by Samuel Stalls
As part of the project “Increasing the Integrity of Public Procurement in Moldova,” designed to enhance the capacity of civil society organizations (CSOs) and investigative journalists in Moldova to monitor public procurement processes, the Partnership for Transparency (PTF), in partnership with IDIS “Viitorul,” has launched a training program in webinar format that will be delivered between October 7 and December 17, 2021. This in-depth training curriculum developed by the project team will equip the participants with the necessary knowledge, skills, and tools to identify irregularities at various stages of the procurement cycle, analyze data, and evaluate risks of abuse that merit investigation by appropriate and relevant control and enforcement bodies.
Following the training program there will be a competitive process to select a number of CSOs and investigative journalist organizations in Moldova that will be funded for a period of one year to put their training into practice through engaging in actual monitoring of public procurement. The entire project will run for a little over two years and its goal is to enhance the transparency, fairness, and effectiveness of public procurement in Moldova by training and empowering civil society actors and investigative journalists to engage in informed and responsible monitoring of public procurement
The training program will familiarize participants with tools such as the e-procurement platform MTender, the Business Intelligence (BI) tool, and a range of other tools identified by the project team.
Karin Millett, Project Director and PTF Board Member, said of the training program: “In order for CSOs to engage in responsible and effective monitoring of public procurement they need to be knowledgeable about the relevant legal and regulatory frameworks. They also need to be familiar with the types of abuses and irregularities to watch out for and be able to identify red flags that require further investigation and evaluation. Through lectures, case studies, and other hands-on activities, this training program aims to enhance the capacity of participants to engage in informed and responsible monitoring of public procurement.”
The first two sessions in the training program focused on the legal framework for procurement, data analysis, and sectoral procurement. Trainees were given a conceptual framework, instruction, reference resources, and case studies to examine. These case studies are drawn from PTF and IDIS’s extensive experience and experts in their networks.
The training program consists of twelve modules of two sessions each, and will run from October to December. By the conclusion of the program, over forty Moldova-based CSO representatives and investigative journalists will be equipped to monitor public procurement process. All participants were selected through an open application process based on their experience and interest.
Following the completion of the trainings, the trainees will monitor live public procurement contracts, with continued support from both IDIS and PTF. Additionally, participants will also have the opportunity to apply for a grant program through which eligible organizations will receive financial support to apply the principles learned in training to the independent monitoring of procurement processes. Upon completion of this exercise, the recommendations produced by the grant recipients will be sent to government decision makers to examine and take appropriate action to reduce corruption. The objectives of this exercise include improving efficiency in the use of public money and improving the quality of public goods, works, and services for the citizens of the Republic of Moldova.
Commenting on project, Carolina Ungureanu, Deputy Director of IDIS “Viitorul,” stated: “The role of civil society is essential in overseeing transparency, how public money is spent, and how public procurement is conducted. In this sense, the efficient monitoring of public procurement requires a good knowledge by civil society of the mechanism of operation of the public procurement system, of the legal and institutional framework and of the entire procurement process.”
Samuel Stalls is the Program Manager at the Partnership for Transparency.