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Taxpayers association launches app to monitor use of devolved funds

By Standard Reporter | Published Tue, January 27th 2015 at 12:39, Updated January 27th 2015 at 12:44 GMT +3
 

NAIROBI, KENYA: The National Taxpayers Association (NTA) has launched a mobile application that will help citizens monitor how devolved funds like County Funds and Constituency Development Fund (CDF) are utilised, in a move aimed at enabling citizens to participate in promoting good governance. 

The application, known as DevelopmentCheck is a user driven and solution oriented online tool for citizen feedback on the transparency, participation and effectiveness of development projects.  

The application is integrated in the Community Integrity Building (CIB) approach whose goal is to promote good governance, transparency and accountability at the sub-national level to enable effective citizen participation, oversight and problem solving in the utilisation of public funds and service delivery. 

In this approach, NTA also uses the Citizens’ Report Card (CRC’s) to monitor management of devolved funds for better government service delivery and infrastructure development to promote transparency and accountability.  

It does this through facilitating the Constituency Monitoring Committees (CMC’s) and County Accountability Networks (CAN’s) to produce CRCs which are used by the citizens as tools for demanding accountability.  

“Government funds for development projects are often lost due to fraud, corruption and mismanagement, thereby affecting development outcomes. These losses show the need for greater accountability and effectiveness of development projects,” said the Projects Officer of NTA Caroline Othim. 

“The DevelopmentCheck application, hence, becomes a powerful tool for integrating ICT in NTA’s work for effective management of public funds like CDF,” said Ms. Othim. 

DevelopmentCheck works under a process where the community identifies priority development projects to monitor and then collects data on these through project site visits, beneficiary surveys, information requests and photos. 

They enter the data for each project monitored into a questionnaire on DevelopmentCheck. They can also upload project documents such as the bill of quantity or contract if available, as well as photos or videos. 

Once data is uploaded online, NTA conducts an internal verification and review of the information by engaging the relevant stakeholders i.e. Member of Parliament (MP) and Constituency Development Fund Committee (CDFC) and then a moderator, currently Integrity Action staff, verifies and publishes the information through DevelopmentCheck.  

The NTA shares the findings with the community, government and contractors. Through constructive engagement with these key stakeholders, they can fix problems and improve development projects. The percentage of problems resolved is called the ‘fix-rate’ and it is used to track the progress. 

NTA piloted the use of Development Check application in monitoring the use of devolved resources with a focus on the CDF in Homa Bay Town and Karachuonyo constituencies in Homa Bay County. In this project, NTA has compiled the Citizen’s Report Cards (CRCs) on the management of devolved funds using the application.