MyCity

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MyCity

Jaipur, IndiaJaipur , India
Year Founded:
2012
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Scaling
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The intervention could close the feedback loop by collecting feedback on the status of municipal services delivery and creating platforms for regular interaction among citizens and municipal officials to take corrective measures based on the feedback and collecting feedback again to see changes.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

what if the service providers come to citizens regularly to get feedback on quality of services and take corrective measures to improve further?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

A disconnect continues among citizens, elected and administrative officials that leads to poor planning, execution and delivery of municipal services in Jaipur city. There is no platform where all stakeholders can find space to interact and come out with appropriate solutions to the existing problems. Though the service providers receive individual complains, they are not given the consolidated feedback to help them taking corrective measures.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The project provides citizens, elected and administrative officials several opportunities during project to come and interact at a platform to establish the lost connect among them. The revitalized connect helps in finding local solutions to the existing problems each time. Consolidated feedback generated using Citizen Report Card and ranking of services through Public Service Index draws attention of public authorities to take corrective measures and improve upon. Media is also engaged for putting pressure to correct services. Citizens too become more aware and get chance to air their voices and develop understanding about limitations of public officials as well. The whole process improves the services, relationship and empowers citizens.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

The project partnered with one local CBO in every selected ward of Jaipur. CBOs formed Citizen Action Groups (CAGs) in wards. The CBOs along with CAG members mobilized the citizens to participate in the meetings interact with service providers (SPs) and discuss problems. . SPs also got chance to inform citizens about their limitations. CAG members voluntarily acted as messengers of citizens In several wards, local problems of waste disposal, street disposal, street lights, street roads etc. were resolved by SPs. Through the meetings and also through public display of contact numbers of SPs helped people and SPs in establishing direct connect. People also joined hand in resolving problems together with the SPs to improve service delivery.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

The intervention could achieve several outcomes which can be indicated by the progress markers. Awareness and civic sense among citizens and engagement of service providers could be enhanced through the project activities resulting in to improved services and resolved grievances related to Jaipur Municipal Corporation (JMC). The relationship between service providers and recipients improved that benefitted both. Media played important role by being vigilant about service delivery and performance of JMC. JMC also issued several orders to improve services after evidence-based advocacy efforts based on consolidated feedback gathered through Citizen Report Card and Public Service Index. The project also built the capacity of local CBOs and CAGs who started raising the questions before service providers. In scaling up phase, the project is considering 8 new wards to replicate the activities.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

The next phase of the intervention is already started in partnership with the same donor which continued additional support for the project to replicate it in 8 new wards. The partner CBOs and CAGs formed during the project in old wards act like a cadre for generating continued feedback from citizens and connecting them with service providers. The improvement in service delivery is an incentive for citizens where as citizen's love for providers .

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are few agencies who are working on the issues related to urban governance and poor municipal services. But looking at rapid urbanization in India, it is necessary to fund such activities and hence more agencies should come forward.
Team

Founding Story

It has been realized that the citizens in urban area have nearly no connect with their local governments as they are not given adequate powers to serve citizens even after 74th Amendments of the Indian Constitution devolves a significant amount of power to urban local governments. This disconnect results in to severe shortcomings in the municipal services delivery and people find no platform to raise their grievances to get solutions. India is witnessing rapid urbanization and urban governments have been unable to keep pace with this rapid expansion. Lack of access to basic services and poor service delivery are increasingly affecting lives of citizens and their future. Hence this project was envisaged for establishing the lost connect.
About You
Organization:
Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS)
About You
First Name

Om Prakash

Last Name

Arya

LinkedIn URL
About Your Organization
Organization Name

Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS)

Organization Country

, RJ, Jaipur

Country where this project is creating social impact

, RJ, Jaipur

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Impact
Full Impact Potential: What are the main spread strategies moving forward? (Please consider geographic spread, policy reform, and independent replication/adoption of the idea or other mechanisms.)

The project hopes to create similar impact of establishing connect between citizens and officials for the benefit of gathering regular feedback and take corrective measures to improve services in all the 77 wards of Jaipur City. The project may further progress in complete engagement of citizens and public officials in the cycle of municipal services delivery including budgeting, planning etc. It has the potential to strengthen the local governance procedure in a bigger geographical region as well. The improvement in municipal services will have ripple effect on other development indicators.

Barriers: What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

There might be some challenges which can hinder the success of project.
1) The public officials do not provide adequate support to the project
2) The project do not find funding support to replicate this work in all wards.

The project team is doing all to create quality impact beneficial to public officials and citizens as well. This is probably the best plan to overcome the challenges mentioned above. The project team members and the CBOs partnering in the project are working sincerely and patiently to create sustainable outcomes. This has been noticed by public officials and the donor.

Sustainability
Partnerships: Tell us about your partnerships.

The project has developed both formal and informal partnerships under the project. The formal partnership is with CBOs in every selected wards to execute various activities of the project where they are paid an honorarium for their work. Other than this, the project has developed informal partnerships with elected and administrative officials of Jaipur Municipal Corporation, Members of Citizen Action Group and media to get their adequate support.

Closing the Loop
How does your project primarily ensure that feedback delivers results?

Help funders, governments, and other organizations to listen to and act on feedback.

Please elaborate on your answer to the above question.

The project used various activities under its design so that government, CSOs and media encounters and use feedback of citizens. Firstly, the feedback gathered using Citizen Report Card (CRC) from all selected wards. The specific feedback were disseminated among relevant officials in various advocacy meetings to act on. The ward level monthly interface meetings were utilized for giving direct feedback and getting rid of the problems before next meeting. Public Services Index was prepared for each ward through citizen assessment of facilities iand authorities were informed about the status.

Languages: In what languages are you able to read and write fluently?

English.

2nd Round Questions
Thinking about your feedback loop; what information are you trying to get from whom, to whom, and to bring about what change?

The project gathers information on the status of municipal service delivery from citizens using mechanisms of citizen report card (CRC), citizen assessment for public service index, interface meetings, feedback from members of Citizen Action Group etc. These feedback are communicated to public officials and elected representatives through various indirect and direct communication channels. Converting individual shout in to consolidated count, a group of CSOs, CAG members, media are strategically utilized to disseminate information and put pressure on providers to improve services and resolve day to day grievances of citizens. These activities brought several changes with regard to developing understanding on the pitch of the problems of citizens through a regular interaction with providers, authorities responsible for service delivery and thus improved services. The specific changes happen in different wards and certain recommendations were incorporated in to the future plan of the city development. Some of the progress markers under the project are
Enhanced Engagement and Awareness Among Citizens

Community meetings and interface meetings during the project influenced the citizens to engage and make them aware. Several members of the community became members of CAGs and took initiatives in order to improve situations even without being dependent on service providers. They remain connected with the project without any payment of honorarium and extended their support throughout.

Resolving Grievances

Service providers were sensitised about problems of community through community and interface meetings. This helped the community in getting their grievances resolved. In case of complex problems, they coordinated with the citizens in order to find out solutions with their support.

Improved Relationship Among Service Providers and Recipients

The continuous community meetings led to create better understanding about the limitations of each other and to improve relationship between service providers and recipients. The service providers were sensitised and started attending meetings without hesitation and solved problems. The members of the CAG have now access to service providers and elected representatives and they take up issues of citizens to them.

Media Monitoring

Media also started playing important role by being vigilant on the delivery of services and performance of JMC. Media published several reports on project findings and also interviewed the Chief Executive Officer of JMC on issues were raised in advocacy meetings.

Issuance of Several Orders by JMC

Dissemination of findings and other specific advocacy meetings led to the issuance of several orders and frequent monitoring visits to check the status of services. JMC is now involved in necessary arrangements for door-to-door garbage collection in all 77 wards of Jaipur city. The corrective measures to solve problems of stray animals and other are also being taken up quickly by JMC.

Capacity Building of a Cadre of People

The activities under the project helped building the capacity of a cadre of people who started raising the relevant questions before service providers and also bringing issues of citizens for rectification.

Increased Civic Sense Among Citizens

The project also helped creating better civic sense among citizens through discussions held during various meetings. There are also evidences of more responsible behaviour on the part of citizens in various wards.

Councillors Got Platform

Elected representatives got platform to interact with citizens as well as government officials, present their problems and perspectives.

Project Got Buy-in from the Government

The Government of Rajasthan appreciated CUTS’ initiative towards urban governance and requested the organisation to continue such similar endeavours in other wards. The Jaipur Development Authority indicated possibilities of collaboration with CUTS in such community-intensive endeavors.

What is the purpose of your feedback loop?

Improve quality of programs

If other, please specify
What mediums or mechanisms do you use to collect feedback? (check all that apply)

Paper, Phone or voice, Physical gathering.

If other, please specify
Could you briefly describe the way you collect the feedback?

Citizen Report Card: Collection and consolidation of feedback from 600 citizens from eight selected wards representing each zone of Jaipur city and dissemination of findings using specific strategies to signal the service providers. This tool produced significant increase in accountability.

Public Service Index: The status of seven major services and amenities in each selected ward was physically verified taking citizens along with the project team and scored. The scores were put for various indicators developed to assess the status and benchmark set for those indicators. Local citizens, CSOs and its members were consulted before putting final scores

Interface Meetings: To bridge the communication gap between service providers and recipients; resolve issues in service delivery; and also to advocate with local administration & elected representatives by disseminating ward level findings, a number of interface meetings were organized in each ward where local solutions were sought for the existing problems.

Community Meetings: Community meetings to create an environment that can enhance the opportunity of community members to discuss critical issues in delivery of urban services and amenities was created by the partner CSOs and active citizens in the wards under the project. Community Meetings proved to be very effective for a number of reasons like awareness generation, resolving issues, trust building etc.

Citizen Action Groups: Citizen Action Group (CAG) of 8 or more members created in each ward as a representative of ward with task of providing continuous feedback about the quality of services and amenities, working as a link between service providers, elected representatives and citizens and mobilising community for community & interface meetings.

Helpline number: The helpline number established by government was publicized under the project to enhance the use of helpline.

What mechanisms are in place to protect people from retribution?

Option to provide feedback anonymously

If other, please specify
What are the immediate benefits or incentives for people to provide feedback?

Confirmation of use of feedback

If other, please specify
How do you ensure new and marginalized voices are heard?

Specific targeted outreach efforts

If other, please specify
What are the incentives for the intended recipient to act on the feedback?

Other

If other, please specify

Strategic pressure tactics from media, CSOs and Citizens at various levels

How does the feedback mechanism close the loop with those who provided feedback in the first place?

Meetings discussing results with providers

If other, please specify
How is feedback published/transparent?

Other

If other, please specify

Dissemination of feedback utilizes all - Written report distribution, Website publication, print and electronic media & meetings

Give two concrete examples of how feedback loops have brought a program or policy more in line with citizens’ desires.

1) Chief Secretary, GoR, appreciated CUTS intervention in urban governance during meeting and asked for the final report of the project. Commissioner of Jaipur Development Authority appreciated CUTS work and said that JDA would explore and be happy to collaborate with CUTS in such work where feedback of citizens is required. The CEO of JMC said that the study has helped the department in getting feedback from the citizens and it would be happier if CUTS continue to do similar studies in other wards too.

2) Dissemination of findings during advocacy meeting and presentation of findings especially in front of higher level authorities led to the issuance of several orders and frequent monitoring visits to check the status of services. Jaipur Municipal Corporation (JMC) is now involved in necessary arrangements to collect the garbage from home all the 77 wards of Jaipur city and it will be started within two months as per JMC officials. The corrective measures to solve the problems of stray animals, and other are also being taken quickly by JMC.

If there was one thing you could change to increase the impact of your feedback loop, what would it be?

The working environment of Jaipur Municipal Corporation (JMC) is highly politicised. There were incidents of frequent confrontations among JMC officials, Mayor, Councillors those have created a kind of political environment which affected the project. As envisaged under the project, there were no enough endeavors by relevant responsible officials to improve upon based on feedback gathered due to lack of coordination among responsible service providers. It was difficult to maintain an apolitical environment during community, interface and other advocacy meetings.

What are your biggest challenges or barriers in “closing the feedback loop”?

If other, please specify

No enough endeavours towards taking proper action to improve services based on feedback collected

Are you aware of The Feedback Store?

No, but I would like to be on it

What are the main uses you can envision for the Feedback Store?

CUTS is involved in several kind of interventions where we take feedback from people. I feel the apps available at the feedback store can be quite helpful in collection of feedback, relationship building, build trust for the feedback collected, data sharing and others.

What is the one thing you would most like to see changed to improve the competition process?

I think the process is excellent and currently do not have any suggestion to improve the 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?

Comments

Om Prakash Arya's picture

It is true that urban local governments (Municipal Corporation/Municipality) have been unable to meet expectations of the public to a large extent. There may be a number of issues concerning poor functioning of local governments. One of the major reasons for their poor performance is low civic engagement in the decision making process.

Do you feel this innovation for civic engagement in the process of service delivery can lead towards a sustained change? If yes, what component of the project is more effective?

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