Integrity Action's Community Integrity Building approach is a successful, cost-effective way to improve the quality of public services and infrastructure. Our approach is based around training local citizens to become monitors. These monitors can then ensure that infrastructure projects and services are delivered effectively, to meet pre-defined contractual requirements as well as the real needs of local citizens. By identifying the needs and concerns of their community, as well as accessing relevant project documents and information, monitors are able to build an evidence base which reflects the reality of the project. This evidence base helps give them the proof they need when they speak with local and national governments, donors and service providers about any issues they’ve encountered. The process aims to build trust and accountability between the different parties and, vitally, works towards ensuring that citizens receive the quality and level of public services they’re entitled to.
While this approach ensures that public services are well delivered and of good quality, it also means that it is local citizens themselves who ensure that policies are appropriate, that information can be trusted, and that the money goes where it should.
Based on the evidence of Integrity Action’s work in 11 countries, there are three vital factors for social transformation; data transparency, citizen participation and improving the performance of services. Giving citizens the tools to work constructively with governments and service providers on these three elements has certainly helped them to achieve better services. Moreover, it has meant that local citizens are empowered to check that policies are appropriate, that information can be trusted, and that the money goes where it should.
We measure citizen’s levels of access to information because it is the key to transparency, and also the primary way that citizens can learn what they are entitled to and what services have been committed to by their local or national government.
We measure project effectiveness because we want to ensure that citizens are actually satisfied with the services that the project provides. Often these are vital public services such as access to healthcare, education or roads, and if citizens are not satisfied, then they are probably not truly benefitting from the project or service.
We measure community engagement because we know that a two-way dialogue or feedback loop between key stakeholders is necessary if a development project or service is going to be truly useful to those it aims to serve.