Learning from partners in Pará

We made a second trip to the state of Pará this month to follow up on school lunch monitoring campaigns and interview a range of different actors to learn more about their experience using Promise Tracker. Over the course of the week we interviewed 26 people in Belém, Santarém and Ponta de Pedras and recorded more than 13 hours of audio!

Among those interviewed were students, school directors, teachers, school lunch staff, members of school committees and public prosecutors. We got a wide range of perspectives on ongoing campaigns and opportunities for engagement through monitoring, but the theme that came up over and over in conversation was the importance of school lunch and the myriad of consequences for both the health and education of students when things aren’t working as they should.

Through interviews we were able to learn more about different approaches to citizen monitoring in Santarém and Ponta de Pedras as the 2 cities offer some interesting differences in their approach to implementation of Promise Tracker. In both cases the Social Observatory of Belém has played a key role in introducing the tool and partnering with local groups in its rollout. In Santarém, the tool was adopted by a very engaged and well-structured student movement that works with other local stakeholders to organize around a variety of issues in addition to school lunches. In Ponta de Pedras, the tool was introduced to the school community as an initiative of the Public Prosecutor’s office.

Working with partners in Pará over the past several months has given us a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities for using a tool like Promise Tracker to organize for accountability on a local level.  We’ll be gathering collaborators from this phase in São Paulo in January to share learning from this pilot and we plan to publish a set of case studies with these insights in early 2017.

During this visit we also had the opportunity to follow up on the partnership between the Federal University of Pará and the Ministry of Transparency, Supervision and Control that has been using Promise Tracker as part of course material in public budgeting and accounting majors. We are looking forward to seeing the work that comes out of this semester!