The write-up below is the winning entry of the CBMS-Bolivia team during the recently concluded 2014 PEP Best Practice Awards
PAGE-CBMS Bolivia Project
Toward a Community Based Monitoring System for Santa Cruz De La Sierra
Monitoring Poverty Changes, Vulnerability and Social Protection
Implementing Partner Institution: Fundacion ARU
(Target relevance, frequency, assimilation of inputs, engagement of targets)
The project had achieved key outcomes of a successful pilot CBMS project (with localized term as Comunidad-I). It has consciously engaged important stakeholders particularly local authorities of the Municipality of Concepcion and the Bureau of Statistics of the Department of Santa Cruz in critical stages of the implementation of the project. It has conducted almost 20 meetings since september 2013, in order to provided said focal persons from said agencies awareness and knowledge about CBMS and how it can complement existing development processes. Furthermore, it has provided space for dialogue to discuss relevant data that needs to be incorporated in the CBMS data collection instruments that are useful for local authorities in terms of public management/governance.
Said fora enabled the Project Team to produce research outputs that are responsive to the needs for policymaking and program implementation of the local government. This is particularly deemed important for the objective of convincing local governments to adopt and institutionalize the CBMS tool in their own localities. In line with this, following the completion of the pilot test of CBMS by ARU in the Municipality of Concepcion, the local authorities including zone/community leaders have already expressed interest to adopt and use CBMS in the municipality particularly as a tool for planning, prioritization and monitoring of performance of public service.
To date, the CBMS Project Team of ARU was able to establish support from the Autonomous Government of Santa Cruz, the highest political authority in Santa Cruz that generates statistical data and support to design statistical development plan. This is deemed important to ensure viability and sustainability of CBMS. Among the important milestones made is an agreement to replicate the CBMS protocol onto other locations in Santa Cruz as part of statistical activities.
One major achievement of the Project is its development and operationalization of a web-platform (www.comunidad-i.info) that provides access to data gathered from its CBMS census sites and also documents the activities and in the long run impacts of implementing CBMS. This is deemed a valuable and powerful tool for advocating the usefulness of CBMS to other localities and concerned development agencies not only in Bolivia but to other countries in the world who would be able to access the site.
In addition, through its organization and conduct of dialogue with local authorities, village leaders and representatives, the Project was able to secure the support of key officials the Municipal Government of Concepcion in the adoption of CBMS as a tool for public governance in the locality.
The CBMS Project Team of ARU was able to organize a policy dialogue with the Governor and key officials of the Department of Concepcion. The dialogue aims to present the CBMS project findings and hopes to secure support of the Government for the scaling up of the implementation and use of CBMS in the entire Department of Santa Cruz.
On the other hand, Project findings have been presented during the CBMS parallel session of the 11th PEP meeting and has steered discussion and debate among non-CBMS researchers on the use of CBMS data for examining multidimensional nature of poverty and for vulnerability risk assessment.
Interaction with PEP
Throughout the PEP-CBMS project implementation, the CBMS Team of ARU worked closely with the PEP Asia-CBMS Team. Interaction has not been limited to submission of required progress reports and expected project deliverables but more importantly in terms of exchange of knowledge and skills, tools and strategies for CBMS implementation. Modes of interaction include participation in PEP-CBMS organized meetings and workshops, and membership in the CBMS International Facebook Page.
Empowerment of Communities
More importantly, the CBMS initiative of ARU has been recognized by the local authorities of Concepcion and community leaders as an important milestone in empowering communities to engage in the development process. According to community leaders of the project site in Concepcion, the implementation of CBMS has provided space for grassroots organizations including indigenous groups to participate in examining the situation of their communities, and has provided relevant inputs for prioritization of responses to needs of the community given its budget limitations. Furthermore, the municipal government of Concepcion finds the CBMS very useful for zone leaders to better understand their situation thus providing basis to solve the multiple problems they have. The municipal planning officials further commended the CBMS work of the ARU since it has responded to their need for a system that is organized, structured and easy to understand.
Overview of the PAGE-CBMS Project in Bolivia
The project, implemented by Fundacion ARU, generally aims to strengthen capacities of sub-national governments in designing social protection policies that address risks and multi-dimensional poverty through CBMS. It aims to improve capacities of local governments in data collection and analysis. In addition, it also aims to examine the incidence of aggregate and covariate risks as well as formal and informal mechanisms of providing social protection in the informal sector.