The purpose of the report is to make the typically complex work of the NAO more accessible for citizens. In doing so, the office hopes to increase stakeholders’ understanding of audit findings and recommendations, leading to stronger financial reporting and internal controls, and ultimately better management of public resources on behalf of all Gambians.
Though summaries like this are increasingly common in the INTOSAI community, the NAO took a unique approach in developing this one. NAO communications staff and auditors collaborated with a local civil society organization, Gambia Participates, to comb through 300+ pages of the original audit report to identify those findings that would be most relevant and interesting for citizens.
Another unique feature of this report is that the NAO is using it as a beta version. The office’s communications team is investing considerable time into collecting stakeholder feedback on design and content in order to guide future versions.
The report benefitted from peer support provided through the Accelerated Peer-Support Partnership (PAP-APP)—a joint initiative of IDI and our regional partners AFROSAI-E and CREFIAF—as well as funding from the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.
During the launch event, IDI’s project manager Dana Wilkins shared the following message for fellow development partners interested in supporting the NAO’s communications and citizen engagement efforts:
- Follow the office’s lead. The NAO has a 5-year strategic plan that sets out its big picture priorities, including engaging more and better with key stakeholders like civil society, journalists and citizens. This is complemented by a communications plan that further details the office’s approach, which includes the development of more citizen-friendly products like this summarized report, along with video explainers, radio programming, and infographics shared through social media.
- Leverage networks and other programming. Beyond filling critical resource gaps directly, one of the best ways development partners can help is to tap into their networks of people, ideas and experiences from elsewhere, and related governance and citizen engagement programming.
- Consider current gaps. Two things we know the NAO is hoping to do at some point—but which are not IDI’s typical suite of expertise—are more community-level engagement and investment in accessibility facilities.
With the NAO leading the way in embracing change and citizen communication opportunities, the combined team of the NAO, IDI and the PAP-APP partners are excited to see its impact across The Gambia, and potentially for other SAIs in the region and beyond.
|For more information on IDI's work in The Gambia, click here.