On 25 January the Cabinet Secretariat of the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs, in collaboration with the Ministry of Internal Affairs, hosted a de-briefing of a joint fact-finding field mission conducted by representatives from the government, UNDP and InfoNet, a Nairobi-based consulting firm experienced in setting up citizen accountability platforms, to the Bomi, Nimba and Grand Bassa county service centers (CSCs), three of five to serve as pilot. The purpose of the field mission was to conduct consultations and gather information to establish a Citizens’ Feedback Mechanism that will help improve sub-national service delivery.
At the heart of the Citizen Feedback Mechanism will be an ICT platform that allows service users to report on their services experiences through simple, fast, and low-cost digital technologies, e.g., WhatsApp, text messaging, e-mails, etc. Over time, the Citizens’ Feedback Mechanism is anticipated to produce large quantities of data on public service quality that will play an important role in assisting the government to understand what kind of services need to be improved in what parts of the country for all Liberians, whether women, men, girls or boys. The introduction of the Citizens’ Feedback Mechanism has the potential to be truly impactful by improving the quality and access to services in sectors such as education, health care and infrastructure, that everybody depends on. The PAPD strongly calls for such service improvement.
The meeting was attended by numerous cabinet-level Ministers, their deputies, assistant ministers, heads of government agencies and commission, as well as Ambassadorial level representation from the international donor community. UNDP’s Resident Representative Dr. Pa Lamin Beyai provided the broader context of the initiative, linking it to a request from the Government, and underlined that this service delivery initiative could be a key step towards the country’s strive to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The establishment of a Citizen Feedback Mechanism was very well received. In his opening remarks, the Director General of the Cabinet recognized UNDP for the technical support to this important endeavor, and stated that “the voices of the people are very important to the President and the Citizens’ Feedback Mechanism has a strong potential to help make the voices of the people heard”. The Assistant Minister of Finance, Mr. Kolubah, emphasized that the Citizens’ Feedback Mechanism has the possibility to play a significant role in realizing the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD’s) policy goal under Pillar IV, as it directly speaks to building “An inclusive and accountable public sector for shared prosperity and sustainable development”.