Social Accountability: Conceptual

Social accountability refers to community based initiatives that monitor the management of the public resources to ensure that the duty bearers deliver the required services. This section contains literature on social accountability as a concept and the various debates in this context. For example

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Social Accountability Case Studies

Practical case study reports and publications which showcase the work of social accountability practitioners and CSOs across the globe. These could be valuable resources for learning, or for finding out how others are doing social accountability monitoring in a range of different contexts.

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Public Finance and Budget

Monitoring and analyzing the budget as well as the use of public finances is necessary to ensure that the public resources are spend accordingly. This section contains literature related to budget and expenditure management.

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Service Delivery

Lack of quality service delivery is one of the greatest motivators of social accountability. Civil Society are formed through out the world to address issues related to service delivery. This section contains material that explores the various interventions related to service delivery.
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Citizen Engagement

Public participation is an important part of social accountability. The sector itself emphasized the need to engage community member and mobilise them to engage the govern to demand required services. This section contains material related to public participation.
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Learning in Social Accountability

Learning is integral to social accountability. There is a need and emphasis to learn from interventions, to adopt and change according to the knowledge learnt. This section focuses on the monitoring, evaluation and learning that occurs within the social accountability sector.
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This section allows you to find resources related to social accountability work, advocacy and interventions within the agriculture sector. The literature, reports and resources available are specifically focused within the agriculture sector, but could be useful to all social accountability practitioners and activists.

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  • Study in Ethiopia links healthy soils to more nutritious cereals:  Large fields, predictable rainfall and favourable temperatures have meant that farmers in Arsi Negele, a town in southeastern Ethiopia, have benefited from good crop yields. Their production of wheat and maize, two of the main food staples in Ethiopia, have also increased over time. But there are worrying indicators that the increased yield and calories haven’t translated into sufficient vitamins and minerals. This study is one of the first to reveal the link between soil organic matter and crop nutrient content for a staple crop in a developing country.
  • Gender in Food and Nutrition Security – Gender-Sensitive Monitoring & Evaluation: Though most organizations working on FNS have incorporated gender in the design of policies and programmes, often gender mainstreaming commitments evaporate even before implementation, remaining only a commitment on paper. This neglect happens, in part, because of the lack of clear and simple guidelines and checklists to monitor gender-related impacts during the project cycle. In fact, often programme staff lack specific skills or commitment to address the differentiated gender constraints and benefits, and to formulate gender-sensitive indicators (disaggregated by class, age, ethnicity or caste) during the project planning. This guide provides some reference for organisations to keep gender in mind when implementing FNS projects.
  • Strengthening mutual accountability and performance in agriculture in Southern Africa: This article critically assessed experiences in the implementation of agricultural joint sector reviews in supporting mutual accountability in Southern Africa, focusing on the lessons learned, the challenges and recommendations for improvement. Empirical data were gathered from four countries that have implemented joint sector reviews: Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zambia. The results show that recent efforts to conduct joint sector review assessments in these countries have raised the quest for increased accountability for action and results. Despite progress to strengthen mutual accountability in the countries, monitoring and evaluation capacity remains a concern, especially at sub-national levels.
  • Using interactive radio for accountability to farmers in Tanzania: The research studied the impact of one of FRI’s projects, the Listening Post, initially developed as a pilot project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help agricultural development actors ensure their initiatives are responsive and accountable to farmers.The research aimed to assess the effectiveness of the Listening Post, and to examine its potential as a tool for the adaptive management of agricultural programmes. This practice paper describes the research, and reflects more broadly on the challenges and opportunities provided by feedback models such as the Listening Post for improving inclusive and participatory agricultural development, and for advancing adaptive programme implementation based on feedback. It also discusses the potential of building on a tech-enabled feedback model to enable collective civic action for extension services that are responsive to the priorities of smallholder farmers.


This section allows you to find resources related to social accountability work, advocacy and interventions within the health sector. The literature, reports and resources available are specifically focused within the health sector, but could be useful to all social accountability practitioners and activists.

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  • People across Africa have to travel far to get to a hospital. We worked out how far: Nearly half of all deaths and about a third of disabilities in low and middle-income countries could be avoided if people had access to emergency care. In Africa the main causes of emergencies are road accidents, obstetric complications, severe illnesses and non-communicable diseases. This study set out to address this problem by producing the first ever assessment of hospital services in sub-Saharan Africa, and used it to work out peoples’ access to care. The results – including how long it takes to get to a hospital – show where investment is needed in improving access. Various interventions are necessary. These should include building new hospitals, improving ambulatory care, building new roads and fixing existing ones.
  • Community health workers and accountability: reflections from an international “think-in”: During a ‘think in’, held in June of 2017, a diverse group of practitioners and researchers discussed the topic of community health workers (CHWs) and their possible roles in a larger “accountability ecosystem.” This jointly authored commentary resulted from these deliberations. Several propositions for further conceptual development and research related to the question of CHWs and accountability are put forward in this paper.
  • Spotlight on Sexual & Reproductive Health & Rights: Newsletter produced by the TAC and Section27 with a focus on yout and includes articles on living positively, queer folk, sex work, contraception and more.
  • Social Accountability Resources and Tools: This document is intended to assist civil society organizations (CSOs); non-governmental organizations (NGOs); and government health program planners, managers and staff to identify and adapt existing guides and tools for effective social accountability strategies. This is part of a broader effort within the USAID-funded Maternal and Child Survival Program (MCSP) to promote civil society engagement in national health programs in countries where USAID supports health care development.
  • Eastern Cape Health Crisis Coalition Case Study Report: This study explores challenges and successes of the Eastern Cape Health Crisis Action Coalition (ECHCAC). Focusing on the ECHCAC structure, coalition members’ beliefs systems, how those beliefs influence the public policy process and learning processes, within the context of coalitions.
  • Social accountability initiatives in health and nutrition: Lessons from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. South Asia is home to nearly a quarter of the world’s population and is a region of dynamic economic growth, yet it performs relatively poorly on health and nutrition indicators. As a potential route towards addressing this poor performance, a range of accountability initiatives has been implemented to improve service delivery in the health and nutrition sectors.
    This is a rich and vibrant field, with a great deal to offer in terms of best practice; but there is little work that focuses on South Asian innovation and practice generally, and takes a comparative and theoretical perspective to ground existing and future accountability initiatives in health and nutrition specifically. This report fills this gap.