PTF Shares Experience on Constructive Engagement between Governments and CSOs in East Asia

On July 14th, PTF’s Chief Technical Officer, Dr. Vinay Bhargava, moderated an Roundtable Discussion hosted by the Government of the Philippines, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank on “Constructive Engagement Processes between Governments and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).”

The discussion featured panelists from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal and the Philippines, including PTF-Asia President Geert van der Linden, who presented their experiences in engaging with government authorities at local, state and national levels. Through their presentations, they offered views on good practices in sustaining citizen engagement with governments.

The Roundtable comes at an opportune time as the Asian Development Bank and Open Government Partnership (OGP), a multilateral initiative that aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to fight corruption and improve governance, have recently agreed to work together to support transparency, accountability and participation efforts in East Asia. The ADB’s support will focus on exploring opportunities to provide technical and financial assistance to help countries meet OGP eligibility criteria and to develop and implement OGP action plans.

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PTF Urges Increased ADB Support for Citizen-led Programs to Improve Governance

Dr. Vinay Bhargava discusses citizen engagement in good governance on
the Asian Development Bank’s “Knowledge Asia” series.

Citizens in countries around the world view corruption as the world’s most important problem according to WIN/Gallup International’s 2013 Annual Poll. Despite the large amounts of money spent every year by governments to improve the situation, the majority of citizens believe corruption is getting worse. Most also agree that governments themselves are part of the problem and are therefore relatively ineffective in fighting it. So, what else can be done to increase government transparency, accountability and responsiveness?

In a presentation to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on July 10, 2014, Vinay Bhargava called for increased support for citizen-led programs. Based on real word experiences from projects supported by PTF, Dr. Bhargava illustrated the incredible accomplishments of citizens who successfully fought corruption and used them to discuss the broader question of what can be done when government systems and political will to fight it are weak and/or ineffective. He specifically drew from examples of PTF supported projects where everyday citizens successfully demanded basic health benefits in India, monitored medicine supply in the Philippines, and protected forest resources in Nepal.

Dr. Bhargava also discussed related issues, such as the theories of change underlying social accountability, evidence that social accountability can improve results and development effectiveness and how social accountability approaches can be integrated in country partnership strategies and lending operations of multilateral banks such as the ADB.

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Education project by PTF’s Mongolian partner, Globe International, becomes GPSA finalist


The World Bank supported Global Partnership for Social Accountability (GPSA) has selected eight final development projects proposed by civil society organizations from a total of 428 proposals that were made. One of the accepted projects, which will now be subject to a GPSA due diligence review, is from the Partnership for Transparency Fund’s partner in Mongolia, Globe International (GI).

GI’s proposed $650,000 project, which will involve PTF as the implementer of a knowledge and learning component, will address the poor quality of Mongolia’s education services in 20 areas of the country where corruption is seen as high and which contain nearly 90% of the country’s ethnic and other minorities who are the most disadvantaged in terms of access to quality education. GI noted that overcoming the existing problems will need enlightened citizens participation. Thus the project will create a civil society advocacy network to use freedom of information and other existing laws to demand transparency and accountability in school budgetary processes; make evidence-based assessments of educational services; and, participate in providing immediate solutions to citizen feedback for improving education services at local levels.

The GPSA supports civil society and governments to work together to solve critical governance challenges in developing countries. As a GPSA Global Partner, PTF provides lessons learned and technical expertise on citizen engagement to remove corruption in the public sector. On May 14th and 15th, PTF and its regional affiliate PTF Asia will participate in the 2014 GPSA Global Partners Forum to connect, exchange, and share knowledge on social accountability.

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PTF Accountability Project to Move Ahead with ADB Support in the Philippines

May 10, 2013 — The Partnership for Transparency Fund is being supported by the  Asian Development Bank (ADB) in a one-year project in the Philippines to improve the capacities of stakeholders – local governments  and civil society organizations (CSOs) in particular – for effective and constructive engagement with particular focus on budget formulation, execution and procurement monitoring and evaluation. The project will provide grants to 5 or 6 CSOs to develop and pilot models of effective citizen engagement processes with local governments in the focus areas. Funding support for the project is $170,000.

This technical assistance project will support regional implementation of the Second Governance and Anti-corruption Action Plan of the ADB.  Project mobilization is timed after the elections this month to ensure that the project works with the new set of local executives with fresh mandates from their constituents. PTF will field its Philippine-based Advisers to implement the project pro bono with Gerry Van der Linden serving as Project Director and Dante de los Angeles as Grant Manager.

PTF was engaged directly for this project because of its global grant-making experience with CSOs on anti-corruption programs and the expectation that PTF’s expertise will harness global ‘best practices’. Thus, PTF will seek to match CSOs with PTF’s local and international advisors to help sub-grantees to develop the social accountability tools that they will need.

In addition to the grants provided to CSOs, the project is expected to result in two technical reports: one on the experience with existing policies on citizens engagement in local government; while the other will provide a synthesis of social accountability measures and global best practices in the focus areas. The project will also result in a publication demonstrating how governance risks can be mitigated at the local government level through social accountability measures. Replication will be encouraged of the models developed under the project with assistance from the Budget Department.

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New AusAID Grant to Bolster PTF Anti-Corruption Knowledge Sharing in the Philippines

The Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) has initiated a grant of $200,000 to PTF to broaden the impact of PTF’s anti-corruption work in the Philippines. Since 2003 PTF has been supporting the anti-corruption work of CSOs in the country. To date, working in close partnership with the Coalition Against Corruption of the Makati Business Club (CAC/MBC) PTF has supported 22 projects with technical assistance and funding of over $600,000.

The Philippines is home to high rates of corruption, ranking 138 out of 178 countries on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index. Research has shown that as much as 40 percent of public resources are squandered due to corruption.

The AusAID grant will provide funding for 4-6 new small projects managed by PTF in conjunction with local CSO counterparts constructively engaging with government agencies. The program will also bolster knowledge sharing efforts, providing funds to cultivate and disseminate best practices from PTF’s supported projects over nearly a decade and using media and social media to spread the lessons to the wider civil society community, other government agencies, and the business sector.

There is an obvious efficiency argument for knowledge sharing: knowing what works and what does not, sharing monitoring tools and training materials are all beneficial. But the benefits of knowledge sharing go beyond efficiency considerations. For example, when one government department has developed constructive relationships with civil society and the private sector, sharing this experience with other parts of the government would be most useful.

The program was initiated in June and will be implemented over 24 months.

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