| 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
In January 2012 a Government Resolution was made to formally approve a national mechanism to accelerate community development. The resolution enabled PNDS to be established.
PNDS is implemented through a 12 step cycle process:
1. “Socialisation” at district and sub-district level
Community meetings at districts and sub-district level ensures community leaders understand how PNDS will work, and their role in the process.
2. “Socialisation” at village level (village and aldeia); selection of the village management team and village facilitators
Community meetings at the village level explain PNDS to the wider population including their role in the decisions making processes, and starting with the election of a local team to manage the project in their village.
3. Open bank account and transfer 100% of operational fund
Operational funds enable the holding of meetings and other preparatory work by the community.
4. Training of village management team and village facilitators
PNDS staff provide training in: financial management and accounting; project planning, management and monitoring; social inclusion and gender equality.
5. Decide village and aldeia priorities
Villages identify and rank their priorities; including proposals submitted by women-only meetings.
6. Preparation and verification of project proposal
Top priorities are selected and project proposals developed, in liaison with district staff of relevant government ministries (e.g. education, health).
7. Prepare detailed plan
Facilitators help village teams to plan budget of materials, costs and timeframe for construction of infrastructure. (Local labour and suppliers are preferred.)
8. Finalise contract with the community, and implement the project
The final project proposal is signed into a contract between the PNDS community management team and local government representatives.
9. Transfer first instalment of infrastructure funds (50%), and commence construction
After the community contract is signed, the village is given access to the first half of the infrastructure funds.
10. Hold accountability meeting, and transfer final infrastructure funds (50%)
Facilitators need to hold regular accountability meetings with community and post reports on noticeboards during the construction process, in order to release the second tranche of funds.
11. Complete construction, and handover to the operations and maintenance team
The community manages the maintenance of the new infrastructure, including any future cost.
12. Hold final accountability meeting, conduct audit and evaluation
The implementation strategy of PNDS is composed of different phases:
1. The pilot phase was implemented in 30 villages out of the 442 villages present in Timor-Leste. The pilot phase served to test the Program Operations Manual (POM) and to provide lessons learned to the Government of Timor-Leste, prior to the implementation of the program nationally. This phase was completed in June 2014.
2. First Phase (Phase 1) of the implementation has been undertaken in 149 villages. These vilages are now at step 9 – 10 (construction – first accountability meeting 50%), this phase started in September 2013.
3. Second Phase (Phase 2) of the implementation has been undertaken in 91 villages. These projects are now at steps 8 – 9 (finalised the contract with community – implementing the project – first infrastructure funds transferring 50% and initiating the construction). This phase started in February 2014.
4. Third Phase (Phase 3) of the implementation has been undertaken in 202 villages, including the pilot villages. This phase is now at steps 3 – 4 (open village’s bank account – training on modules for Village’s Management Teams). This phase started in July 2014.
| 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
An Inter-Ministerial Committee and the Inter-Ministerial Technical Working Group (GTTIM), were established to oversee the program. The Inter-Ministerial Technical Working Group (GTTIM) is co-chaired by the Ministry of State Administration and the Ministry of Finance and includes the Ministries of Health, Education, Infrastructure, Agriculture and Fisheries, and the National Development Agency. GTTIM’s role is to ensure:
• proper development and implementation of PNDS
• timely allocation of funds to village, and
• oversight of resource allocations to implement PNDS in accordance with its objectives and principles.
The program is managed by a National Program Secretariat in the Ministry of State Administration. The secretariat provides technical assistance and manages program planning and design. The secretariat also provides support to district coordinators and sub-district staff.
District coordinators conduct regular field visits to village to monitor progress. They ensure the program is implemented according to core principles, and on schedule. They inform the Secretariat of any delays, implementation problems and their resolution, with particular attention to women’s and other marginalized groups’ participation, and transparency issues.
Sub-District staff assist their communities with the planning and design of projects, construction supervision and financial accountability, as well as, ongoing mentoring, monitoring and evaluation. This builds understanding and support for community participation and builds the skills of the community members.
During the implementation process, the government is assisted actively by other stakeholders such as NGOs and other Timorese development agencies including the church and other religious representatives which monitor the progress. This is necessary to ensure the appropriateness of program implementation according to the established guidelines; the appropriateness of the fund expenditure in responding to the villages’ necessities; as the main objective of PNDS program is achieved - to assist in improving the life of communities living in rural areas.
| 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
National funding for PNDS will amount to approximately US$ 294.3 million over an eight-year period. Villages receive different amounts of funding. The grant value for each village is guided by objective criteria, such as the village’s degree of remoteness and population and ranges from $40,000 to $70,000 for infrastructure.
Grant funds provided to village are made up of two parts, operational funds and infrastructure funds.
Operational funds, approximately 10-14% of the total grant, can be used for: Incentives for village team, Transport, Office equipment, Stationery, Photocopying, Communications, Meeting costs, Training costs, Survey and design costs
Infrastructure funds, total village grant minus the operational funds, can be used for: Construction materials, Labour, Materials transport, Tools, Equipment hire and other services as needed.
In addition to the above, each village will also manage Operations and Maintenance Funds. These are funds collected from each household in the community and are used for the operation or maintenance of infrastructures and works built or rehabilitated through PNDS.
The technical teams from PNDS will provide full assistance to villages’ communities. Sub-district facilitators are civil servants who work directly with communities to help implement the PNDS project.
They assist communities to plan and design projects, oversee construction and financial accountability, as well as providing mentoring, monitoring and evaluation.
A key role of the sub-district facilitators is to train the Ekipa Jestun Suku (EJS, or Village Management Team) in basic administrative and technical skills so they can successfully manage PNDS activities.
There are three different sub-district facilitators: social, technical and finance.
Sub-district social facilitators provide coordination support at sub district level. They ensure gender equality and social inclusion of women, people with disabilities, and others people who are traditionally marginalized. They also monitor the functioning of the EJS and assist with performance evaluations of these teams and their members.
Sub-district technical facilitators assist communities to decide what infrastructure they need. They assist communities to construct the project themselves (without the use of contractors), helping with proposals, designs and budgets and procurement. They train members of the Village Management Team in design and construction, and assist with the training of construction and work teams.
Sub-district finance facilitators ensure communities have a clear understanding of financial management processes, including procurement rules. They assist the Village Management Team to plan, request, utilize and account for operational and infrastructure funds provided. They also ensure finance updates to the community are clear and easy to understand. They check village financial reports to verify expenses and assist with project audits. They also train members of the Ekipa Jestun Village in financial management, bookkeeping and reporting.
| 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
1. The implementation of the PNDS will support the achievement of the goals of the National Strategic Development Plan 2011 – 2030 of the Government of Timor-Leste.
2. The approval of Law no. 8/2013 on National Program of Village Development. This law gives legal basis to the implementation of PNDS as a program that the state of Timor-Leste chose as a national government program.
3. The establishment of the Inter-ministerial Technical Working Group (GTTIM), with the main role to ensure the appropriateness of policies’ development of PNDS program, of fundings allocation to villages; to conduct supervision on resources allocation in implementing PNDS.
4. Clear principles and objectives for PNDS - such as the demands priorities should come from the community: this means that the community will make plan, decide, manage grants, will be responsible for program outcomes and funds expenditure and as well the operational and maintenance of the infrastructures; gender equality: this means woman and men have equal right in the processes of decision making and shoul equally beneficiate from the program; transparency: this means all community have right to have easy, convenient and on time access to all technical information of the projects, including financial statements, in order to facilitate them in decision making and monitoring the project implementation; responsibility of accountability: an effective accountability principle should be promoted in all decision making, fund expenditure and project execution.
5. The existence of a Program Operational Manual (POM) that serves as a guideline in directing all villages’ across the country on how to ensure the appropriateness and success of PNDS program implementation.
6. The recruitment of public servants to work on PNDS. There are approximately 400 staff recruited by GoTL as public servants to provide support to PNDS in villages across the Country.
| 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
The main objectives of PNDS monitoring and evaluation systems are to provide reliable evidence in measuring the program performance and to ensure the transparent and accountable use of all funds.
PNDS has multiple layers of financial reporting and monitoring, designed to ensure the transparent and accountable use of all funds. These are clearly outlined in the Program Operations Manual.
Monitoring at the community level
It is the community’s right to be informed about PNDS, including financial information, as it is their money. Each village holds two formal accountability meetings in an implementation cycle, one during project construction, and one after the project is completed. Community members are told how much money was spent, and on what. All community members (men and women) are invited to ask questions, raise concerns or make suggestions. Monthly financial reports are also posted on community noticeboards throughout the implementation process. A key aim is to ensure financial information is easy to understand for the whole community.
If community members believe funds have been misused, they can contact the Village Planning and Accountability Commission or the District Development Commission, or a facilitator they trust.
Accountability to the Government
Each Community Management Team submits a monthly financial report at the sub-district monthly management meeting. From this data, regular reports are made to both the Ministry of State Administration and Ministry of Finance.
Sub-district financial facilitators and the PNDS district accountant conduct regular monitoring visits to villages to confirm funds are being properly managed. Random spot-checks are conducted to check procurements and other payments, and ensure all transactions are properly accounted for. Instances of non-compliance are immediately reported to the PNDS District Coordinator.
The Office of Inspection and Internal Audit of the Ministry of State Administration is responsible for auditing within PNDS. PNDS funds may also be subject to Audit by the Chamber of Auditors of the Administrative, Fiscal and Auditors High Court.
A clear M&E framework is in place and its implementation is overseen by the M&E Department of the PNDS Secretariat. The M&E system provides guidelines, procedures and instruments to:
Conduct assessments of the results and foresee the potential obstacles based on findings before and during the program implementation and as well on lessons learned.
Regular fiscalisation on projects’ progress using routine and systematic monitoring, monthly reports, supervision visits to villages, technical audit, finance and social management and a mechanism for complaints.
Collect the information using a community participatory style monitoring system.
Create inventory listing of rural infrastructures to be used as baseline and additional planning.
The M&E system provides information on management to PNDS Secretariat and Districts Coordinators. In addition to that, M&E also provides information to the Commission of Inter-Ministerial Coordination and other government agencies. But most importantly, the M&E system provides appropriate information back to the community on their projects.
Overtime, there will be continuous studies to further analyse issues that arise during the implementation of PNDS and to keep record of best practice and lessons learned. Possible topics to be considered are:
Community capacity in managing local development projects, social capital and social cohesion in the process of development led by the community.
Effectiveness of local level institutions.
Social inclusion and gender balance in the governance structure of the community.
Cost comparison of infrastructures project developed by the communities and private sector.
. Women leaderships in CDD program.
. Innovation in finance management of community infrastructure projects and the difference between rural and urban areas.
PNDS Secretariat is responsible to coordinate these studies that will be done by national and international researchers and/or organisations.
| 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
Timor-Leste as a new independent country living in the globalisation development era needs to be well prepared. The PNDS is a new program, complex and a type of development which the Government of Timor-Leste wants to offer to community at village level. This idea arose as a way to involve the community as the owner of the development in responding to a number of basic principles of social development elements such as poverty reduction, community demand driven, community management, gender equality, transparency, accountability and participatory learning. The processes of achieving these objectives always face a number of obstacles and challenges. However, we believe that there are always solutions and ways that the implementers could use to overcome the problems encountered and bring PNDS program to success. The challenges or obstacles met during PNDS program implementation have been as follows:
There was insufficient trained workforce to draw on to employ 400 civil servants as Sub District Facilitators (Solution: intensive training was conducted for 400 young people prior to the start up of PNDS)
. Initially there was minimum participation from the community, but the dissemination of information as well as the progress of the program has seen improved community participation throughout the phases.
. Communities in rural area have not yet appropriate and sufficient knowledge and awareness on management (finance and technical). The presence of Sub-District facilitators that always accompany, and provide capacity development through training in order to ensure that the villages management teams are able to appropriately and effectively manage PNDS program, has improved this situation
. Fraud and bad management: PNDS facilitators have identified there were some frauds and bad administration cases during projects’ implementation. However, with the regular monitoring, PNDS facilitators were able to identify these issues, investigate the villages’ financial records and then conduct a meeting with villages’ leaders and community to prevent and secure the funds.
. The social and geographical situations are also a main obstacle. However, in facing these challenges PNDS always cooperates with local authorities and leaders to established a strong cooperation for the successful implementation of PNDS according to the guidelines.