office of ombudsman

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
Before the implementation of the Online Declaration Asset System (ODAS), they were using paper based system whereby a staff from the Office had to go door by door to each Office of government institution distributing declaration booklets to officials concerned with declaration of assets. After Filling the booklet a declarer had to bring the filled booklet to the Office of the Ombudsman himself or through a messenger, consequently; disabled people would suffer from travelling burdens, poor would suffer transport cost, etc. The booklets had to be stored in a safe place and filed in alphabetical order, by institution. Both, Office of the Ombudsman and the institution of declarers would have to pay mission allowance expenses, transport, printing, logistics, etc. The Office of the Ombudsman was running out of storage area for the boxes containing the booklets. The safe boxes are very expensive very heavy in such a way that lifting them, and even moving them during the cleaning of the room requires hiring specialized companies; hence pushing the Office of the Ombudsman into unexpected and unproductive costing.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
After facing various challenges related to the declaration of assets faced by different citizens declaring assets to the Office of the Ombudsman, institutions, as well as the Office of the Ombudsman itself, Office started looking for possible solutions that could alleviate the challenges. The Office of the Ombudsman by then was headed by the former Chief Ombudsman Dr. Tito Rutaremara came up with an initiative of looking for a modern system that could help to solve the problem. The Office of the Ombudsman planned the initiative, budgeted for it, and implemented it, and it was inaugurated in July 2011 with main objectives of streamlining its services, through making the declaration process easier, paperless, confidential, self-service, cost effective, smart reporting and hence giving smart services to citizens. The Online Declaration of Assets System (ODAS) is easy and efficient facilitates a safe and cheap filing and archive of assets declared, Faster Declaration of Assets process; Faster and error free reporting ; Avoid typing errors which might occur when doing data entry from paper based booklets; Improved monitoring of declarers; you can monitor online how declaration process is progressive; Saving time and money for declarers transport as well as for the Office of the Ombudsman in printing, transport, logistics, etc. The target audience being all the individuals concerned with the activity of declaration of assets( high ranking Officials and other civil servants determined by the law determining the mission, powers, organization and functioning of the Office of the Ombudsman).

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
The initiative is creative in such a way that it has thought by the Office of the Ombudsman itself, it is unique, so it was a matter of brainstorming, thinking, scratching your head in order to get the roadmap of how it could be done. There was no similar system to copy from and unfortunately the declaration format of the Office of the Ombudsman is unique also. The system encouraged the declaring community to use ICT and those had weakness in the use of computer, internet or ICT in general have been trained by the Office of the Ombudsman. The experts of the Office of the Ombudsman went District by District training people on the use of ICT and especially of the Online Declaration of assets System (ODAS). Currently the declaration of assets is done online

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
Like a roadmap, it provides the direction for the project, the project manager needed to set the course for the initiative. The project plan that would contain all the planning documents for the initiative. It is essential for them to understand the importance of this set of documents with its content, since they would be asked to review and approve the documents that pertain to them.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
Different stakeholders were involved in implementation of the ODAS initiative and we can specify main actors starting from the Ombudsman team by then: Dr. Tito Rutaremara Chief Ombudsman, Mrs Mukarurangwa Immaculée Deputy Ombudsman in charge of preventing and fighting corruption, Mr. Nzindukiyimana Augustin Deputy Ombudsman in charge of preventing and fighting corruption and related offenses , Mr. Mbarubukeye Xavier Permanent Secretary, Mrs Mwiseneza Jeanne d'Arc Director of declaration of Assets Unit, Mrs. Kalinijabo Yvonne Director of finance and administration, Mr.Rutayisire Célestin Database and Applications Administrator, all the staff in the unit declaration of assets, support team from Rwanda Development Board Information Technology(RDB-IT) for technical advice, consultancy company from private sector, Ministry of Youth and ICT
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
The resources used for the implementation of the ODAS project were fully mobilized and funded by the Office of the Ombudsman. These resources include but not limited to hardware server, software server operating systems, other server side application software like MYSQL server,PHP, Apache, Laptops, desktops, switches,router,communication equipments like telephones, internet modems, internet subscription, Secure Socket Layer (SSL) licenses, cpanel Licensing, transportation and mission allowances for trainers going to each district , communication allowances and training modules. All these resources were fully funded by the Office of the Ombudsman.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
ODAS is a result of transition from a paper-based to an electronic system which increased the effectiveness of asset declaration and management as summarized below:  ODAS is easy, user-friendly and efficient as it facilitates a safe and cheap filing, as well as archive of assets declared because storing declarations in the form of soft copies takes a smaller space to a big ration compared to storing hard copies of books;  Faster and error free reporting;  Makes data retrieving for checking purposes quicker and easier;  Improved monitoring of declarers as you can monitor the progress of declaration process;  Saving time and money for declarers transport as well as for the Office of the Ombudsman in printing, transport, logistics, etc.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
During the Online Declaration of Assets System (ODAS) implementation , the progress was monitored based on the benchmarks set in the terms of reference step by step always by verifying and whether the work done by a stakeholder responds to the needs expressed in the plan and terms of reference and validated. In case a module is not responding to the reference they rectify and restart. Presenting the milestone to other institutions, declaring community and others for testing and feedback was a good system of evaluating the activities and how progressive is the project implementation and importantly to know if the initiative would meet the needs of the citizens. In case suggestions from feedback indicated missing functionalities these were added immediately or modifications were made and so on and so forth. Successful development of the Online Declaration of Assets System (ODAS) incorporated monitoring modules that enable the Office of the ombudsman to monitor declaration activity progress whereby, if a declarer reacts to an invitation for declaration a staff can see that change of the status, number of pending declarers, up to submission step and this is possible anytime, from anywhere in the world so long as you have internet access from his/her IPAD, phone, laptop, etc. A discussion forum available from the website enables continuous monitoring and receiving feedbacks from different people.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
The main obstacles that were encounter during the implementation of ODAS are as follows: • Limited Internet connection and electricity in rural areas; in some areas during the trainers found out that there internet connectivity issues, electricity power is not stable in some areas of the country and this results into internet connectivity downtime. To overcome these challenges, the Office of the ombudsman requested concerned companies and institutions to sort out these problems. • Resistance to change: some people rested to the change due to their Mindset saying that they would like to keep on using paper made booklets. To overcome this, different trainings for sensitization took place and definitely all declarers were convinced that the use of to the use of Online Declaration of Assets System (ODAS) is advantageous to them and used it successfully. The Office of the ombudsman also prepared user guides on the use of declaration of assets system (ODAS) in a form of downloadable pdf files, WebPages and videos accessible via internet and advertisement posts on television, and news papers.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
The Online Declaration of Assets System (ODAS) was implemented in order to receive annually the declaration of assets of high ranking officials and others civil servants determined by the Law determining the mission, powers, organization and functioning of the Office of the Ombudsman. The declaration of assets started from 2004 and was paper – based. The following are the most important benefits results of ODAS:  The online Declaration of Assets System (ODAS) has removed administrative procedures using paper based letters as far as declaration process is concerned;  A declarer does not need to go through hierarchical steps to communicate to the Officials from the Office of the Ombudsman and vice versa;  ODAS is a contribution to encouraging the civil servants and public institutions to the use information and Communication technology (ICT).  It also enhances safe back up and facilitates administering the activities of declaration of assets.  Timely providing good services to declarers, reducing cost on both sides i.e government on one hand and declarers on the other hand is one of the main objectives of the initiative.  Solving a problem of paper piles increasingly that could fill up the store rooms, and their management  Confidentiality: declaration online is confidential as there is no intermediate person/agent between a declarer to the system; he or she types directly into our secured system  ODAS is accessible from anywhere in the world to all users via internet.  Access is made easy , available 24 hours/day, 7days /week; 12 months/ year by use of your desktop, IPAD, phone, laptop, tablets, etc  Equity is 100% achieved as there is no contact between the declarer and a staff of the Office of the Ombudsman.  There is no queuing to get severed as you access the declaration forms as quick as you connect;  You can interrupt your declaration session for your reasons and resume the activity any time you wish without informing anybody else.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
 Yes, the ODAS initiative is sustainable because it is built on standard infrastructure either hardware or software. It is being sustained through regular maintenance and servicing planned in the ordinary activity plan of the ICT equipments financed by the Office of the Ombudsman. Environmentally, the system does not have any harm, on regulatory sustainability; the initiative was approved by the Ministry of ICT by then.  Yes, The Online Declaration of Assets System (ODAS) can be transferred to other different institutions looking for streamlining their services in a form of knowledge but the system is a sole property of the Office of the Ombudsman. Some institutions have been attracted by the system and started partnering with the Office of the Ombudsman in order to learn from (ODAS);  In different workshops and meetings organized by World Bank, UNODC and StAR Initiative, the Office of the Ombudsman was invited in order to make presentations and shared with other countries the online declaration of assets system experience.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
With Online Declaration of Assets System initiative, it demonstrated that together with constructive ideas you can innovate create and solutions to pertaining problems. During the development of something, construction of a house, construction of a system you are not sure of its success ,but with resilience you can reach to a final useful to the society product as the Office of the Ombudsman did. Declarers prefer receiving oral explanations, support, etc rather than written documentation: People use to request for explanations about the system and you notice that what they ask I available in written documents and even available on the website. Many people showed that they prefer receiving support and explanations via telephone direct calls instead of reading documentation. With the experience of Online Declaration of Assets System (ODAS) initiative the Rwanda we would recommend other Countries in Africa and in the World to initiate and use the electronic systems in order to receive and manage the assets declaration and for other activities. Also the Office of the Ombudsman of Rwanda is recommended to initiate other electronic online systems for other different activities.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   office of ombudsman
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Jeanne d'Arc MWISENEZA
Title:   Director of Decleration of Asset Unit  
Telephone/ Fax:   587182
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   ombudsinfo@ombudsman.gov.rw  
Address:   KACYIRU
Postal Code:   6269
City:   KIGALI
State/Province:   CITY OF KIGALI

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