Project: Tekopora Beneficiaries Empowered to Ensure Social Accountability Project (http://auditoriasocial.org.py/)
Sector: Social Protection
Executing Agency: Centro de Información y Recursos para el Desarrollo (CIRD)
Grant Amount: US$ 600,000
Closing Date: October, 2019
Paraguay, a lower-middle income country, has seen its economy expand over the past decade buoyed by high commodity prices. Strong economic growth rates have contributed to reducing poverty rates from 49.7% to 32.4% from 2002 to 2011. Despite significant progress in improving development outcomes, extreme poverty rates have increased during the second half of the decade, moving from 16.5% in 2007 to 19.4% in 2010. Inequality rates have expanded during the same period, making Paraguay one of the most unequal nations in Latin America.
Against this background, the government has taken measures to lift people from extreme poverty and spread the benefits of economic growth across the population. One of the major policies in this area is the use of conditional cash transfers (CCTs). Tekoporã, the country’s largest CCT program, has been launched in 2005 with the objective of improving health, education, and nutritional outcomes of extreme poor households by offsetting costs with monetary transfers and introducing interventions to raise awareness on these areas. The program targets around 90,000 households and plans to expand coverage to 200,000 households over the next four years. However, the program suffers from weaknesses that undermine its effectiveness. These include: poor coordination between implementing agencies and local supervisors, weak mechanisms for identifying beneficiaries, unreliable data an information on beneficiaries, and documenting the results attained, among others.
CIRD, an organization with a track record in promoting social accountability, has been awarded a GPSA grant to enhance transparency and accountability of the Tekoporã program by developing a citizen-government partnership and strengthening feedback loops. More specifically, this will be achieved by CIRD, who will be working with a coalition of CSOs, through the implementation of three components that are geared towards: 1) training selected beneficiaries to enhance information and oversight as well as improve their capacity to work with government authorities; 2) implementing community score cards and information monitoring systems to collect critical information, disseminate it, and use it to improve the quality of CCTs program; and 3) deepening understanding of CCTs monitoring tools to improve collection of information and transferring knowledge generated by project.
The GPSA grant will help CIRD attain the following results:
More than 90% of beneficiaries will be better informed about the benefits and responsibilities under the Tekoporã program.
Improved capacity of Mesas de Participacion Ciudadana (MPCs) to voice concerns of beneficiaries to implementing authorities.
75% of beneficiaries perceive an improvement in the quality of the Tekoporã program, as reflected in the results of citizen scorecards and independent evaluations.
Favorable public opinion on the functioning of Tekoporã program will increase as a result of the project implementation.
80% of stakeholders, including beneficiaries and government authorities, use evidence-based information generated through the project to demand better services and plan improvements to the Tekoporã program.
The grant is at its early stages and lessons will be added as they become available. However, the design of this grant benefits from the lessons learned by CIRD and its various partners generated in previous projects that focused on fostering public debate of government policies and measuring government performance and institutional capacity at the municipal level.