Thinking about your feedback loop; what information are you trying to get from whom, to whom, and to bring about what change?
We strive to enable the local governments to collect citizens' feedback on community priorities - to stimulate meaningful engagement of people in the community affairs. The feedback is sought in relation to community social and economic issues; questions with political connotation cannot appear in the sms-poll (the system will block).
The change we envisage with the initiative is three-fold: (i) participation of citizens in community affairs is encouraged and increased; (ii) constructive dialogue between the village/town mayor and the local council members is stimulated and strengthened (the question for the poll is defined in very democratic way); (iii) transparency and accountability of the local government is enhanced, which in its turn can boost the level of trust among community members and improve cohesion at the local level.
If other, please specify
Strengthened linkages between the local government and their constituency, fostered participatory governance at the local level
Could you briefly describe the way you collect the feedback?
1) Promotion and outreach activities are undertaken by UNDP team and local government representatives to explain the tool to people and invite them to participate in the sms-poll. People join voluntarily and can subscribe through: contacting municipality or local council members; online registration; sms-registration.
2) The database on community is developed and maintained by selected content providing company (UNDP's partner in this initiative).
3) The representatives of local government, with support from UNDP team, define issues to be consulted with the community residents and make decision on the question during the local council meeting.
4) The local government representatives (assigned municipality official or member of the Local Council) create sms-poll in the system. Access to the system is granted to the assigned officials.
5) The question is sent out through sms with multiple choice answer options to the residents, who had registered for the poll. The senders do not see the database, they just select the community and the system links the question to the residents' database of that specific community.
6) The residents can respond during 24 hours, just clicking "reply" button and choosing the number of their preferred response option.
7) The system collects and analyzes the results and produces response statistics in charts and graphs, disaggregated by gender and age (three age groups).
8) The local government publishes the poll results on the web interface, community website, on the publicly placed information board in the community, social media platforms (where applicable). The Ministry of Territorial Administration also features the results on their website.
Give two concrete examples of how feedback loops have brought a program or policy more in line with citizens’ desires.
1. “Which issue is of higher priority in Areni?” This questions was asked during the sms-poll in Areni village, with the following response options: (i) Street lightening, (ii) Reconstruction of the road from the Central Square to the House of Culture; (iii) Furnishing of the village gym. More than half of the respondents opted for street lightening.
As the village mayor informed us, the results of the poll helped him in negotiations with potential sponsor. Impressed with this method of feedback collection and its results, a business company agreed to contribute financially to the street lightening of the village. Apart from democratization, the tool helped the community in resource mobilization.
2. Tumanyan town is a community with a very small budget. As the Mayor informed us, that the poll results help him to substantiate his arguments for requesting additional resources from the Central Government for reconstruction of street N 8, which collected the biggest number of responses.
If there was one thing you could change to increase the impact of your feedback loop, what would it be?
Allocate more time for outreach activities - to bring more people on-board for the poll and have better community representation in response.
Workable tools and techniques, ideas and solutions.
What is the one thing you would most like to see changed to improve the competition process?
What are you doing to make sure that feedback providers know that they are empowered by the information they can give and that they know exactly what the information they are providing?
The project ensures that the results of the sms-polls are made public by the local government using the variety of all the available means. We also monitor/follow up on whether the communities undertake steps to solve the issue that collected the biggest number of responses. Regular communication is maintained with the representatives of local government on the previous and upcoming polls, so far lessons learnt, challenges and opportunities.