Effective and Responsive Public Institutions

What is the challenge?

Poor and marginalized people, more than any other group, rely on public institutions to provide them with services to meet their education, healthcare and livelihood needs. Access to education is the main route for escaping poverty, while lack of healthcare is one of the main reasons why households fall into poverty. However, in many instances, policies and strategies for service delivery and local development are implemented through centralized, top-down bureaucratic approaches in which local citizens are treated as passive recipients, and service providers are not fully effective, as not accountable to their clients. There is often no or very limited citizen’s participation in defining public goods, policy formulation and monitoring of public institutions and service delivery agents. Supply-driven approaches to give service users more choice by expanding the number and types of providers through decentralization, outsourcing and privatization have often failed, as have demand-driven approaches to strengthening direct accountability of service providers to individual users. It is of little help to poor people who have no access to services in the first place – and who are too vulnerable to undertake the effort and risks involved. There is need to go for a collective action approach – beyond supply and demand – under which service delivery and local development is a co-construction of communities, civil society, local governments, and supportive sector institutions and their programs, with collaboration from the private sector.

Our commitment

ACTED supports improvement of essential service delivery by local state and non-state actors. The overall objective is to ensure that people benefit from high-quality and increasingly accountable and transparent services, improving their living conditions, and that state actors become more responsive to the needs and interests of their constituents.

What we do

  • Provision of training, technical assistance and/or resources to authorities and service delivery agents; for example municipal waste management, decentralization, transparent procurement, etc.
  • Facilitation of inclusive and participatory local development planning through a bottom-up process;
  • Provision of block grants for local public projects and/or direct support to the construction, operation and maintenance of social infrastructure;
  • Promoting multi-stakeholder dialogue through organization of platforms, fora, public hearings, etc.;
  • Empowering citizens to ensure that services are delivered in a transparent and accountable manner (using social accountability tools such as Citizen Report Cards, Community Scorecards, social audits);
  • Supporting the creation of an enabling environment for effective service delivery and participatory local development processes, including the formulation and/or application of policies and reforms.
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