Voice and accountability

State-society relations and citizenship

2° ATO Belo Horizonte

State-society relations, citizenship and socio-political cohesion are areas of great importance to statebuilding and peacebuilding and are crucial to an integrated approach. State-society relations are defined by DFID as ‘interactions between state institutions and societal groups to negotiate how public authority is exercised and how it can be influenced by people. They are ...» more

Test it and they might come: Improving the uptake of digital tools in transparency and accountability initiatives

Christopher Wilson and Indra de Lanerolle

Information and communications technologies (ICTs) and data play an increasingly visible role in transparency and accountability initiatives (TAIs). This article investigates TAI tool selection processes in South Africa and Kenya. It argues that in many cases, tools are chosen with only limited testing of their appropriateness for the intended users in the intended contexts, ...» more

Citizen voice and action

No democratic government can afford not to listen to the voices of its citizens. Why? It is a matter of common sense; involving people in discussions about how to tackle a problem that affects their lives is much more likely to generate successful ways to address the issue. Further, if opportunities are made to formulate…» more

When does ICT-enabled citizen voice lead to government responsiveness?

Tiago Peixoto and Jonathan Fox

This article reviews evidence on the use of 23 information and communications technology (ICT) platforms to project citizen voice to improve public service delivery. This study begins with a conceptual framework intended to clarify the different links in the causal chain in between ICT-enabled opportunities to express voice (platforms) and institutional responses. In other ...» more

Mobile phone and social media interventions for youth development outcomes

Young people are often ‘first adopters’ of new technologies, particularly broadcast technologies such as mobile phones. The upsurge in ICT usage has had a direct impact on increasing civic engagement among youth, providing new avenues through which they are informed, shape opinions, organise, collaborate and take action. A number of barriers and challenges remain that must ...» more

State of the world’s volunteerism report 2015

UN Volunteers

Volunteerism provides a key channel for the successful implementation of a more inclusive future development agenda advocated by the SDGs. The report analyses the relationship between volunteerism and governance and some of the core governance issues amenable to volunteer action locally, nationally and globally. It argues that volunteerism is an additional resource and vehicle ...» more

Deliberation and development: Rethinking the role of voice and collective action in unequal societies

Patrick Heller & Vijayendra Rao (eds.)

Deliberation is the process by which a group of people, each with equal voice, can - via a process of discussion and debate - reach an agreement. This edited book aims to do two things: rethink the role of deliberation in development and demonstrate that taking deliberation seriously calls for a different approach to both research and policy design. It highlights that much ...» more

Women’s voice and leadership in decision-making: Assessing the evidence

Pilar Domingo, Rebecca Holmes, Tam O’Neil, Nicola Jones, Kate Bird, Anna Larson, Elizabeth Presler-Marshall, Craig Valters

This report reviews the global evidence on the processes of change that enable women to have substantive voice and leadership in decision-making. It answers two core research questions: what are the enabling factors for women and girls’ voice, leadership and access to decision-making? what do we know about whether and how women and girls’ voice, leadership and/or presence in ...» more

Do young people act to make a difference?


This brief from Twaweza draws on a survey of 2,432 Ugandans aged 15-35. It finds that they have a much greater sense of general self-efficacy than of political self-efficacy, perhaps reflecting mistrust of the political system. Almost a third of respondents say they have taken action to address community issues. Self-efficacy appears to matter more than gender, age, and ...» more

Opening the Black Box: The Contextual Drivers of Social Accountability

Helene Grandvoinnet, Ghazia Aslam, Shomikho Raha

What are the factors—enabling and disabling—that shape the possibility of TAIs achieving their goals in a particular context? This report focuses on social accountability (SA) and solely on the accountability of public officials. It aims to fill three specific knowledge gaps and provides guidance on how to assess contextual drivers of SA effectiveness. Its principal ...» more

Service characteristics and engagement with citizens

Richard Batley, Joseph Wales

This briefing note aims to provide some practical guidance on how different services can offer differing opportunities and challenges for improving service performance through increased accountability and, especially, citizen engagement. It illustrates an approach to identifying these opportunities, using examples from two services: curative health care and urban networked ...» more

Social accountability: What does the evidence really say?

Jonathan Fox

This study reinterprets both the empirical evaluation evidence and the analytical concepts involved in social accountability (SAcc), in order to help to address the “what next?” question. The paper first identifies limits to the conceptual frameworks usually applied to SAcc. Second, a meta-analysis assesses the SAcc impact evaluation literature. This exercise draws primarily on ...» more

The power of talk: Media and accountability in three African countries

Rebecca Stringer

This policy briefing offers an empirical contribution to evolving thinking on governance within the international development landscape. Using the example of media, the brief argues that interventions designed to foster demand-based accountability may not be as successful in some fragile settings as more discursive platforms that aim to tackle problem-solving collectively. The ...» more

To be well at heart: women’s perceptions of psychosocial wellbeing in three conflict affected countries

Martha Bragin et al.

This article presents the results of a participatory study utilising ethnographic methods to develop a phenomenological understanding of how women in three conflict-affected settings understand, experience and operationalise the term ‘psychosocial well-being’. The study was conducted in three countries (Burundi, Nepal and Uganda), where CARE Österreich (an international relief ...» more

The Role of Crowdsourcing for Better Governance in Fragile State Contexts

Maja Bott, Björn-Sören Gigler, Gregor Young

This study offers an overview of crowdsourcing as a resource for development, crisis response and post-conflict recovery. The paper reviews the factors necessary for crowdsourcing success (vision, trust, human capital, among others) and the challenges. It provides examples from important crowdsourcing and interactive mapping phenomena and initiatives in Haiti, Libya, Sudan and ...» more

Citizen-Led Accountability and Inclusivity in Pakistan

Tom Kirk

This paper examines the experiences of citizens' groups seeking to hold Pakistan’s elected representatives and governance institutions accountable. A recent citizen-led accountability programme across both conflict-affected and peaceful constituencies has reported significant success in mobilising volunteer groups to demand the resolution of local issues. This paper examines ...» more

The ideal of gender justice and the UNSCR 1325

Sirkku K. Hellsten

The paper examines why the efforts to promote gender justice by development aid have not succeeded in dealing with deeply-rooted structural injustices which prevent the realization of social justice and gender equality. The study analyses the implementation of the UNSCR 1325 ‘Women, Peace, and Security’ in Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The paper concludes that in ...» more

Voice and Agency: Empowering women and girls for shared prosperity

World Bank Group

This report delivers an array of data, studies and evidence collected from a variety of sources to shine a spotlight on the pervasive deprivations and constraints that face women and girls worldwide. It focuses on key drivers and determinants of voice and agency. It also investigates the effectiveness of interventions designed to combat violence against women and other agency ...» more

How Useful are RCTs in Evaluating Transparency & Accountability?

Jeniffer Leavy

This paper reviews experience in the use of randomised control trials (RCTs) in evaluating transparency and accountability (T&A) initiatives, and where evidence exists, in evaluating Technology-for-Transparency-and-Accountability (T4T&A) initiatives. The review explores: (i) where and under what conditions RCTs might be the most appropriate approach; and (ii) where other ...» more

Voice and agency: Empowering women and girls for shared prosperity

World Bank

The 2012 report recognized that expanding women's agency - their ability to make decisions and take advantage of opportunities is key to improving their lives as well as the world. This report represents a major advance in global knowledge on this critical front. The vast data and thousands of surveys distilled in this report cast important light on the nature of constraints ...» more