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 900 infrastructure projects have been monitored by 1700 volunteer local monitors since 2007 in 35 districts of Balkh, Herat, Nangarhar, Parwan, Panjshir, and Badakhshan and Bamyan provinces.

Integrity Watch works with communities to identify local monitors who volunteer to monitor construction projects on behalf of their communities. The local monitors are trained and supported by Integrity Watch  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.

Local monitors are able to file complaints through the establishment of a Provincial Monitoring Board (PMB) composed of line ministry representatives, local monitors, 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:

  1. Choosing Communities
    Similar to other Integrity Watch initiatives, the Community Based Monitoring program-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 employees meet with the community to explain monitoring and its benefits.
  1. Choosing Local Monitors
    Each participating community is asked to select two Local Monitors who will work together. Local Monitors should preferably be literate, of good reputation within the community and able to volunteer several hours each week to monitor construction activities. In cases where a community does not have two literate adults, an illiterate adult paired with a literate adult is acceptable. Integrity Watch encourages female participation in the monitoring work.
  2. Training of Local Monitors
    After their selection, all local monitors receive technical and social training from Integrity Watch staff. Social training covers the basic concepts of corruption awareness, community mobilization, and problem solving. Technical training covers material quality (e.g. concrete, cement, and bricks), building techniques, and how to test the quality of materials in simple but effective ways. The training teaches the local monitors how to use provided monitoring tools, conduct surveys, follow checklists, and collect data.
  3. Collecting Information
    Local monitors then collect all necessary project documents by requesting from government officials and the contracted company. After collecting the project documents, both monitors conduct a baseline survey of the community. They interview 100 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.
  4. Monitoring the Construction Work
    Both local monitors visit 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 local monitors, with the assistance of the provincial Integrity Watch engineer’s try to resolve the problems first then discuss the problems with the contractor with the aim of convincing the contractor to resolve them.
  5. Local Advocacy
    Unresolved issues are presented by Integrity Watch to the Provincial Monitoring Board (PBM). This PBM 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, PMB visits the project and ask the company/ contractors to resolve the problems.
  6. 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 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