The ESAP2 Management Agency holds Executive Directors Day

The ESAP2 Management Agency holds Executive Directors Day

With a book launch, highlights of the Bridging Phase achievements to date and discussions on the pros and cons of the partnership among Social Accountability Implementing Partners (SAIPs), this year’s Executive Directors’ Day, that took place on 11 October 2017, was nothing short of eventful.

In a presentation led by Rolf Hunink, ESAP2 Team Leader and Lucia Nass, Social Accountability Expert, the Management Agency briefed partners about upcoming activities for the extension period of the current Bridging Phase which covers a period of 12 calendar months, starting October 2017.

Ensuring partners that the MA will keep them informed about all relevant developments on the extension and ESAP-3, Rolf Hunink explained that the project will get a cost extension and there will be no close-outs for now. He further said, “The MA will sign an extension agreement with SAIPs when the 7th grant agreement between the World Bank and VNG is signed. Similar to the first Bridging Phase, we expect not only the lead partners but the sub partners to sign as well. For us, optimal transparency is one of the key issues for the whole SA program.”

SAIPs will have resources to support SACs to undertake exchange visits during the extension. The organizations will also continue participating in the regional FTA SA meetings to engage in sector dialogues based on data of JAP accomplishments and non-accomplishments. Speaking of upcoming activities, Lucia said, “The resources we have for the extension are not enough to keep doing what you have been doing in the past year and a half. Therefore, you are expected to do light coaching for the Social Accountability Committees, which basically means a monitoring visit once a month to each of the woredas to monitor Joint Action Plan implementation.” She reminded SAIPs to encourage SACs to continue a new SA process even when they have finished the JAP.

SAIPs forwarded their concerns and reflections on human resource budget allocation, security and implementing SA in conflict prone areas. In response, the Management Agency explained that the budget for the extension period is the outcome of negotiations with Development Partners and allocations were made on the basis of expenditures for the different categories in the first Bridging Phase. Regarding security, Rolf reminded partners that the golden rule is not to take any unnecessary risks.

It was disclosed during the event that the MA together with MoFEC has already started working on a draft plan for training of woreda councils on ‘Councils and SA’. The idea is to develop a training manual and organize a Training of Trainers for the regional councils and SAIPs. Following this, SAIPs with the different regional councils, can work together to train selected woreda council members from budget, social affairs and gender standing committees.

The MA will also organize a national event which will focus on the role of Civil Society Organizations in SA. The aim is to keep on informing high level stakeholders about the role of CSOs so that informed decisions are made about the future of the role of CSOs in the SA program.

One of the highlights of the day was the launching of the Barefoot Guide 5 entitled ‘Mission Inclusion’ – a book about inclusive development that brought together about 30 practitioners from all over the world to write about their inclusive development practices. A chapter in the book about SA includes stories from ESAP2. Dressed in a beautiful Ethiopian traditional dress and walking bare foot, Lucia Nass, which is one of the writing team members and editors, was welcomed with a round of applause from the audience when announcing the launch. Her attire stood to show inclusiveness and grounded adaptation to the local situation in development activities.

Reflecting on the event, Zelelew Mamuye, Executive Director of Hope for Children said “It is almost 5 years since my organization started implementing SA and the extension of the Bridging Phase is a good opportunity for us to keep SA experts in our staff that have had great contributions and involvement in the project leading up to ESAP3. Today, we also identified and discussed our issues as a cluster, for instance, delays in reporting. This encourages us to work together to find solutions that work for everyone involved.”  

Kidist Hailemariam, ESAP2 focal person at SOS Sahel said, “The event was really good. SAIPs discussed the challenges and best experiences they have had during the implementation of the project. When we discussed the pros and cons of our partnership, our group mentioned that the partnership has greatly supported us in expanding our network but that there is a room for improvement in terms of the current lengthy funding process.”

The Executive Directors’ Day took place at Azzeman Hotel in Addis Ababa on 11 October 2017 with the attendance of close to 100 participants including representatives from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation (MoFEC), Project Coordinators of Social Accountability Implementing Partners, Development Partners, Executive Directors of SAIPs and MA staff.  

The start of the new extension phase in October, 2017, means that the 22 clusters consisting of lead and sub-partners will be able to continue social accountability activities on the field. In the words of the ESAP2 team leader, “The main point is to keep SA on the agenda alive, so that citizens at least see and have the feeling that they are not left alone.”