In search for the game changers: rethinking social accountability

The last two decades have seen a rapid growth of investment in social accountability and citizen empowerment initiatives. When citizens engage with their governments and hold them to account, countries achieve better developmental and democratic outcomes.

This paper speaks to a number of current debates regarding the effectiveness of accountability programmes. Drawing on lessons from the five-year Mwananchi social accountability programme, the authors argue for greater innovation and flexibility from donors, and analyse the need to identify and support project interlocutors with the power to really ‘change the game’. Can be accessed here http://www.odi.org/publications/9069-search-game-changers-rethinking-social-accountability

Open Government Partnership launch in Malawi

The government of Malawi is launching its Open Government Partnership (OGP) project on 16th and 17th October at Hippo View Lodge in Liwonde. Participants will include senior government officials, civil society organisations. Fletcher Tembo will facilitate part of the workshop as a researcher on the Independent Reporting Mechanism. OGP is an international initiative that promotes open transparency of public information so that citizens can effectively participate in policy making processes as well as hold public office holders to account.

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Workshop: Governance, Accountability and Citizen Empowerment

The Mwananchi Programme is participating in this upcoming event organized by the The University of Limerick, the Centre for Peace and Development Studies, Christian Aid and Troicare. Fletcher Tembo will be speaking in session to on ‘Thinking and Working Differently’, discussing whether current funding and monitoring and evaluation methods are fit for  purpose for working with power and politics.

Workshop: Governance Accountability and Citizen Empowerment

Effective governance is increasingly recognised as critical to international development. Efforts to strengthen accountability from the state towards its citizens have become central to improving public services and realising the vision of the Millennium Development Goals.

More and more development programmes focus on empowering citizens to demand better services and engage with how decisions are made, both locally and nationally. Arguably the most important lesson to emerge in this work is that power and politics matter. Formal institutions matter but also critical are the politics that lie behind the institutions. Central to this is the ability of civil society and donors to think and act politically.

This learning workshop aimed to provide an in-depth forum for dialogue to better understand how change actually happens and how we can think and work politically in practice in governance programming. It explored lessons, successes, challenges and failures in governance programmes. Academia, local partner organisations, international non-governmental organisations and donors will discuss the following themes:

  • Thinking and working politically- how to make it work in practice
  • Delivering change at local and national levels: lessons from civil society in securing the right to access basic services
  • Thinking and working differently? Assessing what current funding and monitoring and evaluation methods mean for working with power and politics

The workshop took place on 11-12 June 2014, in the European Union House, 18 Dawson Street, Dublin.

Download the whole program here.

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Workshop: International Transparency and Accountability

On May 2-3, 2014, the Mwananchi project participated in the International Transparency and Accountability Workshop, at the School of International Service, American University, Washington DC.

This workshop was part of a project planning process currently under way at American University, under the leadership of Professor Jonathan Fox, with support from the Hewlett Foundation.

The objectives were to:

·       Exchange lessons to inform future scenarios: To inform discussion of the strengths and limitations of possible future research and learning strategies, participants will reflect on their own experiences with action-research partnerships to address what kinds of “knowledge production,” broadly defined, has been most useful to pro-democracy practitioners.

·       Reflect around consultation regarding practitioner-oriented learning & research strategies: Explore and assess possible niche strategies for bringing democratization and power analysis to the T/A agenda in ways that would be useful to reform strategists, including practitioner-to-practitioner dialogue/exchanges, researcher-practitioner dialogues and/or targeted research partnerships focused on an issue not addressed by current initiatives.

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Global Partnership for Social Accountability (GPSA) hosts the first Global Partners Forum

The Global Partnership for Social Accountability – GPSA –  hosted the first Global Partners Forum, in Washington, DC, on May 14-15, 2014.

The Forum was a unique opportunity to convene more than 160 Global Partners of the GPSA – a diverse array of development agencies, international CSOs, and local organizations and private sector groups from around the Globe – alongside government representatives and World Bank staff. It was an occasion to recognize, connect, and share knowledge with many relevant actors in the field of Social Accountability.

Fletcher Tembo participated as one of the scholars researching on social accountability theories of change and practice, and represented the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), which is one of the leading think tanks in the world.

Download the full agenda here.

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