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An example of Social Accountability

In Chawama Constituency , the Community Action Groups (CAGs) – platforms for dialogue between the community and the Ward Development Committee (WDC) members – were created. The community members questioned the WDC officials about how they had used the Ward Development Fund (WDF). Unfortunately, it was discovered that the WDF implementation had been decided upon by councillors without the participation of the WDC. The meetings led to more dialogue between the CAGs and the WDC officials on how in future they would together ensure that budgets as allocated by the Lusaka City Council would be implemented.

Constituency Development Fund (CDF)

In 1995 Zambia established a Constituency Development Fund (CDF), a fund granted to constituencies to support micro-community projects, as part of a wider decentralization and local development policy. The community-based projects funded under the CDF are meant to serve community needs in the constituencies and to have long-term positive effects on people’s well-being. Projects that can be funded under the CDF include:

  • Construction and rehabilitation of wells and boreholes
  • Construction, rehabilitation and maintenance of roads
  • Bridge construction and maintenance
  • Agriculture: irrigation, livestock
  • Rehabilitation of education facilities
  • Rehabilitation of health facilities
  • Education programmes such as literacy programmes.

The Ministry of Local Government and Housing receives the funds from the Ministry of Finance and allocates them to the respective councils. The amount for each constituency is the same, regardless of size and number of inhabitants. The funds for the CDF come from government ordinary revenues and thus the amount of the CDF is based on the annual budget forecast. Each constituency receives the same amount of money. All councils are mandated to include CDF in their annual capital budgets and are required to account for such funds in accordance with the law.

The CDF process: Project selection, implementation and monitoring

Project selection:

The Ward Development Committees are sub-district local government structures established to facilitate community participation in decision-making and development planning processes at the ward level. They are the linkages between the District and communities and are involved in resource mobilisation and project prioritisation for inclusion into district strategic development plans. Communities and their representatives should be openly communicated with by the council when it is time to submit project proposals for CDF funds. This is usually done through open meetings, posters in popular locations such as the notice boards of schools, clinics and churches, as well as letters to chiefs, village headmen, and the ADCs.

The community together with the ADC then identifies projects that meet local needs. However there is no stipulated process for how this ought to take place. After prioritizing projects, the ADCs send the project proposals to the Constituency Development Committee (CDC). The CDC is the central management authority of CDF. It consists of 9 members:

  • 1 Area Member of Parliament
  • 2 Councillors nominated by all Councillors in the Constituency
  • 1 Chief’s representative nominated by all chiefs in the Constituency
  • 1 Director of works in the case of district Council or Director of Engineering services in the case of Municipal Council and City Councils
  • 4 Community leaders from Civil Society and NGOs churches, Community Based Organizations (CBOs) identified by the Area Members of Parliament and Councillors in the Constituency.

The CDC is then supposed to verify with the planning sub-committee of the District Development Coordinating Committee (DDCC) if the proposed projects already are receiving funding from other sources in order to avoid duplication. The DDCC in general is responsible for the creation of district development plans. Its members consist of heads of government line ministries, executives from councils and development agencies. As the number of submitted projects might exceed the funding capacity of the CDF, the CDC has to prioritize the submitted projects and make a decision within two weeks. The prioritized project proposals will be sent to the sub planning committee of the DDCC, which compiles appraisal reports for the council. Only projects which have been appraised and approved by the Council will be funded. The Council then informs the CDC of its decision.

Project implementation and monitoring:

After the CDF projects have been chosen and approved, a tender system is used to choose a contractor. At least three tenders need to be invited. The Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA), formerly known as the Zambia National Tender Board, evaluates the tenders and makes recommendations to the Council, which choses a contractor. The Council disburses money to the contractor/supplier and it is then when the implementation of the project begins. Communities should be involved in implementing CDF projects, for example community members can provide labour and use locally available materials (stones, sand etc.). However there is no proposed process on how this could take place.

The Council and the beneficiary community monitor the project implementation monthly or as often as necessary depending on the nature and stage of the project. However there is no proposed process on how this should take place. The implementation of the project is supposed to be completed within one year.

CDF Guidelines, 2006: The guidelines regulate the administration and utilization of CDF. From the project selection to implementation and monitoring, the guidelines set the procedures that need to be followed by the different actors such as ADCs, DDCCs and the Council.

Local Government Act, 1991: CDF is linked to Section 45 (1) and (2) of the Local Government Act Chapter 281 (as amended by Act No. 19 of 1992 and Act No. 30 of 1995), which says that constituency development grants can be made to a council. It also ensures that regular auditing by the Local Government Auditors takes place.

Public Procurement Act, 2008: This Act and the Public Procurement Regulations (2011) govern public procurement in Zambia. The Act’s objective is to ensure transparent public procurement procedures at all levels. It further renamed the Zambia National Tender Board into the Zambia Public Procurement Authority, which is the oversight and regulatory body for public procurement.

Public Procurement Regulations, 2011: The Public Procurement Regulations are the statutory instrument to the Public Procurement Act. For example they regulate procurement planning, the bidding process, as well as contracts management.

National Decentralisation Policy, 2013: The National Decentralisation Policy aims at establishing a decentralized structure that empowers provinces, districts and communities to achieve social economic development and effective service delivery and to promote peoples’ participation in local governance. For more information on local governance and the decision-making structures see here.

Cabinet Circular # 1 of 1995: As part of Zambia’s Public Service Reform Programme, Provincial Development Coordinating Committees (PDCC) and District Development Coordinating Committees have been established which plan and coordinate developmental efforts at both district and provincial level. With regards to CDF, the DDCC ensures that the selected projects are not already funded by other sources within the district development plans and constituency project funding. The DDCC also writes appraisal reports on the selected project proposals which it submits to the council.

Cabinet Circular # 10 of 1995 regarding the provision of CDF as discretionary finances to local authorities: established the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) and the Constituency Development Committees (CDC).

Quite a number of organisations in Zambia have projects on CDF. For example the ZambiaNetwork of Youth Organisations (ZANEYO) helped to build up Community Action Groups, which are informal structures that act on identified issues like monitoring CDF Funds. To support this monitoring they developed a manual on monitoring CDF. The Farmer Organisation Support Programme (FOSUP) has developed a GPS system to monitor the implantation of CDF Projects.

The organisations Caritas Zambia, Farmer Organisation Support Programme (FOSUP) and Economic Association Zambia (EAZ) have each developed a report on the impact of CDF. All the reports come to similar findings. One of their findings is that the current CDF guidelines of 2006 are too weak in enforcing its provisions as legal backup is missing. For more information on the studies’ contents, see here. Thus, they decided to form a CDF Alliance together with other organisations to bring together their work on CDF.

Members of the CDF Alliance are:

  • Caritas Zambia
  • Economic Association Zambia (EAZ)
  • Farmer Organisation Support Programme (FOSUP)
  • Transparency International Zambia (TIZ)
  • Southern Africa Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD)
  • African Parliamentarians Network Against Corruption (APNAC)

The CDF Alliance is currently working on revising the CDF Guidelines that will be presented to different stakeholders like the Ministry of Local Government and Housing. For more information on the CDF Alliance’s analysis on the CDF Guidelines, see here.

Kawambwa DFA (KDFA) conducted an advocacy initiative for increasing women’s farmers’ participation in the ADC. In Kawambwa District all the 22 Area Development Committees were male dominated, women farmers were not adequately represented in the district. To strengthen women’s representation in ADC’s, KDFA conducted a baseline study revealing that only 3% women were represented in ADCs in Kawambwa District which is inconsistent with what is stated in the National Gender policy that 30% of leadership positions should go to women at all levels. Thus, KDFA conducted public hearings and meetings to raise awareness on the importance of women being in leadership positions and translated the National Gender policy into the local language. Through this initiative KDFA has achieved that the representation of women representation in ADCs has been increased from 3% to 42%.



Government / Parliament / Official Documents

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CSOs’ Documents

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