GPSa Knowledge Platform

September 1 @ 9:00 am – November 30 @ 5:00 pm BST

Civil Society Organisations can proudly look back on a long history of driving change and doing ‘good’ in the world. However, like with all actors in the social, cultural and political sphere we are not free of fault. Yet it can be difficult for individuals and organisations to admit to failures, as especially recent times have shown with new scandals arising, it is high-time that CSOs actively change the culture of their organisations and start admitting to and embracing their moments of failure as opportunities for reflection and change rather than something that disgraces the work they do.  

In the past, there has been pressure for CSOs to focus on presenting their successes, which in turn has led to us presenting ourselves as saviours with an unquestionable mandate. This is not the way through which we will gain the trust of the public or other stakeholders we work with. Instead, we need to admit that CSOs experience the same organisational problems as every other multinational actor in the international sphere, and openly discuss and challenge the policies which have failed to uphold the values we promote. Admitting to failure is the first step towards change, but the hardest part comes afterwards with establishing effective mechanisms to deal with failures.  

Therefore, Accountable Now presents its new webinar series where, together with their members, they want to explore the different mechanisms and tools that organisations can apply to become transparent and accountable to the failures that occur at an individual professional level, and at the more structural, organisational level. Participants and speakers will approach questions related to dealing with failures, to ensuring adherence to codes of conduct, to establishing effective complaint mechanisms and working together and openly with donors on these issues.  

Discussions will be moved around these critical issues forward by exploring the different activities that organisations can practice to generate the trust needed for CSOs to complete their work successfully and move past old habits of sweeping issues under the carpet.  


From September to November they will present the following webinars: 

Webinar 1: Professional failures – How to own up to achieve successes

Wednesday, 12 September 2018, 2 pm (UK time)

Presenter: Pepe Villatoro , CEO, FuckUp, Inc.

Fuckup Nights is a global movement and event series where individuals can share stories of professional failure. Each month, in events across the globe, three to four people get up in front of a room full of strangers to share their own professional fuckup. The stories that we normally would like to swipe under the carpet – we tell them all. But what is the purpose of this exercise? Pepe Villatoro, founder and CEO of these failure sharing events, will give the participants of our webinars an introduction on why openly admitting our failures is so important for our own success and the success of the organisation we work for. In an interactive exercise we encourage participants to bring their own stories of a minor or major situation where they have failed in their current work or professional career and what they have learnt from it.

Webinar 2: Organisational culture – How to address failures and spark a cultural shift in your organisation

Thursday, 4 October 2018, 2 pm (UK time)

Presenter: Sarah Crass, Knowledge Management Advisor, World Vision

Failure is the f-word in international development, yet a reality we all must face. Civil society Organisations often work in failed environments and yet we expect success 100% of the time. But if you read our project reports, we have “uneven successes”, “lessons learned”, and every other euphemism we can imagine just to keep from saying one simple word: failure. In 2016 World Vision launched its first Partnership-wide ‘Fail Fest: Celebrating Learning Champions’, a virtual event that involved all parts of the organisation and enabled open sharing of failure as basis for learning. This becoming an annual event is contributing to the cultural shifts in World Vision’s strategy of being more humble in their need to learn and more honest in sharing those learnings with their colleagues. Sarah Crass is organising these events within World Vision and will share her experiences on how you can spark this cultural shift.

Webinar 3: Equity, diversity, and inclusion – How to identify areas of risk in your organisation

4th week of October

Presenter: Natalia Kiryttopoulou, Senior Consultant, Keystone Accountability

Organisations have a duty to provide a safe, respectful, and inclusive working environment. We try, but power abuses, discrimination, and harassment sadly still do happen. Despite our best efforts, safeguarding and whistleblowing policies are not effective at unearthing repeated and systemic issues relating to equity, diversity, and inclusion. Keystone Accountability offers a confidential, independently operated survey that enables organisations to see where such issues are occurring. This survey provides data on the perceptions and experiences of your colleagues as well as highlights their suggestions for strengthening your working culture. Disaggregation of the results allows you to understand which groups feel most vulnerable, when particular issues are most likely to arise, and where people feel safe, valued, and productive.

Webinar 4: The donor’s perspective: How to work with grantees to report transparently on failures

3rd week of November

Presenter: Michael Jarvis Executive Director, Transparency & Accountability Initiative (TAI)

We as Civil Society Organisations acknowledge that we need to critically reflect on potential negative effects of our work and identify where we have failed to deliver what has been promised. But this can be tricky as donors expect CSOs to continuously deliver successes with the money they directly or indirectly provide. So how can organisations find a solution in this environment of dissonance? Following up from the conversation our members will have in the previous webinar with researcher Angela Crack, we now want to talk with an actual donor on how they see donors like the Ford Foundation, who continuously try to learn from their grantees and encourage organisations to be primarily accountable to the people they work for. In this dialogue between a donor and an Accountable Now member we want to spark an open and critical discussion to unveil hidden issues, find a basis for mutual understanding and ways to work on these issues together.

Register your interest for the new webinar series An Opportunity in Disguise:

How Can I Contribute to the Knowledge Platform

You may contribute to the Knowledge Platform in many different ways: you can send and disseminate your social accountability materials (toolkits, reports, videos, etc.) in the knowledge repository; you can contact, interact and collaborate with other peers and join a global community of social accountability practitioners; you can participate in the different learning and knowledge exchange activities of the GPSA KP such as online courses, thematic forums, webinars and blogs; and you can develop a partnership with the GPSA KP to implement collaborative knowledge activities.

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