Photo by Helvetas Nepal for the Multi-Country Water Integrity Programme

Studies on Social Accountability Programmes in Nepal and Ethiopia

The Role of Social Accountability Measures in Improving Water Integrity and Service Delivery

In a new publication by the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre and WIN, the authors analyse case studies of social accountability processes in Ethiopia and Nepal, using as a research tool the four pillars of using WIN’s Integrity Wall: Transparency, Accountability, Participation, and Anti-corruption – or TAPA.

The publication concludes that strengthening user participation in communities relies on time, negotiation, and localization. Donors should recognize as an essential step the building of users’ trust in the process and their ability to speak up against integrity gaps. Practitioners should also regularly examine links between TAPA principles in the local context to ensure effectiveness.

The local participatory and transparent budgeting programmes under review in each case took steps to ensure accessibility of information to users, bolstering transparency and awareness, but some gaps remained because of low technical knowledge, low interest in financial processes among nonliterate users, and a mismatch between the scheme and some users’ needs. The programmes also provided manuals and trainings to clarify roles and responsibilities – an important step toward better accountability, but the extended time frame needed for training and high turnover of oversight committees indicated that institutionalizing lines of accountability requires time and effort to align with local communities. In both countries, programmes took steps to optimize participation in the budgeting process. The analysis found that despite stubborn barriers to participation posed by local power structures, the process opened a space for the development of trust and negotiation skills, as well as greater awareness of all stakeholders’ rights. The programmes did not emphasize anti-corruption measures, but the domination of some individuals highlighted local power imbalances.

 

Read in full:

Social accountability and water integrity: Learning from experiences with participatory and transparent budgeting in Ethiopia and Nepal

A U4 report by Birke Otto, Floriane Clement, Binayak Das, Hari Dhungana, Lotte Feuerstein, Girma Senbeta and Jasmina Van Driel. Series editor: Monica Kirya