Even today, the absence of citizen voice in governmental processes is at the core of some of the world’s most pressing development challenges. The greatest challenge has been closing the so-called feedback loop – or accountability gap – between what citizens need and what governments do. It might be a lack of access potable water, medicine, or insufficient toilets at schools. 

This year, over 500 civil society organizations (CSOs) across the globe submitted proposals to the Global Partnership for Social Accountability (GPSA) for projects that aim to close this accountability gap. Nine projects were selected by the GPSA Steering Committee to receive conditional approval and move into the next phase of the process, which includes a due diligence period and opportunities for the CSOs to further refine their proposals. If they are all successful, the total funding awarded by the GPSA could be up to $7.5 million.

The GPSA was established by the World Bank in 2012 to support civil society and governments in creating an enabling environment in which citizen feedback is used to solve fundamental problems in service delivery and to strengthen the performance of public institutions. The GPSA currently supports 23 projects in 17 countries, and operates in various sectors such as health, education, social protection, water, and across issues such as public sector procurement and budget transparency. 

The pre-selected projects cover a range of sectors and approaches that aim to solve key governance problems that countries are facing, and to strengthen transparency and accountability. Each project will be implemented over a period of three to five years and could be awarded up to $800,000. The list of pre-selected proposals consist of projects to be implemented in Indonesia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Georgia, Rwanda, Madagascar, Niger and Mauritania. Additionally, two proposals from Benin and Bangladesh were pre-selected to support knowledge activities in the water sector.

In Sierra Leone, the CSO “IBIS” and its partners have developed a short-term recovery plan after the Ebola epidemic. They propose to work with government and civil society counterparts to rebuild weak delivery services and low transparency on the use of post-Ebola reconstruction funds. In Indonesia, where the GPSA already works with Wahana Visi on improving maternal and child healthcare, the GPSA may support two CSOs that will address poor transparency and accountability in licensing and mining activities, as well as the monitoring and improvement of universal health care insurance services for women. 

To learn more about the pre-selected projects, watch these short videos:

Next steps
As the CSOs work to further refine their projects, the selection process continues with a due diligence assessment, including a period for governments to provide comments on the proposals, followed by a period of public disclosure for comments from CSOs. Simultaneously, a fiduciary assessment of the finalists will be conducted. Final approval for the grants, given by the World Bank country directors, will be announced once the due diligence process is complete.

Photos: Farmers in Rwanda