Civil Society: Mutual Accountability Project (CS:MAP)

A healthy democracy is founded on the pillars of social equity and justice. EAI responds to this need by fostering civic engagement at the sub-national level through media, communication, ICT4D, and direct community outreach.

A Project of
Nepal

It was during the ‘Photography for Oversight and Advocacy Training’ provided by Equal Access International that I used a professional camera for the first time. I am excited about having learned to use photographs to tell stories. I feel I have one more tool in my collection.

– Sarada KC, a female Community Reporter, Kapilvastu district upon completing a training

The goal of The Civil Society: Mutual Accountability Project (CS:MAP) is to foster a legitimate, accountable, and resilient Nepali civil society, capable of advancing the public interest through establishing a favorable policy and operational environment for civil society and media; enhancing civil society organization’s (CSOs) capacity to constructively engage in public policy advocacy; enhancing oversight of public resource use and service delivery; and strengthening CSO and media capacity for working in USAID priority sectors.  The Civil Society: Mutual Accountability Project (CS:MAP) is a five-year, $15 million USAID-funded project, implemented in Nepal by FHI 360, Equal Access International (EAI), the International Center for Not-for-profit Law (ICNL) and a wide range of civil society organizations (CSOs) including non-governmental and nonprofit organizations, non-governmental media outlets, member-based organizations, associations, unions, and federations. With a design shaped by USAID’s 2014 CSO political economy analysis (PEA) along with existing data and assessments, the project is implemented in 20 West, Mid-West and Far-West districts and 14 earthquake-affected districts of Nepal. The PEA envisioned a vibrant Nepali civil society to safeguard significant political and social transformations that were to result from the promulgation of a new constitution in September 2015. 

PROJECT ACTIVITIES:

While CSOs and media have played an important role in raising awareness among citizens and spearheading social and political transformations, the role, as mandated by the new constitution, increased in prominence. A strong democracy is founded on the pillars of social equity and justice and reinforced by the presence of healthy institutions that provide checks and balances. To achieve this it is essential that civil society and media keep the state, government and its institutions accountable and transparent to ensure civic engagement.

EAI responds to this need by fostering civic engagement at the sub-national level through media, communication, ICTs, and direct community outreach. More specifically, EAI supports an enabling environment for CSOs and media through technical assistance for national and sub-national policy formulation and reform, improved public confidence and understanding of their roles, the implementation of sector-wide self-regulation, and improved institutional governance; improving media capacity to engage constructively with the government on public policy issues, supported by evidence; and to promote the utilization of social accountability tools by youth and marginalized groups as a means of oversight of public resource use and service delivery.

EAI achieves this by partnering with local FM radio stations and building their capacity to produce radio episodes (Sajha Boli or Collective Voices) that call citizens to action on issues of local governance and public interest. Additionally, central to our community-led model is an approach that puts community stakeholders at the center of our activities, to that end, we train community reporters to produce compelling print, audio and television pieces, and community action researchers to generate evidence for advocacy initiatives. We organize SMS campaigns (SMS My Voice) calling for citizens to counter corruption or to promote the participation of women and marginalized groups at the local planning process level. We encourage citizens to interact through digital platforms like interactive voice responses (IVR) and MeroReport. EAI’s efforts are designed to promote alliance-building and collaboration between CSOs and the media to advocate for public interest issues.

"I developed a habit of conducting an in-depth study for identifying content material which improved the quality of the scripts I write." - CP Lohiya, Sajha Boli producer, Radio Ninglasaini, Baitadi

Impact & Reach of this Project

5,000

Individuals have participated in the ‘SMS My Voice’ campaigns since January 2017. 30% female and 70% youth.

20,000

IVR calls since the first broadcast of 'Sajha Boli' in 2016.

102

Listening and Discussion Groups reaching over 1,530 youth

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