Social Equity Audit

This would mean empowering the vulnerable and changing power relations. It is a process that is organisation-friendly and transparent rather than a fault finding or a policing exercise. SEA will not condone any gaps found, nor does it condemn any lapse. It is a rigorous process that is professional and supportive at the same time, is based on mutual respect, is open to learning, and is open towards understanding difficult field circumstances. The SEA process would be participatory. It would be facilitative and not extractive. All those who have a significant stake in service delivery will be actively involved throughout the audit, from the initial stages of design to implementing community-led solutions. It is a proactive tool to understand and address structural, organisational and strategic constraints and bottlenecks that prevent or limit the marginalised and vulnerable communities from equitable participation and benefit sharing in development programmes.

Principles

  • The process is organisation-friendly and transparent rather than a fault finding. SEA will not condone any gaps found, nor does it condemn any lapse.

  • It is a rigorous process that is professional and supportive at the same time. It is based on mutual respect, openness to learning, and an understanding of the difficult field circumstances.

  • The social equity audit in a community would be a participatory process.

  • A social equity audit is an open, voluntary and learning process to help an organisation move towards inclusion.

  • It would be facilitative and not extractive. All those who have a significant stake in service delivery will be actively involved throughout the audit, from the initial stages of design to implementing community-led solutions.

  • A social equity audit is intended to focus on systems and programmes.

Why Social Equity Audit

  • Most often, organisations take on specific mandates and focus their attention on addressing them through designing necessary programmes. The intention is to implement the programmes efficiently and effectively. For various reasons organisations get identified with specific social groups as beneficiary groups. In identity-based social structures and systems, cutting across the existing social barriers does not happen in the natural course of events for both development actors and community groups.

  • SEA helps identify excluded stakeholder groups and the barriers that keep them out. It helps the organisation to take necessary inclusive steps both within its own set-up and in designing and implementing the programme. Within the organisation, SEA would help identify the absence or lack of equitable representation and participation of excluded social groups like Dalits, tribals, and women in various decision-making and executive bodies. It also helps focus attention on the lack of participation or equity benefit sharing by marginalized groups in the programmes. SEA particularly recognises the exclusionary nature of caste-based discrimination in the NGO context and to address it in the organisational structure, systems, policies, and programmes.