Lusaka, July 29, 2021 –- Today, the World Bank approved the Zambia Voice and Accountability: Community Empowerment for Improved Local Service Delivery Project to strengthen community awareness and participation with school management and local authorities for accountable primary and secondary education services in nine selected districts.
The project is financed by a $2.75 million grant from the Japan Social Development Fund (JSDF), which is supported by the Government of Japan to empower vulnerable communities and groups. The Civil Society for Poverty Reduction (CSPR), a leader of a network of CSOs in Zambia, will implement this project in collaboration with an international partner, the Partnership for Transparency Fund based in the U.S.
This will be achieved by building community awareness and capacity to apply social accountability tools in education service delivery and increasing community participation in a dialogue with school management and local authorities. The districts included in the project are Kalabo, Kaoma, Nalolo, Senanga and Sesheke in the Western Province and Katete, Mambwe, Sinda, and Vubwi in the Eastern Province, benefiting approximately 86,000 citizens.
“Improving service delivery at the local level is a priority of the Zambia Country Partnership Framework (CPF) for 2019-2023. The CPF’s objectives include improving access to education, among other services, with attention to girls and women in selected rural areas. Accordingly, we have committed to continue to support the strengthening of governance, accountability, and service delivery, and this project supports these priorities,” says Sahr Kpundeh World Bank Country Manager for Zambia.
“This new project will complement the Bank’s ongoing work in the education sector by addressing a gap in citizen engagement, which is very critical for inclusive development. This project empowers vulnerable citizens and communities in the piloted districts — including underrepresented community members, such as female, youth and persons with disabilities and minorities—to engage and participate in a dialogue with relevant government stakeholders, thereby contributing to social accountability,” says Miki Matsuura, Public Sector Specialist of the World Bank.
In any sector, a lack of citizen-led accountability undermines the quality of services, and this project seeks to demonstrate the effectiveness of social accountability, which can be replicated. To date, community engagement in education service delivery has been limited in Zambia. By improving capacity in selected communities, the project will strengthen community groups and empower communities to engage with school management and local authorities in the education services.
The project is also premised on the fact that primary and secondary school services are likely to come under increasing strain owing to the COVID-19 pandemic with various protective guidelines applied at both the school and community levels. This increases the importance of this intervention, which will create a feedback loop for citizens to engage with the local authorities about the availability and quality of services. It will also facilitate the monitoring of services and the response to COVID-19 at the school and community levels.