In Mali, many stakeholders are involved in Procurement Governance and this can make it difficult to monitor if and how actors are held accountable for their actions, therefore necessitating social audits. Social audits are a way to help keep all involved actors in check while promoting transparency, inclusion, and open communication.
Social audits, which are specific processes of social accountability, can be an effective means through which programs can provide evidence that smallholder farmers are competing fairly in the school feeding market. PG-HGSF Mali aims to establish social audits as a practice over the long term in the communities where it operates. Currently, the Mali team is piloting social audits in Sikasso, Kolokani, Banamba, and Koulikoro through informative public restitutions sessions.
In the context of Mali, public restitution is when a public body (a commune and/or school) explains to the community (parents and farmers) what happens during the process of procurement, highlighting issues around funds, transactions, and necessary procedures. It also gives the community the opportunity to raise questions about the procurement process that they might not understand. Since October 2013, 3300 people from all facets of the community and local authorities (local government and decentralized education services) in the area of school feeding have attended public restitution sessions. These informational sessions have served to educate and to encourage the commitment of those involved in school feeding through highlighting potential financial success, social impact, and emphasising the need for transparency and support of other individuals in the community.