Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Supporting Social Enterprises from North West to Nepal


Building on the mission that "Our outlook is International", The Women's Organisations Development Manager Lisa McMullan was thrilled to be invited to visit Nepal to work with local Social Enterprises. Working in collaberation with SAN (Social Audit Network) UK and SAF (Social Audit Forum) Nepal the visit was an opportunity to train local Social Enterprise leaders in Social Accounting and Audit.

SAN UK began working with colleagues in Nepal back in 2004. Providing consultancy support to the Department of Education and local community facilitators, the SAN team, led by John Pearce, contributed to social accounting and audit becoming a mechanism to support community participation and promote accountability within the primary education field. Today, social audit practices are integral to the monitoring, evaluation and direct payment of community education schools.

Since then, Nepal has experienced significant constitutional and political change; and improving governance systems and widening participation in decision making have been identified as priorities for the country’s development. In response to this, a group of local development professionals established the Social Audit Forum (SAF-Nepal). SAF is a pioneering not-for-profit organisation that promotes good governance through participation, transparency and accountability.

SAF-Nepal has been promoting and developing social audit practices in a range of community support projects and is committed to improving the quality of social audit practices and its longer term impacts. As part of this commitment, SAN UK is supporting SAF-Nepal by sharing its experiences and expertise in implementing our social accounting and audit model.

From 14 – 16 May 2011, Lisa facilitated a 3 day ‘Prove Improve and Account’ workshop for 23 Nepali colleagues – directors, members and supporters of SAF-Nepal. The aim of the workshop was to develop a shared understanding of the SAN model and to explore how it can be best adapted to the context in Nepal. Over the 3 days, the group considered the New Guide to Social Accounting and Audit, using a case study and SAF-Nepal to put some of the theories & tools into practice. For example, SAF-Nepal reviewed its values; agreed a set of output and outcome indicators; completed a comprehensive stakeholder analysis; and participated in a mock social audit panel. During the visit there was also opportunity to discuss and understand the public audit practices in Nepal which is more focused at small development project level. SAF-Nepal is now developing its own guide to social accounting and audit for wider implementation.

Having successfully completed phase 1 of SAF-Nepal’s action plan to promote social accounting and audit practices, efforts are now focussed on securing resources to develop five model organisations by supporting their own social accounting and audit processes, and to establish a bank of accredited social accounting advisers and auditors in Nepal.

For more information on The Women's Organisations international links, research and support for social enterprises please visit www.thewomensorganisation.org.uk or contact Lisa directly on lisamcmullan@thewo.org.uk

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