Rasool Ehsany and Mashouq Safai, Integrity Watch Afghanistan
In August 2018, Kapisa Integrity Network conducted its first social audit in the province. Three dozens of civil society activists and ordinary citizens participated in the social audit of Mahmood Raqi’s Municipality Service Center. The initiative was taken after the group met earlier this month to institutionalize social accountability and access to information culture in the province.
Trained by the Integrity Watch, the audit committee conducted a technical inspection of the building and assessed its services. The preliminary findings point at irregularities including changes in the design of the building, lack of construction of toilets for staff as per the design, and lack adherence to procurement regulations. Other issues were related to the use of the center such as assigning thirty chairs instead of fifty-four for the clients. The Network has shared the findings with the Municipality and will follow up on the issue highlighted in the social audit report. The construction of the center was funded by UNDP and was completed in 2016.
Ghulam Sakhi Rahimi, Acting Mayor of Kapisa cooperated with the group throughout the process and stated that “Access to information is the right of people and we are ready to hear their feedbacks. Such initiatives by the public make government accountable and lay a foundation for effective and strong institutions.”
Social audit is a process of reviewing official records and determining whether state reported expenditures reflect the actual money spent on the ground. Integrity Watch has held training on social audit for the provincial integrity networks in several provinces and facilitated exposure visits of those networks to Sri Lanka and the Philippines on social audit in August 2017 and June 2018.
Provincial Integrity Networks are voluntary platforms of civil society activists to promote transparency, accountability, and integrity at the local level. Integrity Watch facilitated the creation of these platforms in Nangarhar, Herat, Balkh as well as Parwan, Kapisa, and Bamyan in early 2015. The networks independently take the initiative, and where needed, Integrity Watch facilitates its operations. The networks comprised of three dozen activists divided into several specialized committees including access to information and public complaints.