The International Republican Institute (IRI) has convened a two-day capacity-building training for National Assembly committees on social audit exercises and public hearings from July 6 to 7, 2023.
The training brought together four National Assembly committees on the theme: Expanding the National Assembly Committees’ Oversight Functions In Evaluating Government Policies and Programs through Social Audit.
The social audit training and subsequent support to conduct social audits and public hearings will give the parliamentarians the insights and perspective they need to enhance their oversight functions.
The Chargé d’Affaires at the US Embassy in Banjul, Eric Mehler, underscored that social audits play a pivotal role in promoting good governance by enabling citizens to actively participate in decision-making processes that affect their lives.
“They provide a platform for citizens to hold their elected representatives accountable for the actions taken and resources allocated on their behalf. Social audits empower citizens to actively engage with the government expressing their opinions and concerns,” Mehler said.
Mr. Mehler further revealed that they had invested more than $7 million in programs focused on strengthening the legislative, political party, civil society, and media sectors to strengthen democratic institutions and enhance transparency and accountability in governance.
Despite their regular support to the National Assembly regarding capacity building, it is good to note that this is the first time IRI has provided comprehensive training to the four parliament committees – training on social audit exercises and public hearings.
“The committees benefiting from this training and support should be able to evaluate government policies and programs through social audits,” said the IRI Resident Director for the Gambia, Jimmy Sankaitauh.
The training will be followed by fieldwork and extensive community engagement about the social audit findings.
“IRI is trying to create new ways in which citizens can be involved in the work of the National Assembly for impact and visibility, thereby leading to trust,” Jimmy added.