GESOC is a civil society organization (CSO) committed to improving the efficiency, sustainability, and responsiveness for the production of social value by the government, companies, and civil society organizations themselves. Prior to working with Global Integrity, GESOC focused on providing evidence on the capacity of subnational governments to plan, execute, monitor, and evaluate federal and local social policy through a national and state-level index.
Since 2017, Global Integrity and GESOC, alongside the Mexican Access to Information and Data Protection Institute (INAI), have worked together to increase the usability and accessibility of data, boosting citizen participation in fiscal processes to support progress toward more open fiscal governance in Mexico.
In our latest collaboration, GESOC sought to improve the quality of mechanisms for citizen participation at the subnational level by promoting and encouraging proactive disclosure of information by subnational governments in open formats and by facilitating the actual use of data to shape government decisions.
We tailored our Data Use & Impact service to GESOC’s needs, in order to facilitate efforts to improve access to information in several municipalities; develop the capacity of local partners to understand and use budget information; and strengthen the efficiency, transparency, and accountability of local budget and policy processes.
We focused in particular on helping GESOC accomplish the following:
- Strengthen their networks with organizations carrying out advocacy efforts at state and municipal levels;
- Co-design projects with CSOs and networks in different municipalities;
- Facilitate multistakeholder dialogues, bringing together citizens, CSOs, academia, the media, and government officials in several municipalities to identify priority challenges and reflect on relevant data / data sources; and
- Present research on data and data use in a more accessible way.
Our collaboration with GESOC and INAI tested different ways to use data about public resources to improve the design and implementation of social programs and strengthen citizen engagement in municipal procurement and planning. GESOC adopted lessons from this work to inform engagement with state- and municipal- level partners in many other jurisdictions. Processes start with identifying and addressing local challenges (such as corruption in Cohuaila or coastal management in Quintana Roo) and then seek to use the data produced by GESOC, as well as public information on the use of public resources, to advocate for changes in how local authorities address those challenges. GESOC is now working to take this approach to the federal level, especially in regard to social policies that aim to address the needs of vulnerable groups throughout Mexico.
According to GESOC, working with us enabled them to create a network of local allies in municipalities from more than 10 states, spark interest in undertaking similar projects in other states, and strengthen their capacity to expand their work at the national level.
“In order to consolidate the participation of civil society in Mexican subnational politics, it is crucial to engage with partners at the local level and facilitate learning and exploration for initiatives that can create positive impacts in the lives of citizens,” said Alfredo Elizondo, GESCOC’s General Coordinator.
Overall, the social focus that GESOC brings to the table has been valuable in further emphasizing the idea of helping citizens to address development challenges faced on a daily basis. In order to maximize success and increase the chances of achieving impact—especially in complex projects such as these where local partners are in the driver’s seat—we will continue regular communication and reflection on project implementation.