USAID’s Integrated Financial Management System Improves Municipal Finances & Services in Kabul Municipality

With implementation of the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS), Kabul Municipality (KM) and its 22 Nahyas have seen significant improvements in municipal affairs and service delivery, and it has strengthened transparency and accountability, as well as boosted municipal revenues

In early 2020, USAID’s Strong Hubs for Afghan Hope and Resilience (SHAHAR) program offered a comprehensive solution to the problems caused by the traditional manual system, hence, a feedback of poor municipal service delivery. These were addressed by implementing the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS) in in all 22 Nahyas.

SHAHAR prioritized instal-lation of five essential modules at KM’s headquarters: Safayi and Business Licensing, Property Registration, Case Management System (CMS), and Work Permit, with two revenue-related modules being installed in all 22 Nahyas: Safayi and Work Permit.

Read the USAID Newsletter to find more on this project, as well as watch the project video produced by USAID SHAHAR.

Synergy Launches a Webinar Series to Discuss Monitoring and Evaluation in Government and Nonprofit Organizations

monitoring and evaluation

 

Hosted on December 3 and 10, 14:30UTC, the webinars will translate M&E theory and practice into actionable insights that participants can use in their efforts to introduce M&E best practices and solutions in their organizations.

Careful planning, rigorous data collection and implementation, and thorough analysis and reporting underpin the success of development projects – and this is where monitoring and evaluation (M&E) comes into play.

Experts from different organizations will join the Synergy team to discuss how leaders and practitioners can effectively institutionalize M&E in their organizations and what role technology plays in the ever-evolving journey toward organizational effectiveness.

This webinar series will:

  • Examine the main challenges to data collection and how to overcome them.
  • Provide insights into how M&E can enable organizational learning.
  • Explore strategies and methods to strengthen your M&E practice with tech solutions.

Please register here.

Current State and Challenges, December 3, 14:30UTC

The panelists include:

Noor Ansari, Senior M&E Specialist at Education Above All. Noor is a development professional with over 25 years of extensive experience applying social audit research methods for generating and socializing evidence related to education, health, local governance, delivery of public services, and gender issues. He has experience in working with the mainstream government systems to evolve institutions and strengthen capacities in evidence-based planning, as well as socializing the evidence for participatory actions in South/Central Asia and West Africa.

Monica Gadkari, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Director at Resonance. Monica has 12 years of experience working in international development with a focus on MEL, CLA, and women’s empowerment. She has nine years of experience in monitoring and evaluation, gender and women’s empowerment activities, and five years of experience working directly with USAID to develop MEL systems specifically for organizational learning. Monica specializes in establishing and fostering the adoption of management information systems, establishing mixed methods evidence bases designed for long-term use, and guiding internal teams, government counterparts, and donor partners through the change management process necessary to establish a learning culture.

Angel Pesevski is an M&E Specialist at Adam Smith International. Angel is an experienced capacity building consultant and international development professional with over 20 years of experience in the fields of monitoring and evaluation, institutional development, business diagnostic, and consulting for the public sector, private companies, and NGOs. Angel has successfully led a wide range of complex monitoring and evaluation related projects in the Philippines, Bosnia, Serbia, Albania, Afghanistan, and Papua New Guinea/Autonomous Region of Bougainville, delivering them on time and to the satisfaction of his clients.

Moderator

David Kocharov, VP, Strategy & Development at Synergy International Systems. David is a management executive with 15 years of experience in the international development. He currently manages the Public Financial Management portfolio (including Public Investment Management SystemState Budgeting System, and Development Assistance Database) at Synergy, as well as the European, Middle Eastern and CIS partnerships. Formerly served as the Director of Monitoring and Evaluation at Synergy. David also teaches Software Project Management for Master’s Degree students at the American University of Armenia.

Technologies and Innovations, December 10, 14:30UTC

The panelists include:

Simon Fuchs, global Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) Advisor for Economic Recovery and Development programs at the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a leading international humanitarian relief organization. Simon supports projects focusing on emergency cash assistance, enterprise development and employment creation, and rural livelihoods with: indicator development, M&E planning, data collection tools, methods, analysis, technical skills development and more. Simon also leads the IRC’s internal M&E Technology Community of Practice. Simon’s interest in using technology for M&E started while working for Synergy International Systems, an M&E software company. Prior to that, Simon was an Overseas Development Institute fellow, working as an Economist in the M&E team of the National Planning Commission of Nigeria.

Emilya Khachatryan, Senior M&E Program Manager at Synergy International Systems. Emilya is an experienced information technology professional with more than ten years of experience in software   development, project and program management, with a particular focus on the implementation of web-based program management information systems. She has led the development of business intelligence solutions for M&E systems – Synergy Indicata (Strategy Execution and Monitoring & Evaluation Software).

Christina Walaan, Monitoring and Evaluation Advisor. Christina is a researcher and M&E expert with more than eight years of experience in the development sector. She has worked with several development agencies, national and international NGOs, ministries and research entities in Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Moderator

Arshak Hovanesian, VP of Business Development at Synergy International Systems. Arshak is an expert in monitoring and evaluation, enterprise software, and international affairs.  Throughout his decade-long career at Synergy, he has been the architect of numerous strategic partnerships that have enabled governments and global nonprofits to solve critical problems and strengthen their effectiveness using information technology.

Please register here.

Webinar Wrap-up: Integrated Electronic Case Management System

Technology has been transforming the way governments work. In the case of justice sectors, technology solutions not only offer a better way to perform existing practices but also provide an opportunity for creating new practices and fundamentally changing the way justice institutions operate.

In the webinar Integrated Electronic Case Management System: Enhancing Judicial Transparency and Accountability, Khachatur Matevosyan and Adam Watson from Synergy took a closer look at the key functionalities of an integrated electronic case management system and their role in improving the performance of justice sector institutions.

 

 
Over 160 participants from 70+ countries joined the Synergy team to discuss the role of digital transformation in developing a transparent justice sector and solutions that may support the move to a digital operating model.
The webinar was the third in an expert-led series on an integrated electronic case management system and its benefits, with the previous event focusing on performance management for the judiciary.

Along with the series on e-justice solutions, we’ve launched a webinar series on monitoring and evaluation in government and nonprofit organizations. Hosted in December, 2020, these webinars that will translate research and expertise into actionable information that government and nonprofit organizations can use in their digital transformation journey.

Experts from multiple well-known organizations will discuss how they create a culture of M&E within their organizations and what role technology plays in the journey toward more effective strategy execution.

To learn more about the new M&E series, please visit our website and register.

Synergy IDM 7 Goes Open Source

Synergy International Systems, Inc. has released its Intelligent Data Manager 7 (IDM 7) as open source software. This enables users to take advantage of Synergy’s powerful platform which is the unifying technology behind the company’s various products.

To learn more about IDM 7, please visit here.

The Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS) Improves Municipal Affairs and Strengthens Trust in Jalalabad

A USAID’s funded project Strong Hubs for Afghan Hope and Resilience (SHAHAR) is installed in partner municipalities throughout Afghanistan in order to ensure a transparent and efficient delivery of services. Within this project and as a result of the implementation of Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS) – developed by Synergy International Systems – an optimistic view is being formed amongst government officials.

“The desire for Jalalabad to have a modern, computerized system for collecting and accounting for taxes, fees and other payments was not Mr. Naqib’s alone. In 2016, The Deputy Ministry of Municipalities (DMM) launched the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS) with assistance from USAID’s Strong Hubs for Afghan Hope and Resilience (SHAHAR) project. After consultations between Jalalabad Municipality, DMM and SHAHAR in late 2018, the municipality prioritized the installation of two essential IFMS modules – business licensing and other revenues. Since then, the business licensing module has helped the municipality harmonize processes, and reduced the time to receive a business license from 7 days to 2. Now, municipal officials like Mr. Naqib are based at Citizen Service Centers to work with customers to complete the procedure. They enter data, register payments via municipal banking, and issue printed licenses and receipts. With the installation of the updated system, customers demand for business licenses as well as their trust in fast-moving urban services have increased”, as stated in a project success story by USAID.

Read the USAID newsletter to find more on this project, as well as watch the project video produced by USAID SHAHAR.

Synergy Commits to the Ten Principles of UN Global Compact

Synergy International Systems, Inc. has committed to the UN Global Compact’s ten principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption and has signed as a signatory member in April 2020. With this act, Synergy reinforces its pledge to act as a good member of global society and play a role in transforming the global corporate world into a more sustainable one.

UN Global Compact is the world’s largest corporate citizenship initiative. At the heart of the Global Compact is a conviction that business practices which are rooted in universal principles help the global marketplace to become more socially and economically inclusive, thus advancing collective goals of international cooperation, peace and development. Hence, the UN Global Compact has developed 10 principles to provide its member companies with a blueprint guiding their actions into shaping a global corporate culture of doing business responsibly, protecting the planet and ensuring that all people are blessed with peace and prosperity.

“Our participation to the UN Global Compact strengthens the business practices that have always been fundamental to the way Synergy has been operating for the past 23 years,” says Dr. Ashot Hovanesian, Synergy’s CEO and Founder. “We remain committed to continuing practicing business – both products and operations – in a mode that advances the broader development goals of the United Nations, including the SDGs. Moreover, we are willing to undertake new practical actions that will contribute to the increase of responsibility of the global business community”, adds Dr. Hovanesian.

Synergy’s mission as a software development and consultancy company is helping governments, donor organizations, international nonprofits and global companies improve their service delivery and organizational effectiveness, as well as achieve informed decision-making.

In signing the UN Global Compact, Synergy joins over 9000 companies and organizations around the world, who have committed to corporate citizenship and responsibility. As a signatory, Synergy complies to complete and submit an annual Communication on Progress, demonstrating its progress working towards the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact.

Implementation of IFMS, A Step Towards Accountability and Transparency in Hirat Municipality

Within USAID’s Strong Hubs for Afghan Hope and Resilience (SHAHAR) Project, the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS) is harmonizing budgeting processes and helping Hirat Municipality more effectively forecast and manage revenue and expenditures. IFMS and its modules are developed by Synergy International Systems, Inc.

Prior to the implementation of the IFMS, Hirat Municipality – which had a significant revenue generation potential – had been struggling to tap the available revenue sources due to the absence of a computerized system.  Previously, all financial transactions were carried out manually.

USAID’s SHAHAR project came to offer a comprehensive solution to this problem by launching the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS) in Hirat Municipality. SHAHAR prioritized installation of seven essential modules:  Accounting, Budgeting, Payroll, Safayi and Business Licensing, Property Registration, Data Transfer, and Other Revenue.

The municipal staff are now having access to all financial and non-financial modules as well as municipal laws and regulations.

Read the USAID Newsletter to find more on this project, as well as watch the project video produced by USAID SHAHAR.

Synergy Helps The Bahamas Launch Online Application System for Coronavirus Unemployment Benefits

In response to the economic devastation in the Bahamas caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Synergy International Systems, Inc. is developing an online system that will enable Bahamians who lose their jobs because of the disaster to apply remotely for emergency unemployment benefits and food vouchers — something that before could only be done in person. The country faces a massive unemployment crisis as its tourist industry has been severely weakened by the pandemic.

This emergency response is part of a broader partnership between Synergy and the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development of the Bahamas to strengthen the management of the country’s social safety net system through information technology. Last month, the two sides signed a contract to revamp and expand the IT system for administering social safety net programs, including ones set up in response to the 2019 Hurricane Dorian.

Synergy has a long track record of helping countries and the international community respond to humanitarian crises. In the aftermath of major natural disasters such as the 2005 Indian Ocean Tsunami, the 2010 Haiti Earthquake, and the 2013 Philippines Typhoon Yolanda, Synergy enabled disaster-affected governments and their partners to track the flow of aid money and monitor the progress of recovery efforts.

During the COVID-19 Crisis, Case Management Systems Are Helping Justice Sectors to Continue Operations, While Practicing Social Distancing

Amid the outbreak of the COVID-19 Coronavirus, both private and governmental law and justice operations are being negatively impacted. Countries and states are forced into quarantine and are adapting their methods of citizen engagement, looking for ways to continue to provide services to the public and not suspend their entire operations.

It is in extreme situations and crisis circumstances such as this, when face to face interactions are limited (or in some cases even prohibited), that the power of technology can be appreciated from a new perspective. While electronic Case Management Systems were originally designed to help governments improve efficiency and combat corruption, in times of crisis the systems display their full value: they support continuity in electronic business processes, enabling social distancing for a subset of their operations that otherwise would have been suspended.

As courts and other justice institutions worldwide are trying to identify new ways to continue their operations, the ones who are already employing electronic Case Management Systems have the option of not shutting down their institutions entirely. Even though some operations are being halted, for instance case hearings and pre-trial meetings, governments that have invested in these systems are now reaping their unforeseen benefits. Those courts and other justice institutions that have moved their services online are able to maintain a base level of functioning and can continue reaching out to their citizens.

Case in Point: E-filing within Rwanda IECMS

Launched in 2016, the Rwanda Integrated Electronic Case Management System (IECMS) integrates all institutions of the country’s justice sector (Rwanda Investigation Bureau, National Public Prosecution Authority, Judiciary, Rwanda Correctional Services, etc.). Since then, all case related business processes of the country’s justice sector have been conducted electronically.

One such business process is the filing of court cases. Since 2016, all cases in Rwanda have been filed electronically, thus eliminating the need for citizens to visit the court in person to file their cases.

In light of the current situation, Rwanda IECMS is helping justice institutions in Rwanda to achieve more than simply increasing their efficiency.

In a “Notice to the General Public” on measures taken to prevent and combat the spread of COVID-19, issued by the Supreme Court of Rwanda on March 15, 2020, the Bureau of the High Council of the Judiciary orders “the suspension of court hearings, pre-trial hearings and scheduled meetings between litigants, court administration and the Department of Inspectorate of Courts” for a period of two weeks, until March 30, 2020. The official statement advises the litigants and the general public to contact courts through online platforms and hotlines, including IECMS.

Rwanda IECMS is helping Rwandan courts not to close down entirely. The system continues to provide an interface between the Rwandan Judiciary and litigants for electronic filing of cases, which allows the registrars to receive new cases from litigants. Moreover, judges continue to have remote access to their cases, making judicial and court services accessible to citizens even in times like these.

“Rwanda IECMS is vital in situations like the one we are facing now, because it enables judges and Court officers to work remotely on their cases from anywhere,” says Justice Harrison Mutabazi, the Official Spokesperson of the Rwanda Judiciary.

The remote access to justice is also helping the Government of Rwanda to prevent the spread of COVID 19 by physical contact.

“In such situations, e-filing is very helpful, since it aids the litigants to file their cases to the Court without necessarily approaching in person. This reduces physical contacts between litigants to litigants and to the Court officers. I think this is one of the means helping to curb the spread of the scourge,” says Justice Harrison Mutabazi.

Moreover, Rwanda IECMS enables electronic transmission of relevant information between various institutions of the justice sector, from the Rwanda Investigation Bureau to the prosecution, then courts and correctional services. Initially designed to increase transparency and efficiency, this functionality of the IECMS is now contributing to the continuity of some segments of the sector, while preventing any sort of physical contact.

“It is a great satisfaction that the technology solutions we provide are helping governments and organizations to keep themselves safe, smoothly carry on with their operations, and at the same time, play their part in containing the spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus”, says Dr. Ashot Hovanesian, Synergy’s CEO and Founder.

Over the past 23 years, Synergy has been providing consultancy and software solutions in a number of domains in justice sector, as well as governance and public management and strategy execution to its clients in more than 70 countries worldwide. More specifically, Synergy provides justice sector Case Management Systems to a number of countries covering the needs of various institutions from single courts to anti-corruption bodies to the entire integrated justice sector.

With IFMS, Afghan Municipalities Boost Their Financial Performance

Within USAID’s Strong Hubs for Afghan Hope and Resilience (SHAHAR) Project, the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS) is computerizing business licensing and property registration processes in two nahyas of Mazar-e-Sharif Municipality. IFMS and its modules are developed by Synergy International Systems, Inc.

Introduction of the IFMS modules helped Nahyas 1 and 2 resolve many of the issues that they have been facing with manual systems. Nahyas are now able to issue printed versions of business licenses and Safayi notebooks, generate computerized financial reports through the IFMS Business Licensing and Property Registration modules, as well as deliver the services in a timely manner. In addition, citizens are now paying their fees and taxes via municipal banking, which ensures transparency and accountability in the municipal service delivery. This resulted in increased citizens’ trust in the municipal administration.

Read the USAID Newsletter to find more on this project, as well as watch the project video produced by USAID SHAHAR.