Citizen-Led Accountability: Strategies and Tools

Citizen-Led Accountability: Strategies and Tools

On campus class cancelled for 2020. Check back for our online offerings.

Citizens have the right and responsibility to hold state actors and other power holders (e.g., corporations, NGOs) accountable for decisions and actions that affect their lives. Indeed, the participation of active citizens is key to ensuring good governance, which directly affects people on a daily basis (i.e., by influencing access to health care, education, housing, roads and job opportunities) and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Yet, around the world, many governance systems lack accountability, leading to problems of poor quality public services, mismanagement of resources, corruption, waste, and social injustice. This program explores how citizens can make their governments more open, transparent, and responsive to their needs and concerns. Through case studies from around the world, participants will learn innovative practices to engage citizens, monitor government actions, seek accountability, prevent corruption, and improve essential public services. They will also learn to design pro-accountability strategies and get hands-on experience applying practical tools such as community scorecards, to foster a culture of accountability in their societies.

Personal Benefits

Participants will:

  • learn the history, principles, and rationale for citizen-led accountability (or social accountability);
  • build practical skills in the use of citizen-led accountability methods and tools such as participatory planning, budgeting and expenditure tracking, social audits, citizen report cards, community scorecards, and other performance monitoring tools;
  • identify the characteristics of an enabling environment for citizen engagement; and,
  • explore ways to use citizen-led accountability tools in advocacy to make the case for change.

Organizational Benefits

By attending this course, participant’s will:

  • increase organizational capacity to build accountability into future projects and programs; and,
  • develop the ability to assess government programs and services to ensure access to quality public services for all citizens.

Who should take the program?

This certificate course is designed for practitioners from civil society organizations and social movements, as well as staff from government, development agencies or the private sector, who are engaged in governance, public services, human rights, advocacy and/or accountability work. Applicants should be open to sharing their knowledge and skills, and motivated to apply their learning in their own work.

Classroom Methods

The course will include a variety of participatory and experiential learning methods by which participants will share their experiences and deepen their learnings. These will include lecture presentations, small group discussions, role-plays and simulation exercises, video/written case studies, guest speakers, and skill-building exercises. Participants will benefit from visits to local field sites to engage practitioners and dialogue with stakeholders. All presentations and instructional materials will be in English.


A mix of institutional and private donors who share Coady Institute’s vision of community-based, citizen-lead change subsidize the institute’s educational programs. As possible, Coady will provide qualifying candidates with a partial bursary to assist with course fees. However, all participants will be responsible for fees payable of at least $2,250 CAD, as well as travel and other costs. Fees are payable prior to the start of the selected course.


Please note that Coady International Institute does not accept third party applications. Individuals need to submit their application via Coady’s website and should use caution when approached by those offering services to complete the application and admissions process.