The Global Partnership for Social Accountability (GPSA) announced that it has approved its first grants for projects where civil society and governments collaborate to resolve critical governance problems in developing countries.
The GPSA grants for a total of more than US$9 million over the next five years will provide strategic support to 12 civil society organizations (CSOs) in 10 developing countries. An additional grant was allocated to Mexican NGO FUNDAR to develop the GPSA Knowledge Portal, to be launched later in 2013.
“For these countries, the projects that the GPSA has selected will be crucial in addressing some of the fundamental governance challenges in various areas of development. By encouraging increased transparency and accountability, these countries can achieve better service delivery to the most vulnerable people,” said Sanjay Pradhan, World Bank Group Vice President for Change, Knowledge and Learning and Chair of the GPSA Steering Committee, which selects the grantees. The Steering committee also includes CSO, donor and government representatives.
The 12 grants will go to civil society organizations in Bangladesh, Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Kyrgyz Republic, Malawi, Moldova, Mozambique, the Philippines, Tajikistan and Tunisia. They were selected from 216 proposals after the GPSA launched its first Call for Proposals in February 2013. An international roster of experts reviewed the proposals for technical quality and impact.
“The unique approach that the GPSA applies with these grants is to support the collaboration between citizens and governments to work on solutions for development challenges,” said the GPSA Program Manager Roby Senderowitsch. “This in turn helps the countries to reach the goals of ending extreme poverty and fostering shared prosperity.”
The projects will apply the social accountability methodology to a variety of governance issues, which were defined through a consultative process in each country. For example, in Bangladesh, two CSOs (Manusher Jonno Foundation and CARE Bangladesh) will support the capacity of citizens to participate at the local level in participatory budgeting and to monitor the actual use of decentralized government funds. The information resulting from these efforts is shared publicly and with local and national authorities, so they can take corrective measures where necessary, with the aim of improving the quality of services reaching the poor.
In Malawi, the GPSA will support two CSOs (CARE Malawi and Malawi Economic Justice Network) to address teachers' absenteeism and corruption in schools, using mobile technology and other methods. The resulting information will be shared with the Minister of Education and made public to better understand the problems and take corrective measures.
“We are happy that the GPSA can help us to connect to our government so that the information we produce in our project can be effectively used by the Ministry of Education to improve policies on procurement in the education sector in Malawi,” said Dalitso Kubalasa, Executive Director of the Malawi Economic Justice Network. “We are all interested parties in building strong social accountability systems for maximum value for money from our public resources, especially for the education of our children.”
The GPSA is a coalition of donors, governments and CSOs that supports civil society and governments to work together to solve governance challenges. It builds on the World Bank’s direct engagement with public sector actors, to create an enabling environment in which citizen feedback is used to solve critical problems in service delivery and to strengthen public institutions.
The GPSA Global Partners include more than 70 civil society organizations, multilateral institutions, foundations, and academia, which collaborate with GPSA in terms of knowledge sharing, technical assistance and networking.
GPSA is funded by a Multi-donor Trust Fund which the World Bank has contributed US$20 million and the Ford Foundation US$3 million. The Open Society Foundations contributes US$3 million in parallel funding. The Aga Khan Foundation has also recently announced a contribution to the GPSA.
GPSA will be announcing its next Call for Proposals in November 2013.