KP Webinar

Harnessing the power of faith-based communities to engage citizens and authorities alike: lessons from OAIC and Tearfund’s social accountability efforts in Africa

February 28th, 2019, 09:00 am EST

Speakers’ presentation

Participants’ questions


About the Webinar

To end poverty by 2030, public service delivery must be transformed. This calls for public institutional arrangements that integrate Social Accountability, or engagement between citizens and public institutions, in anti-poverty initiatives. With the presence they have in almost every geographical location of the African continent, faith communities can play a major role in building the civic capacities of the citizenry so that they can meaningfully engage public institutions from a rights-based framework. Much is being done, but not to the full potential inherent in Africa’s faith communities. Most of the responses to poverty by faith communities are focused on service delivery only, without adequate engagement in transforming the structural governance issues that are still keeping millions in poverty.

Since 2010, the Organisation of African Instituted Churches (OAIC) has been working with churches and other faith communities across Africa to enable them to harness the legitimacy they have gained through their service delivery and care for the poor, to organize a collective, consistent and constructive voice in addressing the structural issues that hamper access to social services for the poorest.

In this webinar, Rev. Nicta and Rev. Phyllis from OAIC, and Sarah Onduko, from Tearfund, will share lessons from their work.

What will you learn? This webinar will respond to the following questions:
– What has been achieved to date by approaches of engaging faith communities in social accountability, in terms of affecting countries’ governance systems?
– How can Africa’s faith communities utilise their power of presence to engage public institutions for social accountability?
– What are the changes faith communities need to make, to become effective in organising for social accountability?
– How can faith communities mobilise the resources in their structures and belief systems to build the civic virtues of citizens?
– What approaches can faith communities take to move towards collective action with other actors for social accountability?


Additional resources:

How to petition your MP on poverty and injustice, Amkeni Wa Kenya and Organization of African Instituted Churches

Lubaale, N. 2014. Workbook for Mobilising Constructive Civic Engagement. The Organization of African Instituted Churches, Nairobi and DMCDD, Copenhagen.


About our speakers

Rev. Phyllis Byrd Ochilo is the Director of the Just Communities program at OAIC. She first served as Consultant and Assistant to the General Secretary of the All Africa Council of Churches in Nairobi. Since then, she has been associate minister at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, a chaplain at Nairobi hospital and taught at a theological college. More recently she has been involved in the networking and advocacy program of the Greenbelt Movement. She also supervises and coordinates youth volunteer and short-term volunteer programs.
Phyllis has an M.Div. from Interdenominational Theological Seminary in Atlanta and an M.S. in International Affairs from Long island University. She is a member of Hollis Avenue Congregational UCC in Queens, N.Y.

Originally from Uganda, Rev. Nicta Lubaale has been the General Secretary of the Organization of African Instituted Churches (OAIC) based in Nairobi, Kenya, since 2007. He served as the Director for Development and HIV/AIDS Programme of the OAIC and as a Pastor with the Centre for Evangelism in Uganda for 13 years. Nicta has been involved in the area of faith and development for over 25 years. He has been involved in the mobilisation and building community responses to HIV and AIDS; he has given leadership to the development of food and nutrition security Initiatives that are implemented by churches and farmers organisations resulting into over 1000 congregations and farmers owned initiatives; he participated in giving leadership to the Africa Interfaith Initiative on SDGs-a multi-faith platform that enabled Africa’s Faith communities to bring their voice in shaping the SDGs. He is currently involved in working with faith communities in different socio-political environments to find the appropriate approaches and narrative that will enable the citizenry to participate in shaping the way public services are delivered in Africa.

He holds an MA in development studies from the University of Reading (UK).

Sarah Onduko holds the role of Social Accountability Officer at Tearfund, an international Christian relief and development agency. In her role, she is working alongside Tearfund’s church-based partners around the world, focusing on strengthening and supporting the sustainable scale up of church-led advocacy, using social accountability tools, to enable communities to achieve good governance. Previously at Tearfund, Sarah supported partners in the East and Southern Africa Team to do advocacy at national and local level. In this role, she supported the ‘Bridging the Gap’ research report into the impact of local church-led advocacy in Uganda, which was written in conjunction with the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex in the UK, with funding from Making All Voices Count. Prior to joining Teafund, Sarah worked with Oxfam, coordinating their Pan Africa Programme, focusing on Democracy, Government and Accountability in Africa.




February 13, 2020

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