Participation Accountability and Governance

Participation, Accountability, and Governance

Coady Institute works towards a vision of societies where people are critically aware of their rights and responsibilities and meaningfully participate in development processes and decisions that affect their lives and communities. These active citizens are equipped to hold governments, private sector actors, and other duty bearers accountable and able to shape governance structures and decisions through effective dialogue, constructive engagement, strategic advocacy, and conflict transformation.

Working with governance, advocacy, human rights, and peace practitioners from various networks, associations, social movements and other civil society organizations, Coady Institute promotes citizen-led transformation of the institutions, policies, plans, budgets, and public services that are essential to more just, democratic, peaceful, and sustainable development.

At a time when democracy and pluralism are under strain, civic spaces are shifting, technology is impacting on social contracts, and the climate crisis is amplifying conflict, Coady Institute also recognizes the importance of building relationships and broad-based coalitions for change across borders and sectors. Through its educational programs, action research, strategic partnerships, and convening role, Coady Institute works to enhance the capacity and confidence of citizen leaders to confront these challenges and contribute to the wealth and well-being of all in their society.

Partners and Initiatives

In 2020, Coady Institute is collaborating with South African graduates working in civil society, government, and academia to facilitate a participatory action research program exploring the intersection of asset-based and community-driven (ABCD) approaches with social accountability and participatory governance at the local level. Funded in partnership with the Swedish International Centre for Local Democracy, the Mobilising Assets to Bridge the Accountability Gap project aims to understand how ABCD approaches can be leveraged in the Municipality of Emfuleni to effectively engage underrepresented communities in local governance through participatory processes.

Since 2016, Coady Institute has been an active partner of the Participedia project, a global network of leading researchers and practitioners on participatory governance and democracy. Over 20 graduates have made unique contributions to this knowledge-building effort on citizen participation by documenting their own work as case studies for the project. Coady Institute supported and accompanied graduates both in documenting their stories, as well as in the process of ongoing learning through this reflective practice.

Several of these graduate case studies document initiatives taking place in Egypt, where Coady Institute has had links since the 1960s, and there is a network of more than 100 graduates working in civil society, donor, and religious organizations. Between 2012 and 2016, a partnership with the Ford Foundation – the Transparency and Accountability in Governance (TAG) project – contributed to strengthening the capacity of more than 100 emerging community leaders and existing civil society organizations, enabling citizens to actively engage with decision-makers at all levels to create more responsive policies, and to hold policy makers and duty bearers to account.

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Participation, Accountability and Governance: Publications

Landry, J. & B. von Lieres. 2019. Participedia as a Democratic Learning Platform in a Global Context of Democratic Erosion. Participedia Partners Conference, Institute of Development Studies, Brighton.

Landry, J. & B. Peters. 2018. Assets on the right(s) track? Reflections at the intersection of human rights-based approaches and asset-based and citizen-led development. Innovation series No. 19. Antigonish: Coady International Institute.

Landry, J. (Ed.). 2018. Promoting Accountable, Inclusive and Participatory Governance: A Collection of Participedia Case Studies by Coady Graduates. Innovative practice No. 4. Antigonish: Coady International Institute.

Landry, J. & B. Peters. 2017. Human Rights Based Approaches and Citizen-Led, Asset-Based and Community-Driven Development: Discussion paper. Innovation series. Antigonish: Coady International Institute.

Landry, J. & C. Galofre. 2012. The Equitas Community: An Online Community of Practice Supporting Human Rights Education. IDRC. Learning Forum: Virtual Platforms for Knowledge Management in International Development.

McGee, R., & Gaventa, J. (2011). Shifting power? Assessing the impact of transparency and accountability initiatives. IDS Working Paper No. 383Download. (200K pdf)

Gaventa, J. (2011). Civil society and power. In M. Edwards (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of civil society (pp. 416-427). New York: Oxford University Press.

Gaventa, J. (2011). Participation makes a difference: But not always how and where we might expect. Development Outreach, 13(1), 72-74.

Gaventa, J. (2011). Power and participation. In A. Cornwall & I. Scoones (Eds.), Revolutionizing development: Reflections on the work of Robert Chambers (pp.  67-73). London: Earthscan.

MacDonald, J. (2006). Village Development Committees for representative and responsive rural governance. Occasional paper #6Download. (727K pdf)

The Open Access Movement and Information for Development: From May 29 – June 9, 2006, the Coady International Institute convened an online discussion on Open Access. This created a space for people to share their views on what Open Access can mean in terms of information for adult education and development in the Global South.

Gladkikh, O. (Ed.). (2002). Democracy and active citizen engagement: Best practices in advocacy and networking. Antigonish, NS: Coady Institute.

Fletcher, D., Irving, C., Cameron, C., & Gladkikh, O. (2008). Facilitating transformative learning for participatory governance: Inpsired by the Antigonish Movement, challenged by the Great Turning. Presented at the Transformative Learning Conference, University of Toronto, October 16-18.

Irving, C.J., & English, L.M. (2011). Transformative learning with women: A critical review proposing linkages for the personal and political spheres. Proceedings of the 52nd National Conference of the AERC and the 30th National Conference of CASAE, OISE-University of Toronto, June 9-12, pp. 305-312. Download. (54K pdf)

Turay, T.M. (2004). Peace movements and activism. Presented at Peacemaking in the 21st Century Conference, University of Maine, June 18-20.