ActionAid Zambia has trained 150 community members on mentoring and coaching in public accountability system monitoring tools in Nalolo District of Western Province.
Participants were drawn from five wards in Nalolo Constituency namely, Kambai, Muoyo, Sianda, Kataba and Nanjucha wards, respectively.
The exercise is meant to empower people, who will be labeled as Reflection Action Cycle ambassadors, with knowledge on how they should hold public officers accountable if services are not delivered to them accordingly.
ActionAid Zambia Agriculture and Livelihood Project Officer, Nyambe Mwiyambango in an interview on Tuesday said his organisation has for this reason been in the district to sensitise communities in the area to not only access government services but demand for accountability and good governance.
“We expect the communities to improve their livelihood by demanding for quality service delivery. In order for public service to be delivered equally, there is need for communities to become their own agents of change.
“People must start holding public service officials accountable because it is difficult for them to develop areas where they are not based as they don’t know the challenges that particular community is facing,” he said.
The objective of the meetings is to ensure that the public social accountability system works especially in the Health and Agriculture Departments.
This is to create a platform where community members and public officers interact in an interface meeting to find solutions to the identified challenges, said Mr. Mwiyambango.
And Walubita Mulako, one of the participants from Nasilimwe area in Kambai ward commended ActionAid for empowering them with knowledge of demanding for service delivery.
Mr Mulako said most people in rural areas are not aware that they need to question and monitor public officers when services are not executed.
“We just used to complain about the lack of development in our areas, but we didn’t know that we can actually approach these public offices and monitor the programmes that they are implementing but ActionAid has enlightened us,” he said.
His counterpart, Carol Musole said citizens have the right to participate in the development of the nation by providing checks and balances.
Ms. Musole said after undergoing the ActionAid trainings, she now has power to demand for certain social-economic services to be executed in their areas.
“We are now able to approach the agriculture office and ask why farming inputs have not been delivered on time and also question the health personnel when there is a shortage of drugs,” Ms. Musole pointed out.
She said after attending ActionAid trainings programmes, most participants are now engaged in monitoring resource allocation in the agriculture and health sectors.