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Citizen action for accountability in challenging contexts: What have we learned?

April 17, 2023
The Action for Empowerment and Accountability research consortium, led by IDS and with quite a lot of involvement from Oxfam (including me) is now winding up with the customary emission of academic papers (think puffballs reaching maturity). One of these is a whole issue of Development Policy Review (now Open Access – yay!) on ‘Citizen Action for Accountability in Challenging

What counts as ‘accountability’ – and who decides?

March 17, 2022
Guest post by Jonathan Fox, introducing his new paper Accountability is often treated as a magic bullet, an all-purpose solution to a very wide range of problems—from corrupt politicians and the quality of public services to systemic injustice and impunity.  Yet accountability reforms struggle to deliver. Has the idea been stretched so far that the buzzword gets watered down into
Featured image for “A TripAdvisor in development? Turns out it’s a poster on the wall…”

A TripAdvisor in development? Turns out it’s a poster on the wall…

July 19, 2021
Guest post from Derek Thorne Back in 2015, Duncan Green published a piece on FP2P asking whether a TripAdvisor-style feedback system could work in development. If you follow the link, you’ll see it generated a lot of feedback! The idea was – and is – that TripAdvisor, and systems like it, have put significant power in the hands of consumers,

“When will we get a report on your findings?”: reflections on researcher accountability from DRC

June 20, 2019
Christian Chiza Kashurha is a teaching assistant at the Department of History  of ISP-Idjwi and researcher at  GEC-SH, Bukavu, DRC. This piece is part of the new “Bukavu Series” blog posts by the GIC Network. Throughout the Global South, in countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, research projects of researchers in the North are increasingly carried out either by, or with

5 Emerging Lessons from new research into Empowerment and Accountability in Messy Places

March 15, 2019
A second instalment on the recent conversation with DFID’s Social Development Advisers (see here for first instalment). John Gaventa summarized the emerging lessons from the DFID-funded Action for Empowerment and Accountability research programme, which he coordinates. A4EA is trying to work out whether the stuff we know about E&A in more stable places is different from what happens in fragile

Self Reliance, Hip Hop, Resistance and Weapons of the Weak: do we need to rethink Empowerment?

September 25, 2018
A 3 day conference at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) inevitably makes you dig deep and question your assumptions, and last week’s gathering of the Action for Empowerment and Accountability research programme was no exception. This time, presentations from Myanmar and Mozambique set me off. In Myanmar the researchers had expected to find communities opting between ethnic and state

What does ‘going to scale’ mean in poor communities in South Africa?

August 1, 2018
Albert van Zyl of the International Budget Partnership considers how progress goes to scale in IBP’s work in South Africa Among development’s chattering classes, scale is a hot topic – what’s the point of supporting small pockets of progress, unless we can scale them up to the country/population at large? In the shanty towns of South Africa, we’ve seen our

Which Citizens? Which Services? Unpacking Demand for Improved Health, Education, Roads, Water etc

March 16, 2018
Next up in the Twaweza series is this post from Ruth Carlitz of the University of Gothenburg. Please read and comment on the draft paper she summarizes here. Clean water. Paved roads. Quality education. Election campaigns in poor countries typically promise such things, yet the reality on the ground often falls short. So, what do people do? Wait for five

Can Evidence-based Activism still bring about change? The view from East Africa

March 14, 2018
Spent last week defrosting in Tanzania, at a fascinating conference that produced so many ideas for blogs that, even if all the promised pieces don’t materialize, we’re going to have to have a ‘Twaweza week’ on FP2P. Here’s the first instalment. I’m buzzing and sleep deprived after getting back from an intense two days in Dar es Salaam, reviewing the

A global X ray of the world’s budget processes shows progress has gone into reverse

February 14, 2018
I dropped in on the London launch of the Open Budget Survey 2017 last week – I’ve been helping its creator, the International Budget Partnership, update its strategy. The survey has been running since 2006 – this is its sixth round. It now covers 115 countries, covering 93% of the world’s population, and assesses governments on their transparency, independent oversight

Empowerment and Accountability in Messy Places: what’s the latest?

October 19, 2017
Spent a fascinating two days at IDS last week taking stock of year one of a 5 year research programme: Action for Empowerment and Accountability (A4EA). The aim is to understand how social and political action takes place in ‘Fragile, Conflict, Violence Affected Settings’ (FCVS) and the implications for ‘external actors’ (donors, INGOs etc, but the term always makes me

Legitimacy: the dark matter of international development

September 27, 2017
Guest Post by Aoife McCullough, Research Fellow, ODI Many donors work on the premise that a state can move from fragile to ‘stable’ if its legitimacy is strengthened. Accordingly, there’s a broad donor consensus that interventions in fragile states should include a mix of activities likely to contribute to increased state legitimacy – what the World Development Report 2011 calls