THE Participatory Initiative for Social Accountability (PISA) will officially open its district-based centres starting tomorrow in Mafeteng.
PISA was initiated by the European Union and German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) as a three year programme funded to the tune of M64 million with the aim of creating dialogue between government and citizens to enhance democracy in the country.
The programme has established ten districts in all districts with libraries furnished with reading materials such as government policies, the constitution, laws and other relevant materials for public consumption to increase their knowledge.
After Mafeteng, the next launch will be at Mokhotlong on Friday, followed by Butha-Buthe, Berea, Thaba-Tseka, Leribe, Quthing and Qacha’s Nek.
Project implementations – Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) PISA communications specialist, Retšelisitsoe Sekake said the specific objective of the programme was to contribute to increasing citizens’ capacity and motivation to participate in democratic and developmental processes.
He said that expected results were enhanced citizens’ knowledge on how to actively participate in democratic and developmental processes.
“Citizens’ participation in democracy at all levels is both a right and a responsibility of citizens. PISA is supporting civic education and public participation regardless of the current affairs,” Mr Sekake said.
He added: “However, being responsive to citizens’ views and needs will be instrumental in shaping effective policies and programme and improving service delivery. This is enshrined in the National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP).”
He said PISA’s mandate was to facilitate dialogue forums between citizens and state representatives on issues of national interest, but most importantly on issues that citizens face in their communities.
Mr Sekake said these forums will create a space for citizens’ voices to be heard, stressing that PISA was not an advocacy programme that puts pressure on government.
Asked how PISA was going to stay relevant owing to the fact that there were already existing programmes similar to this one, Mr Sekake said PISA was an initiative working with a broad spectrum of stakeholders.
“It seeks to support ongoing activities if they are in line with its mandate and complement the efforts where there are gaps.
“PISA is neutral and it seeks to build bridges between citizens and the state in the spirit of joint responsibility, in line with its slogan “Boikarabello ke ba bohle”,” Mr Sekake said.