Interview with Alex Kamurase the World Bank’s Senior Social Protection Specialist, Task Team Leader for PBS – ESAP2

ESAP2:  What is the Role of the World Bank (WB) in ESAP2?

AlexESAP2 is part of the citizens engagement component of the Promotion of Basic Services ( PBS) which  is a government program that supports access and improvement of basic service delivery in five sectors – education, health, agriculture, rural roads and water and sanitation. Apart from supporting the PBS as a whole, the WB serves as administrator of a multi donor trust fund established through an agreement between the government of Ethiopia and donors including DFID, Irish Aid , EU and  KFW. The funding is disbursed based on a number of criteria through the Management Agency (MA) to the CSOs implementing Social Accountability (SA) on the ground, which we call Social Accountability Implementing Partner (SAIPs). The Bank thus plays a critical role of ensuring that ESAP2 funding are used to perform activities that they were intended for.

 ESAP2: How do you compare ESAP2 with that of ESAP1?

AlexESAP2 has helped to consolidate the experience that was generated under ESAP1 into formidable interventions by expanding the coverage geographically and the outreach through contracting more CSOs as well as by increasing the coverage in terms of the number of SA tools with increased quality of implementation on the ground.

 ESAP2: In your view, what have been the major achievements of ESAP2 so far?

AlexESAP2 has strengthened awareness among the citizenry. Where SA is being implemented, a strong engagement of citizens and a strong responsiveness from service providers and government officials is visible, something of pride to all of us. You see an increasingly constructive dialogue between citizens and the state and forging agreements on how to move forward in improving basic service delivery. We also see inclusiveness with a strong representation of vulnerable groups.

 ESAP2 has also provided space for policy dialogue within the government but also between government and development partners including donors and CSOs on how to strengthen citizens’ engagement through SA.

  ESAP2: What is your view on the commitment of the Ethiopian government to SA?

AlexThe commitment is very strong evidenced by the high level engagement and leadership provided by the State Minister of MoFED not only as a chair of the steering committee but also through engagement in assessing progress on the ground. The fact that service providers are responding very positively in all these areas is encouraging. The government has been able to test and confirm that SA tools can be applied in Ethiopia. As we move forward into the discussion of continuity and institutionalization, the question will be how the impact and benefits are maximized and sustained in the long run.

 ESAP2: How could SA be sustainable?

AlexWe are currently discussing three main issues at the steering committee and technical working group: continuity, institutionalization and the desired resultant sustainability.

We want to reach an agreement on the nature and scope of what can be done beyond ESAP2. Secondly, we are discussing how to strengthen the linkage between SA activities and supply driven interventions like Financial Transparency and Accountability (FTA) as a way of institutionalization of SA. Finally, we are discussing what could be the most feasible medium priorities to inform elaboration of a roadmap that should include actions that can be implemented in the short- and medium-term. The roadmap if agreed will be a living document, with room for refinements every year following review of progress.