Building on many years of participatory approaches the Community Score Card was first developed by CARE USA in Malawi as part of a UK Government (DFID) funded health programme. It was soon picked up and used, some times in different forms, by a range of agencies including the World Bank, Plan International, World Vision and by a range of other CARE programmes in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Sierra Leone and more. Ten years later CARE recognised that the full potential of this approach was not being achieved for two core reasons. First that in some cases the way the approaches described as being ‘community score card’ were being implemented was not consistent with the original principles behind the approach. Sometimes this was useful innovation but in other circumstances the approaches could be damaging and undermine the whole idea of what Community Score Card was. To address this issue CARE produced a tool kit of how the Community Score Card should be implemented that is freely available as an open source resource for anyone to use.
Secondly, the experience with the Community Score Card approach illustrated the broader issue that development practitioners have been grappling with for at least 50 years: if an approach is successful locally how can one expand it so that it achieves impact “at scale”? The creation of the CSC Consulting Group as a social enterprise, based in Malawi where the approach was first developed and charged with growing rapidly to accelerate the successful adoption of the approach, is one of CARE’s response to that challenge.
The CSC Consulting Group is made up of a small core team driving the growth of the social enterprise and the quality of the services that it provides. In addition, we have a roster of associates with the theoretical understanding to be able to adapt how the approach is used in different contexts, the experience of using the approach as an integral part of broader programmes and the skills to train and support others in how to implement the approach, in particular how to facilitate the community – service provider discussions necessary for it to succeed.