HUYE- Service seekers received a major boost following the initiation of the Community Score Card (CSC), a participatory tool for assessing, monitoring and evaluating service providers in public and private institution.
The initiative, which was unveiled by the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Project on Strengthening Civic Participation in Rwanda (SCPR), seeks to improve service delivery by involving all citizens in decision making though dialogue at all levels.
“It is a way of engaging citizens and leaders, service users and providers into a dialogue to improve service delivery,” Linda Trudel, the Chief of Party for MCC/SCPR said last week during a three-day training workshop for members of the civil society.
The workshop attracted over 20 participants who were trained in civic participation as a way of promoting positive dialogue between service providers and users.
As users of services, she said, there is a need to engage in open discussion with service providers to be part of the decision making process and policy development, implementation and evaluation.
Ordinary citizens are believed to be passive when it comes to decision making and policy formulation.
The new approach, which will be implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Local Government, is in line with government’s wider strategy to improve service delivery.
“With this new tool, citizens gather, discuss and exchange on which services need to be improved and propose solutions. Thereafter, service providers and users meet and find a consensual way out,” says Christine Murekatete, the Governance Coordinator for MCC/SCPR.
Trudel argued that there is strong need for service providers and users to come together and discuss before they act.
“If the provider does not reach users for feedback, the outcome won’t be perfect,” she said.
Hilarie Ntawurishira, the coordinator for l’Initiative Pour la Promotion de la Famille et du Genre (IPFG), a local non-profit organisation, explains: “Civil society mediates between the local population and service providers.
We must be active in helping residents know their rights and responsibilities”.
He added that government designs policies which people implement while Civil Society organisations stand between the two sides to help them reach a consensus on what to do and how it must be implemented.
Jean Baptiste Bizimana, from the Association Modeste et Innocent (AMI), said such participatory approaches can help to speed up the development of the society.
“People begin to be active participants in the development process. It instils in them confidence,” he noted.
“When leaders listen to people’s views and opinions, they get brighter ideas that, once put together with their own ideas, it helps to accelerate the pace of development”.