Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Community Score Card Tool for Social Accountability in WASH projects

Source: Emmanuel Ato Quansah
Extension Services Specialist - CWSA, UWR

Over the years, one common phenomenon associated with the implementation of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) projects in Ghana is the failure of service beneficiaries (community members) to demand for accountability from the service providers. With such culture of social accountability-demand silence of service beneficiaries, implementation of WASH projects in Ghana are likely to suffered under sustainability benchmarks.

There is therefore the need to ensure that SA is promoted for sustainability in WASH projects. Against this backdrop, one approach, identified through which service delivery from providers can be improved in the WASH sector is through Social Accountability.

What is Social Accountability (SA)?

Social Accountability (SA) is an approach used by citizens and civil society organizations to demand accountability from public servants, group leaders and other service providers through civic engagement in a non-confrontational or non-accusatory manner (Allah Mensah, 2011). Under Social Accountability, several mechanisms are used to make available project information to service beneficiaries.

Hence, the SA enables service beneficiaries to collected, analyzed and share project information publicly in a participatory fashion to find out if planned activities are indeed executed on the ground. It empowers service beneficiaries to examine the shortfall of projects and reduces the burden of project facilitators such as the Community Water and Sanitation Agency in the WASH sector in their monitoring and supervision responsibilities. In this regard, project monitoring and supervision is maximized.

Through SA, the capacity of service beneficiaries are enhanced and led to monitor and supervise their own WASH facilities during project implementation for sustainability. In the light of the above, one key tool that elicits social accountability and increases the responsiveness of service providers is the Community Score Card.

What is Community Score Card (CSC)?

The Community Score Card (CSC) is a participatory, community based monitoring and evaluation tool that enables citizens to assess the quality of service provision such as in the Water, Sanitation, Hygiene, Education and Health sector. It is used to inform community members about available services and their entitlements and to solicit their opinions about the accessibility and quality of the services. By providing an opportunity for direct dialogue between service providers and the community, the CSC process empowers the public to voice their opinion and demand improved service delivery.

 How is CSC done?

Practical steps in implementing a CSC are:

1. Preparatory groundwork and research: 
Identify the subject and scope of the assessment (e.g. quality or quantity of water).

Conduct preliminary study on subject or scope (e.g. research on water quality)

Identify people or groups who can help to facilitate the implementation of the CSC (e.g. traditional leaders, NGO staff, and officials of local governments)

Conduct an awareness campaign to inform people about the purpose and benefits of the CSC.

Train facilitators. (Coordinator, Moderator and Scribe)

Sample of CSC for Beneficiary Community under WASH projects

Indicators (in order of importance)
Scores out of  100
Regularity of community visitation
PO visits the community 2×   in every 3 month
PO must visit the community often
Participatory Approaches
PO allows all Community members to talk
PO continue to allow community members to talk at meetings
Community Mobilization techniques
PO always meets with only the Zongo section of the community
PO must meet both the Zongo and the main community members
Sensitization techniques
PO does not tackle the sanitation / hygiene issues affecting the community
PO must address must tackles Wand washing and latrine issues in the community
Staff contribution
PO coordinator alone often visits the community
PO must come with at least 4 staff
Observation of Protocol in community
PO always liaise with contact person / chiefs before the visits
PO must continue with his observation of protocol in the community

(E.g. to be used by the community to assess the performance of a PO consultant services under a WASH project)

 2. Help community members generate a scorecard

Convene community members into one or more focus groups.

Ask each group to identify performance/quality indicators for the public service in question.

Ask the group to score each indicator and give reasons for the scores.

Ask the group to develop their own suggestions on how to improve the service, based on the performance criteria they have identified.

3. Help service providers to generate a self-evaluation score card

Hold a brainstorming session with service providers including the management and the staff to develop self-evaluation indicators.

Ask the service providers to score each indicator and give reasons for the scores.

Invite service providers to discuss and propose possible solutions.

4. Convene an interface meeting between community and service provider

Aided by the facilitators, each focus group presents its scores.

Reasons for scores are discussed.

Service providers react and give feedback.

All participants discuss and potentially agree possible solutions.

5.  Advocacy and follow-up

Document the process and record score card results in a brief, clear and easily understandable format.

Disseminate results through the media and communities.

Feed score card results into other policy and advocacy processes.

Ensure the implementation and follow-up of the solutions.

Take steps to institutionalize the process like for example by supporting community-based organizations and/or service providers to repeat the exercise on an annual or half yearly basis.

Significance of CSC

The benefit of CSC in WASH projects cannot be overemphasized. Ultimately, CSC establishes mechanisms of direct feedback between service beneficiaries and service providers. Again, the CSC tool strengthens citizen voice and promotes community empowerment in WASH projects. Further, it promotes dialogue and consensus building as well as information gathering.

CSC enhances the local capacity (service beneficiaries) to hold service providers accountable in a non confrontational public deliberation on WASH priority issues. CSC generates performance criteria for benchmarking the quality of services that can subsequently be used by community members or the government on monitoring and evaluation duties in the WASH sub rural sector.

Hence, in sum, one sure way of reducing inefficiencies in the implementation of WASH project is through the incorporation of Social Accountability tools such as the Community Score Card in WASH project in Ghana.

1 comment:

  1. WoW; i really needed this _
    thanks for the education ||: