What are the tools, experiences and lessons learnt of community monitoring/social auditing by beneficiaries of the provision of humanitarian aid and basic services (in contexts where access to internet is limited)? To the extent possible, we would like to get an overview of incentives for communities to participate.
1. An overview of concepts and tools 2. Lessons-learnt and incentives for participation 3. References
Social accountability mechanisms, such as community monitoring, aim to improve the quality and performance of a given service or project, to empower local communities, and to enhance citizen participation through creating a channel for beneficiaries to voice their concerns, provide constructive feedback, and flag wrongdoings and abuses.
A significant number of tools have been developed in the last decades, ranging from the simple suggestion box to social audit schemes and monitoring tools that rely on technology solutions (such as SMS notification and surveys).
Several elements need to be taken into account in order to create a favourable environment for communities to participate, particularly in emergency situations. The choice of the monitoring mechanism needs to be dependent on the service/project monitored as well as on the specific context, including local political and economic power structures, potential risks, and other factors. Community monitoring initiatives ought to have a coherent voice and leadership to mobilise citizens, ensure the proper implementation of the monitoring process and to conduct the necessary advocacy. To enable broad participation, it is essential to build relationships of trust within the community. Trust between citizens and the authorities monitored is also important as it facilitates access to information and follow-up activities.
Sofia Wickberg, Transparency International, email@example.com