their capacities in various fields. By the end of 2016, I had the opportunity to work as a member of the Local Development Organization’s team in the Project entitled “Development of Jasim City Council”. This project aimed to build the capacity of the council in the field of strategic planning, and access through community participation to a strategic plan of the council that reflects the priorities for two years.
I used my previous experience in governance to contribute and develop the governance process of the council’s work. I began to assist the council in developing their vision, values and mission and drawing up a strategic plan. The work also included holding dialogue meetings between the council and the local community in addition to focusing on the importance of the optimal investment of the city’s resources, identifying priority projects for the city, writing project proposals and preparing plans and budgets.
During this project, I was proud to have contributed to improve my city, represented by the local council, especially since most of the work was done with engaged participation of stakeholders in the community, enhancing confidence in a society governed by a civilian body by participating in the decision-making processes.
The importance of my success lies in the opportunity I was given by the Local Development Organization, where I was able to undergo training courses in the field of strategic planning, good governance principles and local administration laws, which were crucial in the quality and sustainability of the work I delivered. In addition to all of the skills and knowledge that LDO gave me, I received an increase in my income that has helped me meet the needs of my family without having to look for a second job or go down paths that may have negative outcomes for my country.