Video conference showcasing best practice from the Philippines
Ulaanbaatar, January 20, 2010 — In the lead up to Mongolia’s Civil Society Day on the 31 January and to encourage social accountability initiatives in Mongolia, representatives from Civil Society Organizations (CSO) and the Government of Mongolia were invited to a learning exchange video conference between Ulaanbaatar and Manila.
This session that was organized by the World Bank Mongolia team jointly with the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific (ANSA EAP) aimed to encourage effective interface between government and citizens groups through social accountability initiatives based on the Philippines experience
The learning exchange highlighted importance of social accountability through close engagement among local CSOs and the Government that could play a crucial role in good governance, evidenced through successful examples from the Philippines.
Two senior experts from Manila, the director of the Department of Procurement Service of the Department of Education, Aida Carpentero, and the director of the Centre for People Empowerment, Edwin Chavez, presented particular cases in the Philippines on social accountability relevant to the needs of CSOs in Mongolia.
Ms Carpentero explained how partnerships with CSOs assisted the Department of Education in implementation of the Philippines national textbook delivery program. This partnership resulted in massive financial savings for the government. This was evidenced through the successful involvement of CSOs specializing in the monitoring of procurement, anti-corruption, good governance and public education as well as school communities and the media in the standardization and streamlining of the procurement process for textbooks.
The successful role of CSOs in the delivery of textbooks to schools resulted in an institutionalized inclusion of CSOs and private sector participation in the government’s procurement process.
Mr Chavez spoke of the important role a People’s Council (CSO) that could play in local government. CSOs can, according to Chavez, act as ‘watchdogs”; forcing city officials to conduct business in a more transparent and accountable fashion.
Mr Chavez strongly believes that the engagement of CSOs should be promoted at all levels of government. CSOs can assist in optimizing the use of government funds, assist in mobilizing the community and provide sound advice on where money should be spent within the community according to the needs of the people.
Following both presentations, discussion time ensued. CSO representatives from Mongolian asked a range of questions in regards to the two presentations, budgeting, performance management and ways to overcome mistrust between government and CSOs.
Overall, 85 per cent of participants found the information applicable to their current work and their organization’s needs.
43 participants who represent CSOs in Mongolia attended the video conference held on the morning of January 19, 2010. This was starting point of the World Bank Mongolia team substantial effort for strengthening of capacity building of Mongolian CSOs for good governance namely CSO monitoring capacity at key points across mining value chain and related economy.
Who is ANSA EAP?
ANSA EAP began in early 2008 and is a regional network promoting the practice of social accountability. ANSA EAP provides information, experience, capacity building opportunities and technical assistance to citizen groups and governments.
What is social accountability?
Social accountability refers to the broad range of actions and mechanisms (beyond voting) that citizens and their organizations can use to hold the government to account.