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Some recent experience in Community Voice Card: An innovative tool towards assessing service delivery for MDGs
Neela Mukherjee

Community Voice Card (CVC) is emerging as a handy tool for peoples’ assessment of delivery of services by different agencies, whether government, non-government or private agencies. Peoples’ views are important as they are the main clienteles and stakeholders of the development process. The scope of CVC (also termed as Community Score Card (CSC), Community Voice Tool (CVT)) for assessing MDG-related performance from peoples’ perspective hold great potential in absence of appropriate tools for measuring peoples’ satisfaction with the way the MDGs are progressing in the developing countries. The tool under reference has been applied to at least four countries for achieving different objectives as below. CVC was first applied as a tool for institutional assessment while undertaking a Participatory Poverty Assessment (PPA) study at a sub-national level in 2004-05 in West Bengal (India). Realizing the potential of the tool and the community response, it was refined within an institutional framework of good governance, which helped to evolve a set of criteria for assessing delivery of services by different institutions. In the late 2005, it was further developed as a tool for participatory monitoring system for Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) and Millennium Development Goal (MDG)-related indicators in Nepal and was applied in 2006. In August - September 2006, the tool was piloted in Moldova to see its applicability in terms of monitoring MDG-related indicators under PRSPs by the civil society. In 2007, the tool has further been refined and is being applied towards long-term monitoring of institutional performance in a poverty reduction project in South China, covering 3 provinces.

The above description shows that CVC has come a long way since 2004 though still evolving through cross-country experiences. The remainder of the paper provides an account of the context, objectives, key elements of the projects, implementation strategies, costs, challenges faced and how they were overcome, lessons learnt, innovative features, replication possibilities and other dimensions of CVC.

Thanks are due to PRD, Government of West Bengal, Planning Commission, Nepal, UNDP-Nepal, UNDPMoldova, Participation Council-Moldova, Mihail Peleah, Sujatha Viswanathan, Amitava Mukherjee, M.N. Roy, Dilip Ghosh, Dilip Pal, Subrata Chakravarty, Madhumita Parihari and the local communities engaged in community voice tool. Thanks are also due to Neil Fernando for his generous editing of the paper. All errors and omissions can be attributed to the author.

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