Aferdita Beka is a public school director and a mother of two children, working in the village of Pantine, located in the Municipality of Vushtrri.  The school Aferdita manages has poor infrastructure, despite being only a few years old.  She faces the additional challenge that many families are pulling their preschool kids out of school due to a required monthly fee to attend.  Aferdita, along with parents and teachers, tried unsuccessfully to demand changes while the school was being built.  Public school directors like Aferdita had little recourse in situations such as these, until USAID’s TEAM activity, through its sub-grantee the Group for Legal and Political Studies (GLPS), introduced a new mechanism for feedback and municipal accountability.  

GLPS worked with the community to gather a group of concerned citizens of different ages and professional backgrounds, including the school director, teachers, and parents to demand accountability through the use of social audit methodology.  The group teamed up to inspect the school thoroughly and record their specific concerns and problems.  In this process, the social audit team listed a set of recommendations for the municipality to improve the newly built school.  The team recommended improvements in terms of safety hazards, access to the school, and requested that the municipality  provide sufficient funding for preschool services to avoid dropouts due to the monthly fee.

“This initiative is widely recognized as it enhances transparency of local governments and promotes accountability of municipal officials,” said Njomza Arifi, GLPS Program Manager.  Moreover, this initiative encourages active participation of citizens in monitoring the work and making decisions for the services they use.  Upon meeting with the social audit team, the municipality began addressing the recommendations demanded by the team in Pantine and teams from other schools in the municipality.  

Two years on, the schools are equipped with adequate safety measures, sports yards, and recreational spaces that have been made available to students.  The mayor also addressed the issue of preschoolers and allocated funds for preschool education.  “Addressing the issue of preschoolers not only brought the children back to schools, it avoided social discrepancies among children and created new job opportunities for teachers,” said the Mayor of Vushtrri.           

USAID’s TEAM activity has piloted social accountability tools, such as social auditing in the municipalities of Pristina and Vushtrri/Vučitrn.  After positive feedback from both citizens and municipal authorities, the initiative was broadened to three additional municipalities (Gjakova/Đjakovica, Gjilan/Gnjilane, and Peja/Pec) and plans to continue social audits in other municipalities as well. 

Social Audit leads to improvements in infrastructure
Aferdita Beka, school principal in Vushtrri
Kosovo Stories