TI-Rw assessing service delivery in the local government through beneficiaries’ reactions in Districts

2 years ago, Transparency International Rwanda launched a project to monitor service delivery through suggestion boxes, a complaint mechanism allowing citizens to anonymously express their opinion on the performance of their local leaders and submit their feedback regarding the quality of service provided. The aim was to increase awareness of their right to service delivery and hold local administrations accountable for a fair and prompt service delivery.

This project is currently being carried out in 6 Districts namely Kamonyi, Kayonza, Nyamagabe, Huye,  Musanze and Rubavu. Suggestion boxes were fixed in 6 sectors in Kamonyi, Musanze and Kamonyi, eight sectors in Nyamagabe and 2 sectors in Huye and Kayonza.

The current suggestion boxes survey used a special methodology that involves volunteers elected at the community level as the members of the CCCs (Citizens Concerned Committees). These CCCs inform and encourage their counterparts to fill in the forms with a set of pre-defined questions, an approach which is slightly different from a regular suggestion box methodology, where a disappointed citizen might be more motivated to fill in the form.

Findings

Citizens had to first indicate which office they visited and show whether the requested service was received. Among the 16 service providers in the sector and cell levels, findings from analysis of the filled forms indicated that at the sector level a majority of services are requested at the executive secretary’s office  level, followed by civil status services, health services, community based insurance (Mutuelle de Santé) and SACCO/bank services. The rate of citizens who received services requested tends to be higher in Kamonyi and Nyamagabe while in Musanze and Rubavu, the number goes under 50%. The graph below shows the levels.

Citizens stated that the main obstacles for receiving a service was a lengthy approval procedure with many officials from different institutions involved, in addition to negligence  and corruption. On the side of service seekers, some of them didn’t receive the service requested due to the fact that they didn’t fulfill the requirements of that service. Generally, half of the service seekers were requesting the service for a first time, while the other half had requested the service on multiple occasions at the time of the survey. The majority of the returning service seekers had requested the service either two to three times before - or more than ten times. This difference was explained by the character of some services, like conflict mediation or land management services, where claimants return time after time only to find the other party absent.

In terms of the delay of services, a third of service seekers in the 4 districts received the service within a day, followed by a fourth receiving them within a week. Only a small percentage claimed to have never received the service. The tardiest services are often related to legal proceedings that are time consuming and administrative procedures that require submission of documents to the national level or at different institutions (such as the registration of cooperatives or the registration of land titles at the land bureau).

38.3 percent of respondents in Musanze District stated that they had been victims of corruption when seeking services, while the level was at 17.6 percent in the Rubavu sectors. In Kamonyi and Nyamagabe Sectors, the percentages corruption victims are 13.4% and 14.1% respectively.  The services where corruption is most frequently encountered are services involving authorities such as the executive secretary at cell level, the police, the agronomist, the executive secretary at sector level, the land bureau and the veterinarian. Many times, the cell or village leaders asked bribes for services they were not mandated to provide, such as construction and logging permits as well as for land transactions, or where guidelines where not clear such as veterinary quality assessment of milk and meat. The main type of corruption encountered was bribery in cash.

The Suggestion Boxes show that citizens are generally content with the service provision in Kamonyi, Nyamagabe Musanze and Rubavu Districts. There are however problems with lengthy procedures and lack of professionalism. Ignorance of citizens also facilitate for corrupt officials to ask for fees that do not exist, and prevent speedy service provision as service seekers are unfamiliar with the requirements. This study recommends additional measures to combat corruption and to inform citizens about their rights as well as the requirements for service provision to achieve fair and free service delivery for all.

Citizens mobilization by trained volunteers: A TI-Rw contribution to improve service delivery

Given the findings from the suggestion boxes showing how citizens were happy or not with the service delivered by their local authorities, TI-Rw thought of a new approach to mobilize citizens on their rights to a quality service and the requirements for services they request. Through the elected CCC (Citizens concerned committees) members who were elected among the communities themselves, TI-Rw conducted campaigns to raise awareness on service delivery in the sectors where it has suggestion boxes.

After a 2 days training, the CCC members were sent to their localities to assist citizens seeking service at the sector of cell level to know about the requirements of the service he is looking for. They also were trained on the paralegal work and procedures for them to assist their neighbors who have complaints with basic legal advice or refer them to TI-Rw office if needed. These campaigns were launched in Kamonyi, Musanze, Nyamagabe and Rubavu as well as Kayonza and Huye which were newly added to the scope of suggestion boxes project implementation.

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