This past week the CAMs project saw an enthusiastic crowd in attendance for its fourth workshop with the Mbalangi Traditional Council. Our workshop this past Friday concentrated on Transparency and Accountability within the government structure. In particular, this workshop addresses how governments on the local level (like Traditional Councils) can implement policies to promote transparency and accountability. For example, they can release statements illustrating exactly how their development fund money is used: stating that 50,000 CFA was used for labour, 20,000 for supplies, 5,000 for clean drinking water for the labourers, etc. By releasing this information, the Traditional Council implements transparency: citizens can see exactly how the money is spent. Releasing this information in turn holds the Traditional Council accountable: if 100,000 CFA was collected for the project, but only 75,000 spent, the Traditional Council must explain where the remaining 25,000 went.
This information was well received by the Mbalangi Traditional Council. In particular, one of the councilors in attendance noted during the workshop that the Council does not have any transparency policies currently in place. This observation provides an excellent starting-off point for our continued work with the community. Working with the councilors to come up with ideas on how to promote transparency in the Council, as well as offering suggestions from other communities who have implemented similar policies, will be our next step in this important endeavor.
We have also decided to combine our workshop sessions in an effort to be more efficient. Until this week, we had been hosting workshops twice a week, on Tuesdays for the Quarter Councils and Social Group members, and on Friday for the Traditional Council. However, since we only have a few sessions left, we have decided to combine the two groups. Our series of workshops in Mbalangi will continue through August 3rd, with this coming Friday’s workshop and the following workshop being titled “Fair and Effective Justice,” Parts 1 and 2. We will also be continuing our interviews with Mbalangi community members regarding mob justice. If you have a personal story about mob justice that you would like to share with us, please don’t hesitate to contact our office (click the “Contact” link at the top of the page). We’ll be back next week with more information regarding our wonderful project!