Día Blanco (White Day) – Strategy for Transparency

In a context where the channels between institutions and citizens have been broken by corruption, Día Blanco [White Day] is developed to promote bonds of trust and legitimacy among communities. In the last 3 years, more than 35,000 citizens have been mobilized by this innovative experience, which helps social organizations to inform their communities about their management and impact on local development through social accountability exercises.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

In Medellín, social control has gained strength based on the high corruption rates in the management of public resources that have marked the country. At the same time, citizen's interest in the subject is growing and, with it, the need for an accompaniment by the institutions so that this exercise becomes a functional participation and feedback tool between civil society and public institutions.

In the fight against corruption, citizen participation is key. An active society and vigilant of the public institutions’ management is essential to control the State and, in general, public resources. To that extent, one of the objectives of citizen participation in social control understood as a form of participation that allows citizens to determine the conditions (how, when and where) in which public management is developed through suggestions and, if necessary, complaints.

From the municipal administration, the Citizen Participation Secretariat supports and reinforces Social Control exercises through promotion, research, and training processes which seek to encourage citizens to participate. Also, it provides tools to the people who perform the exercise to qualify and enhance it in time. Particularly, the Support Team for Social Control of Public Management promotes and encourages the linkage of social and community organizations to strengthen the exercise of best practices and self-regulation.

The accountability exercise is one of the most representative expressions of co-responsibility that can be carried out by these actors whose management impacts the territories. It is a moment of the community working for the community, in which bonds of trust and relations are built and strengthened to join efforts for achieving common objectives. Accountability makes possible:

• To build relationships of trust between the actors from different sectors of society.
• To understand the organization, its operation and the results of its management.
• To asses, correct and adjust actions and projects according to the opinions and contributions that arise from direct dialogue with the community.
• To promote transparency in the entities' actions.
• To maintain communities interested in social work.
• To strengthen the relationship between the community and the organization.
• To evidence the legitimacy and legality of the organization.

The process accountability has a specific moment of execution, called Día Blanco [White Day], where social and community organizations, after receiving training and advice on how to communicate and inform communities, generate spaces for dialogue where different stakeholders participate. Día Blanco [White Day] is composed of several city events where organizations carry out face-to-face simultaneous exercises of Accountability in all the communes and townships of Medellín.

This process is innovative because there are no experiences in the country and in Latin America that have managed to mobilize many citizens. In addition, over the last six years, its implementation has generated interest among people towards these dialogue spaces, and each year an average of 200 organizations and 9000 citizens are mobilized and participate in the programmed Accountability activities. On Día Blanco different actors participate, such as the Social Organizations, the Communal Action Boards, the Local Administrative Boards, the citizens, and the municipal administration.

In the Development Plan 2016-2019, the project the Public Sector Counts on You seeks to strengthen the ability of citizens to influence public management. At the same time, it finds in Día Blanco a key strategy to achieve this objective. Therefore, this project is meant to continue along with different terms and to achieve this, it counts with the support not only of institutional but also of citizens and social organizations.

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