On the sidelines of the Open Government Partnership Global Summit in Ottawa, Integrity Watch Afghanistan’s Executive Director, Sayed Ikram Afzali, and a small number of other leading civil society leaders met with President Obama. The civil society leaders shared the stories of empowering communities and using new technologies for smarter and better government.
Integrity Watch’s Executive Director shared the story of community-based monitoring from Afghanistan. Integrity Watch’s community-based monitoring started in 2006 with people monitoring infrastructure projects in their communities. During the last decade, the community monitoring program has expanded to schools, open trials, health clinics, and mining across the country working with more than 3000 volunteers in more than a dozen provinces. Specifically, he said
“Afghanistan has great potential to become a responsive and accountable state to its own citizens and the international community. Our communities have proven that they are resilient and able to mobilize their own resources to fix problems on their own. At Integrity Watch, we believe in people and provide them with the space and support they need to hold their government accountable. On that note, if I could take President Obama somewhere in my community, I would take him to a school in Kapisa province where the local community has taken responsibility to fix the problems at their own school despite lack of resources and lack of government support.”
President Obama said in a statement following the roundtable that he was inspired by these stories and he believes it will create a better world for all human beings. He stated:
“On Friday, I had a chance to meet with some inspiring young leaders from around the world who were in Ottawa last week for the Open Government Partnership Global Summit. From Kyrgyzstan to Argentina, we ‘re seeing a new generation taking the reins to empower others and harness new technologies for smarter, better government. It’s inspiring—the kind of thing that will create a better world for all of us.
Here is the full statement by Obama Foundation: President Obama Talks Accountability, Leadership, and Change with Global Leaders in Ottawa