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Collaboration increases community engagement and monitoring in Choma, Zambia

16 January 2023 | Collaborations

Member survey report 2022
Community participation in local decision-making is set to increase in Choma, the provincial capital of Zambia’s Southern Province. A new app has been introduced that translates local languages into English. The app will make it easier for people to access information about, and contribute to, community development plans and projects. The app is an initiative of social innovators, the People Driven Development Collaboration, which celebrated the start of 2023 with the news that their proposal for support of their people-centred concept, the Privilege Framework, had been accepted by the Choma Municipal Council.

The Framework is the result of cooperation between government, local communities and the Collaboration. It integrates group member Sipho Mwanza’s AI powered data platform Rural Senses. The platform was designed to support local government by ensuring that projects submitted for the constituency development fund represent the community’s needs and build on their existing strengths, in alignment with the values and priorities of the country. It also aims to ensure that the concerns of underserved communities are heard. This approach reinforces accountability and transparency when it comes to project selection for the authorities. But it also ensures that community members are able to monitor projects themselves.

Sipho Mwanza
Sipho Mwanza of Open Net 4.0 Zambia

Seeking partnerships to scale

Sipho Mwanza, of Open Net 4.0 Zambia, saw an opportunity to use this approach in his country when the allocation of Constituency Development Funds was recently increased, requiring heightened scrutiny of the fund’s expenditure.

The Framework was demonstrated during Catalysing Change Week 2022, with a catalytic grant from Catalyst 2030 helping to launch the project. The collaboration now awaits final approval from the national government to begin action on the ground. They hope to scale their framework by attracting partner funders during Catalysing Change Week 2023.

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