1. Is the CSC a stand-alone activity?

The CSC is not a stand-alone activity. The CSC is embedded in the existing program activities with an emphasis on program thematic areas.

  1. How is the CSC integrated into other existing programs?

It is extremely vital to understand the structures that are already in place in the program. The CSC does not exist in a vacuum, it utilizes the existing structures and committees, adapts those and is used as a tool to bridge negotiations/discussions between those structures.

  1. What is the link between the CSC and monitoring and evaluation?

The CSC can be used as a monitoring tool; particularly a participatory monitoring tool. Using the CSC as a participatory monitoring tool, the primary stakeholders are active participants and offer new ways of assessing and learning from change that are more inclusive, and reflect the perspectives and aspirations of those most directly affected. With growing emphasis of participatory approaches towards development it works best when the monitoring and evaluation tool is also participatory which the CSC provides.

  1. How do we link CSC indicators and projects conventional/M&E indicators?

Most of the time, in the CSC we use perception based indicators. First we must understand the project indicators in order to draw the CSC indicators because the CSC is used to improve project indicators.

  1. Is the CSC sustainable?

There is evidence of communities carrying on the CSC after they have been trained by the consulting group. Some communities adapt it to diverse settings.  In Ntcheu, Malawi, the government is implementing the CSC in the health sector in the health sector while youth groups, without support, have organized themselves to use the tool to tackle the education and agriculture issues that they face.

  1. Can the CSC yield positive impact?

Definitely. A cluster-randomized controlled evaluation by ODI assessed the CSC’s effect on reproductive health related outcomes in Ntcheu, Malawi and the results demonstrated a large and significant effect on use of modern contraception, with an estimated 57% greater use in the intervention versus control condition at end line.

  1. How long does the CSC take to yield results?

The results can be seen immediately. The CSC creates space for conversation so some issues can be addressed immediately for example if there are miscommunications between the user and the service provider pertaining to policies or standards of operation, they can be addressed in the same space they are brought up.

  1. What are the advantages of the CSC for participants?

The CSC empowers participants to have a voice and speak their minds. The open forum encourages honesty and accountability between service users and service providers which results in the use and provision of better services.

  1. Can the CSC be done by other people besides the implementing agency?

Yes. Adequate comprehension of the programme in which the CSC is to be implemented is very important. Once one has understood the programme, and has sufficient understanding of the CSC, they can implement it anywhere.