CoST is driving public participation through social auditors in Honduras

We know that informed citizens who demand accountability from their public institutions can support the reduction of corruption risks in infrastructure projects, enabling people to have access to better and quality public services.

Six years ago, CoST planted a seed of developing transparency in Honduran infrastructure projects. Today, this seed has grown and spread to several Honduras regions to ensure social accountability in benefit of transparency and the communities that depend on public infrastructure projects.

The School of Social Auditing in Infrastructure (EASI) was created in 2017, through CoST Honduras. This project offers a teaching and learning space to prepare citizens and members of civil society organizations to undertake social auditing in public infrastructure projects.

Evelyn Hernandez, Head of Affiliates and Members of CoST International, underlined that “the objective is to develop capacities in citizens to use information and data in infrastructure projects, to monitor and audit, and to contribute to improve infrastructure, such as: schools, health centers and water and sanitation systems, so the people and communities can receive better public services”.

Over 120 people took part in this five-month programme between 2017-2021, conducting assurance studies in their communities as part of the project.

Hernandez highlighted that “all of the social auditors have structured themselves into a network that shares methodology and experiences, and now they are enriching and sharing their knowledge with other organization members in Honduras to drive transparency.”

In 2018, the citizens trained by CoST formed, the National Network of Social Auditors (Renasi). In coordination with the National Convergence Forum (Fonac) and the Secretariat for Transparency and Fight against Corruption (STLC), Renasi now participates in projects to follow up on the commitments adopted within the framework of the Open Government Partnership (OGP).

This consolidated process is tangible evidence that good preparation work in areas such as transparency, access to public information, technical capacity building and compliance with laws and regulations has produced results.

The Renasi recently celebrated a National Congress, that brought together many of its members, and the convention was named “Evelyn Hernández” in honor of our Head of Affiliates and Members of CoST International.

“I am grateful to CoST for training us as social auditors. It has caused quite an impact in myself and my community” said Kenia Pineda, president of the Renasi.

This history of perseverance, dedication and commitment has led to results in the transparency and accountability of infrastructure projects in Honduras.

“I think this practice has given us a lot of satisfaction because we have achieved our objectives”, expressed María Urquía trainer and Renasi member.

Along with the government and the private sector, Honduran social auditors helped disclose information on 1,800 public infrastructure projects valued at 30 billion lempiras (US$ 1,213,394,100), including projects executed through public-private partnership mechanisms.

Social auditors have been a fundamental bastion in the strengthening of the democratic system and transparency during the last years. We are proud to have worked on this project and alongside this group of Hondurans committed to their communities and their people, who have given us the best reward we can hope for: continuing to transform infrastructure through increased transparency.