CoST Honduras celebrates its 2017 pioneers of social accountability

Since it was established in 2014, CoST Honduras has had great success in advancing the core CoST component of social accountability – that of working with the media, civil society and others to translate technical information on infrastructure and disseminate it in the public domain. In 2017, the initiative made particular progress in this core component, training approximately 300 stakeholders including, journalists, students and representatives of the country's Citizen Transparency Commissions. 

Celebrating effective reporting on infrastructure transparency 

In January CoST Honduras awarded its second journalism award for infrastructure transparency reporting to Mr Josue Quintana for an article exposing a miscalculation on a road and bridge expansion and reconstruction project.  

Journalists receive awards at a CoST Honduras event.Mr Quintana outlined how the project in the Honduran tourist corridor would cost L.12, 280 million (USD $520 million) and take 15 years to pay off. He reiterated recommendations from the CoST Honduras Third Assurance Report which called for renegotiation on the project’s contract. The article was published on the influential Honduran media outlet, La Noticia.  Thanks to these recommendations and pressure from the media the Government is now reviewing the contract. 

In second and third place came Karl Martinez, a journalist from LTV television, who reported on the same story and Karen Ordónez, an independent journalist who questioned the creation of bus terminals and municipal markets which favoured big corporations over the needs of small businesses
  
The three journalists had originally participated in CoST Honduras training and had received a diploma on 'Investigative Journalism of Transparency in Infrastructure' which was sponsored by CoST Honduras and the Institute of Access to Public Information and validated by José Cecilio del Valle University. This year CoST Honduras will run two journalism awards which will open in June and December. 

Promoting infrastructure transparency in academia  

Twenty-five university students completed the first virtual diploma on infrastructure transparency run by CoST Honduras with support from the Institute of Access to Public Information and the Metropolitan University of Honduras. 

As with other social accountability innovations of CoST Honduras, this activity was developed to be inclusive and wide-spread across the country. Students were selected from eight regions outside the capital city and included those from a range of courses including, social sciences, engineering, science administration, communications and architecture. 

The diploma was accessible to students in their final years who were required to complete the 50-hour course from November - December. Its core topics included: the right to access public information, the CoST disclosure and assurance processes and related mechanisms, and the role of social auditing and CoST governance. 

CoST Honduras plans to replicate the course through a Mass Open Online Courses (MOOCs) to continue building capacity of students interested in advancing infrastructure transparency.

Infrastructure transparency pioneers graduate from School of Social Accountability

A social accountability graduate receives her diploma certificateIn January CoST Honduras awarded 27 members from Citizen Transparency Commissions and women’s networks from eight regions of the country with a diploma in social auditing in infrastructure from the Honduran School of Social Accountability. 

The course, run by CoST Honduras for its second year and certified by the National Commission for the Development of Non-Formal Alternative Education (Coneanfo), introduces professionals to reviewing the transparency of infrastructure projects in order for them to raise awareness on this in their work. The course focused on core modules including: an introduction to social auditing, how modern technology can be used to improve auditing and interpreting technical infrastructure information. 

Graduate Waldina Martinez, Network of Women of Santa Ana expressed her appreciation of the course: 

“We are enormously grateful to CoST for taking the initiative and training us on infrastructure issues which are incredibly important to Honduras. We learnt a great deal and there is a need to both practice and pass on knowledge to other colleagues. I look forward to applying what I have learnt.”

The graduates will now join the Network of Social Auditors of Infrastructure which was established last year to co-ordinate activities and provide a platform for sharing lessons. In 2018 the Network members will pass on knowledge to other professionals starting with representatives from different Citizen Transparency Commissions training colleagues in their respective regions. 

Useful links 

Click to read about CoST Honduras
View photos from the graduation of the social auditors and the journalism award for infrastructure transparency.  

Date Published: 4 April 2018
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