Community leaders ensure greater public service accountability

The District CSO Platform aims to facilitate policy dialogue between the Government and civil society, and the involvement of citizens in district (Photo: UNDP Moz)

 

In democracies, the role of civil society organizations (CSOs) is to speak on behalf of their members and monitor the exercise of power. The CSOs represent the people in large and often defend the interests of the most vulnerable populations.

UNDP’s project “Empowerment of Civil Society Organizations”, implemented until the end of 2011, successfully assisted in developing the capacity of Mozambique’s CSOs to enable them to effectively participate in policy dialogue with the Government and other stakeholders on governance and economic development issues.

Highlights

  • Before the establishment of the Platform, the district administration faced many challenges in getting their messages across 25 organizations representing several groups from different localities
  • The projects also supported the process of developing one UN Civil Society Capacity Development Strategy for the next four years envisaging a more structured support as well as a more coordinated and effective way of using resources

In Ancuabe District, South East of Cabo Delgado province, the Community Development Foundation (CDF) assisted in the establishment of the Ancuabe District CSOs Platform, a forum which gathers representatives of 25 Community Based Organizations. The District CSO Platform aims to facilitate policy dialogue between the Government and civil society as well as the involvement of citizens in district development.

In the second trimester of 2011, after one year of the establishment of the Platform and after receiving training on District Planning, District Development Funds and Community participation, the members of this Platform managed to get acknowledged by the District Government and were granted two permanent seats at District Consultative Councils.

The Platform coordinator, Mr. Joaquim Iassine said: “This is a major achievement for us. We can now bring to the Government the concerns of citizens and recommendations with regard to district development issues. As recognition of our work in linking the Government to the communities, the District Government invited us to provide contributions in the preparation of District Strategic, Social and Budgetary Plan - PESOD 2012”.

The Platform members were also invited to take part in the Provincial Development Observatory in July. According to the District Administrator Ms Eusébia Celestino, the experience could be shared and duplicated in other administrative posts and districts in Cabo Delgado Province.

Before the establishment of the Platform, the district administration faced many challenges in getting their messages across 25 organizations representing several groups from different localities and communicating concerns to the local Government was harder.

The Government of Mozambique acknowledges that non-state actors are an important resource in contributing for the achievement of National Development Goals and is well aware of the importance of citizens’ participation. It has been therefore promoting the establishment of several formal fora where Civil Society, Private Sector and all interested stakeholders are called to participate in the development processes (Consultative Councils, Development Observatories and the African Peer Review Mechanism Forum).

The projects developed under the 2012-2015 UNDP Country Programme build on the experience and lessons learned from the implementation of the previous UNDP intervention in Mozambique and aim at further strengthening and consolidating the capacity of CSOs to enable their effective participation in policy dialogue for development.

The projects also supported the process of developing one UN Civil Society Capacity Development Strategy for the next four years envisaging a more structured support as well as a more coordinated and effective way of using resources.

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