20150915 International Day of Democracy 370x298

Today, as International Day of Democracy is observed, Coffey focus on the 2015 theme – space for civil society. Helping civil society find, and use, its voice is a key element of many of the programs we deliver on behalf of donors across the developing world.

A trial survey of PNG citizens about their access to, and opinion of local services via SMS technology was a success and is likely to be scaled-up.

The initial survey, which targeted PNG’s Alotau district, was designed by Dr Richard Guy and Dr Amanda Watson from the Coffey-managed, Australian Government-funded Economic and Public Sector Program.

More than 1000 PNG citizens responded to questions about access to local services, including health, education, village courts and transport infrastructure.

Other questions focused on the level of respect in the district for women and girls, the performance of public servants, and awareness of instances of corruption.

The broad aim of the project is to determine whether this method of reaching citizens can bring about positive change in remote locations in Papua New Guinea.

A second trial survey was conducted in Unggai-Bena District, in the Eastern Highlands. In both districts, local stakeholders were extensively engaged and involved in shaping the survey.

These innovative surveys have given communities the opportunity, via mobile technology, to have their voices heard at all levels of government.