FEATURE STORY

Powerful Partnerships for Collaborative Governance

February 18, 2015


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Story Highlights
  • Global Partnership for Social Accountability (GPSA) has established a network of well over 200 Global Partners – which include civil society organizations (CSOs), academia, foundations, multilaterals, and private sector – across sectors and issues.
  • The GPSA awards grants ranging from $500,000 to $1 million for three- to five-year periods to CSOs based in countries that have agreed to participate in the GPSA.
  • The GPSA is funded by a multi-donor trust fund, with a World Bank Group commitment of $20 million.

In the remote mountains of the Muminabad district in the south of Tajikistan, women on a newly formed advisory board are leading to make important human connections between water service providers and consumers.

Consumers now have a better way to register their complaints about their water service, thanks to the Muminabad Water Service Providers’ Advisory Board established by the Consumer Union Association of Tajikistan. The water service provider has improved follow-up and problem solving, and this in turn has bolstered the consumers’ trust in the water provider.

The enhanced transparency has already produced a measurable result: Within two months of the establishment of the Advisory Board, the water service provider saw its service fee collection rise from 70% to 85% — enabling further service improvements and investments. “Among other improvements, the raised willingness of drinking water users to pay the water supply service fees in a timely manner is a significant one. Our project builds on this experience and continues to develop the relationship between service providers and consumers,” said Madina Aliberdieva, project manager at Oxfam in Tajikistan.

This approach exemplifies the power of partnerships, the key driver behind the Global Partnership for Social Accountability (GPSA), which supports civil society and government efforts to work together to solve critical governance challenges in developing countries.

In Tajik districts like Muminabad, the GPSA is supporting Oxfam in Tajikistan and its partner, the Consumer Union Association of Tajikistan to help improve social accountability in water supply and sanitation through the development of service quality standards and citizen participation in monitoring those standards.

 “The GPSA grant complements the ongoing World Bank operation for improvements to clean water supply in Tajikistan and builds upon our relationships with the public sector agencies involved,” said Pier Mantovani, lead water and sanitation specialist, who also supervises the GPSA project. The project will also focus on increasing women’s roles in new water and sanitation initiatives in the country.

GPSA has established a network of well over 200 Global Partners – which include civil society organizations (CSOs), academia, foundations, multilaterals, and private sector – across sectors and issues, in order to create a collaborative environment in which citizen feedback is used to solve fundamental problems in service delivery and to strengthen public institutions’ performance.



" Our program works to ‘close the loop’ by empowering citizens with a voice, helping governments to listen, and supporting public institutions to respond to citizen feedback. "

Roby Senderowitsch

GPSA Program Manager


The GPSA awards grants ranging from $500,000 to $1 million for three- to five-year periods to CSOs based in countries that have agreed to participate in the GPSA. To date, 40 countries have opted-in. Before issuing calls for proposals, the GPSA organizes consultations with government, civil society, and other donor agencies to define the key governance issues in each country that CSO proposals should address.

GPSA Program Manager Roby Senderowitsch said, “Our program works to ‘close the loop’ by empowering citizens with a voice, helping governments to listen, and supporting public institutions to respond to citizen feedback.”

After two calls for proposals in 2013 and 2014, the GPSA has awarded over $16 million in grants to 23 CSOs for projects in 17 developing countries, with another 57 organizations involved directly as project partners and more than 125 local – often grassroots – organizations benefiting from the grants as mentees. Special emphasis is placed on issues that directly affect the extreme poor and marginalized populations.

From improving health service delivery in the Democratic Republic of Congo, to boosting access to education in Mongolia, to supporting social engagement for budget accountability in Bangladesh, to improving procurement practices in education, health, and agriculture in Uganda, the GPSA’s projects seek to build on the prior achievements of the CSOs while applying social accountability approaches that incorporate citizen feedback and participatory methodologies.

The GPSA also launched a knowledge platform in 2014 to provide grantees, partners, and other interested parties in the field a space to connect, collaborate, exchange, and learn about the latest social accountability debates and practice.

The GPSA is funded by a multi-donor trust fund, with a World Bank Group commitment of $20 million. The Ford Foundation has contributed $3 million, the Aga Khan Foundation has contributed $500,000, and the Open Society Foundation contributes $3 million in parallel funding. Recently, the Dominican Republic also joined the group of donors of the GPSA.


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