SiKanda and Open Government
Based on the work carried out within the framework of the project, “Empowering for Food in Oaxaca “, funded by the Delegation in Mexico of the European Union, SiKanda seeks to promote the empowerment of citizens to facilitate their effective participation in the design, implementation, evaluation and monitoring of public policies. SiKanda focuses on public policies aimed at promoting food security and sovereignty, such as the Community Nutritional Food Program of the State System for the Integral Development of the Family (DIF) Oaxaca.
Within the framework of “Empowering for Food”, a series of proposals were generated in order to strengthen the Community Kitchens program. The proposals were the result of working groups in local communities and of the work implemented by the organizations CEDICAM, AC, CENTEOTL, AC, Crecemos – DIJO, AC, Fondo para la Paz, AC, AVSI Foundation in Mexico, GRUPEDSAC, AC, Community Ideas, AC, Puente a la Salud Comunitaria, AC, Colectivo Siembra Konciencia and SiKanda.
The proposals can be consulted by clicking here (Spanish).
Derived from the work of “Empowering for Food”, SiKanda entered in collaboration with the Department of Design and Implementation of Public Policies in matters of Transparency of the Secretariat of the Comptroller’s Office and Government Transparency of Oaxaca, as well as with the Commission on Transparency, Access to Public Information and Protection of Personal Data (COTAIPO, today IAIP). Within this framework, SiKanda was invited to collaborate in the local Open Government exercises that began with the event, “Open Government: Building from the local” held on March 9th and 10th, 2015 in the INAI facilities (National Institute of Transparency, Access to Information and Protection of Personal Data).
With the signing of the Joint Declaration for the Implementation of Actions for an Open Government, SiKanda formally began its work on the promotion of Open Government in the state of Oaxaca.
What is Open Government?
A model of management that incorporates principles, policies or actions of transparency, accountability, access to information, citizen participation and government co-creation, supported by information and communication technologies and aimed at achieving levels of openness and collaboration that allow for the generation of collective benefits.
What are its Components?
- Effective citizen participation
- Collaboration and government co-creation
SiKanda and the Local Technical Secretariat for Open Government
In 2015, the INAI launched a call to replicate at the state level the federal experience of a Technical Secretariat in matters of Open Government.
On April 7, 2015, Oaxaca was the first state that formally installed its Local Technical Secretariat for Open Government (STLO, consult the integration act). The STLO was composed of five members, namely:
- The Institute of Access to Public Information and Protection of Personal Data of Oaxaca
- The Secretariat of the Comptroller’s Office and Government Transparency of the state of Oaxaca
- The Coordination of Transparency and Access to Public Information of the Municipality of Oaxaca Juárez
- The Municipal Collaboration Council of Oaxaca de Juárez
- International Solidarity Kanda A.C. (SiKanda)
These five members represented the State Government, Municipal Government of Oaxaca de Juárez, the local Transparency institute and organized Civil Society.
The STLO seeks to be the highest decision-making body of Open Government in the state. It is a promoter group of this management model that coordinates the preparation of a Local Action Plan for the development of an Open Government exercise.
SiKanda participates in the Technical Secretariat within the framework of its mission, which seeks to promote cooperation among different sectors of society. We believe that occupying a place in the Secretariat allowed us to promote actions that promote greater collaboration between civil society and government and allow the creation of spaces for advocacy in public policy. From the beginning, SiKanda was aware of the Civil Society core concerns regarding the Alliance for Open Government (AGA) on the local exercises promoted by the IFAI , seeking that its participation in the Secretariat was really an exercise driven by citizen interest.
The work in the STLO was delayed by a variety of factors, mainly the change of COTAIPO to the IAIP, the change in the representatives before the STLO on the part of the Secretary of the Comptroller’s Office and the Government’s Transparency of the State and the Coordination of Transparency and Access to the Public Information of the Municipality of Oaxaca, as well as three changes of Facilitator, among others.
For organizations like SiKanda, participating in the STLO is a challenge, because there is no funding for this exercise and therefore the association itself has to allocate resources from its regular program for the various activities and monitoring. However, we are convinced that civil society must occupy all possible spaces that allow it to have an increasing incidence in public policy.
It is also important to create networks and build capacities. Therefore, from October 27th to 29th we participated in the World Summit on Open Government held in Mexico City. This allowed our organization to get in touch with other CSOs working on Open Government issues in Mexico and the world. Also, in the framework of the summit, SiKanda signed the statement “Urgent that the Alliance for the GA becomes an effective platform to help solve the major problems facing Mexico” along with about 190 national and international organizations.
Local Action Plan for the Open Government of Oaxaca
The STLO works are governed by an internal regulation (check it here) and are based on compliance with the Local Action Plan (PAL) for Open Government, a guiding document that includes six objectives aimed at co-creating public policy between citizens and government.
The PAL was created from the experiences of each member of STLO, as well as from the discussions around the Forum “Open Government and civil society: co-creation of solutions” held on June 4, 2015 at HUB Oaxaca where Renata Terrazas participated from FUNDAR , sharing the experience of civil society in the Federal Technical Secretariat. There was also a small public citizen consultation on the problems identified by the citizens in their area (download the results of the consultation here), and work groups were held on August 18, 2015 at the Center for Educational Innovation and Evaluation of the UABJO (invitation poster to the work tables).
The process for creating the PAL suffered the same delays as the STLO jobs in general. Likewise, SiKanda expressed, to record in the minutes, two relevant disagreements. First, the change of the objective that was built by the state government, which at the beginning was directed towards the creation of a portal that allowed the monitoring and geo-referencing of public works, which was transformed into an objective to solve problems logistics of the Municipal Social Comptroller Committees. The second, was that the working table for the creation of the objective headed by the Council of Municipal Participation will be held not on August 18 as agreed, but at a later date and behind closed doors.
Finally, the PAL was officially launched on May 16, 2016, in a ceremony that included the participation of the then Governor of the State, Gabino Cué, and the Commissioner of INAI, José Salas Suárez, as well as the representatives of STLO. See the full document of the Local Action Plan here.
Each STLO member spearheads a particular objective in the Action Plan. As a consequence of the work that began with Empowering Food (Empoderando la Alimentación), SiKanda found in STLO one more space to promote dialogue with DIF Oaxaca. Next, we briefly describe the goal headed by SIKanda.
Objective headed by SiKanda:
“Strengthening of citizen participation in the Community Nutritional Cuisine Kitchen Program of the DIF Oaxaca”
This objective was built on the basis of the work carried out with communities in the Central Valley and Mixteca regions of Oaxaca, as well as with the dialogue established with other civil society organizations, within the framework of the Empowering Food project. Likewise, it was designed in the working groups held on August 18, 2015 at the facilities of the UBAJO, where a group of citizens participated, as well as the Director of Food Assistance of the DIF Oaxaca and SiKanda.
The Community Kitchen Program of the DIF has undoubtedly had an important impact for different communities in Oaxaca. In SiKanda, we trust that the program can be better adapted to the needs of the population and that with the collaboration of organized civil society can be strengthened especially in aspects of training, equipment and support for communities.
The objective, which can be consulted in the complete document of the Local Action Plan, is divided into three stages:
1) Information: the first thing is to make public the information about the program and its operation. This allows civil society to have elements of analysis to make proposals for improvement that are more specific and in accordance with the needs of the Program and the population.
2) Proactive transparency and use of technology: complete information about the program, including the geo-referencing of the kitchens, will be placed on a platform that allows citizens not only to consult the information, but to interact with the DIF Oaxaca to ask questions and write reports about the dining rooms. Likewise, the communities could express their needs for improvement here.
3) Co-creation: the aim is to promote the incorporation of CSOs into the care of the canteens through formal collaboration schemes so that CSOs can adopt a canteen and provide assistance in the priorities identified jointly by DIF Oaxaca, OSC and community. The request could be made online through the portal. Likewise, it is intended that the program incorporate this modality of citizen participation into its operating rules and that CSOs can be involved in the evaluation and continuous improvement of it.
On Friday, August 28, 2015, a meeting was held between SiKanda as part of STLO and DIF Oaxaca, where we were shown the internal platform that the institution has for the control and monitoring of community kitchens. We thought that the platform presents a very important degree of progress, but unfortunately the platform and its information are NOT PUBLIC and citizens cannot have access to them.
On February 2, 2016, Jaquelina Mariana Escamilla Villanueva was appointed as the new Director of DIF Oaxaca, replacing María de Fátima García León, so a meeting was requested to present STLO and PAL. On Monday, April 18, 2016, this presentation was made with the hope of resuming the work to achieve the objective.
After the steps taken by the President of the STLO and the IAIP President Commissioner, Mr. Francisco Álvarez, the information requested from the DIF Oaxaca was obtained for the first time to advance the first step in the fulfillment of the objective.
The information that was requested and the information that was delivered by means of a CD is described below. (See the complete response form by clicking here).
1.- Number of kitchens in operation, location and contact information:
The file was delivered to us: Kitchens 2016 (excel): Download the file cocinas_2016.xls
2.- Total number of kitchens of the program (in operation or not) since its inception:
In the office the following answer is given:
3.- Register of beneficiaries disaggregated by sex and age range:
The file was sent: Beneficiarios 2016 (excel): Download the beneficiaries file 2016.xls
4.- Diagnostics, audits and evaluations of the program carried out to date:
The DIF responded:
“For the diagnosis, an evaluation made by the Universidad de la Sierra Sur that is attached to the file with the name “Diagnostico (UNSIS) .pdf “can be considered. Download the diagnosis-unsis file
“In the case of the documentation certifying the audits carried out to the Community Participation Program for Human Development with Food Assistance (Community Nutritional Kitchen), there are attached files with the names: Auditoria_FAM2013.pdf”, “Auditoria_FAM2014.pdf” and “Auditoria_FAM2015 .pdf. ”
“Regarding the evaluations carried out, the link http://www.transparenciapresupuestaria.oaxaca.gob.mx/pdf/05/ev4/2016/Informe%20de%20evaluaci%C3%Bn%20Fondo%20de%20Aportaciones%20M%C3%BAltiples%20(FAM)%20Asistencia%20Social.pdf
This corresponds to the Strategic Evaluation of Consistency and Results of the Multiple Contributions Fund (FAM). Social Assistance General Branch 33 2014 exercise carried out by INDETEC (Institute for the Technical Development of Public Treasuries)”.
NOTE: the link provided by the DIF Oaxaca is not in operation. Likewise, other evaluations made to the program according to the Annual Evaluation Program of the State Government were not included.
5.- Georeferencing of the kitchens:
The DIF responded:
“The information is available in the INTRANET of the DIF System Oaxaca, the platform offers executive queries through accounts managed by the Systems Development Department to directors and authorized area holders, it should be mentioned that the official page of the Oaxaca DIF System is available at public in general, it is not in charge of the Informatics Unit and does not include the aforementioned information”.
6.- Content and nutritional quality of the endowments by age range and data of the suppliers.
The DIF delivered the file: Content and Nutricia Quality of the Dotaciones.pdf
Regarding the supplier’s data, the file “Fallo_Alimentarios_2016.pdf” was attached, which corresponds to the failure report of the Public Tender where the DIF Oaxaca System performs the acquisition of food provisions 2016.
7.- Responsible area of the DIseño and Operation of the internal platform of the program that contains the information and georeferencing of the kitchens.
The DIF answered: “The responsible area is the Department of Systems Development assigned to the Informatics Unit of the DIF System Oaxaca”. The INTRANET platform of the DIF Oaxaca system is used.
8.- Code or format in which said platform is designed:
The DIF answered: “Information System: SISCCNC (Community Nutritional Nutritional Kitchen Tracking System.) Programming Language: Visual Basic and ASP.NET. Database manager: SQL Server.
After receiving and reviewing the information, the STLO sent an official letter to DIF Oaxaca, urging it to make public the platform they maintain on their intranet, in order to inform the public about the complete and updated information on the program. To this end, a working appointment was requested to discuss the details of said action, reiterating the important commitment acquired with the PAL signature in terms of transparency and government co-creation. The office received it at the DIF Oaxaca on October 31, 2016. No response yet. Consult the office delivered to the DIF Oaxaca by clicking here.
In December 2016, the new Governor of the State Alejandro Murat took office and Mariana Nassar Piñeyro was appointed as the new Director of DIF Oaxaca.
The way forward for the objective stated in the Action Plan is still uncertain. In SiKanda, we trust that the new state authorities will adopt the values of Open Government to jointly build institutions and public policies that are more transparent, efficient and respond better to the needs of citizens.