ESAP2’s Implementation progress and the future of Social Accountability discussed at JRIS and JBAR meeting

The 12thpromoting basic services (PBS) Joint Review & Implementation Support (JRIS) Mission and Joint Budget and Aid Review (JBAR) Mission meetingwas held from the 27th to the 30th of April, 2015 at Ghion Hotel in Addis Ababa. In its second day deliberation, the meeting saw a presentation on ESAP2’s implementation progress, ESAP medium term priorities and roadmap, reflections from the field and the future of Social Accountability. Ideas on these topics were shared by Rolf Hunink, from ESAP2, Belay Asrat from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MoFED), BizuworkKetete from Irish Aid and Alex Kamurase from the World Bank Country Office.

   

Rolf Hunink, the team leader of the Management Agency of Ethiopian Social Accountability Program (ESAP2) presented SAIPs’ overall implementation status as per the 31st of March 2015. He put forward remarkable accomplishments that have been attained by the intervention of the Social Accountability program.

“The separation of school toilets for boys and girls has been an area of attention in many woredas in the education sector. 67 of them have been constructed and have been refurbished. On the agriculture side, the community demands for fertilizers and input has increased. The government is now supplying fertilizers on time which was not the case before. This is basically to indicate that the interventions of Social Accountability need not be massive and do not require huge budget but are sometimes simple interventions with which the citizens are quite satisfied. In the health service for instance, consumer friendly waiting rooms have been created and pharmacies are equipped now with decent drugs, which sometimes was not the case before. On water and sanitation, we are not only focusing on the construction of new points but reviving and repairing points that have been broken down. In rural roads sector for instance, 247 kms in total were repaired and this was done not only by the government but also by labor that has been supplied by citizens themselves. There are a huge number of interventions and results achieved due to the impact of Social Accountability”

Belay Asrat, a Social Accountability Specialist with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development expressed that ESAP2 has exceeded its target of training citizens and service providers on Social Accountability. More than 31,000 citizens and citizens groups were trained on demanding better public services, 510 gender training sessions have been held and more than 12,000 SA tools training were provided for local government and social service providers, preceding initial targets set by ESAP2 by twofold.

Belay also informed participants about ESAP2’s medium term priorities and the need to extend ESAP’s program. “The steering committee has discussed and assigned a task team to design medium term priorities and a roadmap. Accordingly the priorities are, defining an ESAP2 successor program to provide a framework to expand and deepen social accountability in the medium term. The strong rationale to continue ESAP2 beyond December 2015 is to keep the constructive dialogue between citizens and service providers and local government, maintain the current momentum, ensure continuity and sustain the quick wins that have been registered, expand and deepen citizens’ engagement to enhance good governance.”

The meeting further discussed the future of Social Accountability in Ethiopia. BizuworkKeteteSenior Governance Programme Manager at Irish Aid expressed her belief that Social Accountability tools and approaches have increased grassroots participation in planning, implementation and review of basic service delivery. Presenting the thoughts of Irish Aid and other development partners on the future of SA, Bizuwork suggested an in-depth strategic focus within the existing 223 woredas. In her presentation, Bizuwork addressed ongoing discussions about the future of SA by the steering committee. “We are discussing a bridging phase between ESAP2 and the future of Social Accountability so it will be important to make quick decisions so that the design can start. Otherwise, we will be facing another gap between two phases as happened in the past. When we develop the ToR for the design of the future of SA, we think continuing government oversight is critical; the current arrangement under the leadership of MoFED has worked very well. However we need to look at other structures that need to come on board, maybe more formally; for example regional councils and woreda councils, among others. We feel the continuation of civil Society engagement is important. There is knowledge and experience already built.” Recognizing the importance of funding as an important part of the SA sustainability, Bizuwork posed questions for the audience to contemplate focusing on how future SA programs will be funded.

    

Senior Social Protection Specialist at the World Bank Group, Alex Kamurase, was part of the discussion. He commended the Social Accountability results that are being witnessed. “The SA results we are seeing in Ethiopia are very consistent. There is very clear evidence that Social Accountability is a very important and critical factor for facilitating achievement in development outcomes. The question now is how to deepen this engagement and how to sustain it in the long term.”

Subsequent to the presentations, group discussions were made based on points identified during the sessions on the future of PBS in general &Social Accountability in particular. In the closing session, Head of Cooperation at the European Union delegation to Ethiopia, Fran Carreras, suggested the consolidation of successes and lessons from citizens’ engagement and social accountability. He added “Remarkable achievements have been accomplished through Social Accountability that positively impact the quality of service delivery and this should be consolidated. We are also working on developing a bridging project between ESAP2 and ESAP3. This is urgent in order to avoid gaps and keep the momentum”

  

In a similar note, State Minister of Finance and Economic Development, AbrehamTekestementioned that through PBS, the government has improved equitable access to basic services. He further stated that the government will continue engaging in PBS. He said“Ethiopia is going to host two major international events where we plan to use the platform to showcase results achieved through PBS. Although we are facing several challenges, PBS remains an important instrument in our development endeavors.”

The 12thpromoting basic services (PBS) Joint Review & Implementation Support (JRIS) Mission and Joint Budget and Aid Review (JBAR) meeting convened participants from Social Accountability Implementing Partners (SAIPs), service providers, representatives from MoFED, BoFEDs, Ministry of Civil Service, sector ministries and development partners. The nationwide promoting basic services (PBS) is managed and implemented by the Ethiopian government.  PBS has components that include strengthening transparency and accountability mechanisms (Social Accountability, Grievance Redress mechanism, and financial transparency and Accountability). The meetingconcluded proposing a set of deliverables to be met either before or for the next JRIS, to be held November, 2015. 

Attached File: Rapid Assessment of Options for SA Institutionalization – Summary Paper – MA deliverable for April 2015 PBS-JRIS/JBAR