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PTF Signs Agreement to Begin COVID-19 Monitoring Project in Zambia

PTF has signed an agreement with Transparency International-Zambia to assist with the implementation of a new project, titled: Transparency and Accountability in the COVID-19 Response in Zambia. The fifteen-month project is part of a World Bank COVID-19 monitoring project to be implemented in eight target locations throughout Zambia.

This project has been approved by the World Bank, and organizers are in the process of meeting with key stakeholders and moving through the inception phase of work.

PTF Project Team:

Robert Liebenthal

Tjaarda Storm van Leuwen

Barbara Kafka

Daniel Ritchie

Frank McNerney

Partners: Transparency International-Zambia

Maurice Nyambe

Raymond Mutale

Daniel Mutale

Chimuka Nachibinga

Project Summary:

Emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic demand rapid response. However, managing resources in such crises can potentially provide opportunities for abuse of those resources. In Zambia, the apparent lack of coordinated oversight in the COVID-19 response raises concerns pointing to transparency, accountability, inter-agency coordination, and grievance and redress mechanisms. This therefore calls for independent monitoring of the COVID-19 response management.

The project will be based on the COVID-19 Donations Tracking (CoDoT) system which will provide independent monitoring of the COVID-19 response donations, both declared and undeclared, from donation to the door (D2D), as well as assessing corruption and abuse risk vulnerabilities based on the corruption risk assessment model. Specifically, the CoDoT system will assess whether established emergency management mechanisms as well as the supply chain system are working properly. The system will therefore provide independent feedback to key stakeholders on the management of the supply chain for the COVID-19 response. To ensure a coordinated effort, a civil society organizations (CSOs) coordination mechanism will be established to promote a coordinated CSOs’ voice in the demand for transparency and accountability. Furthermore, journalists will be supported to investigate undeclared donations with a view to bring these in the public domain. Based on the monitoring, independent information will be put in public space aimed at activating citizens’ interest and demand for transparency, accountability, and action by those charged with managing the COVID-19 emergency response.

The project will operate at national and district levels focusing on all the epicenters namely Lusaka, Kafue, Nakonde, Masaiti, Ndola, Kitwe, Solwezi, and Kasama. At district level, TI-Z will utilize its established district structures (Transparency Action Groups – TAGs) who will collect data to be channeled to the CoDoT command center to be based in Lusaka.

The CoDoT System will be comprised of a dashboard through which identified corruption early warnings/red flags, irregularities in the donation management, feedback from citizens and suspected corruption, mal-administration and fraud will be captured and disseminated.  Furthermore, journalists and selected stakeholders will be trained in principles of investigative journalism to undertake undercover follow up on undeclared donations so as to complement data collected through monitoring of donations. At the district level, through the TAGs, feedback from citizens and beneficiaries of the donations will be solicited to determine how the response is being managed, as well as collecting success stories in the management of the COVID-19 response. These will aim at celebrating good practices and identifying government as well as other stakeholders who are committed to adhering to prescribed procedures and how their actions positively impact intended beneficiaries of the donations.

Furthermore, based on the findings from monitoring and success stories collected, calls for action and awareness-raising campaigns will be undertaken targeting both the decision makers and general citizenry.

Within the context of this project, PTF will provide technical advice and training support in line with its current work to support civil society organizations (CSOs) monitoring government responses to COVID-19 in five countries across Asia, Africa, and Latin America. These projects address many of the same challenges as in Zambia—lack of transparency, limited CSO capacity, and unique procurement and distribution arrangements. In collaboration with TI-Z, PTF will assist with raising CSO awareness about the project, training the media on the use of the CODOT system, and providing technical support to the project on monitoring methodology, development of the CODOT platform, and other areas. The details of the PTF involvement will be spelled out in a MOU to be developed with TI-Z.

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