Learner’s Submission: Strategy Recommended to Increase User Demand for RBME Information in Newborn Care Health Project

04/08/2014

“I work for a Newborn Care Health Project which aims at contributing towards the Millennium Development Goal 4 i.e Reducing Child Mortality. We work closely with the government where the Inputs based monitoring is still the norm and the focus on results based monitoring and evaluation is very limited. Following strategy is recommended for increasing demand for Result Based Monitoring & Evaluation (RBME) information in the organization:

  1. Hire an RBME Expert as a consultant who can guide the organization in shifting from the current Input and Activity Based Monitoring system to RBME system.
  2. Identification of all stakeholders who are currently interested in the attainment of project objectives and who are the potential users of RBME information viz.
  • Department of Medical Health & Family Welfare
  • Department of Medical Education
  • Department of Women Empowerment & social Justice

International Agencies

  • UNICEF
  • UNDP

Non Government Organizations and Civil Society Organizations

Local Politicians, elected members of Parliament and members of the State

Legislative Assembly

  1. Orientation of all project staff including Junior, Middle and Senior staff so that a clear understanding of the cause and effect relationship develops.
  2. Develop a Logical Framework for the programme which will help in understanding how the inputs, activities, results. Realization that achievement of outputs is in the direct control of management and they are expected to guarantee it. Further, try to understand that what are the outcomes and Impacts and what all may contribute towards them. The knowledge of Risks and assumptions along with the Objectively verifiable indicators and means of verification.
  3. Develop a Result Based Monitoring Framework and discuss in detail about the critical indicators, the data sources, data collection methods, frequency and other related aspects.
  4. Sensitize all stakeholders in the Logical Framework and Performance Measurement Framework.
  5. Prepare a plan for monitoring of project as per RBME.
  6. Prepare monthly progress reports based on the RBME approach. As this would be deviation from the Input Based reporting give sufficient time to staff to understand these reports.
  7. Review the progress every month with Project Teams to assess how the teams are understanding the whole process and whether they are finding it useful. Get their feedback and document it. This may be used to guide better implementation.
  8. Prepare RBME based quarterly progress reports
  9. Review the progress every three months with all stakeholders to assess how the teams are understanding the whole process and whether they are finding it useful.
  10. Based on the quarterly review try to find whether there are areas that need to be evaluated. If need is felt than appropriate evaluation should be planned.
  11. Initiate reward and recognition system for those units which are efficiently using the RBME approach.
  12. Build capacities of staff in units where the RBME is not being used appropriately or adequately.
  13. Discourage Input Based Reporting or Activity Reporting at middle and higher level in the organization as this tends to shift focus away from the results.

Do an annual assessment of the organizations performance post adoption of the RBME approach.” - Pradeep Choudhry – Rajasthan, India


Learner’s Submission: Is There Any End to Corruption in India? (Achhe Din Kab Ayenge ?)

23/07/2014

India wants young people of ethics, youths of ethics. That will bring beauty in character and harmony in homes. We must have a corruption-free Nation. – Former President of India, Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam.

Corruption has been defined by the World Bank as the ‘use of public office for private profit’. We may feel ashamed, but the reality is that India is one of the most corrupt countries in the world. As per Transparency International Report (2013), India ranks 94 among 177 nations in Corruption Perception Index. Indian media has widely published allegations of corrupt Indian citizens stashing trillions of dollars in Swiss banks. Many of the biggest scandals since the year 2010 have involved very high level government officials, including Cabinet Ministers and Chief Ministers, such as in the 2G spectrum scam (1760 billion), the 2010 Commonwealth Games scam (700 billion), the Adarsh Housing Society scam in Mumbai, the Coal Mining Scam (1860 billion), the Mining Scandal in Karnataka and the Cash for Vote scam.

In our country, even after 67 years of Independence, many people in remote villages still have no option but to live without Roads, Electricity or drinking water; forget about education, health care or a decent life. This is a good example of how common people are affected due to corruption in the country. Many corrupt officials, allegedly politicians, bureaucrats, businessmen have kept black money in Swiss Banks as reported in News Papers/National Media. In our country, there are five major players on the corruption scene, interdependent, strengthening and supportive of the vicious cycle. They are the neta, the corrupt politician; the babu, the corrupt bureaucrat; the lala, the corrupting businessman; the jhola, the corrupt NGO; and the dada, the criminal of the underworld. Corruption in our country has made the rich richer and the poor poorer, thereby creating a huge imbalance in the society.

The causes of corruption in India include excessive regulations, complicated government processes, illogical taxes and licensing systems, numerous government departments each with opaque bureaucracy and discretionary powers, monopoly by government controlled institutions on certain goods and services delivery, and the lack of transparent laws and processes. Many of the Government processes and laws are still in practice since British period. The various Government processes were earlier framed during British period with intention of harassing the citizens and such processes are still in use! Government should phase out such obsolete processes and frame new laws and introduce new processes that are relevant to present context, taking full advantage of Information and Communication (ICT).

Corruption can be eliminated or at least reduced to great extend with the introduction of appropriate citizen-centric E-Governance Projects. Country’s Unique ID (Aadhaar) Project can be a game-changer in implementing various citizen-centric e-governance projects. As per a PMO (Prime Minister Office) official, “India can save up to Rupees 50,000 Crores a year by making all subsidy or welfare related payments only through the fail-proof Aadhaar mode”. Unique ID Aadhaar has the capability to establish the identity of a person that he claims to be through his UID Number & his biometric data. Government can delivery various services to its citizens directly by eliminating all middle-men.

“Corruption” was one of the primary issues around which the recent General Election 2014 was fought. The People of India have great expectations from the new Government led by the Prime Minister  Mr. Narendra Modi. It is a huge challenge for Mr. Modi to take suitable measures to fight corruption. The so-called “good days” will be a reality for the People of India only when there is an end to corruption in India. (Achhe din tab ayenge jab Bharat puri tarah vrasthachar mukt ho payegi).” - Srihari Subudhi – New Delhi, India 


Learner’s Submission: Citizen Engagement in Public Governance for the Realization of the Millennium Development Goals

22/07/2014

“Citizen engagement facilitates inclusive decision making that enables more complete fulfilment of the democratic right to influence government systems, policies and processes.  It entails citizen involvement in “a wide range of policymaking activities … in order to orient government programs toward community needs.”[i]  Consequently, citizen engagement helps to produce equitable and long-lasting development benefits and promotes good governance.

The Committee System at the Jamaican Parliament provides an avenue for the exercise of good governance through citizen engagement in the legislative process.  The operation of the committees in this respect rises to the level of consultation on the continuum conceptualized by the International Association of Public Participation.[ii]  The Parliament refers matters to the committees, which may then issue public notices inviting comments.  They may also write directly to entities that have an interest in the subject.  Those who respond are sometimes called upon to appear before the committees which may incorporate their views into their reports to Parliament.[iii]

Not only does the Parliament seek to practice good governance through citizen engagement; it plays a greater role in advancing this ideal by considering and approving enabling legislation and other relevant documents.  Good governance requires transparency, as reflected in media freedom and the exchange and free flow of information.[iv]  Hence, the Millennium Declaration contains a pledge to “ensure the freedom of the media to perform their essential role and the right of the public to have access to information.”[v]  Further, target 8A under MDG8 is to “develop further an open, rule based, predictable, non-discriminatory trading and financial system.”[vi]   Parliamentary consideration of documents relating to transparency and improving the financial system has benefited from citizen participation in parliamentary committees.

At least fourteen civil society groups, representing the media, the library fraternity, the legal profession, civil servants, the private sector, human rights organizations and others, made contributions to the deliberations of the Joint Select Committee on the Access to Information Bill, which submitted its report to Parliament in March of 2002.  The report reflects that the bill “seeks to preserve certain fundamental principles underlying the system of constitutional democracy, namely, governmental accountability, transparency, and public participation in national decision-making.”[vii]  As regards citizen’s contributions to the deliberations, it is stated, among other things, that “strong representation was made by various special interest groups…that no fees should be charged for the application to access an official document” (p. 10).  It appears from the proposal in the committee’s report that the words ‘prescribed fee paid or payable in respect of an application’ be deleted from clause 12 of the Bill (Appendix 1) that they accepted this recommendation.

The Report of the Joint Select Committee on the Report on the Review of Jamaica’s Defamation Law[viii] reveals that entities with an interest in communication were invited to make presentations and the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ), the Media Association of Jamaica (MAJ) and a private telecommunications firm accepted the invitation (p. 2).  Recommendations in the review committee’s report that were endorsed by the MAJ include abolition of the distinction between libel and slander (p. 4) and removal of the offence of criminal libel (p. 9); these changes were drafted into the Defamation Bill (2011) at clauses 6 and 7, respectively.[ix]

The committee that considered a green paper on tax reform and submitted a report to Parliament in 2012[x] received numerous comments in submissions from 23 entities (pp. 1-2; 12-34), with a proposal for the removal of discretionary waivers receiving the most attention from civil society (pp. 25-29).  Additionally, the committee on the Banking Services Bill (2014) indicated in its report[xi] that the bill seeks to remove legislative inconsistencies relating to various types of deposit-taking institutions even while preserving their distinctive character, and to grant rule making powers to the Bank of Jamaica (p. 4).  Five non-governmental entities made submissions on the bill.  While the sources of specific ideas are not identified in the report, with amendments to 94 clauses and 8 schedules plus the insertion of three new clauses, it may be assumed that citizen participation had some impact on the committee’s decisions.

The consultative function of parliamentary committees permits citizen engagement while building the legislative framework for an inclusive and transparent democracy as envisaged in the Millennium Declaration.  The examples above illustrate their role in creating mechanisms to improve press freedom, access to information and the regulation of the financial system, all of which are embodied in commitments made under MDG8.  Notwithstanding resource constraints, the Committee System remains a key factor in the drive to achieve good governance in Jamaica.” - Tracy Cohen – Wisconsin, United States

Footnote

[i] UN Public Administration Glossary. “Citizen Participation.”
[ii] UN Public Administration Glossary. “Citizen Participation.”
[iii] Standing Orders of the House of Representatives of Jamaica, 1964 as amended 2007, Orders 68-80. http://www.japarliament.gov.jm/images/pdf/STANDING-ORDERS-OF-THE-HOUSE.pdf
[iv] UN Public Administration Glossary. “Good Governance.”
[v] United Nations (2000). Millennium Declaration (2000). paragraph 25.
[vi] United Nations (2008) Official List of MDG Indicators.
[vii] Houses of Parliament (2002) Report of the Joint Select Committee to Consider and Report on the Bill shortly entitled, “The Access to Information Act, 2002” http://www.humanrightsinitiative.org/programs/ai/rti/international/laws_papers/jamaica/Report%20of%20the%20Joint%20Select%20Committee%20on%20The%20Access%20to%20Information%20Act.pdf
[viii] Houses of Parliament (2010) http://www.japarliament.gov.jm/attachments/540_Report%20of%20the%20Joint%20Select%20Committee%20To%20Consider%20and%20Report%20on%20the%20Report%20on%20the%20Review%20of%20Jamaica's%20Defamation%20Law.pdf
[ix] Houses of Parliament (2011) http://www.japarliament.gov.jm/attachments/339_Defamation%20Act%202.pdf
[x] Houses of Parliament (2012) http://www.japarliament.gov.jm/attachments/744_Report%20of%20the%20Special%20Select%20Committee%20on%20Green%20Paper%20(Tax%20Reform%20for%20Jamaica).pdf
[xi] Houses of Parliament (2014) http://www.japarliament.gov.jm/attachments/1289_Banking%20Services%20JSC%20Report.pdf

Learner’s Submission: Anti-Corruption Authorities and Citizens Involvement

22/07/2014

“Activities to involve citizens that are initiated and managed by anti-corruption authorities differ initiated and managed by citizen groups and NGOs. For one, the anti-corruption authorities are statutory bodies with the attendant legal and law enforcing authority. They are legitimate and have both national and international backing, which citizen groups and NGOs do not have, although they may have some sympathy for exercising their courses. Nonetheless, the anti-corruption authorities need citizen’s cooperation and trust for their programmes to succeed.

Anti-corruption authorities may respond to the context through public education campaign about the extent and consequences of corruption on the economy, exacerbating poverty, deprivation, etc., creating a platform for citizens to report acts of corruption, jailing of some key officials as a way to setting examples to show that the agency is serious. The anti-corruption agencies can also educate the citizenry about what they want achieve in the fight. They could seek their ideas through surveys which could also touch on sensitive issues around traditions and culture. The citizens fully understand the context in which corruption thrives, the magnitude of the vice, the most vulnerable and at risk public departments, because they experience it almost on a daily basis so they can help the authorities in formulating policies against corruption. Once the policies and laws are formulated and enacted, full compliance will be required and penalties applied for breach.

Because citizen groups and NGOs do not have the legal tenacity, they can only apply pressure through campaigns and mass mobilization – which may take different shape, to push through their agendas. Issues that citizen groups and NGOs may likely address are those that directly impact on citizen’s daily lives such as extortion, bribery, massive unemployment, inflation, poor standards of living, etc. which are less far what the anti-corruption agencies will address.” Robert Palmer – Bonn, Germany


Learner’s Submission: Case study on the Anti-Corruption Fight in Georgia

22/07/2014

“Georgia, one of the break–away republics from the former Soviet Union has had its share of corrupt practices in the public and other spheres of life just like any other developing countries. Corruption was much more pronounced in sectors that were more vulnerable such as the police, document processing, higher education entrance processing offices, etc. the corruption practices also did not spare other sectors; it was virtually a way of life.

Some of the consequences of this status quo were decreased revenue collection by the government, because, for example, people bribed their way to evade tax, government did not have sufficient resources to run the government and give the citizens better services that would improve their well-being. By 2003, the corruption in Georgia had reached a dangerous level with some institutions of the state working hand in hand with criminal gangs and other bad elements of the society. What also that appeared not to have given hope to remedying the situation, were flawed elections; one of such that was held in late 2003.

The then President, Eduard Shevardnadze was giving his inaugural address to the newly elected parliament when a large crowd of disgruntled citizen gathered at the entrance of the parliament carrying roses which symbolized the peaceful nature of the anti-government demonstration. This single act was the beginning of the anti-corruption reform in Georgia. The citizens (at least some of them) have had enough of the corruption practices and are signalling to the government to do something about it.

The rose revolution had some pioneers. Many of them who were now in the opposition, had served in previous government positions and understood the nature, extent and enormity of the corruption practice. One such reformer, – Mikheil Saakashvili, a former justice minister, who later came to succeed Shevardnadze had started experimenting with some positive anti-corruption efforts to gain the trust and confidence of citizens.

The new government that came to power in January 2004 after the rose revolution had popular support among the population because the theme of anti-corruption resonated well with them. Secondly the new government did not waste time in delivering on it manifesto of fighting corruption. Innovative measure were used such as limiting contact between citizens and public officials, aggressive use of technology to enhance service delivery, paying decent wages to public officials for an initial limited period, demonstrating political will, enforcing zero-tolerance for corruption in key sensitive areas such as revenue collection, jailing corruption official as well open communication and regular information to the public about anti-corruption measures being taken by the government.

The move, I would say were both reactive in the sense that the government was responding to the appalling state of affairs by putting in place all these drastic measure for the short-term; preventive by putting measures and systems in place to deter or make it hard for officials to exercise corrupt practices – examples being limited contact between citizens and government officials, widespread use of information technology to conduct business transactions, jailing of corrupt officials and assets recovery as a way of setting examples and finally some the actions were proactive as demonstrated by developing policy and regulatory frameworks, enacting appropriate legislations to mitigate corruption, strengthening the anti-corruption agency and constantly communicating with the public about measures in taming corruption. The citizens were actively involved in these anti-corruption activities: they gave the mandate to the new government, voting it overwhelmingly. The citizens were given the power to report cases of corruption, using technology and other means and the government providing the populace with regular information on cases of corruption.” Robert Palmer – Bonn, Germany


Learner’s Submission: Current Capacity of Public Service in Kenya

22/07/2014

“There exist various definitions as to what the phrase ‘Human capital’ is. Since scholars do not necessarily seek to stand out from the rest for matters of glorifying themselves but refining the phrase for purposes of clarity whenever the phrase is used, I use Westphalem’s definition in this article. Westphalem defines Human capital as a combination of persons or groups’ knowledge, skills, competitiveness plus other desirable attributes that they acquire during their life and consequently use them to produce goods, services or ideas as desirable in a market situation (Westphalem, 1999). The phrase is often used interchangeably to imply the same as human resource, enterprise or ‘entrepreneurship’. It is the handling of human resource so as to make the best out of it that is termed as its management. Again, various scholars provide a lot of insight as far as human resource management is concerned.  According to Bana, human resource is a paramount asset of every organisation (Bana, 2009). The corporate goals, Bana argues are as a result of a well designed Human resource plan (HRP). He further argues that it is the role of specialists in policy initiation to monitor and evaluate the corporate plan until its maturity. How creative the specialists are in assessing both the internal and external factors influencing performance of the institution is what determines by what extent that the corporate goals will be achieved. Thus, human capital is a vital asset in organisations and indeed in the public sector where various development activities are entrusted to public administrators. Success of the public institutions is thus directly depended on performance of its public administrators.

The ability of the public service to coordinate activities given its human resource load such that the public service does not forfeit on its development agenda depends on the competitiveness and innovativeness of the entire human resource management. That is why quality is more desirable over quantity human resource. Nevertheless, quality human resource can serve as a saviour of competitiveness; create a pathway to reducing high levels of unemployment and economic frustrations (Westphalem, 1999). Though, a good blend of the two will lead to wealth creation.

To conclude, while least developed countries boast for an abundance of human resource, a large proportion is unskilled or suffers from having a capacity to innovate. This is a major economic constraint that has a direct effect on public service sectors across African states and indeed Kenya bearing in mind that it is the human resource factor that ought to be a high-level decision-taker with a mandate to transform factors of production into new kinds of enterprise.” – Obed Nyangena – Narok, Kenya

 

Bibliography

Bana, Benson A. “The Role of Human Resource Managers in Transforming the Public Service in Africa.” Capacity Building for Human Resource. Dar es Salaam: Republic of Tanzania, 2009.

Economics for Eastern Africa. 2nd. Nairobi.

Network, United Nations Public Administration. The Role of HR Managers in Transforming the public Service in Africa. Arusha, Tanzania, February 23rd-27th, 2009.

Westphalen, Sven-Age. “Measuring and Reporting Intellectual Capital: Experience, Issues, and Prospects.” Reporting On Human Capital; Objectives and Trends. Amsterdam, 1999. 10.


Learner’s Submission: Current Capacity of Public Service in Ethiopia and Areas for Increasing Its Performance through Human Resources Management

21/07/2014

“Developing countries such as Ethiopia have different resources, i.e. human and capital resources, at their disposal to achieve their development endeavor. With abundance of the human resource compared to capital goods in developing countries, much effort has been directed towards utilization of such abundant resources for effective realization of development goals.  Unlike capital goods which are subject to risk of depreciation over time, the human resource has some peculiar characteristics such as prospering over time due to accumulation of knowledge, skill and experience at different levels of life exposure. In due consideration of such peculiar characteristics of the human resource coupled with the shortage of capital goods, much effort has been directed towards effectively using such resource.

The presence of pitfalls in the public sector is common in Ethiopian context. Absence of belongingness and lack of motivation of the civil servant to carry of daily assignments are the major impediments for realization of the country’s development agenda.  With its economy dramatically growing over the last decade by registering double digit, the public’s demand of high quality services has been high increased more than ever.

As a developing country, Ethiopia’s major resource is its human capital. Hence, spending a lot of resources to fundamentally change the public sector without undergoing dramatic change in the human resource management practice is unthinkable. Effort towards sharpening this important resource by effectively enhancing the human resource management practice appears to be the focus. In general, human resource management plays a crucial role for helping the country achieve its goal in different areas:

First, effective human resource management helps to put in place a dynamic and capable work force that serve as an input for effective service delivery

Second, placement of sound human resource management practice helps to continuously monitor performance and potential of employees which will serve as an important tool in taking timely action by the concerned body.

Thirdly, effective human resource management helps to retain highly qualified human resources of the organization so that it can contribute towards realizing the development goals of the nations.

Fourthly, placement of human resource management practice is helpful in harmonizing the relationship between the management and work force which fosters the overall realization of the goals of the government.

To benefit from the fruits of capable and dynamic human resource, the country needs to have an appropriate mechanism to identify and select the right person for the right place in the public sector. The more capable is the work force is, the better will be the capability to address the development goals.  Training and development practices should be given continuously to enhance the capacity of the individuals over a period time.

Overall, the public service can be enhanced over time by giving attention to the human resource management which will have a far reaching positive impact in service delivery. Moreover, the bid to bring the country into one of the middle income earning level in the coming ten years could be facilitated by giving the proper attention to the management of its “most valuable asset”,i.e the human resource.” - Biruk Damte – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia


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