Country: Dominican Republic
Sector/Issues: Governance - Budget Transparency, Education
Executing Agency: Fundación Intermón Oxfam
Grant Amount: $727,984
Closing Date: January 2019
Frame and Challenge
The Government of the Dominican Republic (GoDR) has adopted reforms to improve both the transparency of public budgeting and financial management and the accountability of public services. In the mid-2000s, GoDR officials approved laws on public sector budgeting, financial administration, procurement, and access to information, which established frameworks for citizen participation in governance. In addition, GoDR officials committed to transparency and accountability in an Action Plan produced as part of the Caribbean Growth Forum.
Still, the full potential of citizens and civil society organizations (CSOs) in the Dominican Republic to participate in governance matters, including the national budget and budgets and services in key development sectors, was not being realized. Public agencies did not fully recognize CSOs as channels for citizen input, and CSOs lacked the skills to mobilize citizens, develop and apply social accountability (SA) tools, and negotiate and advocate for their interests among local and national agencies. The GoDR undertook a challenge in improving financial transparency to strengthening good governance, amidst other efforts to improve the governance environment and the quality of public expenditure with more rigorous programming and higher evaluation standards.
Fundación Intermón Oxfam, a non-governmental organization focusing on poverty and human rights, received a GPSA grant to strengthen the transparency and accountability of government services. The grant intended to help CSOs and citizens participate in the national budget process, and in the budgets and services of water, sanitation, education, and agriculture. This grant supported three components aiming to: 1) establish a macro-level "observatory" permitting CSOs and citizens to analyze, monitor, and provide feedback on the national budget and service delivery, integrating citizens into a feedback cycle; 2) establish thematic "observatories" in education, agriculture, and water and sanitation, and support SA tools and activities offering citizens more voice and impact; and 3) build capacity of CSOs and social movements to analyze public information, and to in turn capture and disseminate lessons with broader stakeholders in the Dominican Republic.
Within Project areas, this grant is expected to increase citizen satisfaction with public administration and lead to improvements in public services. Key results thus far and future milestones include but are not limited to:
An increase in the level of citizen satisfaction with information received from the Executive branch.
Training of over 200 men and 200 women on the national budget cycle and the Organic National Budget Law.
An increase in the share of citizens exercising their rights to petition for national budget information and an increase in budget information disseminated by the Executive branch.
An increase in the share of citizens in project areas aware of their basic rights in education, housing, and agriculture from 63% to 70%.
Training of over 100 men and 100 women in the observatories on social auditing techniques (e.g., citizen qualification cards, community reports, public spending surveys), and the application of these techniques in project areas.
The completion of Action Plans between citizens and service providers to improve public services.
There are already various lessons to take away from the Good Governance Practices for the Dominican Republic Project, including that:
The focus of future projects might consider direction towards fewer activities and policy sectors to ensure success and completion.
Healthy political interaction in projects, that is, a greater political will in authorities to interact and coordinate with citizens, can strengthen good governance.
The inclusion of authorities in design of future collective action projects may be beneficial to their completion and success.
Training for partners of community-based organizations is integral for collaboration amongst project stakeholders.
To learn more about the good practices project and work in the Dominican Republic, check out the following links:
News: Social Accountability: An Entry Point to Implement Open Government Systems