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Engaging Civil Society for Improved and Accountable Local Service Delivery

Introduction
Weak governance mechanisms and lack of transparency in government institutions are some of the major problems that Afghanistan is facing today. Lack of capacity in the government institutions is compounded by rampant corruption, which sours the relationship between the government and its citizens. As numerous sources from Transparency International to Integrity watch Afghanistan have documented, corruption remains a major problem that is getting steadily worse.

In reference to International support laid out at the Brussels’ conference, local government should be held accountable for delivering the basic services to the public. Local government department heads, and appointed officials should be made responsible for their areas of governance and local populations should be educated and trained to monitor their government’s activities to make them accountable. This could be made possible through a robust social monitoring program that will enable local committees to identify problems, work with local government to find solutions, and ensure that proposed measures are undertaken in a responsible and conscientious manner.

 

Activities
The first step for strengthening local governance would be fostering communication and trust between the government, CSO’s and the local communities, which could be achieved through conferences and workshops. Through two social monitoring networks established by EPD — ACTA and PWN — it will enlist the help of relevant CSOs, training them in the theory and techniques of social monitoring. It will also help these CSOs to form thematic networks that can address specific problems within the communities.

 

These goals would be accomplished in following steps:

  • EPD will work through its networks to identify local CSOs and networks to carry out monitoring of local government.
  • EPD will conduct a needs assessment for the local CSOs, to determine the types of trainings necessary to get them up to speed.
  • Working with both CSOs and local government, EPD will develop the types of workshops that can enhance skills of CSOs, and facilitate their monitoring of local governmental service providers.
  • EPD will organize thematic workshops that will bring CSOs together with government to explore problems and solutions in service delivery of specific areas, such as health, education, infrastructure etc.
  • EPD will work with CSOs and networks to develop innovative methods of holding local government accountable.

 

The target provinces for this project are Panjhsheer, Kapisa, Balkh, Bamyan, Daikundi, Herat, Kandahar, Nagarhar, Paktia, Khost. The project will be financed by United Nation Development Program (UNDP).