MEAL Pilot - Accountability Roll-Out Mission in VAC Project
Following the accountability workshop that took place from the 8th to the 9th of October 2014 at the Sun n Sand Holiday Resort in Mangochi district, the Violence Against Children (VAC) project conducted accountability exercises in Balaka district with its implementing partner, CHINANSI Foundation. The exercises took place from the 28th to the 30th of October. It involved stakeholder orientations and consultations on information sharing and complaints and feedback mechanisms.
Accountability is a key value of Save the Children – reflecting our commitment to provide information about our expectations of performance and progress toward results for children and their caregivers and their communities. In the same light, it allows us to be transparent with our partners, donors and other stakeholders in order to solicit their input and feedback on our programs and priorities. It is prominent in the way we have described programme quality in the Programme Quality Framework, and forms part of the Essential Standards developed for Monitoring Evaluation Accountability and Learning (MEAL).
Save the Children’s Accountability Specialist, Mathews Nkosi and its Child Protection MEAL Officer, Joseph Banda led the accountability rollout activities in Balaka district. CHINANSI Foundation Staff, more especially the VAC project officers, supported the team in their activities.
The first day of the mission involved the orientation of CHINANSI staff, both VAC and Support for Service Delivery Integration (SSDI), on Save the Children’s Accountability framework with a particular focus on information sharing and setting up complaints and feedback mechanisms. Furthermore, the team shared the new Child Safeguarding Internal Reporting Procedures Draft with the partners in order to solicit comments for further review.
During the two days, both Save the Children and CHINANSI conducted community consultations with adult and children groups working with the VAC project in Traditional Authority (TA) Nkaya. The adult groups (Community Child Protection Committees) were mainly engaged through group discussions, while consultations with the children’s groups involved story-telling, quizzes, interactive group sessions and games.
The consultations were aimed at finding out the current practices of development organisations on information sharing, the kind of information being shared, channels in which information is shared and the best way to share information about the organisation and projects information with communities. Furthermore the consultations were also aimed at learning about structures used by the community to submit complaints, means of how communities submit complaints and procedures followed when logging complaints pertaining to dissatisfaction about NGO projects and staff conduct in their communities. The team discussed with the communities on favoured avenues in logging complaints about projects as well as the conduct of staff members working on the projects.
During the mission, the VAC project was successful in agreeing on information sharing between Save the Children and CHINANSI Foundation, as well as ways in which CHINANSI Foundation as a partner could submit complaints regarding the VAC project and/or the conduct of Save the Children Staff.
An action plan was developed based on the consultations and discussions, which shall guide CHINANSI staff in continuing and integrating accountability in the VAC project more systematically and in a way that it can be monitored. An Accountability focal person has been identified at CHINANSI who shall ensure the smooth implementation of the plan.
The accountability roll out process is ongoing, especially on the Complaints and Feedback Mechanisms with communities. There is a need for further sensitisation and consultation with communities.
Written by Joseph Banda, Child Protection MEAL Officer