World Vision empowers communities across Zambia to advocate for quality public service delivery through World Vision's social accountability approach called Citizen Voice and Action (CVA). To that effect, a CVA working group trained in 2014 spearheaded the construction of a 1x3 Classroom block at Vulamkoko Primary School in Katete District of Eastern Province.
"When we were approached by World Vision to take part in the CVA training, we were very hesitant because we didn't know what this CVA was all about. But after the training, we did not waste time, we immediately called for a meeting as a committee and went round the schools and health centres in our community to check if the standards conform to the prescribed ones. We discovered that the schools didn't have enough desks. We went to the District Education Board Secretary (DEBS), and they provided some teachers and desks for three schools in the community. The biggest challenge was at Vulamkoko Primary School, as it did not have enough classrooms. So we immediately called for a meeting for traditional leaders before calling on the public service providers. The main aim was to agree on what the community members would contribute towards the constructions of the 1x3 Classroom block." Says Mr. Mbwewe, the CVA chairperson.
The Chairperson further explains that the community leaders agreed to contribute four cement bags per traditional leader in the community: "When we went to the DEBS, they asked us to contribute 25% to the construction of the classroom block, so we agreed that each headman should contribute four bags of cement and each village to contribute one ton of river sand and we asked the family of each pupil from Grade 10 to contribute one bag of cement. We also approached the Member of Parliament, who contributed 40 bags of cement. After we had enough cement, we moulded blocks as a community. After we managed to meet the 25% to Ministry of Education at DEBS, the building officer advised us to go the council, and we were advised to apply for Constituency Development Fund (CDF) with the help of area Member of Parliament. We did apply, and were given ZMK70,000."
Mr. Mbewe shares that the construction was completed in 2018: "The constructions were not an easy task because we had to move back and forth to ensure that community members did not give up. We completed the construction in October 2018; and our children are now learning happily in a conducive environment. So we are happy that the community is taking part in community development and advocating for quality services."
World Vision's Southern Region CVA Coordinator in Zambia, Ephraim Lungu, was impressed with the developments in communities as a result of CVA: "Our CVA methodology seeks to provide accountability which leads improvement of service delivery. We have so far trained 1,085 (668 males and 417 females) community leaders in 17 of our area development programmes in the Southern Region. We are glad to note that community members have taken ownership to seek audience and dialogue with decision-makers and attain development in a non-confrontational process".
CVA acts as an essential vehicle for the sustainability of other projects. The approach helps to build relationships, resource flows, accountability, participation, and transparency that lay the foundations of sustainability for a variety of services. Essential services such as health and education are delivered effectively and contribute to the well-being of children due to CVA's impact in improving relationships between citizens, government, and service providers.
By Kambani Phiri - Communications Officer