BBL | Making Local Governments Work for the Poor in Mexico

September 23, 2014

Making Local Governments Work for the Poor in Mexico


Tuesday September 23, 2014 | Room J8-044, 12:30 - 2:00pm | 700 18th Street NW, Washington DC


Download the BBL Report here.



Presenter | Almudena Ocejo Rojo
Executive Director CCS-CIESAS
Discussant | Janmejay Singh
Senior Strategy and Operations Officer, Middle East and North Africa region, World Bank
Chair | Roby Senderowitsch
Program Manager, Global Partnership for Social Accountability, World Bank




Watch recording of the discussion:



From mobilizing citizens in the monitoring of municipal expenditures in infrastructure in rural areas of Yucatan, to publishing the attendance of city council members at decision meetings on city investment in health, education and sports services in Ciudad Juarez: local non-profit organizations across Mexico are finding that their small, targeted actions for citizen feedback are making advances possible in the delivery of public services. Their approach has been one of mobilizing citizens, however doing so in a constructive way. This session provides an overview of Citizen Public Control (CPP) efforts and initiatives undertaken by organizations and citizen groups supported by the CCS (Center for Social Control) at CIESAS in Mexico. CPP efforts include the informed and responsible involvement of organized citizens in public decision-making, based on the interests, needs and socio-economic characteristics of the communities to which they belong.


The session will: 

  1. Highlight the design and use of specific tools that facilitate monitoring of local government performance in Mexico 
  2. Present the main results achieved by two local citizen groups in terms of their capacity to influence decision making to demand public accountability and government fulfillment of its obligations, and 
  3. Reflect on the major factors that facilitate or hinder this kind of work in Mexico.


Almudena Ocejo from the Center for Social Control and Democratic Construction at CIESAS, will explain how local citizen groups and organizations are approaching social accountability work at the local level in Mexico, and highlight the scale and reach of their social accountability efforts to date. She will touch upon the question, what is missing in order to make real influence on local public decision making a reality for local citizen groups and organizations. With this session, CCS aims at contributing to the current debate on the relevance of organized citizen engagement in public affairs from the Mexican experience, hoping to enrich GPSA activities in other countries.


Almudena Ocejo

Almudena Ocejo is the Executive Director of the Center for Social Control and Democratic Construction at CIESAS since 2007. Before joining CIESAS, she served as Director for the Transparency Unit at the Ministry of Public Function (SFP), responsible for the Citizen Monitoring Program.  She has also worked as a consultant for the Inter-American Development Bank and as Director of Research and Analysis at the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP). She also worked as a consultant on institutional strengthening and public advocacy with civil society organizations. Ms. Ocejo holds a PhD on Political and Social Sciences from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM); a Master in Public Policy and Administration from New York University (NYU) and a BA in Humanities from the University of the Americas - Puebla (UDLA).

Janmejay Singh
Janmejay Singh is currently a Senior Strategy and Operations Officer working in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. As part of the regional front office team he works closely with the Regional Vice President and Director of Strategy and Operations on operational and strategic issues across the region. Prior to joining MENA, he was the Coordinator for the Community Driven Development (CDD) Community of Practice in the Social Development Department and worked on a range of topics interfacing with CDD including governance, fragile and conflict states, and youth inclusion. Janmejay has also worked for several years in the East Asia Region on a range of topics relating to voice, social accountability, and local governance. He was a task team leader for two lending operations in Cambodia, including the BankÕs first stand-alone demand for good governance project. He has worked on social accountability issues in other regions as well including Africa, South Asia, and East Europe & Central Asia. He has co-authored papers on the concept of social accountability, the role of participatory public expenditure management in making services work for the poor (included in the WDR 2004 as a background note) and has also written methodology notes on citizen report card surveys and the community scorecard process. Apart from the World Bank, Janmejay has worked with the Asian Development Bank in Manila where he coordinated a regional technical assistance project aimed at Reviewing the Poverty Impact of Regional Economic Integration in the Greater Mekong Sub-region. He has also worked as a research associate at the National Council of Applied Research (NCAER) in India and the Center for International Development at Harvard University. He has also taught Economics to undergraduates at Delhi University and Harvard College, and runs a Quantitative Methods course in the Mason's Program for mid-career executives at the Harvard Kennedy School. Janmejay holds a BA in Economics from St Stephen's College at Delhi University, an MA in Economics from Cambridge University and a Master's degree in International Development from the Harvard Kennedy School.


Roby Senderowitsch

Roby Senderowitsch serves as Program Manager of the Global Partnership for Social Accountability (GPSA) at the World Bank. Previously he was Country Manager of the World Bank in the Dominican Republic. His work in the Bank included a strong focus on political economy analysis, building coalitions for change, anti-corruption, and performance based management of public institutions. Before joining the Bank, Roby worked with several NGOs in Argentina and Cuba, where he served as the Field Representative of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. He has been a lecturer in Human Resource management in nonprofit organizations, as well as director of educational programs community development and human resource management in the private sector. Roby is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and holds a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Buenos Aires.