Lessons Learned from Implementation of Citizen Engagement in South Asia

Event Program

Opening remarks – David Warren, Social Development Practice Manager, South Asia Region
Lessons learned from Citizen Engagement implementation SAR – based on the various stock takes in SAR
Country context – Luiza Nora WB Social Development Specialist
Lessons learned from CARTA – Tjaarda Storm van Leeuwen, PTF
Experience of Transport projects in Nepal – Farhad Ahmed, WB TTL
Global experience with implementation – discussant Nicolas Perrin, CE Secretariat

The World Bank hosted a brown bag lunch on March 23, 2017 to discuss PTF’s Citizen Action for Results, Transparency and Accountability (CARTA) program, lessons learned on citizen engagement, and their application World Bank financed projects. The CARTA Program was funded by the Japanese Social Development Fund and administered by the World bank between 2011 and 2016. CARTA was a unique pilot program in which the governments of Bangladesh and Nepal and the World Bank allowed independent third party monitoring of World Bank financed projects by promoting Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) engagement, experience and capacity to demand better governance.

By building the capacity of local CSOs to conduct third party project monitoring, CARTA aimed to strengthen ownership of outcomes, reduce the propensity of corruption and increase overall citizen engagement. The valuable insights into citizen engagement methods and best-practices gathered through CARTA provides World Bank staff with practical examples of how citizen engagement can help to improve development outcomes of projects and how beneficiary monitoring can be applied and integrated into project design.

In the past, the World Bank has primarily focused on supply-side levers to influence good governance with mixed results. However, it has become increasingly clear, as the CARTA program demonstrates, that improvement in good governance indicators can materialize when good governance is demand-driven and citizens are engaged and involved in ensuring that projects meet their outcomes. The CARTA program demonstrated that by raising awareness about WB financed projects and programs and stimulate citizen involvement in the project cycle development outcomes can be enhanced.

The CARTA program was a good example of how results can be achieved in practice as  PTF’s CARTA Program Director, Tjaarda Storm van Leeuwen, pointed out: ” As awareness about project objectives and expected outcomes were increased and the capacity of communities involved increased, they became empowered to ensure that their interests were safeguarded.” He went on to present various social accountability tools used in the CARTA Program such as the Community Score Card, public hearings, satisfaction surveys, and focus group discussions.

He also provided examples of how and with what effect these tools were used during the project cycle to promote citizen and beneficiary involvement and ownership. Through use of these tools, CARTA not only increased community awareness, but also provided tools to beneficiaries to articulate grievances, made improvements in existing grievance resolution mechanisms, and through constructive engagement, motivated service providers to respond and provide better services.

The World Bank’s Nepal Senior Transport Specialist, Farhad Ahmed, said of his experience the CARTA program: “In my opinion, CARTA achieved its [program] objectives. As a TTL, I feel confident that things have gone well.”  He reiterated that lessons learned in the CARTA Program were applied in the design of follow up World bank financed projects

Beneficiary monitoring is now integrated in World Bank operations. It is no longer a debate on whether to include CE but when and how. Based on the experience with CARTA and in other countries, the PTF CARTA Program Director gave a number of suggestions to World Bank staff on how to increase and improve citizen engagement at all stages of the project cycle.

To learn more about lessons and best-practices learned from the CARTA Program please look at the final report Lessons Learned from the CARTA Program in Nepal and Bangladesh  as well as the  Tjaarda Storm van Leeuwen’s presentation.