Citizen-Led Accountability: Strategies and Practices – Online
September 23 – November 11, 2021
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, water and sanitation, roads, and job opportunities), and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a powerful reminder of the critical importance of transparent, accountable, and responsive governance to ensure the basic needs and well-being of communities are met, and that systemic injustices are not further entrenched.
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. At a time when many countries are experiencing democratic backsliding, shrinking civic space, and persistent gender inequality – in many cases exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic – many citizens feel powerless to voice their opinions and concerns, let alone to influence government decisions, push for improved responsiveness, demand accountability, and effect meaningful change.
My experience with Coady has broaden my knowledge to seamlessly approach accountability issues of concern to me. The accountability matrix that we were exposed to at the training was welcomed by my organization and we are going to be deploying it for maximum output. We are also going to be adopting the downward accountability relationship in my organization so we can be accountable to the immediate community that we serve.
Citizen-led accountability – or “social accountability” – refers to a range of approaches and practices that enable citizens (including those who are often excluded) to do just that: to work with governments in a meaningful, productive, and effective way in pursuit of increased transparency, citizen voice, improved governance systems, and ultimately, a culture of accountability leading to positive changes in people’s lives.
This course will help equip you to understand the underlying principles of citizen-led accountability, and craft context-appropriate proposals to build accountability into your work. Through case studies from around the world and intentional peer learning, you will learn innovative practices to engage citizens, monitor government actions, seek accountability, prevent corruption, and improve essential public services. You will also learn to design inclusive pro-accountability strategies and bridge conceptual learning with practical applications in your own work to foster a culture of accountability in your organization and in societies.
Benefits and Learning Objectives
By the end of the course, you will be able to:
- Explain the fundamental principles of citizen-led accountability, its role in good governance, why it is important, and the potential benefits it can bring.
- Identify the characteristics of an enabling environment for citizen-led accountability and explore strategies for creating/nurturing enabling conditions.
- Describe a range of citizen-led accountability practices and tools, such as participatory planning, gender budgeting, participatory budgeting, social audit, community scorecard, and citizen report cards.
- Apply an inclusion lens (e.g., accounting for factors of power, gender, and intersectionality) in your analysis of governance and planning for citizen-led accountability.
- Reflect strategically on how to maximize the impact of citizen-led accountability approaches in order to successfully negotiate change and achieve concrete improvements (such as enhanced quality and accessibility of public services).
- Apply strategic thinking to develop a proposal for citizen-led accountability adapted to your own context.
Over the course of seven weeks, you should prepare to dedicate approximately 7-9 hours per week to complete a mix of independent learning activities (5-7 hours) and facilitated live session (2 hours). One week prior to the course start date, a pre-orientation period will allow you to become familiar with the learning platforms and technology.
- Reliable internet access (high speed is recommended)
- Speakers and microphone
Who Should Apply?
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. As a participant, you should be open to sharing your knowledge and skills and be motivated to apply your learning in your own work.
The tuition fee for this course is $850. Coady Institute strives to ensure change leaders working in communities around the world have access to its courses. This is made possible through the provision of bursaries that are funded by many individual and institutional donors. Partial bursaries of up to $475 are available for qualifying candidates. Through Coady’s Circle of Abundance, a limited number of full bursaries are available to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit participants residing in Canada. Those receiving a bursary will be responsible for paying the balance of their tuition before the designated deadline.
Full bursaries are available from the Centre for Employment Innovation (CEI) for eligible applicants from Nova Scotia. This includes applicants working for a program or agency engaged in employment services delivery, or engaged in social innovation activities to alleviate poverty, strengthen livelihoods, and create more equitable employment and entrepreneurial opportunities with and for systemically oppressed groups. For more information, visit the CEI Bursary Program page.