Integrity Watch’s Community Based Monitoring-Infrastructure program promotes social accountability through community mobilization and social audits. The program empowers communities to monitor infrastructure projects that are implemented in their area. The aim of this program is to empower citizens in holding authorities and aid entities accountable and to create active and responsible citizenship by decreasing the gap between the state, aid actors and the civil society. Communities engaged in local monitoring become more autonomous in solving their problems through continued dialogue as well as monitoring and reduce their reliance on external actors or parallel structures.
The program started in 2007 with 10 communities in the Jabel Seraj district of Afghanistan’s Parwan province. The program has expanded over the years due to its success in empowering citizens to take an active role in promoting integrity and accountability. Around 1160 infrastructure projects have been monitored by 2200 Integrity volunteers since 2007 in Balkh, Bamyan, Herat, Kabul, Kunduz, Kapisa, Nangarhar, Parwan, Panjshir and Badakhshan provinces.
Integrity Watch Afghanistan work with communities to identify Integrity volunteers who volunteer to monitor construction projects on behalf of their communities. The Integrity volunteers are trained and supported by Integrity Watch Afghanistan provisioning of knowledge and carefully designed customized monitoring tools who monitored a series of metrics and phenomenon related to integrity, which can illustrate the quality of construction projects and their impact on the targeted communities. These estimations are based on the adequacy, consistency and sustainability of the projects.
Integrity Volunteers are able to file complaints through the establishment of a Sectorial Monitoring group (SMG) composed of line ministry representatives, Integrity volunteers, Provincial Councils members, media and aid actors. The board triggers the accountability role of local institutions. Furthermore, regular monitoring of ongoing projects helps to ensure that infrastructure projects are impacting the community positively.
The methodology used empowers citizens and increases aid effectiveness at local levels through Community Based Monitoring-Infrastructure program by:
- Selecting Communities
Similar to other Integrity Watch Afghanistan initiatives, the Community Based Monitoring of Infrastructure (CBM-I) draws on community participation to establish the legitimacy of its objectives. “Community” for this program is defined by Community Development Councils, civil society actors and legal service providers. Once a community is chosen, Integrity Watch Afghanistan employees meet with the community to explain monitoring and its benefits.
- Electing Integrity volunteers
Each participating community is asked to select 1 Integrity volunteer and She/ He should preferably be literate, of good reputation within the community and able to volunteer several hours each week to monitor construction activities.
- Training of Integrity volunteer
After their selection, all Integrity volunteers receive technical and social training from Integrity Watch Afghanistan staff. Social training covers the basic concepts of corruption awareness, community mobilization, and problem-solving. Technical training covers material quality ( Concrete, Cement, Sand, Steel, Gravel, Stone, Bricks) building techniques, and how to test the quality of materials in simple but effective ways. The training teaches the Integrity volunteer how to use provided monitoring tools, conduct surveys, follow checklists and collect data.
- Collecting Information
Integrity volunteer then collects all necessary project documents by requesting from government officials and the contracted company. After collecting the project documents, Integrity volunteers conduct a baseline survey of the community. They interview 50 respondents who are stakeholders for their project. The survey helps introduce the monitoring program to the community & collects information on community knowledge and participation in the project.
- Conducting Mobile cinema show
Integrity watch Afghanistan holding mobile cinema show for every community once in a project to get information about anti-corruption. This event conducted by Integrity Leaders and Integrity volunteers.
- Monitoring the Construction Work
Integrity volunteer visits the project three (3) times a week, meet with the site engineer, and check the construction progress and the quality of materials using the contract, bill of quantity, and infrastructure project blueprints. If problems are revealed, the Integrity volunteer, with the integrity leader and provincial Coordinator of Integrity Watch Afghanistan try to resolve the problems first then discuss the problems with the contractor with the aim of convincing the contractor to resolve them.
- Community Feedback Meeting
It’s an event that Integrity volunteers provide their activity feedback to their relevant community. This event conducting once per month in a project by their Integrity volunteers.
- Local Advocacy
Unresolved issues are presented by Integrity Watch Afghanistan to the Sectorial monitoring group (SMG). This SMG board is established in each province by Integrity Watch Afghanistan staff. It is composed of government officials from line ministries, the provincial governor’s office, Provincial Council members, donors, contractors, and community representatives. After getting information from Integrity Watch Afghanistan, SMG visits the project and ask the company/ contractors to resolve the problems.
- National Advocacy
Issues that cannot be solved at the provincial level are taken to the national level by Integrity Watch’s Advocacy and Communication department. These issues might include access to information at a national level by advocating for legislation change. When there are specific project issues, Integrity Watch Afghanistan works with the ministries & donors in Kabul to get a response to local concerns.
Click here to download Community Based Monitoring brochure in English
For more details about the program and to access the Community Based Monitoring-Infrastructure Toolkit, please visit www.communitymonitoring.org