- Pakistan faces economic and governance challenges that needs to be improved to provide its citizens services and jobs.
- WBI is working with the World Bank’s Pakistan country team’s Social Development Unit and the World Bank’s Social Development Department to anchor an e-learning course on ICT tools for social accountability.
- Through their course work and discussions the students learned how to create customized approaches for Pakistan.
January 28, 2013― Three young girls Shamsa, Khawar and Zaheen are studying at Fatima Jinnah Women’s University in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. They recently took part in a World Bank Institute (WBI) course on using ICTs for social accountability. nspired by the ideas they learned in the course, they designed their final projects for the course to focus social monitoring of waste management programs in their city using ICTs. They proposed a program incorporating SMS and Facebook for gathering citizens feedback and complaints on quality of waste management services and a mechanism for sharing the information with the corresponding municipal units.
Pakistan is located in South Asia and has a population of 176 million people, diverse resources and an increasing youth population. However, Pakistan faces economic and governance challenges that needs to be improved to provide its citizens services and jobs.
To help find solutions to some of these challenges WBI is working with the World Bank’s Pakistan country team’s Social Development Unit and the World Bank’s Social Development Department. As part of this work WBI is anchoring an e-learning course on ICT Tools for Social Accountability with 35 students from two youth organizations and two universities. Shamsa, Khawar and Zaheen are part of this pilot project
“This program is a great opportunity for me to explore my social skills and capabilities for the purpose of serving society,” said Rana Rashid Rehman, one of the students. “The course is now going very well and I have learned a lot from it.”
The World Bank created this course to engage Pakistani youth in development projects, and build their capacity to use ICT tools for social accountability – beginning with the monitoring of World Bank-financed projects. This six week course was launched in October 2012 and is delivered through the World Bank’s eInstitute through facilitated online instruction and with three video conferences via the Global Development Learning Network. The online course has three modules – (i) introduction to social accountability, (ii) entry points for using ICTs for accountability, and (iii) ICT tools like social media, mobile phones, data visualization and crowd sourcing.
Learning from previous successes
During the course, the students learned from different regional and global examples on how ICTs can be used for transparency and accountability and what civil society organizations are doing. They met with experts from different countries through video conference and learned about best practices in other countries such as the Check My School initiative in the Philippines. WBI supports Check My School through its work with the Affiliated Networks for Social Accountability (ANSA). Through their course work and discussions the students learned how to create customized approaches for Pakistan.
At the end of their course work the students participated in an interactive workshop chaired by Rachid Benmessaoud, World Bank Country Director in Pakistan. Benmessaoud listened to the ideas that students expressed ranging from becoming the agent of change, improving the status quo in Pakistan and holding public servants accountable while incorporating citizen’s voices. During this workshop they learnt about the World Bank projects in Pakistan and were guided on using ICTs to address a problem of their choice.
The next step for the virtual classmates will be to use their new skills in field visits to monitor ongoing activities under the largest World Bank-supported project in Pakistan, the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF). They will visit the communities served under PPAF, interact with citizens impacted by the projects, and document the effect of the fund as well as the challenges faced by the community.
The community engagement built by these youth monitors will then be continued by the Universities and youth organizations with support from the World Bank under its Pakistan youth engagement strategy.