EU Delegation Commends Results of SA at Meshualekia Health Center in Addis Ababa

A member of a European Union Delegation representing the headquarters in Brussels visited an SA project site, Kirkos Sub city health office, Meshualekia health center in Addis Ababa, on 25 June 2015. The delegation held discussions with Social Accountability Committee (SAC) members on the current situation of the SA project being implemented by Hiwot Integrated Development Association (HIDA).
According to HIDA’s program director, Ephrem Shiferaw, remarkable changes have been witnessed as a result of the SA project. He said, “It has empowered women so as to voice their personal concerns on service provision in the health center. There have also been tangible changes in terms of building constructions to allow people with disabilities access to the health center. In addition, there is government support in providing medical assistance. In general, SA has brought all stakeholders together for a better service provision”

 

Following the visit, Jorge Rodriguez Bilbao, Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development mentioned that Social Accountability is a crucial issue that should be at the heart of any development initiative because it is a tool that can build trust and linkage between those who provide service and those who receive it. He said, “If we don’t have this link, we can not build anything. We cannot be sure that basic services are really responding to citizens’ needs. I have seen a very good and promising activity with this program. I am very impressed to see how people discuss together and how all these linkages are working on a daily basis to bring about change.”  

Focusing on the sustainability of the initiative, the representative said, “The sustainability of Social Accountability should first come from the people, service providers and citizens themselves. If they see that this works and this is a good experience, it will allow service providers to improve service provision. Sustainability can never emanate from an external founding. It should start within the community itself. We need to push things in a pilot experience but the biggest challenge in this context is how to make the community own the SA process. It is a question of having a mechanism that can be institutionalized overtime and also involve all the stakeholders of SA – service providers, citizens and also government officials. Sustainability also relies on how we can make a horizontal link to expand different experiences across various woredas.”

 

Birgit Vleugels, Governance Adviser with the EU said, “Social Accountability needs collaboration to become successful.  And that is what was achieved [by the community and HIDA.]  It is not always easy to achieve this. There are a lot of challenges in your daily interventions but you are doing a wonderful job. Our homework as donors is to try to continue providing support.”