Foundations of Social Accountability for Inclusion

Tuesday, November 19, 10:45AM – 12:00PM

In societies, power imbalances often lead to exclusion, capture and clientelism which cause public policies to fail and development outcomes to fall short. Exclusion can mean that citizens are denied their right to participate in decision making that affects their lives; that citizens do not have access to material resources or services and cannot exercise their voice. Moreover, exclusion and discrimination come at great cost to societies. Civil society organizations play a critical role in empowering individuals so that  they can effectively engage the state, participate in the policymaking process, and fulfil their human rights. Through social accountability processes, civil society groups are addressing asymmetries of power in ways that strengthen both policy-making and service delivery systems to reach all. A host of new evaluations and syntheses of evidence are challenging all of us to better understand and learn from existing practice of social accountability today. This panel will discuss what we can learn from experience to date about how it contributes to more inclusive governance processes and beneficial development outcomes for all. It will especially highlight the role of civil society in building social capital and collective action for inclusive development and governance. 


Panelists: Lourdes Morales, Coordinator of the Interdisciplinary Program for Social Accountability (Comunidad PIRC-RRC), Mexico; Manoj Mohanan, Associate Professor of Public Policy, Economics, and Global Health, Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University;  Hon. MP Josephine Lemoyan, Member of the East African Legislative Assembly; Nino Pruidze, Project Coordinator, Save the Children Georgia. 

Moderator: Asmeen Khan, Practice Manager, Governance Global Practice, World Bank. 



Social Accountability practice: Navigating normative and instrumental goals

Tuesday, November 19, 4:30 – 5:30PM

Social accountability is an approach to citizen engagement that enables citizens and civil society organizations to participate in the public policy making and implementation process and in holding the state accountable, so that it is responsive to citizen needs. How exactly does it contribute to including people? Views on that diverge across the field. Some practitioners emphasize social accountability’s normative or intrinsic value and set their goals to focus on fulfilling the right to participation, the right to access information, and so on. Others emphasize the instrumental, or extrinsic value of social accountability and thus seek to achieve improvements in service delivery and policymaking. Still others have concluded that social accountability can be principled and pragmatic at the same time: both a means and an end. In this panel, we will assess how each of the approaches contribute to solving the challenge of inclusion, and identify where these different types of efforts converge and diverge.  


Panelists: Sanah Yassin, Partners Jordan (GPSA-HRDTF grantee); Jay Kruuse, Executive Director, Public Service Accountability Monitor at Rhodes University, South Africa; Yeukai Mukorombindo, Manager Research and Learning, Global Integrity. 

Moderator: Vivek Ramkumar, Senior Director of Policy, International Budget Partnership.



Opportunities for Collaborative Social Accountability through Cross-Sector Reforms

Wednesday, November 20, 9:10 – 10:30AM

Complex development problems require many actors and sectors to work together. No single actor on its own can deliver improvements in human capital, quality education, or health care. This shift in mindset in development work opens a window of opportunity for collaborative social accountability approaches: it can be part and parcel of the design of 21st-century service delivery models. Additionally, there is growing interest to turn whole-of-government delivery models into whole-of-society models.  However, social accountability practitioners need to double down on their efforts to work more and better with sectoral colleagues. This panel session will introduce the views and experiences of different actors in social accountability and development, leveraging opportunities opened up by new sectoral reforms. It will highlight what it takes to tap into the windows of opportunity before they shut down.


Presenters: Brian Levy, Professor, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and University of Cape Town; Dr. Craig Burgess, Development Cooperation Specialist, Data, Analytics and Delivery for Impact (DDI), World Health Organization; Charity Komujjurizi, Project Manager, Africa Freedom of Information Centre, Uganda; Florencia Guerzovich, Senior Advisor Monitoring Evaluation Research and Learning, Global Partnership for Social Accountability, World Bank.

Moderator: David Jacobstein, Democracy Specialist, DCHA/DRG at USAID.



Addressing Constraints to Social Accountability for Inclusion

Wednesday, November 20, 3:20 – 4:30PM

Civic space, the operating environment for civil society, is changing. Consider citizens’ mistrust in political elites.  Think of people in the streets in Lebanon and Chile and around the world. Citizens want to be heard and their real problems need real solutions. If we don’t act on those concerns, social cohesion and the social contract are at risk. We see in the north and south polarization in political and social life, including social media. How are social accountability practitioners adjusting to these demands for inclusion? It’s a challenge because many aspects of traditional operating models are shifting. Technological tools are used by both autocratic governments to hamper, and by social movements to defend their legitimacy and mobilize people. In many countries, there are growing restrictions to the formal and informal operation on civil society activities, and the provision of support for these groups. Their legitimacy is more often questioned than in the past. There are also normative imperatives and lessons about the need to shift the power to the south and the operational challenges of doing so.  These changes in civic space affect the ability of social accountability practitioners to work with communities towards more inclusive development. This panel will showcase how different actors are adjusting to changes and whether they have found any silver lining.


Panelists: Maurice Nyambe, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Zambian Governance Foundation; Yasodara Cordova, Fellow for Citizen Engagement/AGILE, World Bank; Flavia Milano, Team Leader, Citizen Engagement Policy and Strategy, Vice Presidency for Countries, Inter-American Development Bank.

Moderator: Mariam Alimi Afrasiabi, Acting Division Chief, Civil Society and Media Division, DCHA/DRG, USAID.



Frontiers of Social Accountability for Inclusion

Thursday, November 21, 11:10AM – 12:20PM

New studies have highlighted that collaboration between the state and civil society is a frontier of social accountability’s contribution to inclusive development. An in-depth study in Indonesia by Harvard University and one conducted for the GPSA both found that communities choose collaborative problem-solving rather than confrontation. Recent evidence suggests that civil society would be more effective in fostering inclusion, if instead of stand-alone projects, their efforts were integrated with the public sector’s reforms. Indeed, experiments with multi-stakeholder co-creation and co-production are on the rise. Moreover, when civil society practitioners and government officials “cross over” to the other side, they can facilitate that collaboration. This panel transforms insights from recent studies into practical, real life insights about how to navigate the politics of collaborative social accountability. Speakers who have worn different hats will share their experiences trying to foster collaboration and integration of civil society and public sector reform efforts. They will discuss the opportunities and ‘tricks of the trade’ as well as the uncertainties and challenges - such as conflicts of interest, collusion, capture and trust building. 

Panelists: Carolina Cornejo, Director for Open Government, Subsecretary for Public Innovation and Open Government, Government of Argentina; Abdellahi Awah, Director of the Transparency of the Mauritanian Education Budget Project at NGO Eco-Dev; Lily Fati Soale, Social Accountability Advisor, Government of Ghana; Dr. Grace Kumchulesi, Executive Director of the Malawi Economic Justice Network.