Community scorecards enhance accountability at all levels in Mozambique
GAZA, Mozambique, 18 July 2011 –In Manjakaze and Guijá districts, civil society organizations (CBOs) use community score cards to monitor the quality of health and education services. Community score cards are monitoring and assessment tools that can be used by people receiving services at the grassroots level to assess the quality of the services they receive.
“There’s no ambulance available and I cannot afford to rent a private car for MTn. 700 to go the health center,” said a pregnant woman in one of the districts. The statement comes as no surprise. After all, only half of all births in rural areas in Mozambique take place in health facilities. But giving a human face to these data somehow makes the problem more real. And all the more urgent.
Since 2010, community based organizations have been assessing the quality of education and health services in two districts in Gaza Province. Community score cards are being used to monitor how funds to schools are being spent and to rate quality attendance and hygiene standards in health centers. It’s social auditing with the added bonus of an interface meeting between service providers and the community that allows for immediate feedback and accountability.
In Manjakaze district, expenditure for the national program Direct Support to Schools (ADE) was assessed in six primary schools. The goal was to see if public resources were spent appropriately.
“My sons received school textbooks last year, although when they finished with those textbooks, I could not afford to buy new ones,” mentioned a school council member in Manjakaze. All children receive the same number of school materials, disregarding their life situation. This means that poor, orphaned and vulnerable and non-poor children do receive the same number of materials. This shows that there are discrepancies and disparities in terms of share of the ADE funds. There is no respect to the social equity issues. In addition, schools with large numbers of teachers do receive fewer resources when compared to schools with more classrooms.
Overall, there is no active participation from the community members in the school council’s key decision meetings due to their lack of capacity. The school council’s members from the community do not know their roles in the use of ADE funds, and the importance of their involvement in this process.
In Guijá district, the quality of three health centers was questioned. “There are only two nurses in this maternity…and when one of the nurses does not come; the other one has to do all the services, including attending pregnant women and also pediatric services,” a pregnant woman stated. There are very long queues. Mothers, children and new born babies have to wait long to be attended.
Public services should be planned, developed and allocated with respect to equity, efficiency and transparency. The Community Score Cards process is an instrument to exact social and public accountability and responsiveness from service providers. Community based organizations met with services providers to discuss the results from the exercise and also to agree in a way forward.
At the central level, this information will be used for policy dialogue with the Ministries of Health and Education to influence concrete actions. In one side should be advocacy for capacity building interventions within the school councils to ensure that they do perform their roles with appropriate knowledge. And in other side advocate for more monitoring visits and more assistance to the health centers at remote areas.
The inclusive monitoring actions using Community Score Cards as an approach for social auditing contributes to the increase of the government accountability to the citizens and public responsibility. This exercise not only contributes to the public accountability but also to the community empowerment.For more information, please contact:
Arild Drivdal, UNICEF Mozambique, tel. (+258) 21 481 100; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gabriel Pereira, UNICEF Mozambique, tel. (+258) 21 481 100; email: email@example.com