Since the aim of FOCHI’s work is to promote community cohesion, and to foster engagement and empowerment of communities so that they are better placed to support themselves and to work towards their own development, in several communities FOCHI has facilitated the creation of community monitoring teams, known as “Barazas”. These are composed of 3 individuals (a President, Monitor and a “Parlementaire”) who represent the community. One of the members of the Baraza is a member of FOCHI, whilst the other 2 are elected by the local community.
The Monitor makes twice-monthly visits to development projects in the community to monitor progress and reports back to the Baraza in bi-monthly meetings. If the Baraza feel action needs to be taken to rectify a problem with a development project, they will first attempt to negotiate themselves with the executing agency or donor to solve the problem, and if this does not instigate an improvement, they will approach FOCHI’s Integrity Action Project Supervisor to advocate on behalf of them and the community. At the end of the month, each Baraza presents FOCHI with a report on their activities and the results of these, and consults with the community in a public meeting. Once the monitoring team has been selected, they are entrusted with visiting project implementation sites and collecting testimonies from the local population, project workers and implementing agents regarding any progress or problems with the implementation of projects.
Following their observation and information gathering, they compile a written or oral report on their findings and present this to FOCHI on a monthly basis.
FOCHI in turn visits project sites with community monitors, in addition to visiting the donor and implementing agency of projects being monitored, gathering information on any progress made /Problems encountered from the perspective of all of the relevant bodies for each project on a twice monthly basis.
Once all of those involved have been approached for their comments on the project in question, FOCHI collates the information which has been gathered and reviews it in order to identifying any problems which need to be resolved, and any discrepancies which could indicate a need for better communication between actors, or a more serious fault such as an apparent misspending of project funds.
When / if problems are identified with regards to the execution of the project, FOCHI then approaches the relevant agency to advocate on behalf of the community for such problems to be resolved, and in turn communicates the agency’s response back to the monitoring team, so that they can inform the population of anticipated advances in the programme. (In some cases, the monitoring team themselves may also approach the agency in question, depending on ease of access.)
This pattern continues on a twice monthly basis for all projects, so that project executors and donors are constantly subject to pressure to ensure that projects are implemented in the optimum fashion, and that communities are well informed, and constantly working to exert such pressure through their own engagement in the monitoring process.