Watchdogs’ Mentoring Project

 

An effective watchdog... 

  • Is objective and manages their fear of reprisal.
  • Asks harder questions regarding the systems, policies or processes they monitor. 
  • Efficiently and accurately highlights risks of waste or inefficiency in a timely manner.
  • Fights to reduce barriers to information access. 
 

 

Since end of 2010, the Mentoring Watchdogs Project has reached 19 African countries, promoting watchdog work and developing partnerships with people and organizations that monitor the Global Fund.

We’ve recognized that tracking and reporting on international aid flows is a challenge that few organizations are able to do alone on its own.

One can only truly gain from being tackled in a distributed and coordinated way. Even where there is capacity, there is rarely a sense of legitimacy or credibility and little appreciation of the value of such monitoring work. We seek to change that.

Key skills imparted during mentorship:

  1. Analyzing country-level data and related grant and programmatic information
  2. Assessing risks that threaten successful grant implementation
  3. Exploring effective ways to encourage critical dialogue on identified gaps
  4. Examining country-level accountability systems at country level and their links to relevant health initiatives
  5. Strategies about how to do better watchdog work.

Calling for more watchdogs

We want more people at country level to focus less on getting access to money and more on asking harder questions about the efficacy of global health initiatives channeling funds in their countries.

  • What are the primary indicators of successful health initiatives?
  • What does success mean when using these funds?
  • Who should be answerable for what?

 

Country-level organizations should be empowered to scrutinize global health systems.

Organizations that are objective and independent shouldn’t fear being tagged “watchdogs”. They need to question how funds are used, or how

 

Some problems and solutions to country-level watchdogging

Problem

The solution we offer

  1. Limited coordination and clarity about different roles among organizations monitoring funding flows and wanting to promote accountability

With our partners, we’ve established a community of practice, Africa Health Watch, which will help address how watchdogs like Aidspan work together.

  1. Fear about engaging with external agencies, including technical supporters like Aidspan.

We developed a collaborative approach under the mentoring project, where partners are peers that draw value in mutually beneficial ways.

  1. Poor communication and feedback among Global Fund stakeholders and strained relationships among governments and civil society groups, especially those addressing human and health rights.

All our projects have been redesigned to promote more open, accessible and accountable systems that clarify the intentions and value addition of our work to country-level partners.

  1. Weak health information management systems, government bureaucracy, and limited access to quality information and data.

A majority of Global Fund recipients exist in developing countries. We started the project in sub-Saharan Africa, aiming to scale up to other regions.

  1. Low capacity in analysis or in skills relevant for evidence-based watchdogging.

All our projects are geared towards transferring the expertise we have within Aidspan. More people watching means money is better-spent, and more lives are saved.