Dr. Frank Fowlie was recently contracted by the Governance Support Project to conduct a capacity building review of the Balochistan Ombudsman.
Balochistan is one of four Provinces in Pakistan, and is located in the North West part of the country, and shares an international border with Afghanistan to the North and Iran to the West.
The Provinces has a population of about 9.5 million people spread over 32 districts. The Provincial Capital is Quetta, which has a population of about 2.5 million. It is an old colonial city, originally built and designed for 50,000.
The Balochistan population is believed to host some 2.5 million Afghans who have relocated since 2001.
Balochistan has an overall literacy rate of 30% (Males – 48% and females 22%). There are low levels of internet penetration and computer literacy.
The language of the Provincial Government, including the Ombudsman, is English, while the majority of the population speaks Pashto, followed by Udru, Baloch, and tribal languages.
The security situation in Balochistan is impacted by the Taliban and terrorists, which restricts movements of officials in the Province.
In August 2015 Dr. Fowlie traveled to Quetta, where he spent two weeks conducting a capacity building review of the Office of the Ombudsman.
The World Bank Country Office in Islamabad is the Trustee and administrator of the Multi Donor Trust Fund. The Trust Fund was established by state actor donors to provide mechanisms to build confidence in governmental institutions in areas of Pakistan where government activities have been traditionally weak, or where tribal systems such as jurga exist.
The World Bank funds a Governance Support Project which interacts with the provincial or Federally Administered Tribal Area administrations to provide expertise in strengthening governmental activities.
The Office of the Ombudsman has been identified as a key mechanism for citizen engagement. The Governance Support Project funded the capacity building review.
Dr. Fowlie did his doctoral work in designing evaluation frameworks for Ombudsman institutions, and is regarded internationally as an expert in this area. In the two weeks he was in Quetta Dr. Fowlie conducted 16 sets of interviews or meetings with close to 100 people. He also was the key note speaker at the Forum of Pakistan Ombudsmen where he delivered a lecture of Strengthening Your Ombudsman Systems.
Dr. Fowlie reviewed a random sampling of Ombudsman files in English; and reviewed relevant ordinances and regulations; and operational and human resources systems.
Dr. Fowlie has 35 recommendations for capacity building and improvement with the Office of the Ombudsman. He has outlined four critical recommendations:
- Right – sizing the human resources of the Office of the Ombudsman to make the organization more agile and capable in redressing citizen complaints;
- Providing training in Ombudsman related topics and computer literacy to Investigations Officers and other staff;
- Developing a mechanism with the Provincial Government to ensure that the budgetary and human resources are sufficient to provide services;
- And developing a communications and outreach strategy to raise awareness of the Office of the Ombudsman amongst the general population.
The Ombudsman, the Governance Support Project, and the Province of Balochistan are presently studying these recommendations.