PTF’s Chief Technical Officer, Vinay Bhargava, has been busy during a visit to Japan to share lessons of experience for grassroots anti-corruption interventions. Only July 7th, Dr. Bhargava was in Kobe, Japan to discuss strategies for improved governance through citizen engagement with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Kobe University’s Graduate School of International Cooperation Studies (GSICS).
During the presentations Dr. Bhargava discussed eight commonly encountered governance problems in public education such as informal payments (bribes), teacher absenteeism and budget leakages. He argued that an engaged and informed citizenry can remedy these issues and presented five possible entry points for community engagement:
- Consultations on policies and programs
- Grievance redress mechanisms
- Performance monitoring and evaluation
- Participatory decision making
- Increasing transparency
To demonstrate the success of community engagement, he highlighted the work of PTF supported partners who mobilized students and parents to monitor school textbook procurement and distribution processes in the Philippines; introduced a transparent system to monitor the collection and use of school fees in Armenia; and strengthened parent associations and school management committees to monitor teacher absenteeism and misuse of school funds in Ghana. Workshop participants shared their own successful experiences from Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Cambodia, Tanzania and Malawi.