Improving accountability relationships is an effective strategy for developing capacity. Effective accountability mechanisms induce both governmental and non-governmental organizations to remain relevant and responsive to the needs and demands of the groups they serve.
Holding those in power accountable for tackling poverty and ensuring the well-being of all citizens is quite a challenge, especially in societies characterized by authoritarian styles of leadership. Furthermore, the concept of accountability is itself quite broad: ranging from macro-level financial systems to the interpersonal relationships that drive the most basic level of development action. Civil society organizations, in particular, are becoming more innovative in influencing policymaking and monitoring the use of public resources. Drawing from a wide variety of governance contexts, this section showcase innovative approaches and tools that can help empower individuals and groups seeking to make a greater contribution in this area.
Accountability can be an abstract concept, but it comes alive for ordinary citizens if it involves looking at whether (and how) funding for services is distributed and spent at the local level. This Practice Brief is the first of a new series prepared by practitioners working with the SNV Netherlands Development Organisation. It helps to shed some light on what support organisations can do to amplify the voice of local stakeholders in demanding greater accountability from governments and service providers.More
02 April 2013
The 2013 edition of the Africa Capacity Indicators Report (ACIR) on the theme
Capacity Development for Natural Resources Management was launched in March 2013. The
report focuses on what African countries need to do individually and collectively to effectively
manage the continent's nautral resource wealth. Like the previous two editions, the Africa
Capacity Index ranks the performance of 44 African countries according to four key clusters of
capacity: the policy environment; processes for implementation; development results at the country
level; and capacity development outcomes.
18 March 2013
A working group set up to review the reform of USAID's policies in the area of domestic accountability, has released its findings and recommendations. The Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid (ACVFA) focused its review on two overall goals in the reform process that are most relevant for changing the way the Agency engages in implementation and procurement work in support of building sustainability and local partnerships.More
15 February 2013
This review by the Development Leadership Programme draws insights from three case studies of 'pro-poor' political leaders: Yoweri Museveni in Uganda, Digvijay Singh in India’s Madhya Pradesh state and Fernando Henrique Cardoso in Brazil.The studies are analysed in the book "Against the Odds: Politicians, institutions and the struggle against poverty" (2012) by Marcus Andre Melo, Njuguna Ng'ethe & James Manor.More
14 February 2013
Time to Listen captures experiences and ideas on how to make international aid more effective and shift the paradigm from the current externally driven aid delivery system to a collaborative one that truly supports local people as drivers of their own development. The publication is based on a research initiative, the Listening Project, which sought the views of more than 6,000 people in 20 aid receiving countries who have received international assistance, observed the effects of aid efforts, or been involved in providing aid.More
12 February 2013
Evaluation provides an avenue for challenging and changing development practices which do not adequately serve the needs, rights and aspirations of all. This publication aims to contribute to the international discussions on how different stakeholders can create synergies and partnerships to contribute to equity-focused and gender-responsive country-led evaluation systems. It is the first volume of a proposed series of publications on Evaluation and Civil Society.More
Strengthening local governance: Towards context-specific theories of change for citizen engagement and state accountability
14 January 2013
This project briefing paper from the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), UK, uses a critical analysis of citizen voice and accountability (CV&A) cases to examine how CV&A happens in different governance contexts. According to the author, CV&A project interventions produce and reproduce diverse outcomes that are not amenable to linear models of theories of change (ToC), which are "starting to be viewed as...a key part of what constitutes 'rigour' in impact evaluations. The paper draws on the experiences of ODI's Mwananchi Programme, a 5-year programme initiative to strengthen ordinary citizens' voices and improve state accountability and responsiveness in six African countries.More
Theisohn, T. (2007) Using accountability relationships to support capacity, in Capacity.org issue 31
Rakesh Rajani (2010) "Capacity is Political, Not Technical: The Case of HakiElimu in Promoting Accountability in Education in Tanzania" in Ubels, J., N. Acquaye-Baddoo and A. Fowler (eds) Capacity Development in Practice, Earthscan, pp. 157-166
Asian Development Bank (2007) Improving Local Governance and Service Delivery: Citizen Report Card Learning Tool Kit
World Bank (2004) Making services work for poor people
“Our Money, Our Responsibility: A Citizens’ Guide to Monitoring Government Expenditures” The International Budget Project (IBP) 2008
December 7, 2012 - Wangu Mwangi, Web editor, Capacity.org
The just-concluded Development and Climate Days held parallel to the UN climate conference in Doha and facilitated by the Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre showcased... read more »
November 28, 2011 - Rinus van Klinken (Portfolio Coordinator, SNV Tanzania)
September 13, 2011 - Heinz Greijn (Editor-in-Chief, Capacity.org)
The concept of capacity development with its in-built appreciation of endogenous systems and ownership is at the heart of the principles of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness... read more »
Active Learning Network on Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Assistance (ALNAP) is a unique, sector-wide network that brings together the major actors involved in international responses to conflicts and natural disasters. Established in 1997, following the multi-agency evaluation of the Rwanda genocide, ALNAP is a collective response dedicated to improving humanitarian performance through increased learning and accountability.