i-PANTAWID Project Workshop Underscores Salience of Social Accountability in 4Ps

BAGUIO CITY, April 27, 2018, Project i-Pantawid partners and stakeholders shared and discussed case stories of how citizens and government engaged each other that resulted in improved health and education service delivery, reduced benefit gaps, empowered Parent Leaders, and more responsive government.  The project final workshop highlighted the importance and urgency of Social Accountability in implementing social protection programs such as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

The project, Guarding the Integrity of the Conditional Cash Transfer Program in the Philippines (Project i-Pantawid), held the final workshop at Golden Pine Hotel in Baguio City on April 26-27, 2018. An exposition of Social Accountability case stories illustrated how the practice of Social Accountability has prompted change in the lives of 4Ps beneficiaries, and ultimately, the larger community.

Parent Leaders Facilitate Change

The main platform for introducing and practicing Social Accountability was the Enhanced Family Development Sessions (eFDS).  Parent Leaders (PLs) are 4Ps beneficiaries as well, chosen to assist in implementing the program.  Under Project i-Pantawid, PLs were trained to cascade lessons – mostly active citizenship lessons – to their respective groups; and to lead their groups in engaging with government, to claim their rights, and to actively participate in community affairs.

Stories were told of PLs overcoming their confidence gaps – from being timid and uninvolved due to their low socio-economic status – to empowered community leaders.    Accounts of PLs’ leadership were shown in their implementing and monitoring group projects such as communal vegetable gardens, barangay budget monitoring, feeding programs for malnourished children, and concluding social contracts with their municipal governments.

At the close of the 2-day workshop, exemplary PLs were given a Certificate of Award, recognizing their performances as facilitators of eFDS modules and initiating changes in their communities.

The Global Partnership for Social Accountability-World Bank (GPSA-WB) provided resources for the Project i-Pantawid that was implemented by local CSO partners and the consortium of Project i-Pantawid partners comprising of the Concerned Citizens of Abra for Good Government (CCAGG),  Partnership for Transparency Fund (PTF), RECITE, and Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific (ANSA-EAP).  CCAGG is the lead NGO and hosts the project management office at 2ND Floor, DZPA Building, Rizal cor. Zamora Streets, Bangued, Abra.

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PTF Asia awarded grant for Grassroots Governance Program in Philippines

PTF Asia (PTFA) is delighted to report that the Board of LifeBank Foundation Inc. (LBF) has now approved a proposal for the replication of the LBF Grassroots Governance Program with initial (Year 1) target of 5 LGUs in the amount of Philippine Peso 4.4 million. The Grassroots Governance Program is set to become a major social services initiative expected to be introduced in all LBF’s qualified operating areas throughout the Philippines.

LifeBank Foundation originally piloted the model with in two local governance units achieving its goal of transforming community members participating in the Ikabuhi Microfinance Program (IMP) into informed citizens through knowledge and skills training about government services and processes, and bring about responsive government through citizen monitoring and feedback for improved delivery of services.

In the next phase, PTFA aims to scale-up and deepen the impact of the program by adding community-targeted enhancements designed to bring about basic barangay governance literacy and increased engagement in community-level entrepreneurship thereby creating direct impacts not only for IMP participants but also to the larger barangay community. The enhancement will bring about a wider community of informed citizenry and more responsive governance at the grassroots level.

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Civic leadership training, Citizen Engagement and Government Responsiveness: experimental evidence from the Philippines

Cross-posted from the Making All Voices Count page for the publication and the MIT Gov/Lab page.

An MIT study published January 2018 finds that citizen engagement training and support for parent leaders (community facilitators) in the i-Pantawid project led to economic and political empowerment of communities and increased local government responsiveness. The i-Pantawid project is funded by the Global Partnership for Social Accountability and is being implemented by Concerned Citizens of Abra for Good Government (CCAGG) with support of Partnership for Transparency (PTF). CCAGG and PTF provided support for this research. The formation of parent leaders from among CCT beneficiaries is a unique feature of the Philippine Conditional Cash Transfer Program monitored in the i-Pantawid project – transforming parents from being simply the conduit of information between the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the beneficiaries to being practitioners of social accountability and becoming facilitators for change in the community. Parent leaders are able to mobilize their fellow grantees to active citizenship and to demand action from local authorities. What then is the impact of this intervention on Parent Leaders, CCT beneficiaries, local authorities, and the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps)?

The MIT Study provided the evidence of impact attesting to one major success of Project i-Pantawid. PTF was instrumental in having the MIT/GOVLAB undertake the study and contributed to the development of research design and initial implementation. This was acknowledged by the MIT/GOVLAB team during presentation of research results to the Project Management Committee and its implementing local civil society organization partners.

The research yielded several initial lessons

  • Civic leadership training for parent leaders increased their political participation and engagement. Researchers tested the impact of civic leadership training on 12 outcomes that measure political engagement. For 11 out of the 12 outcome measures, the treatment and control groups showed a difference in the expected direction. The consistent pattern across so many outcomes provides suggestive evidence that the training increased political engagement among parent leaders.
  • There were changes in government responsiveness. While there was little difference in citizens’ perceptions of government responsiveness to their complaints and concerns, local government officials in the communities where parent leaders were trained complied at higher rates with government transparency regulations.
  • There was no evidence of parent leaders being co-opted. In fact, reported rates of co-option, measured with a series of questions about election-related engagement and personal assistance received from officials, were lower on average in the municipalities where parent leaders had been trained.


This research was undertaken by MIT Gov/Lab authors, Lily L. Tsai Nina McMurry Swetha Rajeswaran, with the support, guidance, and hard work of Concerned Citizens of Abra for Good Government (CCAGG) and Responsible Citizens, Empowered Communities in Solidarity for Social Change (RECITE, Inc.), and the Partnership for Transparency (PTF),with special thanks to Pura Sumangil for her leadership and to Ester Alkonga and Bing van Tooren for their intellectual contributions and unflagging enthusiasm.

Read more about the program this research covers at i-Pantawid: Guarding the Integrity of the Conditional Cash Transfers.

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Mongolia Education Project Featured at Global Partners Forum 2017


Partnership for Transparency is excited to announce that its partners will be presenting on the Transparency and Accountability in Mongolian Education (TAME) project at the Global Partners Forum 2017 on Tuesday, October 31 at 10:45 am.

The TAME project addresses the development challenge of providing disadvantaged ethnic minorities of Mongolia access to better education services. The project intends to achieve this overarching objective by increasing efficiency, transparency and accountability in education procurement, organizing a Parent Teacher Association in each project soum, and promoting civic society participation in prioritizing educational initiative. The education reforms are expected to directly benefit 90% of Mongolia’s ethnic minorities who will have better access to quality education by the end of the project.

In the last nine months, the project has helped establish five Parent Teacher Associations, trained 48 citizen monitors in school budget monitoring, and convened over ten stakeholder meetings reaching 480 people to intermediate between parents, teachers, and government officials. As result, school budgets have become more accountable to parents, students’ academic performance has increased, and parent-teacher relations have improved.

The TAME project is funded by the Global Partnership for Social Accountability (GPSA) at the World Bank. GSPA’s annual conference, the Global Partners Forum convenes social accountability practitioners from around the world to reflect on successes and PTF is proud to have supported a featured project. Learn more about PTF’s work with TAME and the Global Partners Forum 2017 session. 

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Promoting Inclusive and Accountable Public Services in Asia and the Pacific

At the Asian Development Bank’s 50th Annual Meetings, Partnership for Transparency and World Vision hosted Promoting Inclusive Accountable Public Services in Asia and the Pacific. The session deliberated on problems and challenges of fostering inclusive growth in Asia examining ways to maximize civil society involvement and effectiveness. Furthermore, the session considered the directions how ADB can cooperate with local CSOs to enhance its local impact and the role of Open Government Partnership (OGP) as an efficient tool of public-private partnership.

The opening remarks were offered by Mr. Bambang Susantono, ADB Vice President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development, Asian Development Bank (ADB) followed by a two round panel discussion moderated by, Dr. Vinay Bhargava, Chief Technical Adviser of Partnership for Transparency.

Mr. Deepesh Paul Thakur, Director of Advocacy and Justice for Children, South Asia and Pacific Regional Office of World Vision International defined the problems facing Asian countries including lack of implementation of SDG national policies, culture and social norms, and weak governance explaining how World Vision’s social accountability projects address these problems by increasing citizens’ voice and participation. World Vision conducts 630 programs in 48 countries, with its own approach “Citizen Voice and Action” (CVA). CVA is social accountability methodology which aims to develop better interaction between citizens and government, in order to improve public services that impact the daily lives of children and their families. Mr. Thakur concluded by offering some advice: social accountability should be included in SDG national plans and technical assistance for countries; effective partnership and platforms should be established; and most vulnerable groups included in the dialogue.

Mr. Sanjay Pradhan, CEO of OGP, gave examples of citizen participation in government following several approaches and examples:

  • Upstream (expl. Participatory Budgeting in Brazil)
  • Mid-stream (expl. Disclosure of Spending and Service Standards in Uganda)
  • Downstream (exp. Citizen Feedback on Public Services in Vietnam and India)
  • Downstream with Accountability (expl. Closing the Feedback Loop in the Philippines)

According Mr. Pradhan, these examples show that future belongs to “collaborative approach where government responds to citizen feedback”. Mr. Pradhan also provided recommendations how civil society, government and ADB can build on progress already made by using the OGP platform to co-create commitments for citizen participation and government responsiveness in public service delivery, and demand results. .  Mr. Pradhan specifically outlined the role of ADB: “ADB lends for infrastructure, health and education, but to achieve the intended results requires collaboration between governments, civil society, private sector and citizens.”

Mr. Giorgi Kldiashvili, Director of Institute for Development of Freedom of Information gave Georgia as an example of how OGP principles and commitments contributed to the improvements in accountability, transparency, civic engagement and public service delivery on legislative and local levels. Similarly, Ms. Suzanne Siskel, Executive Vice President and COO of Asia Foundation provided examples of social accountability projects undertaken by the Asia Foundation in Mongolia, Indonesia and Sri Lanka.

Ms. Amy Leung, Deputy Director General, Sustainable Development Department, ADB spoke about the importance ADB attaches to inclusive development and knowledge partnerships for UN Sustainable Development Agenda 2030.

Mr. Dante de Los Angeles, Executive Director of Partnership for Transparency Fund (PTF) Asia Foundation discussed the role of PTF in promoting inclusive and accountable public services. Mr. de Los Angeles summarized common experiences from the 68 projects PTF has funded over the past 15 years in the Philippines, Mongolia, India, Nepal, and Bangladesh which helped to create new models of citizen participation that promotes inclusive public services. Mr. de Los Angeles advised the ADB to simplify its procurement guidelines to increase effectiveness, and facilitate involvement of local CSOs.

The presentations was followed with the Q&A. Interest to the presentation was high from the audience and responds from the panelist covered more details of the discussed topics.

Click here for more information on the 50th ADB Annual Meeting in Yokohama.

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U4 Issue Paper Released on “Doing Accountability Differently: A proposal for the vertical integration of civil society monitoring and advocacy”

Doing Accountability Differently: A proposal for the vertical integration of civil society monitoring and advocacy is a recently released U4 Anti-Corruption Research Centre Issue Paper co-written by Jonathan Fox of American University and Joy Aceron of Government Watch (G-Watch), a long-time PTF partner in the Philippines.

The piece puts forward propositions on “doing accountability differently” through strategies that tackle power and systemic issues in order to address root causes (instead of just the symptoms) of corruption and bad governance through balanced and synergistic, multi-level and multi-actor actions on transparency, participation and accountability.

It includes a case study on a pioneering work on social accountability first supported by PTF, Textbook Count, implemented by G-Watch (download a case study on PTF’s support for the project). Textbook Count is perhaps the most well-studied social accountability initiative with about 8-10 published works written about it. What the narrative in this publication attempts to uniquely contribute in restudying Textbook Count is the use of a new lens, Vertical Integration, which uncovered the complexity of how and why the program worked and the limits of what it has achieved in light of the changing context in politics and governance in the Philippines over time.

The piece implicitly disputes the simplistic, linear and single project-based propositions on how and why initiatives on social accountability and anti-corruption work or not; how and why civil society initiatives get sustained and scaled up or not; and how and why context matters in transparency, participation and accountability work.

The paper has been peer-reviewed by several experts in the field, including Rosemarie McGee of Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and Aranzazu Guillen, who also contributes a section on policy recommendations to donors and other key stakeholders that aim to pull attention and support to this “different way of doing accountability.

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Practitioner Oriented Research Collaborations in Practice

On May 19th, PTF joined the MIT Governance Lab (MIT Gov-Lab) and Concerned Citizens of Abra for Good Governance (CCAGG) to share experiences surrounding a joint effort to encourage citizen monitoring of Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) Programs in the Philippines at the the annual GPSA Global Partners Forum.

The CCT monitoring program leverages funding from the Global Partnership for Social Accountability (GPSA) to combine the MIT Gov-Lab’s experience in conducting research on social issues (particularly development programs), CCAGG’s expertise in engaging and empowering civil society in the Philippines, and PTF’s in-depth international experience promoting transparency and accountability in local communities. All partners made clear that combining the relative strengths of the different actors together broadens the impact of the project.

Professor Lily Tsai, MIT Gov-Lab Faculty Advisor, explained how her “unbiased research and on the ground experience strengthens the program and clarifies the data collected.” Likewise, Dante de Los Angeles, a Director of PTF’s affiliate local in the Philippines (PTF-Asia), pointed to the importance of collaboration to strengthen the theoretical approach within which the implementing CSO works. He added that “rigorous research methods define the project’s methodology and allows it to be carried out more accurately,” in turn making it possible to hold the project academically accountable.

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Using Citizen Engagement and Social Accountability Approaches in Mitigating Fraud, Errors and Corruption in Conditional Cash Transfer Programs

The number of countries with Conditional Cash Transfer Programs (CCTPs) has steadily increased from 27 in 2008 to 53 in 2013. The growing popularity of CCTPs is due to their proven effectiveness in reducing poverty. However, CCTP achievements are often undermined by integrity risks due to fraud, errors, and corruption. Studies of CCTPs in Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East reveal that state led control and accountability mechanisms are not fully effective and fraud, error and corruption persist. Most of these studies recommend the use of social accountability initiatives to complement the state-led efforts.

On February 9, the Partnership for Transparency Fund (PTF), the Global Partnership for Social Accountability, and the Social Protection and Labor Global Practice at the World Bank held a discussion on “Using Citizen Engagement and Social Accountability Approaches in Mitigating Fraud, Errors and Corruption in Conditional Cash Transfer Programs,” with Dr. Vinay Bhargava, Chief Technical Adviser and Board member of PTF, Shomikho Raha, Public Sector Specialist in the Governance Global Practice at the World Bank and Carine Clert, Lead Social Protection Specialist in the Social Protection and Labor Global Practice at the World Bank. The event was chaired by Maria Poll, Capacity-Building Coordinator of the GPSA.

The discussion focused on a recent paper by the Partnership for Transparency Fund (PTF): “Citizen Engagement and Social Accountability Approaches in Enhancing Integrity of Conditional Cash Transfer Programs” which identifies best practices and lessons for greater engagement of citizens and social accountability initiatives.


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New Report Available on Citizen Engagement and Social Accountability in Conditional Cash Transfer Programs

Download Citizen Engagement and Social Accountability Approaches in Enhancing Integrity of Conditional Cash Transfer Programs (3 MB)

Conditional cash transfer programs (CCTPs) are widely used in the world and are proving effective in generating proven poverty alleviation impacts. However, CCTP achievements are undermined by fraud, errors, and corruption. These integrity risks and international experiences in managing them by using both state and civil society led efforts have been analyzed in a paper prepared by PTF as a knowledge resource for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and government agencies involved in the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the Conditional Cash Transfer Program (CCTP) in the Philippines.

The paper has been prepared as part of “Guarding the Integrity of the Conditional Cash Transfer Program in the Philippines” (or iPantawid) being implemented by Filipino CSO, the Concerned Citizens of Abra for Good Government (CCAGG) and funded by the Global Partnership for Social Accountability (GPSA). The project’s objective is to develop a model for constructive engagement between government and civil society at the community level using social accountability initiatives for transparent and accountable implementation of the CCTP in the Philippines.

The paper explores CCT programs and their accountability measures in several countries in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East, and the Philippines, as well as a field review of CCTP integrity systems in the Philippines in 2013. We found that fraud, errors, and corruption remain problematic despite state-led measures. There is a need, therefore, to complement state-led efforts to manage integrity risks within CCTPs with other mechanisms that directly engage beneficiaries of CCTPs and citizens more widely, including the use of social accountability approaches.

With reference to the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program in particular, the paper’s findings suggest that integrity risk management is generally satisfactory for a program of this size and maturity but can be improved. Significant opportunities exist for CSOs to enhance the integrity and results like validating beneficiary lists, reporting on targeting errors, and assisting with recertification. CSOs can collect beneficiary feedback on access and quality of supply-side services in health or education programs, along with advocating and assuming co-responsibility for overcoming supply bottlenecks. CSOs may also improve their involvement in the Pantawid Pamilya program by broadening awareness and sustaining public and political support for it. It is recommended that CSOs and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) analyze the social accountability initiatives in the Pantawid Pamilya program and develop a follow-up action plan.

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