BBL | Engaging with the State through Social Accountability Tools

October 25, 2016

Engaging with the State through Social Accountability Tools

A Presentation and Discussion in Memory of Dr Samuel Paul, Founder, Public Affairs Foundation and Public Affairs Centre, Bangalore, India

Co-organized by the Citizen Engagement Community of Practice 
Tuesday, October 25, 2016 I 12:30 – 2:00 PM (EST)
 701 18th Street, N.W | J 7-044


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Lalita Pulavarti
Public Affairs Foundation, Bangalore, India

Jeffrey M. Thindwa
Program Manager, Global Partnership for Social Accountability, World Bank

Marco Larizza
Senior Public Sector Specialist, Governance Global Practice, World Bank

Sanjay Agarwal
Senior Governance Specialist, Social, Urban, Rural & Resilience Global Practice, World Bank


Dr Samuel Paul was a pioneer in the field of Governance and Social Accountability. In his memory, this presentation reflects on the nearly 35 years of work in the Social Accountability arena completed by PAF and PAC collectively.  While tools that capture and convey citizens voices such as the Citizen Report Card, first piloted in Bangalore by Dr Paul, started as confrontational and contested ideas, slowly the emphasis moved to a collaborative approach. Engaging with the state was important in order to advocate for and affect the reforms required for improved service delivery and governance. 

Twenty two years down the line, what have the Social Accountability tools been able to accomplish? Has the collaborative approach led to any significant gains? Who are the main actors in accomplishing such goals – what is the role of civil society, media, think tanks, quasi government agencies, donors, and, finally, the state itself, in the space of Social Accountability? How are some or all these actors negotiating the contested spaces in terms of power, finances, actions, advocacy and monitoring? 

This session aims at having an interactive discussion using case studies from PAF and PAC’s recent work on Social Accountability in various sectors including sanitation, education, police, social protection, road monitoring, and municipal service delivery (such as water supply, sewerage, solid waste management). 



Dr Lalita Pulavarti joined the Public Affairs Foundation in 2011 and is currently Senior Manager – Projects. She has extensive and varied professional experience in social research, quantitative and qualitative methodologies, survey research, data management and analysis. Before joining the Foundation, Lalita worked for two years as a Senior Health Policy Analyst at the Division of Health Care Finance and Policy, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, USA. Prior to this, Lalita worked for ten years as a Senior Research and Program Manager at the Boston Police Department, City of Boston, USA. At the Foundation, Lalita has used her expertise in research methodologies to successfully complete various projects such as the Citizen Report Cards (CRC) in two states of India to study the implementation of Government of India’s Total Sanitation Campaign (for PAC/BMGF); a CRC spanning 16 towns and cities in the state of Madhya Pradesh on eight municipal services (for DFID-UK); and, a first ever CRC in Malawi to help the Local Development Fund assess its social safety net programs (ongoing). Recently, she was the lead trainer in Egypt for a World Bank funded capacity building workshop on Social Accountability tools. Lalita has a PhD in Sociology from Northeastern University, Boston, USA and a Master of Public Health (MPH – Biostatistics and Epidemiology) from Boston University, USA for which she was awarded the Community Scholarship by Boston University and the City of Boston. Lalita's doctoral dissertation dealt with the contribution of local NGOs to the empowerment of women at the grassroots in India.

During his 16 years at the World Bank, Jeff Thindwa has held numerous positions in the fields of social accountability and governance, most recently as Practice Manager for Open and Collaborative Governance. His experience includes government, private sector and civil society. He joined the World Bank in 2000 as Senior Social Development Specialist, and later led the Participation and Civic Engagement Cluster in the Social Development Department, integrating social accountability mechanisms and stakeholder participation in the Bank’s operations, and undertaking analytical work on the enabling environment reforms for civil society organizations. In 2009 he joined the Bank’s South Asia Region where he worked with operations teams and managed the “Program on Accountability” in Nepal, a grant making and capacity building program. In 2010, Jeff joined the World Bank Institute as Team Leader for the Social Accountability Cluster, becoming its Manager in 2012.

Marco Larizza has led the design and delivery of analytical studies and lending operations to support governance and public sector management reforms in West and Central Africa, with a special focus on post-conflict and fragile settings. Marco has published journal articles, book chapters and policy reports on comparative democratization, decentralization and public service reforms.  His most recent work focuses on Transparency and Accountability Initiatives in Latin America and the Caribbean. He is also the co-author of the forthcoming 2017 World Development Report on Governance and the Law. Marco received his PhD and MA in Political Science from the University of Essex (UK), and his MA in Development Economics from the University of Bologna (Italy).

Sanjay Agarwal is a Senior Governance Specialist with over 20 years of cumulative cross-sectoral experience spanning 21 countries across five regions. At the World Bank, Sanjay has been engaged in the operational mainstreaming of a number of citizen engagement approaches, such as fiscal transparency and grievance redress mechanisms. More recently, Sanjay has been assisting clients strengthen their grievance redress mechanisms in a number of projects in Egypt, West Bank & Gaza, Oman, Kuwait, Philippines South Sudan and Uganda. Sanjay has also contributed to the setting up of the corporate grievance redress service through technical advice. He is also leading an analytical piece that is synthesizing experiences of citizen service centers. Prior to the World Bank, Sanjay worked with the Indian Administrative Service where he was exposed to a variety of social development and public sector management issues such as decentralization and local governance, community-driven development, financial management, citizen-centric service delivery,  citizen engagement and open government approaches. Sanjay has two master’s degrees in Behavioral and Social Sciences (Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi, India) and Business Administration with a focus on strategy and finance (University of Maryland, USA).