IMPLEMENTING PARTNER: SKY-Samaj Nepal
GRANT AMOUNT: $150,000
The Rural Access Improvement and Decentralization Project (RAIDP) aims to improve services related to health, education, agriculture and good governance in Nepal. Over the project period (2005 to 2013), over 2 million Nepalis have utilized improved rural transport infrastructures and services produced by the program, in turn enhancing their access to economic opportunities.
Despite the project’s success, there are known accountability and capacity issues that prevented the effectiveness of community based organizations (CBOs), including:
- Inconsistent monitoring processes without clear responsibilities delegated to CBO members
- Lack of CBO knowledge on the Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF)
- No formal mechanism for grievance submission and redress; few (verbally submitted) grievances resolved
- Insufficient training and ill defined CBO responsibilities in ensuring quality road construction
- Lack of standard tools to measure road construction quality
The objective of the CARTA sub-project was to strengthen the capacity of community based organizations (CBOs) to monitor the civil work and contract processes under RAIDP and to facilitate access to relevant agencies for grievances redress. The specific goals were to:
- Support 80 CBOs to understand the policy and principles in the Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF), and their roles and responsibilities;
- Capacitate CBOs for understanding quality of construction work by providing training based on specific training manual;
- Capacitate the CBOs for monitoring the labor contract process and payment of the contractors;
- Support the CBOs to collect and report grievances and to assist them in understanding any malpractice.
The overall results of the sub-project were positive. Two surveys conducted provided comparison data that demonstrated increased knowledge and skill levels after training interventions. For instance, 97% of CBO members had knowledge of the Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF), compared to the 28% prior the sub-project implementation. Likewise, 92% of community based organization (CBO) members had knowledge of the quality of civil work and community monitoring methods, compared to 26% at the baseline. All CBOs received and discussed contract documents by the end of the sub-project, in contrast to 27% before CARTA. Prior to CARTA, CBOs were not assigned roles to monitor civil work and only 60% of road projects were displayed on the information boards. By the end of the sub-project, 84% of CBOs were assigned monitoring roles and 96% of the road projects were displayed on the boards.
In addition, there was major improvement on the number of recorded and redressed grievances. For example, before the intervention, all grievances were verbal and hardly ever addressed. At the end of the sub-project, 187 grievances were recorded, 89% of them being addressed. As a result of the increased number of valid filed grievances, the Local Development Officer and the District Technical Office chief carried out additional monitoring visits at the district level.
Media mobilization and awareness raising activities created the demand for tools used in CARTA. For example, many community based organizations (CBOs) in non sub-project locations requested trainings on the Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF) and on the use of a Labor Based Toolkit (LBT). Responding to the demand, LBT activities were replicated in other RAIDP road projects. This newly created demand for capacity building activities reflects the intrinsic and extrinsic values of citizen empowerment that allows for communities to demand and contribute to better governance and service delivery.