Calling Citizens, Improving the State: Pakistan’s Citizen Feedback Monitoring Program, 2008 – 2014

Calling Citizens, Improving the State: Pakistan’s Citizen Feedback Monitoring Program, 2008 – 2014

In early 2008, Zubair Bhatti, administrative head of the Jhang district in Pakistan’s Punjab province, recognized the need to reduce petty corruption in the local civil service—a problem that plagued not only Punjab but also all of Pakistan. He began to contact citizens on their cell phones to learn about the quality of the service they had received. Those spot checks became the basis for a social audit system that spanned all 36 districts in Punjab by 2014. The provincial government outsourced much of the work to a call center, which surveyed citizens about their experiences with 16 different public services. The data from that call center helped district coordination officers identify poorly performing employees and branches, thereby enhancing the capability of the government to improve service delivery. By early 2014, the province was sending about 12,000 text messages daily to check on service quality. More than 400,000 citizens provided information between the beginning of the initiative and 2014. Known as the Citizen Feedback Monitoring Program, the Punjab’s social audit system became the template for similar innovations in other provinces and federal agencies in Pakistan.

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Investing in Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning: Issues for NGOs to Consider

Investing in Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning: Issues for NGOs to Consider

This study was commissioned by Comic Relief, DFID, Big Lottery Fund, NIDOS and Bond to address the lack of evidence available to support NGOs working in international development in deciding what resources to commit to monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL). The study focused on understanding the full investment that NGOs are making on MEL, the kinds of MEL systems that NGOs have, and how NGOs use and value their MEL systems. It did not test the quality of data that MEL systems are producing or the appropriateness of any resulting strategic or operational decisions, but relied on the NGO self-reporting on how appropriate, accurate, useful and effective they considered their MEL systems to be. 

As such, this study should be considered a starting point for a broader discussion between NGOs, donors and funders about the role and costs of MEL at both an organisational and project level. The study used three sources of data: seven case-studies of NGOs known to have invested in MEL; a survey to which 77 responses from Bond members were received; and, financial analysis of 90 project budgets from three Comic Relief funding cycles. 

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