Social Audit in Development Sector

Congratulations! This Entry has been selected as a semifinalist.

Social Audit in Development Sector

IndonesiaJakarta, Indonesia
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$1 million - $5 million
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

Social Audit Initiative turns to the voice of the people by bringing their opinions to the fore as a central part of the assessment process, and at the end contribute to more pro-citizen service and policy.

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

What if people satisfaction and people voice become main consideration in development program and public services?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Most development programs, including government's are not participatory, thus not addressing real problem, or meet people’s expectation. E.g. free health service has poor service, and even cases of patient being charged some fee. Bottom-up planning is often procedural, limited only to local elites/ administrator and generally marginalized citizen participation from their rights to participate in planning processes down to budgeting.

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

The idea of social auditing is to provide a space for (common) citizen to evaluate development projects in their surrounding area. The “technocratic” idea was to enable citizen in monitoring and evaluating development performance that at the end would re-influence policy design (planning). Meanwhile the “ideological” idea was to groom citizen “reclaiming” their rights to participation and development.Thus, it is an empowerment as well as advocacy tools. Citizen, particularly those directly affected (beneficiaries) is encouraged to conduct social audits on development projects in their surrounding areas. The results then advocated to local government bodies that are responsible in implementation, as a reference for next annual fiscal plans.
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 initial process of social audit is community facilitation by NGO partner at the village level. Affected community members were invited to understand existing development in their surrounding areas. Those who are interested then join our community social audit training. In addition, community member are also invited to discuss and gather official information and match it with the results from field observations. Notes and subsequent findings are collected and discussed again in a larger forum as recommendations from the community. Later, this was carried by them into direct dialogue, hearings and consultations with local administration and parliament.

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

The social audit model has covered more than 23 districts/ cities in 15 provinces from Aceh to Papua. In partnership with 14 local partner NGOs, thousands of community members have been consulted and directly involved in the social audit implementation. Field experiences have shown how social audit consistently engages more people in overseeing the development process and helps build citizens’ critical awareness of their rights. It serves as an entry point for community-based oversight and participation. These efforts have changed program and policy development, mostly in district level. The findings of social audit has inspired the policy change into pro-poor. Some results from the practice for instance: In Aceh province, the Universal Aceh Health care program (Jaminan Kesehatan Aceh) has been improved with guidelines and socialization as demanded by results from social audit.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Social audit helps build citizens’ critical awareness of their rights. In Makassar, this approach is adopted and funded by the local government as an independent mechanism to evaluate government performance. Our social audit on World Bank funded CDD in Indonesia, PNPM Mandiri has influence the bank to adopt the approach into community-based monitoring. Social audit is expected to trigger a movement demanding transparency, participation, and accountability which in the end contribute in reducing especially petty corruption at public services.

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

Currently, several of our social audit program is encouraged local adoption. In Makassar city, the Mayor has adopted social audit as part of regional independent evaluation prior to his reporting to the local house of parliament. In this city, social audit has evolved with direct-accountability mechanism from the local head. In many other cities, social audit become embodied into local CSO/ NGOs methodology and practice in various areas, i.e. CSR.

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

Ford Foundation, Transparency International and UNDP is among those that currently also developing social auditing in Indonesia. Much of them focused on rights to information (India model) and/ or on the monitoring sights (corruption). The World Bank has develop a similar initiative called community-based monitoring for their CDD Project, PNPM Mandiri. Led by its interest, the World Bank purpose much more on the project accountability rather than community empowerment. In short, Tifa social auditing approach place itself as; conducted by the people to evaluate policy social impact.

Founding Story

Social audit was started by Tifa Foundation in 2009 through an initial social audit on World Bank funded CDD, PNPM Mandiri. Tifa and its partners, GAPRI conducted the social audit in 15 regions. The results and experience has encourage Tifa to scale up the social audit approach into local development context. In 2010, Tifa made a call for proposal for CSOs/ NGOs that are willing to promote social auditing in their area. In 2011, Tifa testing the social audit in basic services (education and health). Later, it also initiated to seek link between accountability and local political dimension. In 2012, the social audit initiative was evolve targeting corporate accountability in extractive industries and state-owned enterprises.
About You
Tifa Foundation
About You
First Name


Last Name


LinkedIn URL
About Your Organization
Organization Name

Tifa Foundation

Organization Country

, JK, Jakarta

Country where this project is creating social impact

The information you provide here will be used to fill in any parts of your profile that have been left blank, such as interests, organization information, and website. No contact information will be made public. Please uncheck here if you do not want this to happen..

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.)

1) Local government policy reform. In Makassar, MoU between local NGO, community, local parliament and Mayor of Makassar is legalized in 2012 into Mayor Decree and stated funding from local budget. It acknowledged community rights to evaluate government performance, as well as obligation for local administration to provide access to all official data required (based on Right to Information Act No. 14/ 2008). The MoU
2) Donor agency policy reform. Our social audit on World Bank funded PNPM Mandiri in 2010 has influenced the bank to adopt the approach into community-based monitoring.

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

Here, sectoral government agencies mostly see citizen as intruder when conducting social audit. For them, only state and government bodies or parties that has been appointed by the government that can do auditing. In practice, social audits uncover facts, including indications of corruption, or at least inappropriate service that will definitely be an issue for agencies that are audited. This, become part of the most feared and is the major factor for rejection. Thus, the social audit approach should encourage literacy and empowerment before it being used as an advocacy tools.

Partnerships: Tell us about your partnerships.

Since 2009, our partnership has grow from one (2009) into more than 20 partnerships across 12 provinces. Tifa normally works with NGOs. Our partnership was delivered through technical assistance and grant support. Our partners was spread from Aceh province (Western Indonesia) to West Timor province (Eastern Indonesia).

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

Create an environment where people give feedback freely.

Please elaborate on your answer to the above question.

The rationale behind social auditing was originally to assess the extent to which such claims on development feats are indeed reality on the ground. The manner of assessment is to a certain extent different from other mainstream forms of evaluation. Social audit sought to ensure that ordinary citizens hold the power to participate in assessing the development process from their perspective and determining how far development within their own environment has contributed in making a difference in their lives. Rare is the case where evaluation is built on indicators set by the people themselves.

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


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?

Currently, our approach in social auditing has led citizen to acquire their knowledge to evaluate the extent to which development has brought about the desired social impact, to propose better policy alternatives on development practices, and to advocate for changes necessary to improve the situation from the people's perspective. Here, social audit contributes to further democratizing the relationship between the state and its citizens. We are very eager to continue our learning on the relation between social accountability and political dimension.

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)

Physical gathering.

If other, please specify

In general most our partners prefer to use physical gathering. However, we also have experience in using photo voices.

Could you briefly describe the way you collect the feedback?

Social auditor collect evidence and facts from fields, consults with villagers to ensure validity of people feedback. Facilitated by local NGOs, social auditor collect official data to confront findings from the fields. The results was analysed and consulted back with villagers through FGDs and village meetings. Depth interview was used particularly for the poorest, disable, and women. The results than consulted to related local government bodies or agencies that are responsible with development project that currently being audited.

What mechanisms are in place to protect people from retribution?


If other, please specify

The result from community social auditing will treated as community documents. NGO later reproduce the results as position paper

What are the immediate benefits or incentives for people to provide feedback?

Confirmation of use of feedback

If other, please specify

Incentives are vary from direct access to free health services into policies and project implementation in the community areas.

How do you ensure new and marginalized voices are heard?

Specific targeted outreach efforts

If other, please specify

In-depth interview (no FGD to ensure that their voice was not compete with regular public voices)

What are the incentives for the intended recipient to act on the feedback?

I am collecting the feedback for myself!

If other, please specify
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

Reports and direct meetings were conducted to gain and ensure feedback.

How is feedback published/transparent?

Written report

If other, please specify

We use written report and disseminate through public meeting as well as release to media (printed and online)

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

In Sukabumi district, we used photo voices tools as one of medium for social audit in health budget program. The tools seems effective. For example, the poor Halimah family (46 years old) who is shot by Selajambe citizen, and later published in mass media, come up with a quick response from Government of Sukabumi District. Halimah is pregnant with her tenth child. Her husband, Cece (45 years old) is a building labor. This family helplessly live in an ex chicken coop above deserted fish pond area. If we use this as case study, Halimah family poverty is a casus belly: extreme poverty which is not touched by the rapid development. For this finding, Sukabumi District Head proclaims the Renovation Program for 1.250 Proper Houses. Halimah family has inspired the policy change into pro-poor. Now with ten children, this poor family can live in the proper house. The house is donated from many parties. Halimah and the whole family have been living in a better house compared to chicken coop that they used to live. Later, the Regent has also pursuant a decree to establish a Forum of Healthy Sukabumi District. The forum involves and has commitment to supervise each program and health budget. This partnership value USD 38,000 and has encourage District Policy to build 1,250 Proper Houses with local finance of USD 250,000 from the local budget and various other sources. More on the case of Halimah is here:

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

First, the main and foremost challenge in carrying out social audits is to ensure that the service provider's or the government's response to the findings of the social audit is completely in accordance with the times and the needs of the citizens. Currently, social auditing has been successfully providing oversight and feedback assessment from the field directly and in a relatively fast rather than any bureaucratic or political approaches that are currently available. Even so, a relatively quick and precise response is needed to ensure any findings from social audit does not decay or less relevant.
Second, some success story were collected in advocating citizens demands, but still less grown into citizen advocate themselves (NGOs-driven advocacy). In other cases, it led NGOs transforming roles to become a mediator, mediating between the interest of policy makers with its citizen.
Third, the rising of “new elites” that are field community auditors from villages who have a series of criteria ranging from; high confidence, skilled public speaking, trained in practicing community-based audit, as well as being able to mobilize social capital, including access to NGOs.
Fourth, finally as an approach, social audit is still seen and perceived as a community development agenda, rather than as a political agenda. Although findings from social audit has been responded, but it is still yet required a follow-up to be able to meet citizen demands (actualization of rights).

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


If other, please specify

Ensuring response on the feedback is as well timely and precisely relevant to the feedback.

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?

Social accountability approach in development.

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

The format is to long and not friendly to people that not familiar with computer, form, box and sheets. In short, there are too much questions and orders to follow. The other is the use of English as formal language for competition is already eliminate various experiences from around the world.

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?

I do not know what exactly is this question address?