First Social Audit in the SPACE Project (Community Empowerment and Sustainable Livelihood)

The ‘Society for Participatory and Cultural Education’ (SPACE), one of AWO International’s local partner organizations in Nepal, is implementing the project  ‘Community Empowerment & Sustainable Livelihood’ (CESL) in five VDCs of Bardiya District (Mid-Western Region of Nepal) since October 2009. The project targets mainly freed Kamaiyas (former bonded labourers), and provides livelihood support to 13.250 beneficiaries from 2.500 households through various kinds of interventions. From 24th to 31st of January, a social audit of the project was organized in all VDCs of the project intervention as well as at the District level. The purpose of the social audit was to increase the accountability, transparency and responsiveness of the project towards its beneficiaries and other stakeholders; to get feedback and inputs from the beneficiaries and other stakeholders; and to create a forum for sharing experiences. Representatives from various District line agencies, like-minded organisations (I/NGOs) working in the District, political party representatives, and – above all - the beneficiaries attended the social audit.


At the District Level, the social audit took place in the hall of the District Development Committee (DDC). It was chaired by the District’s Local Development Officer (LDO), Mr. Bhuwan Hari Aryal. The Project Manager briefed about the various project activities and informed about the project’s budget and the planning for 2012. All project-related documents like IEC materials, reports, photos, baseline survey reports, manuals, evaluations etc. were displayed. All participants shared their positive impression of the project.


They stated that there is a strong need for coordination among the various government and non-government stakeholders in the project. The LDO said that the project is one of the best in the District and that there is a great demand for projects targeting the needy and marginalized population. The project’s focus on capacity-building in various forms rather than simply distributing material inputs was highlighted, and the LDO added that social audits are helpful ‘tools’ to guarantee the proper coordination among all stakeholders. Likewise, at the VDC level the social audits took place in the respective VDCs’ community buildings, which were constructed under the project.VDC representatives, local authorities, representatives from political parties and the project beneficiaries attended the individual events. The VDC wise project activities - including the sanctioned budget and the utilized budget - were presented adding to the transparency of the project. Afterwards, the project team sought feedback on the project and on the process of the social audit from all stakeholders involved. The Project Officer of AWO Int’l shared about the organisation’s development policy, its funding sources as well as on the nature and objective of the funding in Nepal as part of AWO Int’l’s South Asia program.


After the success of the social audit in the SPACE project, a similar process will take place in the ‘Rural Youth Development Program’ (Nawalparasi District) of AWO Int’l’s partner Sahamati  from 14th of February onwards.