The USAID-funded Iraq Governance and Performance Accountability (IGPA/Takamul) project, launched in 2017, supported federal and provincial government to improve service delivery through four components:
- Improving service delivery capacity
- Providing economic reform and public financial management
- Ensuring public expenditure monitoring and oversight
- Supporting Iraqi Change Agent empowerment
As the Project’s Arabic name Takamul (meaning “integration”) implies, activities integrate governance functions at the provincial level while also promoting cooperation between federal and provincial government entities. In addition, IGPA/Takamul involves civil society in the decentralization process to ensure accountability, transparency, and citizen buy-in. Through this integrated approach, the Project worked to bring about tangible improvements in the daily lives of Iraqis and to strengthen the relationship between government and citizens. The Project’s main office was in Baghdad with two regional offices in Basrah and Erbil as well as additional provincial coordination offices in Anbar, Babil, Najaf, Ninewa, and Wasit.
Improving Service Delivery
The Project provided technical assistance to newly decentralized directorates to improve operations and public services through business process reengineering. IGPA/Takamul also developed easy-to-use standard bidding documents to streamline public procurement and trained provincial officials on how to customize the documents for specific projects. Activities worked to improve services for water, solid waste management, and electricity.
To improve service delivery, IGPA/Takamul helped provincial officials prepare bidding documents worth USD 1.5 billion for 136 projects, including water systems, roads, schools, and solid waste management. So far, $272 million-projects were awarded using these documents. The Project also reengineered business processes to improve water quality from treatment plants in Basrah and Anbar, bringing turbid water to drinkable levels for 80,000 residents.
Promoting Economic Reform and Public Financial Management
To provide sustainable funding for service delivery improvements, IGPA/Takamul worked with the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and provincial Administrative and Financial Affairs Directorates (AFAD) to enable provinces to generate their own revenues and manage their own budgets. Areas of support included training AFADs on financial reporting and budgeting and working with provincial councils to enact local revenue laws.
IGPA/Takamul trained AFAD staff in each province on financial reporting templates, with all AFADs submitting annual financial statements on time and in compliance with MOF regulations. In addition, the Project supported all Provincial Councils to enact legislation for Local Revenue Generating Units, which will be responsible for managing local revenue collection.
Monitoring and Oversight of Service Delivery and Public Expenditure
By working with civil society partners and local officials to develop accountability frameworks, IGPA/Takamul is building effective feedback mechanisms to help ensure that government responds to citizens’ needs. Areas of support include capacity building to CSOs on communications, planning, and monitoring of service delivery, as well as working with local government to develop effective citizen complaint systems.
IGPA/Takamul trained 133 CSOs in 10 provinces to conduct accountability activities, including water conservation awareness campaigns, community trash clean-ups, and citizen surveys. In Babil, the Project established Tawasul team, a mobile citizen complaint desk that utilized public forums to address more than 100 service delivery complaints, impacting 400,000 residents.
Supporting Change Agents
The Project identified and supported Iraqi Change Agents to advocate for improved service delivery and provided them with ongoing training to ensure their sustainable impact. Change Agents came from academia, nonprofit organizations, local service directorate, and women’s groups.
The Project identified 64 male and 44 female Change Agents and trained them on topics related to organizational structures and change management. As an outcome of these trainings, Change Agents in Basrah evaluated trash collection in al-Thaghar subdistrict and reported to the governor, who increased fuel allowances to enable trash vehicles to operate more often.
Mainstreaming Equality and Inclusion
Across all four components, IGPA/Takamul promoted gender equality and the inclusion of vulnerable populations in local governance decision-making. The Project helped to operationalize and train Provincial Women’s Empowerment Departments in five provinces and the KRI to mainstream gender and social inclusion in policies and budgeting. IGPA/Takamul also trained business process reengineering teams on social inclusion and gender perspectives to help incorporate women’s and minorities’ needs in reengineering work.