Quality Public Services a Right for All in SADC – Says New Regional Partnership

In the lead up to the 36th annual SADC Heads of State and Government Summit, a group of leading civil society organisations (NGOs) has launched a new project to improve the delivery of public health and agriculture services across Southern Africa.

The newly formed Partnership for Social Accountability Alliance is led by ActionAid together with PSAM, ESAFF and SAfAIDS, and supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). Reflecting the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda, the project will build the capacity of state officials and parliamentarians to more effectively manage public funds, and support civil society organisations, small scale farmers and the media in holding leaders to account.

“Quality public services are a right for all. Service delivery across Southern Africa depends on transparent and accountable management of public resources. Governments have a responsibility to effectively plan and allocate resources, parliaments must provide effective oversight, and citizens and the media must be free and able to monitor and hold them to account. By strengthening state and civil society, the project will improve public services in our region, particularly in health and agriculture,” said Ms. Nalucha Nganga Ziba, Country Director of ActionAid Zambia, at the launch of the project on 16 August 2016 at the 12th Southern Africa Civil Society Forum in Swaziland.

In the first three years (2016 – 2019), the project will focus on Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia. In each of the target countries, the partners will provide training on public resource management, support for critical social accountability monitoring, and platforms for collaboration and learning.

“Social accountability is vital to sustainable development in the Southern Africa region in meeting the goals and objectives of SADC, especially poverty reduction and sustainable economic growth. We are committed to effective management of public resources across the region, and thus enthusiastically welcome this project, in line with the priorities of the Revised Regional Integrated Development Plan (RISDP) 2015 – 2020, the African Union Agenda 2063, as well as the UN SDGs,” said Mr. Maxwell Mkumba, Regional Coordinator of the SADC Regional-National Linkages Programme at SADC Secretariat at the project launch.

The Southern Africa Civil Society Forum and Peoples’ Summit are taking place in Swaziland this week, while the SADC Heads of State and Government Summit will be hosted by the country towards the end of the month.

Editors’ notes
For more information on the project ‘Strengthening Social Accountability and Oversight in Health and Agriculture in Southern Africa’, contact Julie Middleton, Consortium Project Manager, ActionAid International, julie.middleton@actionaid.org or +27 82 403 6040.
The PSA Alliance consists of: PSAM – Public Service Accountability Monitor, Rhodes University – www.psam.org.za; SAfAIDS – www.safaids.net; ESAFF – Eastern and Southern Africa Small Scale Farmers’ Forum – www.esaff.org; and ActionAid – www.actionaid.org.