Parliament staff, who participated in the research training sponsored by the Konrad Adeneur Stiftung and facilitated by German experts from the Bundestag, have hailed the initiative and were recently awarded certificates after completing the intensive exercise that covered a myriad of lessons, including researching for parliamentary work and bill summaries.
Research is an important pillar in any parliament setting, as it provides background knowledge to lawmakers, including parliamentary standing committees that conduct oversight functions. Research further has the potential to increase the quality of parliamentary debates and scrutiny of legislation. It offers rigorous evidence necessary for public decisionmaking and policy formulation. The Namibian parliament has 104 members in the National Assembly, while the upper house – the National Council – has 42 lawmakers. The training programme, the brainchild of Speaker of the National Assembly Prof. Peter Katjavivi, was held from the 17th to 21 February 2020.
It emanated from a visit by Katjavivi to the German Bundestag in February last year, where cooperation agreements between the two parliaments were sealed.
According to Katjavivi, more training programmes are envisaged.
“We are thankful to KAS for having facilitated the training. We have identified a core team of researchers from both houses of parliament, who were trained. A follow-up in-house training will also be conducted, followed by more advanced training at the German parliament later this year,” noted Katjavivi. The speaker noted that parliament is aware of challenges such as lack of research staff and the necessary infrastructure, adding that mechanisms are being put in place to find a lasting solution.
“In the interim, while still reviewing our structures, we have identified a core team of researchers within the existing staff. These are dedicated staff that will help our lawmakers with research. We just have to put in place the right infrastructure for this work to improve and expand. We also have plans to boost our library as a point of reference,” stated Katjavivi.
One of the participants Belinda Karuaera, a chief policy analyst at the National Assembly, stated that the training was enlightening for her and had greatly improved her skills. “I learnt how to collect information from various search engines diligently, and how to draft research briefs and bill summaries. We also had an opportunity to learn how the German Bundestag Research Department operates, and that would aid us in our quest to establish our own fully-functional research department,” stated Karuaera. Chief researcher at the National Council Nico Sisinyize had similar sentiments, adding that there is a need for more follow-up training.
“Everything went well. We would, however, like to have more of this training to continuously empower ourselves as researchers and provide the necessary service to our lawmakers,” concluded Sisinyize.
*George Sanzila works for the Division: Research, Information, Publications and Editorial Services at the National Assembly.
2020-03-03 06:51:54 | 4 months ago