The Opportunity of a Lifetime: Serving on the Social Accountability Committee
“When I was presented the opportunity to become a member of Danan Woreda Social Accountability Committee (WSAC), I was open to it because I was always wondering how I could better help my community,” said Dahat Abdi Hassen, a member of Danan WSAC, Somali Region, Ethiopia.
In 2017, Danan Woreda Social Accountability Expert informed Dahat that she was identified to represent her community in the Woreda Social Accountability Committee. “Being a member of the committee was a really great way to voice my community concerns and priorities,” Dahat said, adding that the expert carefully briefed her about the Ethiopia Social Accountability Program3 (ESAP3), service standards and WSAC.
Located in the Shabelle Zone of the Somali Region, Danan Woreda has an estimated total population of 87,380, of whom 49,703 are men and 37,677 are women (Central Statistical Agency of Ethiopia, 2018 Projection). It is one of the 31 woredas in Somali Region selected for Ethiopia Social Accountability Program 3. VNG International has partnered with Organization for Welfare and Development in Action (OWDA) to implement the program in the region.
“It turned out that I didn’t take much time to accept the opportunity, considering the minority Somali Bantu group I belong to,” Dahat said. “There are a lot of needs and priorities to be addressed in our community. Specifically, the Somali Bantus I represent were marginalized from basic services for years and this is a good opportunity to voice their needs and priorities,” she added.
The Danan SAC was formed in 2017, with 12 voluntary members, the majority of whom were drawn from community groups, including women association, marginalized population, elders and religious leaders, among others. Representatives from relevant government sectors, such as woreda council and administration, were also incorporated.
In addition to the “very valuable experience” she has gained so far from becoming the committee member, Dahat said she was able to understand all aspects of her community needs and hopes. “I want to offer my community the best of what I have at this point in my life. I’m passionate about the Social Accountability Program, and have no doubts that the impacts of the program will be huge in my community,” she expressed.