Month #1 at ANSA

I cannot believe that I’ve been in the Philippines for over a month!  I’ve become (well, somewhat) accustomed to the heat, always-noisy streets, smog, and the occasionally frightening tricycle commute. Never again I will I take the ease of getting around in the US for granted – it often takes me an hour to get to another neighborhood in Quezon City, two hours to get to downtown Manila (only about 6 miles away), and three to get to the airport or beyond the Metro area.

Environment aside, I’ve also settled into my work at the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and Pacific (ANSA-EAP). I am working on the Citizen Participatory Audit (CPA) initiative, which is actually a joint effort between ANSA-EAP and the Philippine Commission on Audit (COA) that aims to include citizens and CSO partners in the auditing of government projects and to make audit results more available and accessible to the public. My role is to incorporate geospatial data into the audit process itself as well as use geospatial data to promote transparency and accessibility of the audit results. I spent the first couple of weeks in meetings with ANSA-EAP and COA getting acquainted with their projects and sharing my own ideas. The second week of my fellowship was spent on beautiful Lake Taal, as I got to sit in on COA meetings in which they wrote their manual on geotagging (using GPS to record location of observations) in audit fieldwork. I tried my best to understand the discussions even though most of it consisted of civil engineers speaking in Tagalog – a little out of my realm of understanding. The rest of June was spent developing GIS trainings for ANSA and COA and preparing a proposal to COA regarding the integration of geospatial data and GIS into the audit process.

I have about a week and a half before I leave Quezon City for the Southern Luzon province of Albay, where I will be joining COA for the audit of disaster funds in Albay! Until then, I am writing a manual on using GIS in the auditing of disaster mitigation, response, and recovery activities, intended to supplement the International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions (ISSAI) guide: “Use of Geospatial Information in Auditing Disaster Management and Disaster-related Aid.” I will be recording knowledge on explicitly how to implement ISSAI’s recommendations. More about the audit fieldwork and further work in the next couple of posts to come!

 

Until next time,

Caroline