Strengthening Parliaments and Democratic Institutions Justice and Human Rights Accountability and Transparency Frameworks Capacity Development of Local Governments and Civil Society
In many countries, CSOs play a critical role in achieving goals of democratisation, participation, good governance, poverty reduction, peace and development. Over the past several years many organizations have supported a number of initiatives aimed at enhancing the efforts of citizens to hold their governments (and other power holders) accountable. These initiatives have come to be known as “social accountability” or “mutual accountability” initiatives.
Social accountability is important for a number of reasons. First, accountability is the cornerstone of good governance and a pre-requisite for effective democracy. Second, by enhancing citizens voice, promoting dialogues and consultations between policy makers, service providers and citizens, social accountability initiatives can contribute in improving the effectiveness of service delivery, make public decision-making more transparent, participatory and pro-poor. Third, social accountability initiatives can contribute to empowerment, particularly the poor by providing information on rights and entitlement, and soliciting systematic feedback from poor people.
In many developing countries social accountability initiatives have increasingly been used by civil society and CSOs to promote and hold governments at different levels and power holders accountable. With the view towards developing the capacity of civil society and CSOs in promoting and strengthening accountability an initial step in this direction is conducting a stocktaking of such initiatives to provide a clear picture of what exist or what existed on the ground, and the lessons learned from these initiatives.