Webinar | Systems strengthening, shifting of local power dynamics and women’s empowerment: New evidence on the impact of social accountability in Indonesia

March 12, 2019

(Re)watch the webinar here.

This is part 1 of a 3-webinar series on findings and lessons from the recent evaluation of the “Citizen Voice and Action for Government Accountability and Improved Services: Maternal, Newborn, Infant and Child Health Services” project in Indonesia. 

Social accountability mechanisms strengthened public health systems, improved health outcomes, impacted local power dynamics and helped empower women. Systems were strengthened by “increasing the legitimacy of claims on the system” and by ”bringing different types and levels of decision-makers into the process, such that different forms of authority are available to address different issues.” These are some of the key findings from the recently published evaluation of Wahana Visi’s social accountability program in maternal and child health, which was one of the first initiatives the Global Partnership for Social Accountability funded.

Wahana Visi (WV) partnered closely with the Indonesian Government in the program, which ran from 2013 to 2018. It applied the ‘Citizen Voice and Action’ (CVA) approach, involving a series of citizen-state engagement processes to enable villagers and local health staff to assess health services against standards, to develop plans for service improvement, and to advocate for those improvements with higher levels of government. Pregnant women and young mothers started going to public health posts, where they were receiving better treatment than previously.

The evaluation found some “impressive”, statistically significant results in improved services and awareness of services by community members and health staff, including:

 “Increased awareness of rights and standards on the part of service managers and officials triggered internal accountability systems, such that resources were reallocated and staff were both enabled to, and held accountable for, provision of services to meet standards.  However, it was not just managers and officials who became more active as leaders: so too were political leaders and community leaders. They were motivated to improve service quality, but also health promotion and use of health services.”

In this webinar, Prof. Gill Westhorp, the evaluation’s team leader, Andreas Sihotang, former project manager, and Elvi Adelina Tambunan, Wahana Visi Design, Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist, will share the main findings from the evaluation, as well as a brief overview of the evaluation’s design and approach.


More about the speakers:

Prof. Gill Westhorp is the Director of Community Matters, a consultancy company specialising in realist research and evaluation methods. She is also a Professorial Research Fellow at the Northern Institute, Charles Darwin University (CDU), where she leads the Realist Research Evaluation and Learning Initiative (RREALI). RREALI develops realist methodology and methods, undertakes realist research and evaluation, provides education, consultancy and professional development services, and supervises post-graduate students. Gill is a co-author of the international standards for realist evaluation and realist review. She holds a PhD in Social Research Methods from the Nottingham Trent University, UK.

Andreas Sihotang was the Project manager of the GPSA-funded project: Citizen Voice and Action for Government Accountability and Improved Services: Maternal, Newborn, Infant and Child Health Services. The project aims to engage and empower citizens to provide feedback to government and service providers regarding the performance of public services, especially related to health services. Andreas is a practitioner, researcher, facilitator, and trainer in the area of international development, peacebuilding and social accountability with more than 15 years of experience. Andreas holds a master’s degree in Conflict Transformation with a concentration in Peacebuilding and Development, from the Center for Justice and Peace (CJP) at Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia, US. He is currently a PhD student at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Elvi Adelina Tambunan is a Design, Monitoring, and Evaluation specialist at Wahana Visi Indonesia who provided technical M&E support for the GPSA-funded project. Elvi has developed her capacity to employ realist evaluation approach particularly during her engagement with the GPSA project and is now enthusiatically sharing the knowledge within the organization and NGOs circle around Indonesia i.e. Save the Children, Plan, Childfund, SOS Village, etc. Elvi is a practioner and researcher in the area of international development with more than 10 years experience with a master’s degree in Development Studies, from the University of Queensland, Australia.