Performance focused Procurement Reforms and Capacity DevelopmentCitizen engagement in Procurement management and over sight
Around 70 -80% of the funding centered on procurement of assets to enhance livelihood options, schools and community physical infrastructure schemes which required procurement of office furniture, equipment, learning material and livestock etc. Over time there emerged a shared understanding of accepting community level procurement as a strategic underpinning to development. The departure from a standoffish procurement support to a participative one at community level paid its dividends and together with the other relevant members from PPAF and Bank of Task team processes were developed that met the objectives of participation, efficiency and cost-effectiveness, quality of goods and services, and transparency. In case of CDD inclusive procurement is an aspect that was found to be a very high reward area in terms of enhancing transparency of interventions and targeting. The Community Institutions (CIs) lacked expertise of managing financial and procurement activities and thus needed capacity building in order to make them self-sufficient. The PPAF shifted the driving seat of the projects to CI’s level under supervision of the POs with PPAF as apex body. The interventions where PPAF is operating are by and large far flung areas where basic necessities of life are scarcely available. The Procurement Unit did not have resources to design and deliver customized training programs on Financial Management, Record Keeping, Community Procurement and Asset Management to over 1200 CIs. Responding to this,, the PPAF prepared “CDD Procurement Guidelines” in Urdu along with all relevant procurement formats so that they can understand it easily. For procurement of sewing machine and Qingqi rickshaw, tool kits, livestock etc. communities were required to submit three quotations for the desired procurement with the intention that lowest bidder will be selected. With verbal agreements more binding Shopping was \"foreign\" procedure rendering process complex and rife with misguided attempts to comply with the three quotation \"rule\" by fabricating one or more offers. Alternate method of procurement, where there are limitations on account of availability of vendors etc., was introduced and the issue of procurement in absence of competition was addressed. The beneficiary had no idea about the cost of the asset given to him/her and there was margin of manipulation in the process. They are made part of the process which put positive effects on their income. Now, the assets they procure are better in quality, durability and/or breed. PPAF introduced the Community Resource Persons (CRPs) to build local capacities and over 4000 Community Resource Persons (Both male and female) were trained to further train CIs members for just Rs. 3000-5000 per day. However, the traditional method of imparting training was adopted in classroom sort of environment which did not produce the results as desired. The Procurement Unit of PPAF trained procurement CRPs as master trainers for animated film on procurement process and gave target to train 20-30 community members in story-telling way through Digital Hubs at the honorarium @ Rs. 100/- per participants. A similar pictorial booklet in Urdu is also prepared as a hands-on source for learning.
The Procurement Unit (PU) intended to mainstream communities into the process so as to reduce their dependency on social intermediaries. Turning this into a reality, required that the communities had a sound and sustainable financial, procurement and administrative systems. PPAF strategized procurement function in a way that empowered the community organizations i.e LSOs, VOs and COs (Abbrev) were involved right from selection of assets to be procured till handing these over to the beneficiaries. This empowerment has changed their lives and now they have become the custodian of the process which gave them a sense of ownership. They put all their efforts to procure the best quality at best rate as they know that the assets being procured are for themselves and for their welfare. Resultantly, the procurement process has become more transparent and cost-effective and value of money is being attained. The PU planned to train focal persons among community members who could build capacity of the other members for effective and smooth procurement. To address this issue, the PU adapted the concept of “Community Resource Persons (CRPs)” to be chosen from their respective communities. This could be materialized only because the community members now had exposure of the market and the empowerment had boosted their confidence level. These CRPs have now trained a considerably large number of CIs members so far and the number is increasing persistently. The engagement of the CIs in procurement process has also enhanced the livelihood of the people. Now the livestock procured by the beneficiaries himself/herself with support of the procurement committee is better in terms of health and breed than the one they were handed over without their involvement. The healthier animals enhance income of the household and ultimately boost economy of the area economic activities. The CIs are now working as proper institutes more transparently than the previous approach. The goods and services are being procured more economically and efficiently. There are participatory decisions taken by women, which have considerably enhanced the overall productivity. The women were made part of the community procurement process by including them in procurement committees for the first time which was almost impossible in such far flung and remote areas of the country cultural religious. An impact study on LEED beneficiaries in Kharan, a remote district in Balochistan, reports high degree of satisfaction with assets and training and the graduation of around 54 percent of households out of the ultra-poor and vulnerable categories. Eighty percent of beneficiaries expressed a high degree of satisfaction with the asset transferred to them and reported utilizing it for income generation with a positive effect on household income. The estimated average increase in household income was around Rs. 4,500 per month.
The building of local capacities by training young people as community resource persons has been a successful strategy to engage youth and create a network of development activists at the community level. There were some COs where the office bearers such as President, Vice Presidents, Finance Secretary and Record Keeper etc. were being paid while other COs office bearers were working voluntarily. Tension began to surface with passage of time and it became difficult to sustain these enterprises. PPAF has developed a successful approach for the ultra-poor which has been successful in helping to increase income and expand the livelihood opportunities of the poor in a more effective and efficient manner by providing productive assets and income enhancing vocational and technical training opportunities. In an instance in past, due to lack of community’s involvement, one of the POs in Balochistan procured several hundred goats from Sindh under LEED Project and handed over to the beneficiaries in Kharan which was unharmonious for the same breed. Ultimately all the goats died gradually along with some goats which were previously owned by the beneficiaries. Now, the scenario has been changed and the community members are involved in the process. They procure the livestock not only compatible with their environment but also best in terms of cost, health and breed which has increased their income. It was generally perceived that the women of rural areas remain far off such activities in which males are involved but CDD procurement approached taught that women could also be part of the procurement activities. The level of participation, understanding and awareness of the communities is remarkable owing to the fact that the training is imparted by the CRPs of their respective areas in their local language. Audio visual aid was never that easy to make the illiterate people understand and absorb. The conservative community members misperceived that the intrusion of NGOs in their villages is against the teachings of Islam and did not like the social mobilizers to “mislead” them. To counter this misconception, the local religiously influential personalities were briefed in detail and convinced that the welfare of the down-trodden was exactly what our religion preached. The idea clicked and the conservative villagers began to accept the NGO workers. Due to this transformation, all the activities are now being self-monitored by the respective vigilance committees constituted by the community which is more effective as constant vigilance is carried out by the committee members. Audio-visual support is also provided to the committees to record the activities which are presented at relevant forums as and when required. These pictures, videos, success stories and reports are shared through “Digital Hub”.
In case of Community Procurement, goods are generally local manufactured at local level and resort to competitive procurement methods prove counterproductive to principles of procurement. The PPAF developed Community Procurement Manual in local language with animated films and pictorial booklets for easy understanding of the CI and the communities. The manual provides solution to overcome difficulties while carrying out different types of local procurement. It also provides different formats pertaining to procurement and also suggests how community can procure goods in case of non-availability of verifiable quotations, goods and vendors. Besides, the PU designed, developed and delivered customized training sessions in local languages for better understanding of diversified communities of KPK, Balochistan and Sindh. The PU prepared animated movies on Community Driven Development (CDD) covering the core concept of CDD, CRP formation, how to develop Union Council Develop Program (UCDP), Financial management, Procurement process, Record keeping and Capacity Building. The animation pertain to procurement process has enshrined how to initiate the process; how to prepare the procurement plan and why it is so important before initiation of any procurement process. It highlights how to establish procurement committees and what should be its composition. An innovative idea of “Vendor Mela” to establish “Digital Hubs” is also visualized in the animation which suggests that for technical sort of procurement where sufficient information is not available, the vendors of the close vicinity should be invited for proposals. Similar pictorial booklets have also been prepared and disseminated among the community members which are hands on source of learning at any time and any place. To fortify the outcome, soon a similar mobile application will be developed and launched for the community members. Digital Hubs were created within LSOs to support them by providing basic equipment and to generate some income for the respective LSOs. Digital Hubs (DHs): The Digital Hub is a social enterprise which is meant to earn revenue and generate opportunities for the communities and a unique platform to foster rural connectivity in an innovative and sustainable manner. As a pilot, 80 Digital Hubs have been set up across the PPAF LEED program UCs, with the prime management and functional role allocated to the LSOs. To establish these digital hubs required procurement of ICT equipment, delivery, installation, after sale services and training to users (community) how to operate and maintain the ICT equipment. The community was involved completely in establishment of these DHs right from identification of need to procurement of equipment. The PPAF organized a workshop for the communities to train them how to prepare “Statement of Need” and “Statement of Requirement” to ascertain what to procure for establishment of DHs. Then the specification was prepared for the identified equipment i.e computer, printers and cameras etc. The community invited the vendors of the close vicinity and obtained proposals. The vendor offered the best proposal in terms of cost, quality and after-sales services was selected.
The PPAF is the pioneer of Community Driven Development (CDD) approach in Pakistan. Earlier there was no such concept in the country. However, such model is developed and is in place in neighboring countries, India and Bangladesh where it is operating successfully. In Pakistan, implementation of such model is highly replicable as the marginal communities throughout the world have almost the similar problems that the communities are facing in Pakistan. They are illiterate, non-technical and reside in far flung areas where traditional methods of procurement are sometimes not applicable. Lack of capacity is their major problem. Their requirements are also the same as we have in Pakistan i.e education, food, hygiene, physical infrastructure schemes etc. which consume a large chunk of the funding and there is a dire need of developing their capacity to strengthen the procurement process. The innovative idea of training of CRPs to further train the communities would help a lot to prepare them get ready for the driving seat. CDD procurement guidelines in Urdu following the footsteps of PPAF and prepare animation and pictorial booklet to further strengthen CIs knowledge and understanding. The manual, animation and pictorial booklet would be the best approach for other organizations to implement CDD model successfully.
In response to rising poverty the Government; in the late 1990s, decided to establish with World Bank support, an Apex institution that would serve as a specialized funding institution that would guide poverty reduction through civil society organizations. Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) was thus created, to operate as an independent entity that would identify and develop civil society organizations, and fund them for specific interventions that would lead to socio-economic development. The first WB funding PPAF-I, focused to develop the capacity of civil society organizations so that they could provide micro loans to the poor at the grassroots level. PPAF developed into a wholesale micro-finance provider. The next tranche of 5-7 year funding to PPAF, titled PPAF-II was launched. While the focus on micro-credit continued, two additional areas were added, i.e. Public Goods and Services, and a focus on disaster and the Sindh Coastal Area Development (SCAD). PPAF-III, the concluding phase of Bank funding added a component titled Livelihood Enhancement and Protection. The Community Driven Development (CDD) was pioneered in 2009 with inception of PPAF-III. It was determined to be an excellent approach to achieve better results by involving 573,000 community organizations across the country. At present, with 134 partner organizations, the PPAF is working with these community organizations present in 100,000 villages and 130 districts. Several challenges were overcome to fortify the model such as arrangement of trainings for communities, development of CDD procurement manual, introduction of CRPs, animated film and pictorial booklet. The Vendor Melas were organized to establish the Digital Hubs for procurement of technical equipment etc. Please see http://www.ppaf.org.pk/proc/animation/PPAF_Ep_03.zip
Digital Hub Establishment Report.pdf