IMPLEMENTING PARTNER: RECITE Inc.
GRANT AMOUNT: $14,000
THEMES: Public Saftey Nets
Applied Social Accountability at the Community Level developed a mechanism for citizens to promote greater transparency and accountability for more efficient and effective service delivery and community development initiatives undertaken under the Philippines Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) Program. Selected Parent Leaders of the CCT program were trained on social accountability approaches and guided on their application to monitor health service delivery and the selection of local leaders. The trained Parent Leaders provided a core group of active citizens with the skills, knowledge and confidence to pursue social accountability and continue to grow the practice at the community level.
The Philippines Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) Program – Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) – is of the national government’s flagship programs on poverty reduction and social development. To reap the benefits of the program (cash grants) parents or guardians are required to attend Family Development Sessions (FDS) at least once a month, participate in community activities and promote and strengthen the implementation of 4Ps. However, a number of problems challenge the efficiency and effectiveness of the program. The challenges identified by RECITE include:
- Lack of sufficient resources to develop and conduct training programs
- Wide variation in the quality of health services between Barangays
- Lack of understanding around why beneficiaries do not comply with their responsibilities under the program
Poor voting practices and selection of appropriate leaders
RECITE developed modules on social accountability and trained selected Parent Leaders of the CCT program as community facilitators. These trained Parent Leaders conducted family development sessions within their barangays. Specific subjects included: voters education, formulating and working towards a community vision, building awareness of citizen rights and responsibilities, improving CCT compliance, building a better understanding of available health services, fostering increased citizen readiness to participate in governance and communications with government officials.
Apart from merely attending training sessions, participants were guided through the practice of social accountability over the 9 month implementation period of the project as follows:
- Conducting FDS meetings and training other parents on social accountability approaches
- Attending and participating in Barangay Assemblies and participating in other engagements with local officials
- Actively monitoring and evaluating the delivery of health services
- Conducting a review of hindering factors to beneficiary compliance with program requirements
All activities were aimed at encouraging Parent Leaders to assume greater responsibility for social accountability in their local communities. A total of 97 Parent Leaders were trained over the nine months as community facilitators. At the end of the program, 26% were rated as “outstanding,” 61% were “proficient,” and 13% “needed more coaching.” In addition to their increased knowledge and skills, the Parent Leaders also gained added respect and affirmation of their leadership role. This further motivated them to attend other training programs outside the sub-project and encouraged them to seek further growth and improvement.
Factors that affect level of beneficiary compliance with the CCT program were discussed with the Parent
Leaders and in community meetings. Solutions were suggested to improve compliance, including:
- Confusion around details of conditionalities (frequency, location, etc)
- Beneficiary preference to seek routine health care from Rural Health Units instead of Barangay
Health Stations, due to the presence of the doctor and nurses, and leading to overcrowding
Now, Barangay Health Workers (BHW) play an active role in compliance, informing the beneficiaries of check-up and immunization schedules. Likewise, Parent Leaders now feel more responsible for their group members
and help clear up misunderstandings among their Members to meet full compliance.
A scorecard for the delivery of health services was developed and implemented with the active cooperation of the Municipal Health Officer. The scores by health providers and beneficiaries were summarized and discussed in community meetings. An interface meeting was also conducted among the Parent Leaders and Municipal Health Office Staff to take action on improving overall health delivery for CCT program beneficiaries.Parent Leaders new to the process or assigned in the middle of the project period, should attend a remedial workshops, covering the program background, overview and objectives, as well as an introduction to basic concepts of leadership, facilitation skills, communication skills and documentation.
While the training was designed to encourage active citizenship and grow a sense of social responsibility among the participants, the inclusion of values formation topics at the start of every session effectively gave a more rounded approach towards the growth of the Parent Leaders.
This kind of mentoring and skills building requires several months of training. Several outcomes – Health Services Monitoring, Candidates’ Forum, Social Contract, etc. – is also only possible with a continuous engagement over several months.
UPDATE: A scale-up of this sub-project – i-Pantawid – was awarded $800,000 from the Global Partnership for Social Accountability (GPSA) to implement a follow on four-year project in Northern Luzon. This sub-grant was an important catalyst to mobilize this funding and the technical support provided helped build capacity to enable implementation of this new four-year program. As a result, the work started under this sub-project is now being replicated across Northern Luzon and a proposal to extend it to Mindanao is being developed.