The Public Policy Information, Monitoring and Advocacy (PPIMA) project is a civil society support project aiming at strengthening the interest among Rwandan Civil society organizations and citizens in public policy affairs and supporting them in their efforts to self-organize and acquire the skills they need to engage effectively in national and local level processes of policy formulation and implementation, to ensure that policies work to deliver improved services, especially fo poor Rwandans.

This project arises out of the prevailing concern that Rwandan civil society and citizens are not interested, knowledgeable or organized enough to engage actively and effectively in public policy dialogue and in monitoring and informing the use of public resources allocated to economic development and poverty reduction.

The reasons for these can be found in a large part, in Rwanda’s checkered history of wars and conflicts, a history that has created disincentives for the evolution of a plural democratic Rwandan nation with a strong engaged citizenry and civil society. Today Rwanda scores poorly on the Voice and Accountability Index and despite progress in recent years, there is evidence of deepening poverty and growing inequality in the country, biased especially against women, the youth and people with disabilities, in particular, those living in rural areas.

The interest and engagement of civil society and citizens in public policy affairs is necessary to ensure that government policies and plans are sound, well targeted and well implemented, especially to address the needs of those most likely to be excluded in the face of rapid national development. Evidence from developed and developing countries reveals a positive correlation between good(democratic) governance, active citizen participation and poverty reduction. Good governance is concerned with how citizens, public institutions, and leaders relate to each other, and whether these relationships lead to outcomes that reduce poverty.

A large body of research and experience has demonstrated that consultation and participation of citizens in determining policies and priorities (’voice’) can improve the commitment of governments to reduce poverty and enhance the quality of aid outcomes. Similarly, it is increasingly recognized that ’accountability’ or the ability of citizens and the private sector to scrutinize public institutions and governments and to hold them to account is an important facet of good governance. Failures of accountability can lead to pervasive corruption, poor and elite-based decision-making and unresponsive public actors, preventing citizens from fully enjoying their human rights.

The PPIMA project aims to promote active citizen and civil society participation in national processes of policy formulation, implementation and management. It will do so by improving their interest, skills and levels of organization and participation in these processes.

This will be achieved through a number of activities aimed at increasing their access to information on public policies and policy processes, building their capacities for policy analysis and advocacy, and engaging them in specific policy and governance improving activities at both national and local levels.
A key component in this regard will consist in support to citizens and civil society to directly monitor and give their feedback on the adequacy, quality and effectiveness of service delivery at local community level. The major PPIMA project activities in this regard will include:

  • Technical and institutional support to Rwandan civil society to develop key capacities and capabilities in public policy analysis and dialogue. The project will promote South to South peer learning as a specific capacity building strategy in this regard. Planned here also includes the establishment of a Civil Society Policy Monitoring Group as a resource to assist the sector to participate effectively in public policy dialogue.
  • Development and dissemination of popular guides to key public policies, policy processes and laws, among them the EDPRS, the National Decentralization framework, and national and local budgets and budget processes
  • Execution, dissemination and public dialogue of surveys on key public policy issues. Among key planned surveys in this regard include KAP baseline studies to benchmark the current status of citizens’ engagement with public policies and the poverty focus of Rwanda’s plans, budgets and expenditures at national and local level; an annual Rwanda bribery index; an annual Rwanda Open Budget Survey, and; a number of client satisfaction surveys. These are expected to be high quality surveys, designed and executed in a manner participatory enough to enable them feed into government’s own EDPRS monitoring framework.
  • Establishment of a robust Information System, including an interactive website to enable civil society organizations and citizens to access and share key resources on public policy affairs.
  • Public forums at national and local level to dialogue wide-ranging policy matters of interest to the public
  • Launch of a CS-driven campaign leading towards the enactment of a Law providing for the right of access to public information (access to information act)
  • Execution of a range of demand side accountability approaches that involve citizens and civil society directly in demanding accountability through greater monitoring and vigilance of power holders.

The Key envisaged tool here is the Community Score Card (CSC), to be implemented in all 4 PPIMA project Districts. A number of citizens centered ICT-based social accountability tools for exacting public accountability are also planned to be piloted. Through selected civil society organizations an annual analysis of the national budget will be conducted and relevant advocacy activities undertaken. Issues emerging from these citizen actions that require further analysis will be subjected to rigorous surveys and studies.

The major use of findings and data resulting from these activities will be in enabling active, informed engagement of citizens and civil society in public policy dialogue in such spaces as the community interface meetings (in the CSC), the sector working groups and the district-based Joint Action development Forums (JADF).

It is also intended that the resulting data is of quality good enough to provide complementary qualitative and quantitative data for the national EDRS routine data system. In this regard, close collaboration will be maintained with the NISR and the Rwanda Governance Advisory Council (RGAC) in the design and execution of these activities.

  • Establish and operate 5 anti-corruption and justice youth clubs in 5 districts, in collaboration with the office of the Ombudsman; establish with the support of Transparency International, a national advocacy and legal advisory centre (ALAC) to receive, follow up cases, and offer legal advice to victims and witnesses of corruption
  • Implementation of a multi-media strategy (involving print, radio, television, mobile telephony) to increase citizens voice in public policy dialogue and in the demand for greater public accountability and the efforts to combat corruption in Rwanda.

Through these types of support and engagement it is expected that citizens and civil society will be able to influence government policies and plans and ensure that limited development resources are well targeted and well utilized to reduce poverty and improve wellbeing especially for poor Rwandans.

The PPIMA project is in line with the Government of Rwanda’s Vision 2020 and EDPRS objectives on Good Governance. Specifically, it addresses a number of key outcomes of the Rwanda Decentralization Strategic Framework(RDSF) and the recommendations of the 2008 GOR Joint Governance Assessment that seek to promote active citizens voice in public policy dialogue and strong vertical accountability between government and citizens.

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