UN-Habitat’s Global Campaign on Good Urban Governance argues that there has never been a more important time than now to focus on the quality of governance at the local level.

The emerging partnership between local government, private sector and civil society in sustainable development requires not only a reconfiguration of public space, which was earlier dominated by government, but also new mechanisms for creating operational linkages among spheres. The increasing complexity of local governance not only makes it vulnerable to corruption and other aberrant types of organizational behavior but also renders it susceptible to alienation from its citizenry. 

CALL 2015 aims to promote transparent and accountable governance in meeting the MDGs on time by 2015 through the engagement of citizens, especially women, in instituting transparent and accountable governance initiatives in selected local government units in the Philippines.

CALL 2015 aims were to:

  1. Organize and capacitate MDG integrity circles composed of local citizens groups especially local women leaders.
  2. Establish citizens-government dialogue and feedback mechanisms.
  3. Demonstrate and replicate sound MDG practices that promote transparent and accountable governance.

CALL 2015CALL 2015 Manual

The CALL 2015 Manual documents and shares the process of engaging various stakeholders in local governance through “Integrity Circles.” The manual is based on the experiences of the partners civil society organization and local government partners who implemented the project.

Results on the ground:

 Five (5) Civil Society Organization (CSO) partners have been mobilized in five cities to implement the CALL 2015 project. The five sites are as follows:

  1. Cagayan de Oro City and Xavier University, Social Involvement Program

CALL 2015  complements Xavier University ‘s and, in particular, Kristohanong Katilingban sa Pagpakabana (KKP)-Social Involvement Program (SIP)’s advocacy in the area of good governance. Cagayan de Oro City’s responsive citizenry and their involvement in recent movements concerning local and national issues make the city an ideal site for modeling the CALL 2015 approach.

In a series of meetings and consultations with representatives from academe, media, women journalists, faith-based network, religious, business, culture and arts, youth and the university’s outreach departments, the CALL 2015 project and its localized framework was presented where it gained the commitment of various partners in the project. Among the agreements reached and directions identified were: 1) strengthen and formalize the organization of the Integrity Circle , 2) focus on MDG 7 (environmental sustainability) with specific thrust on Integrated Solid Waste Management (ISWM), 3) demonstrate the project in Barangay Tablon, a coastal barangay with an established ISWM system. A review of efforts at boosting citizens’ voice and representation and creating venues for organized citizens’ participation revealed that citizens engagement is not new in Cagayan de Oro City thus the project’s integrated approach will generate opportunities for working together and creating a more substantial impact.

  1. Pasay City and Intercessors for the Philippines (IFP)

IFP focused on deepening the city’s advocacy for its out-of-school youth (OSYs) and strengthening its HOPES program which took off from UN-HABITAT’s MEET the MDGs project. The program focuses on MDG 6 (HIV/AIDS prevention). Four (4) integrity circles were formed. The first group, coming from 5 barangays, is composed of 10 out of school youth who are Peer Educators. The second group is composed of LGU practitioners, Life Skills Trainers from faith-based organizations (FBOs) and CSO/NGO leaders.

The first Integrity Circle formation meeting was a capacity-building workshop focused on the 18 Rights of the Child. From this workshop, a work plan for 2008 was generated as framework for monitoring a currently-implemented intervention, Pasay HOPES.

Pasay HOPES is a program that aims to establish youth-friendly functional knowledge, learning and information centers (KLIC) and establish community-based life skills training networks for the city’s out-of-school youth (OSYs). HOPES stands for:

HIV/AIDS prevention thru Life Skills Seminar.
b. Outsourcing livelihood skills.
c. Placement of jobs or gainful employment.
d. Education thru Alternative Learning System (ALS).
e. Sports, culture and arts development.

  1. Dumaguete City and Social Watch Visayas and Silliman University

Three (3) Integrity Circles have been formed composed of local citizens in Dumaguete City . These are: 1) Silliman University Research Team based at the Knowledge Development Center of World Bank in Silliman University, 2) Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) whose members were primarily organized to help seek justice and solutions to unsolved crimes, and 3) Social Watch Dumaguete and Allied NGOs and groups who coordinate with the City Planning and Development Office and the Sectoral Desks Office (a new department established to carry-out the LGU’s anti-poverty programs) and assist the LGU leadership in localizing the MDGs. These three integrity circles will be consolidated into one to institutionalize and sustain an integrated citizens-government dialogue and feedback mechanism.

The first Integrity Circle focuses on the monitoring of the delivery of basic services by the city in light of the publication of the Citizen’s Transaction Guidebook last June 18, 2007. The guidebook contains information on 72 selected services provided by the city government and identifies persons responsible, explains the role of clients and clarifies the processes involved in obtaining the services. A baseline survey to get information on the quality of government service was conducted. Analysis of the survey results will be disseminated to the general public through conduct of a series of seminar-workshops on good governance utilizing the results of the survey. To ensure sustainability, the survey shall be conducted regularly and reporting may be done together with the MDG Monitoring Report of Social Watch. A major challenge for the Integrity Circle is the development of a more dynamic feedback mechanism aside from the regular surveys.

  1. Tuguegarao City and St. Paul University Philippines (SPUP)

 CALL 2015  synergizes with the University’s existing programs on community development. Barangay Tagga, a depressed barangay that has since developed into a self-sustaining community with empowered leaders as a result of SPUP’s capacity building programs, is the initial project site. The 31 stakeholder organizations in the barangay will initially compose the community-level Integrity Circle . It will focus on monitoring MDG 1 particularly employment and livelihood as this is identified to be the community’s primary concern. Barangay Tagga is currently conducting its CBMS data gathering where 40 of the 249 households have been surveyed. The CBMS data will be the baseline for monitoring the MDG goals and targets and will be used for formulating data-driven barangay development plans. SPUP will coordinate the organization of a city-level Integrity Circle .

  1. Science City of Munoz and Federation of Barangay Health Workers and Central Luzon State University

CALL 2015  has become the transparency mechanism for the MDG demonstration project in the Science City of Munoz focusing on improving citizens’ access, especially women and children, to basic health services. CALL 2015 ensured the participation of 75 women barangay health workers (BHWs) in improving delivery of basic health services in both urban and rural communities. As the city already has its CBMS-generated baselines and targets, the information will be the basis for monitoring by the BHWs and general public. A citizens feedback mechanism ” I-Text Mo , Kalagayan Mo ” (or text your state of health) to a dedicated cellular number has been established with a private telecommunications provider,Globe Telecom.

Related Resources:

  1. Checklist for assessing an NGO or CSO Partner
  2. Tools for Participatory Urban Decision Making
  3. Tools to Support Transparency in Local Governance
  4. CSO Engagement Guidebook