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Engaging with Citizen Voices and Experiences: the 2017 World Development Report on Governance and the Law

GPSA Knowledge Platform forums Discussions with Experts Engaging with Citizen Voices and Experiences: the 2017 World Development Report on Governance and the Law

This topic contains 141 replies, has 44 voices, and was last updated by  Janet Oropeza 4 years, 3 months ago.

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  • #4750

    United States

    Hi everyone and welcome to this E-forum entitled “E-Forum on Governance and the Law”.  I’m Steve Commins from UCLA and the WDR17 team, and I will be co-facilitating this forum along with Janet Oropeza from Fundar, Carolina Cornejo from ACIJ, Lucia Nass from ESAP2 and Joy Aceron from Ateneo de Manila School of Government. As the title suggests, this forum will focus on learning from practitioners’ and organization’s experiences on governance and the law. But, why are we gathering such experiences in the first place? Well, some months ago as I started helping the World Development team within the World Bank with the 2017 Report on Governance and the Law, I met and contacted various civil society organizations, who showed interest in the Report and in sharing their experiences and voices. This three-week forum aims to provide a space for listening to these. As such, we deeply encourage your participation in it.

    The World Development Report 2017 on Governance and the Law seeks to understand how governance interventions can be more effective in generating sustainable welfare improvements in the long term and self-reinforcing dynamics of inclusion. The Report seeks to unpack the complex interactions between state institutions, power, social norms, and development outcomes to (i) explain cross-country (and within-country) heterogeneity and (ii) investigate processes of institutional change.

    The WDR 2017 team will utilize e-forum participants’ contributions as follows: (a) to have a reality-check on the WDR’s framework and main concepts; (b) to identify specific country/case experiences that can be used to illustrate content of the Report.  This e-forum is one means through which the WDR 2017 will engage with external stakeholders working on governance issues.

    The forum will last three weeks, from October 19 to November 6. Each week, we will be raising and discussing a specific question related to governance and the law. At the end of the week, I will be summarizing the main points of the discussion and sharing them with you. All responses and contributions are welcomed and we encourage people to react and comment to each other’s posts as, at the end, the most important learning comes from sharing and exchanging among us.

    To get the forum started, we would love to hear from you. We invite you to introduce yourself, who you are and where you work. After, we kindly ask you to reflect on the first question for this week:

    What does ‘governance’ mean to you and what are key dimensions of it? 

    Please share your perspectives related to the above questions or any other thoughts related to governance and the law that you consider important. We look forward to hearing from you



  • #4752


    I am Abdelaziz Abid from Morocco
    I am a Board Member of a network called Remdi making advocacy for a foi law
    I advocate also for making Morocco an ogp country

    On the first question of this week let me please take some time for reflection

    • #4753


      It is great to see WDR staff taking advantage of social networks to help reach out past simply government, NGO and academia inputs. This is particularly important for countries like Mexico, but also areas where the Arab Spring initiatives weren’t responded to well. This should be an amazing opportunity for engaging citizen voices.

    • #4912


      Site WEB:
      Twitter: @UReportCameroon

      The U-Report (Your report) is a project whose goal is to permit communal involvement and citizen commitment. Through the technology of the SMS, and while leaning on the very elevated rate of coverage and penetration of the mobile telephony in Cameroon, the U-Report strives to involve the populations in the development strive through thematic surveys. But it also wishes to involve different groups in the collection of the various opinions in order to improve the social, economic and environmental policies that are carried out. The objective is to create an adequate environment for the way back of the information from the citizens in view of solving out the fundamental problems related to services and to increase the effectiveness of the public institutions. According to an approach adapted to the situation of every country, the GPSA of which UNICEF is a partner supports the implemented activities in the field where the World Bank is very active and can help the public powers to react to the opinions expressed by citizens. The GPSA endeavors” to connect ends” while helping the citizens to make themselves better heard and the public powers to listen to the public whereas the public organisms follow up the return of information they receive.
      While committing the different development actors, the U-Report appears as being an innovation capable to address the requirements of the Objectives of Sustainable Development, mainly with regard to community participation and the growth of the accountability of the bondholders.
      In a first approach, we had defined the zones and targets to reach as well as the different partnerships to lead. But the context changed somewhat and imposes us a certain adaptability.
      Indeed, the security context of Cameroon in this second part of the year 2015, and the birth of new partnerships drove to the revision of the second strategy of implementation of the U-Report through the United Nations’ framework for development assistance.
      Following the attacks perpetrated by the moslem sect Boko Haram in the Far North region, it is henceforth important to integrate that security dimension among the factors of analysis and the strategies.

      2. Coverage Zones (Phase 1)
      Considering what precedes, the zones of coverage for the implementation of the first phase of the U-Report project in the framework of the UNDAF are the following: Extrême-Nord, Nord, Adamaoua, Est and Centre

      3. Targets
      4. One can dissociate the targets of the project in two categories: the bondholders and the rightful owners.
      5. The bondholders are possessors of obligations concerning human right. They can be at the middle or the summit of the chain but in a certain manner; they have the power to make things change. They are the target of the project in the measure as their adherence would permit to reach one of the primordial objectives of the U-Report, that is, to be used like a tool of management and good governance. The bondholders are also divided in two categories:
      6. – The bondholders of first rank: it is about the elected. They that hold legitimacy from the populations towards whom they have the duty to give account. It is about the mayors, the Members of Parliament (MPs) and the senators.
      7. – The bondholders of second rank: it is about all other development actors: the United Nations, NGOs, the government through its decentralized services, the civil society etc…
      8. The rightful owners possess human right. The populations are these rightful owners. They are the main target of this project because it is articulated around the local council’s involvement as tool of management and development. Their adherence to the project would furthermore permit to create a bridge between the bondholders and the rightful owners, to increase the accountability of the bondholders and impulse an involvement of the populations in the development effort.

      The project having been established with the help of the Parliamentarians of the Mfoundi Division, the latter will stand in first rank. However one can distinguish different type of partnerships:
      4.1. technical partners
      There are three, precisely:
      LMT Group: It is the technical partner who provides users with the short and free numbers whereby U-Report can carry out some surveys and recruit U-Reporters (8555). This number is accessible from all mobile networks in Cameroon thanks to its exploitation license in the field of added value services.
      Nyaruka Ltd: with which UNICEF has a LTA in the field of the creation of the applications on cell phones but also the exploitation of RapidPro that is the environment on which our platform of exploitation has been constructed.
      Kampala Innovation Lab: who is the global innovations center of UNICEF in charge of bringing us its expertise and that plays the role of an advisor in the choice and the execution of the technological solutions. UNICEF is member of the World Bank Global Partnership for Social Responsibility (GPSA).
      4.2. Work Partners
      The exploitation of the U-Report platform includes different actors:
      MINEPAT: In its quality of working ankle of the cooperation program, the MINEPAT is called to play a role of coordinator of the activities bound to this project. It is within this ministry that we wish to find the institutional anchoring of this project. Le Cameroon joined the initiative of the World Partnership for Social Responsibility (GPSA) of the World Bank through the MINEPAT.
      MINJEUN: Supervisory Ministry of the youth that represents more the half of the target population of the project, the MINJEUN is a favourite partner in the implementation of this project.
      : For the same reasons as with the MINJEUN, the CNJC is therefore and de facto a strategic partner of this project in view of its spreading in the National Triangle in the optics of a future global implementation.
      CVUC: through their role of coordinator of the town halls on the whole territory, the CVUC is also a favourite partner in the implementation and exploitation of this project.
      ADEN Cameroon Network: Being a fourth level professional organization of the civil society that acts in the field of local development and IT for the improvement of basic socio-economic services, the Network has created 221(two hundred twenty-one) polyvalent communal telecentres with communal radios and has 551 permanent staffs in the whole 58 divisions of Cameroun. ADEN Network counts as a member of the follow-up Committee for public investment, organism whose secretariat is managed by the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Territorial Development. Furthermore the ADEN Network has a convention of partnership with the Public Contracts Regulation Agency (ARMP). The ADEN Network is a major asset in the implementation of the project at the decentralized level.
      The elected (Members of Parliament, mayors): as representatives of the populations and immediate actors of change.
      The development partners for technical support in the implementation and exploitation of the project.
      9. Implementation steps of the project

      Phase Activities Target Managers Partner Deadline
      Past Weeks


      Setting down of the technical Platform ADEN Network /UNICEF Cedric LMT-OSM-NYARUKA-UNICEF
      Finalisation of the budget UNCT/ ADEN Network Kwabena/Sandrine/Jean
      Validation of the implementation and exploitation strategy. UNCT/Réseau ADEN Cedric/Semin/Serge
      Elaboration of communication tools Bondholders/Right owners Serge/Jean-Roland/Salomon
      Week o f 10-14 Aout 2015

      Order of communication tools Suppliers Serge/Jean-Roland/Salomon/Sandrine/ ADEN Network
      Information Lunch with Project partners MINEPAT-MINJEUN-CNJC-CVUC-ONU- ADEN Network U-Report Team
      Participation in the « Youthday » activities Youth Cedric/Semin/Serge/Jean-Roland/Salomon
      Week of 17-21 Aout 2015
      Tools of communication ready (Spots, videos, films etc…) Suppliers Serge/Jean-Roland/Salomon/Sandrine/ ADEN Network
      communication tools ready Suppliers Serge/Jean-Roland/Salomon/Sandrine/ ADEN Network
      Week of 24-28
      Implementation Mass communication Campain Centre region: Mfoundi U-Report Team
      First Public survey U-Reporters Cedric/ Semin/ ADEN Network
      Launching of the mass media communication Public Serge/Jean-Roland/Salomon
      Week of 31 Aout au 03 Septembre
      Implementation Follow up and publication of the results of the Large Public/Parners Cedric/Semin/ADEN Network
      Mass communication campaign Littoral Region : Wouri Equipe U-Report
      Second public survey U-Reporters Cedric/Semin/ ADEN Network
      Week of 06-10 Septembre 2015

      Implementation Follow up and publication of the preceding results Public/Partners Cedric/Semin/ ADEN Network
      Mass Communication Campaign East Region : Lom-and -Djerem U-Report Team
      Third public survey U-Reporters Cedric/Semin/ ADEN Network
      Week of 13-17 September 2015
      Implementation Follow up and publication of the public survey Large public/Partners Cedric/Semin/ ADEN network
      Mass communication campaign Adamaoua Region : Vina U-Report Team
      Fourth public survey U-Reporters Cedric/Semin/ ADEN Network
      Week of 20-24 September 2015
      Implementation Follow up and publication of results of the preceding survey Large public/Partners Cedric/Semin/ ADEN Network
      Mass communication Campaign South West Region : Fako U-Report Team
      U-Reporters Cedric/Semin/ ADEN Network

      10. Exploitation Model of the platform
      The National assembly will have the responsibility:
      1. to make the advocacy for the improvement of the public policies in order to address the results of the Surveys.
      The CVUC and the mayors will have the Responsibility:
      1. To facilitate the implementation of the U-Report apparatus;
      2. To bring answers to the results of the surveys in accordance with the laws of decentralization;

      The U-Report team of the UNDAF will have the responsibility :
      1. to create some flow;
      2. to register U-Reporters;
      3. to update the WEB site, the Facebook page and the Twitter account
      4. to achieve the cartography of the registrations and results at the local level;
      5. to enhance the capacities of the U-Report relay;
      6. to propose themes for the surveys;

      The Network ADEN, in its quality of partner of UNICEF will have the responsibility to:
      1. set up citizen committees at the local and communal level that will regroup U-Reporters;
      2 – Recruit U-Reporters at the local and communal levels ;
      3 – Reinforce the capacities of the citizens/U reporters;
      4 Support the advocacy for the setting up of the U-Report apparatus in Cameroon;
      5 – Conceive and to promote the efficient involvement of the populations at the basis in the follow-up of life quality through the U-Report tool. It will be more precisely about following and evaluating the implementation of the public investment budget by the local council s while using tools of social responsibilization. The produced information will be used by the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Regional Development as well as the Agency of Regulation of the Public Contracts (ARMP) in order to control the quality and the speed of implementation of the budget and to ensure the efficient use of funds;
      6 – Follow-up of the improvement measures in response to the results of the surveys;
      7 – Propose themes for the surveys;

    • #4939


      Greetings! This is Kejal from The Blue Ribbon Movement, India. In a vast democratic country like India, there exist laws and systems but their efficiency and accountability go for a toss.

      The responsibility and onus for an efficient system lies both in the hands of the Government and its citizens who elect them. Its difficult for either of them to alone ensure the smooth functioning. I see Governance as a two way co-operative approach where the one who governs (Government) and the one getting governed(citizens) both need to come together and support each other to make it efficient and both are accountable to each other.

      Our initiative NSS Community Connect Fellowship (NSSCCF) tries to bridge the inefficiency and get the two together for a long term sustainable development. NSS CCF is a 6 – months program which aims to build deep democracy to solve local civic issues by training young students in Mumbai. These students use the existing government system (Municipal Corporation) to solve civic complaints and create awareness about it amongst the unaware citizens.

      We work WITH the government rather than against them.

  • #4762

    Blair Glencorse

    Many thanks WDR team for this important effort- my name is Blair and I run an organization called the Accountability Lab ( We are an incubator for creative ideas to build accountability around the world (currently in Liberia, Nepal and Pakistan).

    Governance, to us, is not a fixed concept or process- it is constantly evolving as conditions change within a given context. It is also practical rather than theoretical- we’re interested in how it really works on the ground where it matters. It involves the interplay of rules, organizations, systems, processes and feedback loops in a dynamic way- but with a focus, throughout, on the “end user” or the constituent/citizen. Governance for us is an organic process- it can be suppored but cannot be imposed from outside.

  • #4772

    Janet Oropeza

    Thanks for your initial contributions @wt48 and @blairglencorse, they really set the tone for a very interesting and fruitful discussion. In relation to governance, I agree with Blair, governance is a concept that has evolved tremendously in the last decade, as practitioners have tried to apply it in various contexts and situations. There are many definitions and each emphasizes different aspects. From my experience working in international development and civil society organizations, governance refers to the way in which decisions are made, and the quality, representation, and accountability of the government to achieve society’s defined goals. It is closely linked to the concept of democratic government, which has also evolved. Coming from a country with high levels of impunity, injustice and inequality, I would say that key dimensions of governance are government accountability, the rule of law, respect for basic human rights (right to life, liberty, security of person, etc.), and social justice. The latter meaning that each person is entitled and can exercise basic social, economic and cultural rights. But I would be interested in getting to know others’ perspectives!

  • #4773


    I come back to you for my answers
    The future of governance is on the MSI’s in developing countries –like mine- and in the smart government in well advanced countries
    In the developing countries , the main problem is the level of public distrust which doesnot allow minimal cooperation between government and citizen This distrust is due to well-known things like lack of information , participation or control but also to less-known things like the citizen knowledge about public “physical constraints” –whant government could and what not And the MSI could face all this but we must assess all this because despite the beauty of the idea it remains an idea
    In well-advanced countries , technology evolved to a degree that the distinction between the governance level and the political level could be argued For the initial model of democracy , Athena there was no distinction between governance and political but between public and individual –all public problems were submitted to community And because of space-time constraints this model would not work for all communities or for all the problems And the representative democracy took the place of the direct democracy But is this always valid with the present evolution of the technology ? I don’t know if the democracy conception must evolve with present technology
    But I am sure that political knowledge must evolve : technology has not been used only for managing governements but also for overthrowing governements – but in the less- advanced countries

  • #4774

    United States

    Abdelaziz, thank you for your comments. You have identified ‘distrust’ as a major problem, and noted some of the problems that contribute to this gap between citizens and the government. You point out that new forms of technology may contribute to reducing the gap, since the space-time constraints limit direct participation. Have you, or others, seen instances where new technologies can increase cooperation and trust between government and citizens? And, since all technologies have limits, are there mechanisms that must go along with the technology?

  • #4775


    Greatings from Argentina. This is Carolina Cornejo from the Civil Association for Equality and Justice (ACIJ).

    So far, many interesting points have been raised. I do agree with @blairglencorse and @janet-oropeza: governance is rather a practical and evolving concept, closely linked to government accountability, the rule of law, and the respect for HHRR. In fact, this is at the core of ACIJ´s mission: we advocate for the defense of human rights and for democratic strengthening through various strategies (legal activism, dissemination of information, awareness raising, capacity building for civil society, collaboration with CSOs and accountability institutions, etc.).

    No doubt there is a need to bridge the gap between government agencies and civil society. As @abdelazizabid notes, distrust –and I´d add the lack of knowledge of government interventions, public policy and above all, citizen rights- can hinder strategies to enhance good governance. Also, I´d also include citizen participation among the key dimensions of governance, especially nowadays that the concept of representative democracy has somehow shifted (at least theoretically) into participatory democracies. Given that government accountability entails responsiveness, the citizen is progressively becoming a key actor demanding increased transparency and engagement in public decisions. Following @scommins, I guess ICTs are valuable tools to encourage cooperation, participation and two-way communication, but some other mechanisms must be in place. For instance, there is a need to ensure access to information. Be it a FOIA Law or other legal instrument, accountable governments are those who allow citizens to monitor public decisions and interventions, and are answerable to citizen requests.

    I´m interested in knowing what others think about this… How does transparency and participation relate to governance? What other mechanism beyond ICTs can help bridge the gap between citizens and governments?

  • #4776


    Great interventions by participants, bringing to the table the incredible complexities involved for the leadership of countries to govern their nations. Some observations of various inputs:
    @blairglencorse – stimulating inclusive citizen participation is a key dynamic for every country to continue to seek new ways to utilize technologies and platforms to gather inputs related to both economic and non-income drivers of development. Especially in conflict prone and regions that are vulnerable to disaster risks, integrated strategies to address a) sustaining broad-based growth, b) investing in human development, and c) insuring the poor and vulnerable against evolving risks are important.
    @janet-oropeza – key dimensions of governance are government accountability, the rule of law, respect for basic human rights (right to life, liberty, security of person, etc.), and social justice. During my career with UNHCR, I was always amazed at how (even within countries, regions and cities) forming effective partnerships across ethnic, religious, and racial was to stability and the ability to share information building a sense of common good resulted in achieving successful outcomes.
    @abdelazizabid -technology used for managing governments. I alluded, in my first post, to failures of governments to create opportunities for communities during the Arab Spring. Indeed, I’m looking forward to see language in the 2017 WDR which might serve as examples for countries to utilize technology, cellular and internet platforms to speed up the pace of SDG program/project implementation.
    @scommins – increasing cooperation and trust between government and citizens – this is an area I’m spending lots of time on researching how ‘sister cities – city pairs’ around the world, and the deep and enduring relationships built during long-term relationships might prove helpful in promoting new ways of promoting ‘smart cities’ improving efficiency and effectiveness of communications between citizens and government.
    and finally so far, @carolina-cornejo – putting in place other mechanisms to encourage cooperation, participation and two-way communication. As the attached WBG Policy Note describes progress in poverty reduction and shared prosperity has been significant but uneven, during the MDG challenge era. At the UNGA in New York last month highlighted, an incredible amount of collaborations are happening globally. Knowledge sharing will be a major dynamic as we move forward over the next 15 years.

  • #4777


    This is Tom Aston from CARE International. For CARE, governance is the exercise of power relations in the public arena. It is about who is able to influence public decisions, and who isn’t, and about who creates or enforces the “rules” that constitute power. Thus, for us, governance is not merely a definition of government functionality, or governmentality (maintaining order à la Foucault), but rather about the accountability of the power-full to the power-starved.

    Our theory of change (ToC) is “If citizens are empowered, if power holders are effective, accountable and responsive, if spaces for negotiation are expanded, effective and inclusive, then sustainable and equitable development can be achieved (see CARE, 2011).” So, that’s our headline.

    In practice, most of what we do at CARE is based around the Bank’s concept of “social accountability.” We have plenty of experience with accountability methodologies and tools like community scorecards, citizen charters, social audits, and other citizen oversight mechanisms (see here for a few examples). I can share some more practical examples later, but I just wanted to start by offering some reflections on concepts and definitions.

    Why “Governance and the Law” rather than “Governance and the Rule of Law?” When I first read the title, I thought it was a typo, and this matters a great deal. “The Law” is legislation – the sedimentation of formal institutions (a rather static concept for pretty fluid and dynamic contents). “Rule of Law” means many different things in different contexts. Semantics is important, and particularly so in this case, as good or poor governance lies somewhere in the interstices between the two, and our collective misunderstanding of this no-man’s-land.

    Rule of law inexorably implies singularity and uniformity, but in reality, there are “rule(s) of law(s)” –
    not to mention “games within the rules”: see Leftwich, 2008 – because the basis of the rule of law is not so much whether there is respect or impunity for (formal) legislation, but rather consonance between formal and informal institutions. Error #1: These two are presented as a dichotomy of good (formal liberal democratic laws) and bad (informal illiberal anti-democratic norms and customs). I would argue that this misrepresents the issue of “legitimacy” represented above. For me, there are at least three common systems of legitimacy in play: 1) legal-bureaucratic (Weberian ideal), 2) political (electoral, democratic, even populist), and 3) traditional (clan, religious, etc.). Error #2 Lack of respect for “the law” is no bad thing. The bias in “democracy strengthening” programmes means we only care about #1 and #2, if it conforms to our Western conception of liberal democracy. These three systems have different sources of legitimization, different incentive structures, and different stakeholders with power. I would argue that governance works when the bureaucratic, political and traditional agree. It is this accord that makes the rule of law, and the “Law,” legitimate and durable. This reflection comes out of our experience in writing a political economy guide for staff, which will be published shortly.

    So, how do we make governance interventions more effective? We can start by paying more attention to informal political incentive structures (often, the real drivers of change) and traditional authority networks from whom, often, local bureaucrats and politicians derive their legitimacy.

    How do we explain cross-country heterogeneity? Good governance means different things in different contexts, and what “matters” is different in different contexts. I’d say there also appears to be heterogeneity in what aspects of governance people care about most across regions:

    In Latin America, for example, rule of law (or lack thereof) is most commonly framed as a disapproval of presidentialism and local clientelism. Good governance in Peru or Bolivia, for example, is mostly about making what is written on paper (in constitutions and laws) real – i.e. accessible to those who should, by law, benefit (see here for a good example from Peru). Carolina’s point regarding impunity for human rights is hugely important too, but I’m poorly placed to comment on that.

    In the Middle East, as Abedel intimates, the big governance issue (at the moment) would seem to be access to information. This would seem to be a legacy of non-transparent military rule. CARE runs the Arab Network for Social Accountability, our baseline found that while social accountability is a new concept in the Arab world, it is not a new practice (ANSA, 2013), and the main issue highlighted was access to information. This is not to say that participation, or accountability don’t matter, but while transparency ≠ accountability, it is a good start. Those are the two regions I work with most, I’ll leave comment on other regions and contexts to other contributors.

  • #4778


    Seems my links didn’t work, and for whatever reason, I can’t upload a doc with the links embedded. Happy to send an email with the links if of interest.

    • #4779


      Dear Tom (@aston), I believe you cannot upload hyperlinks because the HTML is disabled for users, but you can upload the links themselves. If the links are really long, I suggest you use Bitly, which is a website that provides shorter links ( – this also works in Twitter). For example, here are the links you wanted to share:

      – “If citizens are empowered, if power holders are effective, accountable and responsive, if spaces for negotiation are expanded, effective and inclusive, then sustainable and equitable development can be achieved (see CARE, 2011: )
      – Care experiences with accountability methodologies and tools like community scorecards, citizen charters, social audits, and other citizen oversight mechanisms:
      – Example of good governance in Peru:
      – Baseline Assessment of Social Accountability in the Arab World:



  • #4780

    Dr. Fletcher Tembo

    I am Fletcher Tembo, I was working as a full time Research Fellow at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) until end of 2013 and have been knitting together a number of thought lines around governance and social accountability since then. I do it under the ‘Mwananchi’ (Kiswahili for ‘ordinary citizen’ brand which was developed as part of a five year, six country action research programme on voice and accountability, under the Governance and Transparency Fund, a DFID initiative. I am currently based in Malawi and I relate to and share experiences with many practitioners and researchers , especially in Africa.

    Interesting discussions above, and I am immediately persuaded to comment on governance as the broader rules of the game (both formal and informal), that set the context for the way public decisions are made, followed up and monitored. My current research has taken me to several strands of thought. One of which is that any interventions aimed at transforming these rules, for enabling greater ordinary citizen participation, have to account for the nature of existing relationships. The more these relationships are trust-based, the better the outcomes of interventions, in terms of achieving governance changes that are organic, evolving and locally anchored, as opposed to the broader governance frameworks, which have dimensions that make international good sense but are often poorly locally anchored. What this means for governance is that whereas as it is important to define its dimensions a priori, as the introduction to this week’s asks us to do, we have to be careful with these dimensions in terms of how then they preoccupy us at the cost of not understanding these local forms of trust, power relations etc, which are important dimensions of change in their own right. Much attention should be given to governance as about transforming informal and formal rules that make sense to those in the situation and then building on that process in evolving patterns of interventions and change. I will comment on the role of technology, which others have raised, a bit later. Great discussions here

    • #4857


      @fletchertembo2014 Thanks for your comments, which I wanted to come back to quickly browsing through the comments until 29 October… Your post came closest to identifying the dynamics that building and increasing access to cell phone, the internet and its many platforms, especially in conflict zones and the 2 dozen or so countries trying to rise above conflict really require today. Mentorships that build confidence and trust, and help to develop their local voices and ability to interact with their governments could help with citizen engagement and participation.

      The question I frequently asked myself (in countries which had a large international presence because of the internal conflicts which may have still been going on) was “How do you build more capacity, so it’s not just one single person, or even small community deep in the field away from HQ, capital or even regional cities)?. Almost always it is too difficult to easily succeed. Helping communities working on their development issues to create coalitions (with other local and international organizations, or even creating coalitions within their own organization helped to identify ‘pockets of innovation’ and others that were ready to get involved.

      • #4861

        Dr. Fletcher Tembo

        @wt48 thanks for the additional exploration of the question “how do you build ore capacity so its not just one single person or even small community deep in the field away from HQ, Capital or even regional cities” . In my view, the issue with an approach to governance that is about building trust is that it works in the what would imagine as the opposite direction of ‘peeling the onion’ where you start with the outer layer and peel right to the inner core. In this case, you build from the smaller community in the field away (not exclusively), or several of them that might not be connected in any shape or form to become the loci for transformative change, based on what works for them, to draw in other actors. You do this exactly because of the fact that, as you rightly observe, ‘it is difficult to succeed’ beyond their current capacity. This is because this ‘current capacity’ is not only technical capacity but also political capacity, and hence requiring political leverage to achieve more or better of the outcomes that they would love to see and are passionate about. The issue about political capacity is about the ability to find room for manoeuvre in spaces that are local, sub-regional or national that have a bearing on what is happening at the local level, acknowledging that these spaces are laden with actor incentives and politically motivated negotiations that are working both for and against the aims of the local community. The most needed skill of the ‘interlocutor’ organisation (CSO, media or even a government agency) is therefore to improve this capacity by providing political leverage to local actors and actions – while thinking globally or nationally and acting locally. These transformations are incremental and take time, as the dots get joined in the process, meaning that isolated communities begin to link up through the effective work of interlocutor organisations. We have to always bearing in mind that we are talking about collective action and not building citizen voice as versus government. It is important to underline that all this needs to factor in the nature of politics in a given country. Let us keep talking! On an approach to building trust in collective action situations, See

  • #4786


    I am Emmanuel Marfo from Global Alliance for Development Foundation. Great discussion ongoing. Will be commenting soon. I am new here

  • #4787


    Governance and Law in one word could mean ‘People’, to a greater extent the two words carries the true meaning of life; existence and living. I wouldn’t be fair laying down my thoughts on the two concepts without an eye throw on citizens life where governance and laws functions in, it is very clear and even more explicit by itself saying governance and laws exists and well functioning when citizens are optimally involved and participating in processes and systems that governs their life.

    The rule of thumb sees Laws and accountability systems as tools for attaining one step ahead in development, but for a society to experience sustainable development integrity must come first. No better decision could be made and bring success to people without scent of integrity in it, people live to see future not the end; integrity holds that future but governance laws pave the path.

  • #4788


    I am Ermo Täks, Associate Professor of IT, Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia. Estonia has recently opened the very new opportunity closely related to governance- e-Residency. It is giving everyone the access to Estonian governmental e-services globally, thus making it open for any type of use- good or bad one. In reality it means actually and mainly distant access to bank services and doing big variety business transactions online, but as a concept it forces us to rethink everything we know about state and about governance.

    Governance in this sense can mean a specific set of management techniques related to the functioning of state. States usually do have well defined territory with bunch of people living and trying to make their living on it. Over time these people manage to make some good or bad decisions, affecting others and surrounding environment, thus influencing the wellbeing of themselves and others. In order to avoid bad outcomes and enhance good ones, state needs a clear set of rules and some specialists dedicated to communicate and enforce those rules. Over time this set of rules has grown into very big and very complicated documentation that needs a whole ecosystem around it: politicians, public servants, judges, police officers, lawyers and so forth. Rapid development of technology creates a need even for more rules, thus putting this traditional way management system under huge pressure. This is the technological way of interpreting governance.
    Governance can mean a tool of power for dictating the will of decision makers over rest of society. For example European Union has adopted the rule about smoke-free environments to protect non-smokers from exposure to tobacco smoke. Governance means hereby a complicated set of legal and organisational procedures to apply this rule on society and force smokers to abandon public spaces except designated ones. I would argue that the content of term “governance” hereby is largely defined by state representatives and is focused upon those services which are needed by system itself to govern subjects: register of citizens is needed to have a comprehensive overview about state subject, traffic police is needed for ensuring the traffic rules are followed and so forth. This is the very traditional way of interpreting governance, dating probably back to the time of birth of first modern countries.

    Governance can also mean a tool for expanding someone’s political power. Estonia is a home for 1,3 million citizens, but in close future the amount of e-residents might exceed 10 million. This would increase Estonia’s influence significantly, making Estonia’s voice louder than its actual size would allow. Governance means hereby a set of attractive virtual services giving politicians of given country certain power over non-citizens outside the country. This is the very modern way of interpreting governance, where the governance is not tied to certain geographical location or legal domain.

    Governance can mean a tool of communication as many commentors before me. If modern technology enables us to hear the voice of every citizen despite the location and we should try to take the best out of it. Emphasis is here on hearing people rather than imposing the will upon them using sophisticated mix of “power tools”. In extreme form it could mean that the governance is merely minimal set of vital governmental services enabling citizens to power themselves. We all are individuals with different needs which cannot be addressed adequately by any governmental system. Why not to give this opportunity for citizens themselves to help themselves? This can be done by opening governmental databases and services for free use (within accepted fames of course) in order to allow citizens to develop their own applications? This would take the pressure off from decision makers in Kennedy style: “…ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”. Risk here is to end in digital anarchy empowered by digital currency.

  • #4789

    Kenya, Zimbabwe

    I am Bob Muchabaiwa, working for Save the Children’s Child Rights Governance Global Initiave, but the views expressed here are personal. To me governance is a collective term for processes and structures in the leadership, control and management of the affairs of a state/s and institutions. It is less about what laws and institutions ought to be in place, but more on how the actors and institutions behave when they exercise authority or power confered to them, in various ways, to manage and control these institutions. The key elements of good governance are: fairness (equity), responsiveness, responsibility and feedback, quality interraction between people and those in positions of power, integrity, sensitivity to diversity and the common good. Good governance is when a citizen living in a poor slum recieves as much attention as a senior government official when they report electricity blackout; when children in a specific community have equal chances to survive and access decent education; when one’s ideas are judged by their soundness and not the passport they hold, the political card they carry or even their age or gender; when available resources are shared in a manner that engenders equity, prudence and effectiveness; when a celebrity recieves the same treatment under law for murder charges as a casual labourer in a mining firm. Good governance, though universal, has context specific nuances in its practice.

  • #4790

    Balla Fall

    I am Balla Fall NIANG from Senegal. I’ve working in World Vision for 18 years now. I’m managing a Citizen voice and action project in 4 regions in the Country. I’m a ressource person in West Africa in Citizen Voice and Action (CVA) approach.

    This is my contribution considered as an introduction to the discussion.
    Governance is a central concept within the Citizen Voice and Action approach.
    Governance can be defined as the way in which power is used to manage a country’s economic and social resources
    Governance is political. It involves political processes; rules by which a society decides how resources should be distributed.
    These rules, traditions, practices and processes:

  • #4791

    Balla Fall

     define who the decision-makers are
     how they get to be decision-makers in the first place
     what decisions they can make
     the purpose they’re supposed to be serving
     to whom they have to listen when they make decisions
     where their money comes from
     to whom they’re accountable for their actions.
    Governance is more than ‘government’. It includes the relations between the state and society.
    It covers the process of how things are done, not just what is done.

  • #4792


    hello everyone, i am dada de la rosa, i work with the naga city people’s council (NCPC), it is a unique organization because it is formally recognize by our local government unit as its partner and was given much wider space for participation in all the governance aspect of the local government unit (LGU) from project conceptualization to evaluation.

    for us, governance will be a constantly evolving approach of government in addressing economic development leading towards its sustained and autonomous operations and ensure the empowerment of its constituents especially the marginalized sectors.

    the key dimensions should be transparency wherein the people will have a better and clearer understanding of its government undertakings leading towards increase in public trust; accountability wherein each act of the government takes into consideration the sentiments of the people leading towards a sharing of government responsibility; civic engagement wherein not only people are consulted but they are assisted to become empowered and better partner of the government from conceptualizations up to evaluation of programs and projects; and predictability wherein transactions with the government are ensured to be completed within specific period of time with clear delineation of roles and function to identify accountability.

    central to all of this, is the maximized, effective and efficient use of technologies to break the distance and time barriers between the government and its constituents. this will ensure 24/7 engagement with the government and connect with its constituent in the four corners of the world (especially in countries with high migration rates)

  • #4793


    I am Geoffroy, Senior Technical Advisor Governance at the IRC, based in New York and responsible for a portfolio of projects and a team of governance advisors that support them across our country offices. The majority of the work of the IRC takes place in fragile and conflict-affected states and the themes of the WDR17 resonate strongly with us. Indeed, our interventions around governance ultimately aim to support the ability of the people we work for to recover and gain a greater degree of control over their lives. Instrumentally, we work on this by supporting their efforts to exercise greater choice and fostering their capacity to engage and have greater influence with service providers and other power holders, while working with the latter to be more responsive to people’s needs and priorities.

    For us at IRC, the concept of governance in its simplest form means: “the process of making decisions and implementing them.” as such, governance is at the heart of all social interactions and development efforts. It can involve the government, private sector, civil society organizations, community groups and individuals, depending on the nature and scope of the decisions that are involved. For example, the successful implementation of a national vaccination campaign is the result of effective governance processes involving a variety of actors, from elected officials, bureaucrats in the health ministry to frontline health staff, beneficiaries and citizens. We can further think about how a mayor might decide to build a clean water point or a market in his community. Another case could be how the Ministry of Education might allocate additional teachers and books between the multiple districts of a province. Were these decisions taken openly and transparently? Were community needs considered? What were the results and who was answerable for them? These are all governance-related issues and without paying attention to them, interventions dedicated to improving health, education or livelihood outcomes, among others, will not achieve their intended results.

    So to refer more directly to some of the points in the discussion so far, yes @blairglencorse the starting point of any governance intervention is gaining an understanding of the local context, key stakeholders and motivation for and against reforms. I further see many parallels between our vision of governance and that of @janet-oropeza. Also, @scommins & @abdelazizabid, concerning ICT and bridging the gap or « closing the accountability loop » to paraphrase a WB publication on this, there is great potential, though many issues to resolve for countries and locations that can be counted as a part of the “bottom billion” in our experience. This can include basic literacy and access to handsets and / or mobile networks, which the poorest and most vulnerable, starting with women, have the least access to in many of these places. So at this point we view ICT as a complimentary solution in these contexts. @carolina-cornejo, you make great points on access to information and transparency. We see those as necessary building blocks of accountability, though not sufficient in themselves. People still need to be able to use this information and power holders need to be open to feedback. Then formal mechanisms, including redress when rights are not respected and policies not adhered to, need to be in place to ensure they respond. Our experience of working in fragile countries has shown that non-confrontational interface between people and service providers can lead to service improvements, but capacity and incentives to respond to feedback also plays an important role. So ultimately the rule of law, as per @aston comments, will play a crucial role. Other mentions are the great points of @bob-muchabaiwa on equity, responsiveness, and feedback, and those of @saggy21 on citizen engagement, all very important dimensions. Finally, @fletchertembo2014, in many respects you recommend « working with the grain » as per Booth et al and there is indeed a lot of wisdom in this, something that refers back to the points about local context above.

    • #4818

      Janet Oropeza

      @geoffroy-groleaurescue-org, The work of the IRC seems quite interesting. Also, I really like the examples you provided to understand how governance works in practice. You mentioned two key aspects that need to be in place: capacity and incentives. In particular, in Mexico, we find that it is very difficult to create those incentives. “Public shame” is not effective anymore, as the government does not care too much when we denounce publicly acts of corruption, mismanagement, human rights violations, or decisions made without takingh into account communities’ needs. When we tried to include those incentives in laws, these does not work because laws are usually not enforced here. So, I wonder how the IRC has created incentives in the countries you work?

  • #4794

    United States

    Thanks to the many comments that are now being added to this dialogue. This note reflects on some of the previous comments, and I will try to react to the more recent ones later.

    Risk of technological ‘fix’. Many proposed applications of technology seem to avoid dealing with power and politics. Other mechanisms may be less exciting but may have more traction.
    Where does human rights fit in relation to governance? There are many international human rights conventions, but what happens in practice within a country reflects the dynamics of the political settlement, not a signed treaty.

    Use of cellular and internet platforms is an important point, and something which could be linked to some of the findings of the current World Development Report 2016, which addresses many of the ICT issues.
    How can ‘smart cities’ promote citizen participation, particularly from poor people who may have basic cell phones but lack wider ICT connectivity? Is there a risk that ‘smart cities’ is a slogan that avoids the power questions? Urban settings may require more detailed and specific structures for ensuring that governments, which will be large in scale and scope, are held accountable for their actions. A good example of one such mechanism is the Citizens’ Charter of Hyderabad (India) which sets out the government agency that is accountable, the offices of the government involved, the commitments of the municipal government, and the ways in which citizens can measure government actions. (The Charter includes an extensive list of specific government activities and proposed deliverables.)

    Thanks for your contribution and your opening comment on power relations, as well as the links to the work that CARE has accomplished, this is most appreciated.
    In regards to CARE’s theory of change: What processes has CARE found are effective in citizen empowerment? The context would seem to shape the space within which citizens can be empowered or can organize to increase their access to power.
    Thanks for your question about the title of the Report and your observation about the difference between ‘The Law’ and the ‘Rule of law’. This input will be shared with the WDR17 chapter authors, with the request for further feedback on the distinction.

    What was the experience of Mwanachi in regards to shifting the rules of the game?
    For example, transparency through media, public access to information, public hearings and right to information legislation is fundamental to accountability. However, the reality is that whether democratic, quasi-democratic or authoritarian, most governments have incentives to avoid disclosure of information, and thus they frequently seek to reduce transparency. This means that a serious obstacle to accountability occurs through the power relations at all levels that transparency is blocked by powerful groups that prefer not to have information available that might weaken their power, and in turn citizens may feel unable, for political reasons, to challenge the powerholders.

    • #4822


      @scommins you´ve made a point in your question, and I agree on the need to consider power relations when approaching governance, just as @aston, @bfniang and many others have mentioned. Following the discussion on ICTs that @wt48 raised, I believe these are just tools to address governance issues, but they do not imply that governments will be more accountable and permeable to citizen interests. In fact, most often “open government” is –mistakenly- linked to e-government. We may be keen on tech apps, but we must acknowledge that they are instruments to bridge the gap between governments and society. For sure they can deliver effective results and contribute to citizen engagement towards improved service delivery, and also in decision making, but we should not exalt them. Open data can help inform, engage and empower citizens, but without understanding political incentives and local contexts, we may run the risk of implementing the so-called “good practices” but not structural changes that can truly improve citizens lives at the local level.

      Therefore, I couldn’t agree more when you mention that powerful groups holding incentives to avoid disclosure of information may hinder accountability. This is what really happens in practice, and as @janet-oropeza notes, “public shame is not effective anymore”. International conventions and national laws are these formal rules we embody in the institutional dimensions of governance, those we expect to be followed, what CSOs working on HHRR advocate for… but (following @geoffroy-groleaurescue-org) there are a broad set of actors in decision-making when it comes to governance. Shaping these formal rules, and even the informal ones, is in the end a matter of understanding incentives and trying to reach common ground to push for actual change.

  • #4810


    Hello everyone,My name is Mildred Omino from Kenya…Thank you for your contributions which are very informative.I will come back with my comments later

  • #4811


    Hi everyone. I am Dr R Balasubramaniam (call me Balu) and am the Founder & Chairman of Grassroots Research & Advocacy Movement in India. Apart from being a civil society activist, i have also been a special investigator in the Lok Ayukta of Karnataka State (an Institution to look into complaints of corruption and mal-administration). Having worked with communities and citizen groups for more than 3 decades, i have learnt that Governance means different things to different people. Apart from being dynamic and context driven, each of us seem to have our own interpretation of Good Governance and a transparent, corruption-free administration based on how it affects our lives. While people’s expectations can differ, we need to understand what it truly means to have a government that is responsive, people-friendly and committed to providing good governance. The concept of ‘governance’ itself is not new. It is as old as human civilization. Simply put ‘governance’ means: the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented (or not implemented). It is a term that is nowadays used to describe how public institutions conduct public affairs and manage public resources. The concept centers around the responsibility of governments to meet the needs of the masses as opposed to select groups in society.

  • #4812

    Hi, I am Meskerem from Ethiopia currently working on Ethiopian Social Accountability Program Interesting flow of ideas … I like the way Tom puts it governance being the interplay of the bureaucratic, political and tradition. In all these three what is most important for me is if citizens/ an individual is being heard and the fact that all policies, legislature, systems , laws, procedures or what have you, focus on nurturing this individual or his/her association rather than harming…. then that is governance for me. I am focusing on an individual because often such laws, systems or customs tend to assume impunity to deny/give some rights for the so called ‘the general public’. Contrary to this, for me ever single person counts if we talk about governance and such a person should enjoy rights as that of the ‘general public’. So the central matter for governance is to be able to voice your priorities and that the other end is responsive to those priorities with all the resources/ability it has or is open enough to let everyone know what will be the impossibilities around achieving these demands. Governance is to deliver the promises government subscribe to the public or leaves the office if this is not the case.

  • #4813

    Dr. Fletcher Tembo

    @scommins, many thanks for your extra questions. In Mwananchi we found that the media played a critical role breaking the traditional barriers to access to information. There were, however, very specific media actions that were useful for these transformations, and not just media generally, the reason, we coined the term ‘interlocutors’ which we reserved for those actors that have the ‘game changing’ characteristic fit for a problematic context, and not just because they belong to a general category of ‘media’, ‘civil society’ or any other. The same applied to civil society organisations. The publication “Rethinking social accountability in Africa: learning from the Mwananchi programme” (I wished I could put a hyperlink to it) discusses this distinction. Often times, the unique media game changing characteristics were not in media acting as a broadcaster of information but as a platform where different actors could ‘freely’ dialogue. This dialogue does not necessarily itself result in new rules being formed but that it builds up to a situation where a lot more information is revealed or otherwise demanded and then as trust is cultivated informal rules start to emerge, and then some of these get formalised, though this process might take a long time. The interlocution ability for the media here is being able to offer an inclusive, deliberative platform, which is happening in an open space and making it difficult for the power holders to keep to important information because the incentives to reveal become stronger than those for concealing it. We learnt that it is when relationships of trust are emerging that formal laws and other forms of formal accountability become more effective than when they are being forced through from the top or some external source.
    Let us keep discussing, many thanks to the WDR17 team for this opportunity!

  • #4814


    Hi everyone. I am Ezequiel and I am working on the WDR 2017. I really appreciate all your inputs and I wanted to test the way we have been thinking about what is governance? And how do we make governance interventions more effective?

    Traditionally, governance is understood as the formal institutions, state institutions, which can be “reformed” with respect to certain “best practice” model. I think that such definition is narrow and incorrect. I agree with many of the posts which stated that governance is a dynamic process between three constitutive elements: formal state institutions, the way they those state institutions operate on the ground (ie. how they solved societal’s problems, how they provide incentives for people to cooperate with each other as well as with the state) and the power structure and norms (mental models in WDR 2015 language). For example, Goldstein and Udry (2008) show that women in Akwapim (Ghana) use less productive agricultural methods because their hierarchy in society does not allow them to fallow their land long enough without being expropriated. Another interesting example is the pension system in Argentina. Scartascini et al. (2012) show how the pension system in Argentina performed poorly before, during, and after a large-scale privatization effort, because the change in formal institutions did not address the underlying problem: the lack of credible government commitment not to expropriate individuals’ savings.

    These elements of the broader governance definition imply that “first best” economic policies are not first best policies if they do not account for the power structure and norms. When reforming institutions, there is a need to focus, for the set of implementable policies, on how the reform will actually impact the function institutions performed. For example, introducing bans for prenatal sex detection to reduce sex selective abortions in China, India, and South Korea have proven to have little to no impact. As the reforms did not take into account entrenched social norms regarding gender, they instead lead to pushing abortions underground and poorer health services for women. More effective policy options may need to reduce adverse gender stereotypes leading to son preference.

  • #4815

    Barbara A
    United States

    Hello All! I am Barbara Brown in South Carolina, USA. I am honored to be among such enlightened people. I have read each comment word for word – such wisdom you all share. Yet we are only touching the surface of the concepts within governance and “the rule of” Law it seems. I recently ended 25 years employment with an intermediary institution, i.e. higher education. (Much about governance can be explored regarding higher education entities.) I now am founding President and CEO of a non-profit social enterprise, Citizens Center for Public Life. It promotes deliberative democracy practices and is dedicated to providing resources aimed at economic and community development to support the decisions citizens make from their deliberative dialogue experiences on critical issues and needs. For now I want to comment on some of the concepts that have been raised here. Please bare with me as I share some experiences to help explain my ideas. I agree with the comments regarding the “Rule of Law.” Rule of Law is a much more encompassing concept than the word law. As a part of governance it includes actual laws or rules within society and “to me” an attitude of citizen adherence to the law – or “Not” if the law is deemed unjust. When I development a democracy education curriculum for youths I wanted to include opportunities of practice (deliberation on issues), knowledge and awareness of “civic” values (i.e. Richard above spoke of integrity), and the rule of law. I could not find one curriculum that included all of these components. So, I used the National issues Forums Institute issue guides, see:, to provide a practice of democracy. I used the Josephson Institute’s Character Counts curriculum to instill awareness of values, (Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship). And, I used the Exploring Humanitarian Law curriculum by the International Red Cross. The curriculum uses experiential learning tools to help participants understand how the rule of law protects human life and dignity during armed conflict. Initial observation indicated the complimentary curriculums worked to engender these concepts to participants. I will end this comment now and share more later.

  • #4819

    Janet Oropeza

    Very interesting contributions have been made to this forum, I am really happy to see these many perspectives on the table. @drrbalu and @meskerem have raised three key issues related to governance that I think that captures what I have seen in the Mexican context: government’s responsiveness, accountability and responsability in its acting and decisions.

  • #4820

    Barbara A
    United States

    Some of the components of Governance and the “Rule of” Law that I ponder is the reciprocal role of citizens reference to responsiveness, accountability and responsibility within a democracy and citizens’ role in relationship to political, bureaucratic, and traditional governance @aston. And, this is were the use of IT seems particularly important. Citizen access is key and further discussion of power seems necessary.

  • #4821


    Hello, my name is Paula Chies Schommer. I am professor of public administration at Santa Catarina State University, in Brazil (research group Politeia – Co-Production of Public Good: Accountability and Management –
    I apologize for not joining the discussion before. Only today it was possible to read the comments. The debate is really enriching. During this weekend, I will read again and try to add something from my perspective, in Brazil. In the next two weeks, I hope to have the opportunity to engage more deeply in the discussion.
    Thank you.

  • #4823


    I´m really thrilled by this enriching exchange. So many points have been raised that it´s hard to address them all.

    In many ways, most of you have made reference to the citizen as an active counterpart of these governance processes (this is no surprise, given that governance is deeply rooted in social interactions and development efforts, following @geoffroy-groleaurescue-org). @drrbalu states that governance has to do with decision-making processes -and decisions´implementation- aimed at meeting the needs of society; voicing citizens´ priorities and being responsive to them (following @meskerem). Some of you have went beyond by stating that it also entails empowering citizens so that they can also influence such decision (for instance, @saggy21 mentioned civic engagement as a dimension of governance, and @barb13 commented on the importance of promoting deliberative dialogue on critical issues and needs).

    But also, in acknowledging power relations as a core element of governance, you´ve addressed principles and values: equity, integrity, prudence, fairness, as mentioned by @bob-muchabaiwa, @bfniang and many others.

    Just as @aston distinguishes between Law and the Rule of Law, I was wondering: Should we distinguish between “Governance” and “Good Governance”? Maybe there is no such thing as “bad governance”, but the definition in itself (even though a dynamic, context-based process) might be falling short, or either needs to be broadened so that many other attributes can fit in. I guess this distinction can be really captured in practice, and in fact many of you have made an accurate reference to it.

    What do you think? What does real practice tell about governance or good governance?

  • #4824

    Barbara A
    United States

    Per the question: What does Real practice tell about governance or good governance? @carolina-cornejo

    Real practice of social endeavors can be enhanced by good governance, or even come into being through good governance. One demarcation between governance and good governance is “access” to resources and policy makers. But, thinking of a social endeavor designed to benefit a community… if managers and participants are reflective about the endeavor, insights can be gained that could benefit others or potentially enhance the initial endeavor. “Access” to overarching program managers, i.e. policy makers (governance) can be extremely beneficial. Seemingly “good” governance allows for such access and implements policies to enable and encourage such access. Whereas mere governance may not spend the time to allow access by civil society participants. Or, the access may just be for show and not real. So, the “realness” of the practice is the difference.

    All entities and endeavors should be guided by democratic principals, i.e. inclusiveness, collaborative decision making, having a say in maters that impacts ones own life, etc. Once again the dynamic practices to allow and encourage access make the difference between good governance and mere governance. The ultimate impacts, often long term, demonstrate the difference.

    Here is an example: Often major international humanitarian organizations and government department will convene conferences to provide information or inspire civil society representatives. Key decision makers provide presentations at these conferences. Yet, these policy makers, experts, influencers are seldom really “accessible” to attendees. Great ideas may be germinated or confirmed and the idea holders (civil society representatives) miss the opportunity to communicate with the power influencer.

    Another limiting factor of access is money. Civil society stakeholders should not be limited by personal finances to access to policy makers.

    Using democratic practice as a guide, the better the governance is, the more access to decision makers the stakeholder, civil society representative will have.

  • #4825

    Myanmar [Burma]

    At the end of this first week, there are a few dimension of governance that I am thinking about, from practice. One is closely related to trust: taxes/user fees/community contribution. I work with the Ethiopia Social Accountability Program (ESAP2). The notion that citizens are paying for their government to serve them has helped, and citizens are actually willing to pay more if it “serves” their purpose.
    Purpose or goal is another dimension of governance that I am thinking about now. There has been a lot of focus so far on inequality, but less on conflict, financial crises, climate change, while these are areas where governance fails to produce good results? Citizens will not engage, unless there is a very clear purpose – or advantage to be gained from participation in governance processes. This engagement may be extra difficult for citizens that have experienced violence from previous governments. In a recent review of our Theater for Social Accountability pilot, one of the actors remembered a woman saying publicly – I have buried 5 children during the Red Terror, so you may imagine that is it hard for me to engage with my government today. Discrimination has similar effects. One of our partners works for social accountability in the agriculture sector, where the Productive Safety Nets Program (PSNP) is hosted. In this case PSNP beneficiaries were referred to as bulldozers, because their labor is used for public works. It doesn’t even occur to PSNP beneficiaries that they have a right to be served with respect, leave alone that they may have something to say about what support would work best for them. If they speak up, they may loose their entitlements all together. In such cases trust can only be build through responsive and meaningful government action, that is respectful and touches peoples’ deep needs. We have all been taken by surprise at what can happen when citizens are organised and manage to truly engage their (local) government at the level of the heart. A human connection emerges that from which a lot becomes possible. That is beyond trust really…
    @barb13 – thanks for bringing the notion of “better governance” – and I suspect we could have more of it if the human being came to the for a bit more, rather than the economy.

  • #4826

    United States

    This has been an exceptionally rich and diverse set of inputs, and my thanks to all those who posted and those who offered to return with more comments.

    The comments led me to wonder if Is governance a verb, that is, it is a collection of moving pieces. This was well stated in @blairglencorse post on the dynamics of change and how governance is always evolving. @aston noted that governance involves the interplay of the bureaucratic, political and tradition. The interplay of actors and institutions was articulated by @ermotaks as well. @bfniang pointed out that governance is about HOW things are done not just WHAT is done. And in commenting on this @aston, @meskerem ever noted that :single person counts. In this case, then, there are both large forces at work, yet the value of the person. This entails the nature of trust in the relationship between the state and citizen, as well as the issue of Exclusion: how does governance function in regards to the full participation of women, people with disabilities, youth, elderly, ethnic and religious identity? @geoffroy-groleaurescue-org and others noted the importance of accountability mechanisms and processes in relation to governance, as frequently weaker groups are excluded from governance and governance processes.

    A related aspect then is equity, which @drrbalu highlighted with his post about how governance as a concept centers around the responsibility of governments to meet the needs of the masses as opposed to select groups in society. This echoed @bob-muchabaiwa comments on equity and responsiveness to the needs of people.

    There were several posts that commented on the potential but also the likely limits on how ICT and media can contribute to governance. @fletchertembo2014 noted that the media has great potential but each country has very different avenues for public engagement through the media. And @carolina-cornejo had the sharp observation that we need to be aware of the difference between open government and e-government. @ermotaks contributed the concept of e-residency, about which it would be good to learn more.

    @aston challenged the WDR17 team to articulate what is mean by law as opposed to the rule of law, and this was picked up by @barb13 Rule of Law is a much more encompassing concept than the word law. Her contribution noted that governance includes actual laws or rules and how and why citizens respect or follow laws. @barb13 also provided links to other resources.

    These resources are vital in understanding different experiences with governance and the laws, so thanks to @aston, @drbalu and others for either sharing links to publications or reports, or identifying the experiences of IRC, Mwanachi and others. It would be good to learn more from @saggy21 about NCPC, and to follow up with @paulaschommer from her blogs.

    A member of the WDR17 team provided a lengthy comment on the forum input and offered his own perspective nothing that @ezequielmolina governance is a dynamic process between three constitutive elements: formal state institutions, the way they those state institutions operate on the ground (ie. how they solved societal’s problems, how they provide incentives for people to cooperate with each other as well as with the state) and the power structure and norms (mental models in WDR 2015 language).

    Finally,l there are issues that are deeply rooted in the history of each society and state, not only the concept of fragile states, but as @lucia-nass has articulated, in the citizens’ experience of violence and state sanctioned repression that makes trust, transparency and participation difficult concepts to convey or implement. @geoffroy-groleaurescue-org and others have noted the experiences of organizations working in ‘fragile states’, and as we move into the second week of the e-forum, learning from experiences in difficult contexts becomes especially important.

  • #4827

    Balla Fall

    This Balla Fall Niang again for more information about governance
    There is compelling evidence that failures in governance hurt the poor more than any other single factor. Indeed on average, countries with better governance grow faster than others.
    Failures in government include:
    o Corruption
    o Incompetent public administration
    o Low education and health
    o Stifling regulations
    o Slow, costly justice
    o Weak state accountability systems.
    We can identify a number of important principles of good governance such as
     Participation
     Fairness
     Decency
     Accountability
     Transparency
     Efficiency
    If these principles are followed, this leads to state legitimacy and effectiveness.
    Good Governance is influenced by how capable, accountable and responsive governments are to their citizens, especially to the poorest and the weakest in the community.

  • #4830

    Hello All. I am Matthew Kwabena Adeyanju, Treasurer, sekondi Takoradi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ghana and a member of GPSA Knowledge and Learning Working Group. I am honored to come back again to be among the enlightened group of people who have shared their thoughts on governance and the law , I will also come back to also share my experiences as someone from private sector. I want to sincerely apologize for not joining the discussion earlier, but I have read virtually all the various comments. The debate is really great, it is what I refer to as knowledge economy. I will read again and try to add something from my private sector perspective, Thank you all.

    • #4841

      Myanmar [Burma]

      Thanks @bfniang for your contribution. I am curious about practical examples from your work – what challenges have you faced, and how have you been able to overcome them? I am espacially interested in ‘decency’ – how does that translate in your country? I work in Ethiopia, where many people from vulnerable groups feel better respected, after they shared how they felt treated at the health center. Health workers admitted feeling a bit ashamed when they “looked into the mirror” of peoples experience with them. This helped them to change. Apparently it is not culturally accepted to behave in a disrespectful way, but somehow that gets forgotten until civil servants are confronted with the effects of tehir behaviour. Can you rlate to this example?

  • #4832

    Indeed I am with you @lucia-nass , people’s experiences and popular thoughts determine citizen’s behaviors to or against real participation which in turn affects the development the right governance in a country. Recently my neighbors and I went to an electric corporation to seek service to which we have paid quite an amount which we should not pay but just to expedite the long process of getting our energy at home. Despite that, after frequent visits of the corporation’s office till this moment, no much progress was gained. Every time with no response, what happens is that we all return to our ways with the usual attitude popular to Ethiopia ‘thou shall not sue a king.. nor do you plow a sky’- to signify that it is impossible for you to ask from higher body. This kind of paradigm has passed from generations to generation that you should not come face to face with an authority. This is why I couldn’t agree more with @fletchertembo2014 that we need the real ‘interlocutors’ to unlearn such deep rooted notions and prepare the fertile ground for better governance to flourish.

  • #4833

    Barbara A
    United States

    Wanting to try to post something daily and wondering where to focus, I pick up @scommins remark about learning from experiences in difficult contexts. It is important that the governance of systems within societies work adequately, provide real service, and infer intended messages. When I was working with people in a – no charge to the occupant – public housing facility to include their voices through deliberative dialogue on social issues, I went to a lady’s home. Her sitting area was very dark. I asked if we could open the curtains explaining I did not like having to read material in a dark room. She agreed and said she would have lights on if she had any light bulbs.

    Then she explained how the Housing Authority had a new “self-sufficiency” program. They would not do any basic maintenance in the apartment anymore. She had to go to the Housing Authority office and buy 1 light bulb for five dollars. And, she said she could not afford it. I ask why she didn’t just purchase a package of four light bulbs for the same price or less. She was puzzled.

    “Could I do that,” she said. Am I allowed to do that?

    This is an example of the governance of a local authority not being adequate, nor respectful, or supportive of democratic principals – per my assessment. There was no real education provided on the “Self-Sufficiency” program. Apparently, the Authority believed by charging an unreasonable amount for something the authority previously supplied for free would just encourage the housing occupants to take care of their own needs and budget adequately for basic housing materials.

    Policies – the laws – can have unintended consequences. And, the “rule of law” can have consequences counter to democratic practice of individual responsibility, or even serve as a means to limit basic democratic freedoms. The women thought she was not allowed to go to the store and buy light bulbs.

    I could understand the idea of not being allowed to change the light bulb. As a military
    spouse in the 70s, living in American military housing, we were told to call base maintenance when
    the ceiling light bulbs needed to be changed. (They were special energy conserving bulbs stocked by the maintenance office. Most families thought this was a guise to inspect the military owned living quarters – elements of (mis) trust demonstrated here.)

    An important component of governance is that those who govern – or who enforce the law – must be able to understand how the law impacts the citizenry, thus demonstrating the importance of citizen engagement – either directly or through a proxy.

  • #4834


    @carolina-cornejo What do you think? What does real practice tell about governance or good governance?

    for us there is no real difference. the model of civic engagement in local governance in the City of Naga (Philippines) evolved through the willingness to open of the government and the willingness to engage the government by the CSOs thus it slowly builds trust. currently, this engagement is the model for civic engagement for CSOs in the local government and the concept was now translated into a bill in the Philippine Congress sponsored by Congresswoman Leni Gerona-Robredo who is currently running as vice-president of the country in the 2016 election under the administration party.

    • #4842

      Myanmar [Burma]

      Very interesting examples @barb13 of how “service providers” may have assumptions about how “users” will respond to policies. It reminds me of something I have often heard: our policies do not discriminate, everyone is treated equally. That is certainly the intension most of the time, but different people are not in the same position to take advantage of policies, and some don’t even think it applies to them. There are many female farmers who believe that agricultural services are not for them, because services are not tailored to their specific needs. There is a social group in Ethiopia (potters) who are treated similar to the untouchables in India – they were very surprised to hear that a social protection program also applied to them. They have this mindset that is totally formed by how society views them: an intriguing form of powerlessness. Another example springs to mind – a high school girl that was abducted and gang-raped in Ethiopia, and died of the consequences. her father said: I thought she was my daughter, but I now give her to all of you now – please help so that justice is served and so that this never happens again in our country. The saddest part was that the girl, who died after she was freed, asked her father how she could ever manage to go back to school after this, as if it were her fault. In this case, justice was served, but the mindset shift will take much, much longer to materialise. It is difficult because many people will think “this is not part of our culture” and yet it happens, and when it happens the victims feel guilt. This was not an isolated case. It needs people like the father of the girl, lots of time and courage in society to say – this is in our society – we have to change.

  • #4835


    Hi. Thanks and congratulations for an interesting exchange. Really provocative and such thoughtful contributions (not my case).
    I’m suprised to find that in a discussion on “What does Governance means…”? the word “Democracy” has been only used strongly by 2 interventions. It seems to me that this says a lot. ¿How is it that we are discussing governance without talking explicitly about what is the meaning, the value, of democracy? (I’m sure that the answer is not taht we all know and agree on its value)

    So, I’d like to argue in favor of the methodological step of linking the identification of “what governance means” with a evaluative conception of democracy (1-6), and to show the usefulness of that approach with one specific conception (7-8):

    1.- Governance is a social practice (something we, as humans beings, perform)
    2.- Any social practice is an “collective interpretative process”. The meaning of the practice is built by those who participate of it. The participants interpret the practice while participating of it, and they shape it according to their interpretation of its value.
    3.- I think that the practice of “governance” that we are interpreting is “democratic political governance” (authoritarian political governance, religious governance, sport governance art not part of the practice we are interested in interpreting, right? (I reject the idea of interpreting “any form of political governance” as “just governance”, I think that is an analytical as well as a moral mistake)
    4.- Interpreting the practice is developing a point of view about its value, and the features that perform that value.
    5.- So, identifying the value of democratic government is key to develop an interpretative hypothesis about the practice of “democratic political governance”. And I don’t find much of that in our discussion (@barb13 is a special exception, defending a deliberative view, that I also endorse).
    6.- I think the idea of developing a concept of governance without explicitly endorsing a positive thesis about the value of democracy is a conceptual mistake. And it is the same kind of mistake the idea of using a “minimalist” (supposedly neutral, just functional and no-normative) conception of democracy (voting + freedom of expression + accountability/responsiveness) to avoid identifying the meaning/value of the practice. Democracy is an interpretative/normative concept, for us, the ones that participate of it, and it should be treated as such (and not as a criterial concept) by academic analysis.

    7.- As I said, I also favor a deliberative conception of democracy…and from this perspective, I identify as the key dimensions of governance the following: (a) political inclusion (everyone must be given the conditions to have a meaningful voice) (b) “public reason oriented” discussion prior to public decisions (c) radical participatory/majoritarian decision making processes.
    8.- Accordingly, political transparency, participation, accountability, rule of law, rights, due process, etc. are also social practices, that should be interpreted as constitutive or instrumental elements of democratic political governance. The role, features, importance of these and other aspects (economic inequality, education, etc.) should be evaluated based on the interpretation of meaning of each dimension of the selected conception of democratic political governance.

    • #4843

      Myanmar [Burma]

      deliberative democracy used by @gusmarino and @barb13 – had to look it up. so for those readers/lurlers who are also unfamiliar with the term, here goes (wikipedia)

      “deliberative democracy or discursive democracy is a form of democracy in which deliberation is central to decision-making. It adopts elements of both consensus decision-making and majority rule. Deliberative democracy differs from traditional democratic theory in that authentic deliberation, not mere voting, is the primary source of legitimacy for the law.

      Deliberative democracy is compatible with both representative democracy and direct democracy. Some practitioners and theorists use the term to encompass representative bodies whose members authentically deliberate on legislation without unequal distributions of power, while others use the term exclusively to refer to decision-making directly by lay citizens, as in direct democracy.

      The term “deliberative democracy” was originally coined by Joseph M. Bessette in his 1980 work “Deliberative Democracy: The Majority Principle in Republican Government”. – end


      It is interesting, because there appears to be a terminology for something that I have observed in countries like Vietnam and Ethiopia – there is something very democratic in the quality of deliberations and decision making, but it has got little to do with political representation as understood in democracies in the US and EU. Yet it appears to be compatible with systems where one party dominates (actually within that one party a lot more diversity seems to live than within political parties in multi-party democracies).

  • #4836


    @scommins It would be good to learn more from @saggy21 about NCPC

    naga city people’s council is a group of 84 (current number) accredited organizations in the City of Naga and its board is composed of representatives from 14 different sectors composed of the member-organizations. we participate in all the committees, councils, task forces and boards of the city government both at the executive and legislative level. we can participate in the deliberations, we can vote, counted in the determination of quorum and can even submit measures for discussions.

    • #4845

      Myanmar [Burma]

      @saga21 what a fascinating movement the NCPC – I see quite a bit about it online. In Ethiopia, we see some Social Accountability Committees who are given a seat in local councils – I would like to share your experience with them. Can you recommend an online resource that will help others to learn from your history and experience? Thank you!

      • #4847


        u can email us directly so that we could send u links on online resource and once we published our guidebook we could send u an e-copy…..please email us at [email protected] or [email protected]

    • #4849

      Barbara A
      United States

      Wanted to comment on @lucia-nass reflections on Vietnam. I too saw democratic actions in Vietnam. many “civil society” organizations and actions going on. I remember a discussion with a local program officer working on a grant to Ford Foundation. We spoke of possible opportunities to work together on a project. She said of course she would have to run it buy the “Committee.” My initial judgmental thought was OK this is where the difference comes in with a democratic society. But, after more thought I realized often in our U.S. society we too had to run a project by a committee. It may be an advisory committee or a governing Board, but if we do business accountably, we run it by a group of other people. The Vietnamese woman said it does slow things down, but the “Committee” sometimes had some good ideas to add to the project. The same applies in America.

  • #4837

    United Kingdom

    Thanks for all the fascinating debate this past week, joining the discussion after so many key issues raised makes it hard to know where to start but just to kick off – Christian Aid’s view of the ‘what is governance?’ question has been framed around accountable governance and has very much focused on power relations – the way in which those in power exercise it for the greater good.
    It is the process of decision-making and implementation to achieve outcomes desired by those on whose behalf they exercise that power, and it is about the mechanisms by which poor people can influence decisions that affect their lives. It is, in other words, about politics – about the political heart of any development issue, from resilience and the ability to earn a living, to the cause of mass displacement of people and human rights abuses, or a government’s decision to spend on defence instead of health.
    Power analysis and increasingly political economy analysis has formed a basis for Christian Aid’s work in strengthening institutions to be more capable, responsive and inclusive in their approach to governing, as well as strengthening community voice to be representative, inclusive and heard.
    Governance and law is a particularly neglected area of support to both government/ institutional provision and community resources. Legal empowerment and access to systems of justice are crucial underpinnings of governance and the power to change institutions.
    Looking forward to joining the debate further – Charles Gay Christian Aid – Power and Governance Advisor

  • #4838

    United States

    Dear all, thanks for all your great contributions during the first week, which were rich, thoughtful and even provocative. I have tried to summarize the main points of those in a previous post. For this week, we will shift the discussion to the challenges related to governance because, as was pointed out before, these affect mostly those in most need. I would like to acknowledge Lucia Nass from ESAP2 will be co-facilitating the discussion for this week and who has been a very active member of this Knowledge Platform. We kindly ask you to reflect on the following question for this week:

    What challenges related to governance have you faced and how have you overcome them?

    • #4848


      @scommins What challenges related to governance have you faced and how have you overcome them?

      there are many challenges
      1. understanding of policies both by government officials and CSOs; this was addressed by CSOs sticking to the policy and sensitive on how it will pushed using neutral words
      2. capacities and capabilities of CSOs and even by government officials and workers; we capacitate them both
      3. mistrust of both side due to past experiences and sometimes even perception; slowly building trust and no hardlining on issues, opposing only if there are better alternative that we can identify
      and 4. willingness to the change, constant dialogues and partnership building and even engagement in socio-cultural activities

  • #4844

    Myanmar [Burma]

    Thanks @scommins for the acknowledgement. To be honest, I usually don’t think in terms of challenges, rather see opportunities from which new ways forward can emerge. Allow me to illustrate from practice in the Ethiopia Sicial Accountability Program where I work.

    Whenever I meet social accountability practitioners abroad, they wonder: SA in Ethiopia, with civil society involvement, really? We all have these boxes in our head – Ethiopia, restrictive NGO environment, political economy similar to Vietnam, etc… So many “challenges” can be named, and yet, we are running the largest single SA investment in Africa, and the results are surprising everyone involved.
    I remember early on in the program, some of the CSOs were challenging me – you don’t know Ethiopia, it’s only because of the donors that this program is allowed. And I was thinking – really? This strong government is allowing NGOs to work in close to 30% of its districts, all over the country, just because of donors? My advise was – just sit in that space you have been given and show the difference you can make.
    Early on in the program regional governments were challenging us – we don’t know what ‘you’ are up to. And I was thinking – we are implementing a government program in partnership with NGOs. Our question was – how can we better inform, collaborate? A year later, colleagues were at a workshop where regional governments were promoting the great work of ESAP.
    ESAP is to work at the level of decentralised local government, but certain accountabilities lie at the regional level. Many stakeholders were pointing at the political sensitivities of this. Our question was – who has connections, who can explore? Two years later many service issues (espacially water and roads) have been solved at levels beyond the district.
    iNitially concepts of vulnerability were both vague and daunting (e.g in many cases disabled people are hidden from society), but we asked communities ‘who is not (yet) being served?’ and our partners helped local governments to hear the stories of these groups. This has had empowering effects, and has inspired citizens and local governments alike to do more for vulnerable groups with the limited resources available to them.

    The practice pattern that seems to work is open mind, connecting with what drives people, and supporting the actions they want to take.

  • #4846

    Barbara A
    United States

    Great examples Lucia @lucia-nass And, you give me a means to clarify my deliberative democracy/ deliberative dialogue advocacy. (I must interject that my comments “do not” involve political party distinction what-so-ever! In fact deliberative dialogue, as I refer to it, is non-partisan, though it does deal with “public” citizen politics. And, sometimes strategies are determined to communicate the “public judgement” about issues, derived through deliberative dialogue, to members of our representatives of government within our U.S. republic style of governance.)

    My 25 years working with a university extension system focused on providing educational supports to vulnerable audiences. I used deliberative dialogue forums as an entry level effort to involve the targeted population in decision making about things that impacted their lives. We had a national government grant to work with “At Risk” children, youth, and families. Poverty was the main indicator of being at risk.

    “Reference challenges to governance:” 1. It was a challenge involving the targeted audience in the process: They did not understand the systems we were working with (grants); nor the formal planning processes (visioning & strategic planning) academic extension personnel were accustomed to using. 2. Extension personnel did not understand the trust issues involved in spaces were residents of the low income community would meet together. (I’ll share more challengers later.)

    The deliberative dialogue issues guides about challenging issues (referred to as wicked problems) were a means to leveling all peoples involvement – low income with limited education and the college educated career bureaucrats. They “deliberated together” about “mutual difficult problems” related to community youth problems, education quality improvement needs, drugs, violence, community beautification needs, etc. It did often take repeated invitations to agency and government officials to get them to come to some of the forums. The most difficult was a county superintendent of education. He said, “I do not need to talk about what kids need at school. I know what they need; that is what my training was for.”

    In the context of accountability, I always tried to go over the budget expenditures with the group of low income participants that ultimately formed a non-profit organization (NGO). They never could understand how the university accounting office recorded the grant expenditure categories. No matter how I tried to explain things; to some there always was suspicion that the money was being spent on things they were not told about. Understanding the systems we all work within are sometimes very difficult for both the educated and the non-educated to understand.

    Just as a frame of reference: More information on “Deliberative Dialogue” and “National Issues Forums Issue Guides” can be found at: And, the Kettering Foundation produces the NIF issue guides. See: Kettering is an operating foundation rooted in cooperative research, and their overall research question is; “What does it take to make democracy work as it should?”

    (As a matter of disclosure, I serve as a director of the National Issues Forum Institute who advocates the use of NIF deliberative dialogue issue guides.) I personally use the guides to build citizen capacity for community development initiatives.

  • #4850

    Janet Oropeza

    Hi! I am really impressed by the richness and quality of the contributions. Personally, it has been very inspiring to read about everyone’s efforts to improve governance. I really like @lucia-nass idea of thinking more about opportunities than challenges. Also, I agree with the principles of good governance that @bfniang identified. I would like to refer to some opportunities we have seen in Fundar, my organization, in relation to two principles of “good governance”:
    First, in the Mexican context, it is quite challenging to engage citizens in public affairs. People do not trust the government or any institutionalized space for citizen participation coming from it. As a result, these spaces do not really perform their purpose who is to incorporate citizens’ needs and views on existing public policies or to act as monitoring or accountability mechanisms of government performance. In Fundar, we have tried to use and activate the institutionalized spaces that the government has created to work with citizens such as the Open Government Partnership working groups, Citizen Councils, etc. There, we try to work constructively with the government ministries and share with them how the existing policies or the lack of them affect citizens, particularly those in most need. We have also tried to use these spaces as accountability mechanisms for the government to report what it is doing or not. In these spaces, we ask the government what he is doing or not and how. And, obviously, when the government do not meet the promises and commitments made in those spaces, we go to the press to denounce it to create public pressure.
    Second, in Mexico, there is the perception that the government is corrupt and do not care, respond or even listen to citizen needs. In Fundar, we have also approached accountability institutions such as ombudsman offices or Supreme Audit Institutions when we see that certain ministries or public agencies are not willing to listen or address citizen needs. These accountability institutions are usually more sensitive and responsive to citizen needs and can become an effective voice or advocate for these. For example, ombudsman offices can come up with human rights recommendations for the government that the latter feel the pressure to respond or implement them. Supreme Audit Institutions can also come up publicly to denounce that a particular policy is not working well and is not meeting its purpose. In sum, we have really seen the value of engaging and approaching accountability institutions.
    These are some of our strategies to overcome existing challenges related to governance. We are keen to hear others’ experiences.

  • #4851

    United Kingdom

    I am Aderonke Gbadamosi, and I presently work in the Social Protection Policy Team at HelpAge International, London. My contribution draws from economic and social rights research work that I have done in Africa.

    I will like to identify polarity of actors, as well as limited space for citizen participation as challenges related to governance; and judicial remedy aswell as NGO collaboration as methods to overcome the challenges.

    The issue of governance is complicated by the polarity of actors in the sphere including state and non- state actors, as well as the growing recognition for citizen’s involvement in the governance of issues that affects them.

    Two examples of tackling this challenge can be seen in recent happenings in Kenya. The first is the constitutional provision of a method of redress for economic and social rights violation, and the second relates to advocacy efforts by community based charities to involve the most marginalised in governance issues.

    The judicial remedy afforded to citizens by the constitution provides a way to check the actions and inactions of the government. The opportunity for citizens to claim for violation of ESC rights has resulted in improved accountability of the state and the deterring of unlawful exertion of power by the branches of government.

    Collaborative efforts of various grassroots organisations resulted in a petition being filed in June 2015 to the Parliament under Article 43 of the constitution on the need to make the budget more pro-poor and more aligned with the realization of the economic and social rights in Kenya. Over 300 signatories, representing over 100 community based organization both in the city and in the villages petitioning for beneficiaries who are mostly the poor, marginalized citizens frequently unable to organize themselves to campaign for their rights.

    Civil society monitoring as well as civil society engagement especially with the state budget process has had positive results with increase in child support spending in South African, and more engagement of the legislature as well as the general public in Uganda and Kenya.

  • #4852


    Hi. Joy Aceron here from Ateneo School of Government. Sorry to join in quite late.

    Challenges to governance.

    I’d like to discuss more about Philippine governance in general. One of the key challenges facing governance is turning good governance a norm. For some time now, good governance practices are mere ‘patches of gree,’ ‘islands of good governance,’ scattered ‘ best practices’ or ‘models’ that are never sustained. This, I think, leads to the inability ot the country to address long-standing problem of inequality, which causes accountability and justice deficit. Power remains concentrated in very few hence we continue to face the threat of backsliding to a situation of corrupt and bad governance.

    Like today, the current administration has done a significant advancement in making governance transparent and accountable in the country. Though a lot is still to be done and there have been controversies that undermine the credential of the current administration as a reform-oriented, pro-accountability and pro-good governance administration (non-passage of Freedom of Information Bill as one) the efforts to open government and make it responsive is clearly there.

    However, with the elections coming, there is a possibility that all the mechanisms and efforts in advancing good governance can easily be overturned. With the elections in the country ruled largely by money politics and with it being personality-oriented, the prospect of backsliding from the advancement of good governance is a highly probably threat.

    This to me clearly shows the importance of electoral and party system development and reform in turning good governance a norm, in making sure that the ones in power will be those with good track record in governance. There should also be good governance in the conduct of elections.

    Our work in Ateneo School of Government has tried to traverse this link between reforms in governance and elections but electoral reforms are harder ‘wins’ because most of the needed reforms require the passage of laws or even change in Constitution. There is also a challenge of mobilizing support for this kind of work.

    Would appreciate thoughts and suggestions on this and experience in how other countries grappled with this huge challenge.


    • #4853

      Myanmar [Burma]

      Hi @joyaceron , it is great to read more about your work here. I eally connect with the idea that good governance would become the norm. In ESAP we have two streams of though: social accountability as a way of life, and social accountability as part of government policies and structures. Probably both need work, but the nature of that work is very different. How do you shift norms in society, so that it can shift the current reality that nobody wants. Culture and norms sit so deep, have been formed over centuries. So I am learning that the responses we know, like change the law, don’t seem to work. So many reforms have not yielded the results people were looking for. And yet, there are these islands that you write about, and which I also experience, were new norms are emerging. How do we connect with that, enable it to grow, enable it to discover how to change, step by step. i am kearning more about this change facilitation work in a MOOC at MIT, with people like Otto Sharmer (theorty U) and Peter Senge (5th discipline). The MOOC, known as Ulab, is an amazing change experiment with 45,000 plus participants, change facilitatirs, from all over the world. Governance is one of 8 ‘acupuncture points’ they feel need rethinking and rebuilding. This starts from connecting with with heart, connecting about what matters. We are so often in our head about big questions, but we are also part of those very same systems that stay the way they are. Anyway – it is too deep to explain in a short comment, but I thought you might find thia angle of interest.
      Our ESAP team is currntly working with Participatory Video, Theater for Social Accountability, and stories, which are such great instruments, as they mirror what is happening in society, whcih can be a real eyeopener. We are adding awards to it, inspired by Galing Pook in your country – isn’t that also a place that creates and conects islands of interesting local government practice?

  • #4854

    United States

    @joyaceron: thank you for your post, I will try to respond later to your points, as I wanted to first address some earlier posts.

    A number of points have been raised in the past few days, and I would like to start with two: @carolina-cornejo on citizens and governance, because it links with the issue of who is able to claim and how do people engage in claiming citizenship? It would be good to hear more from @matthew-ade about what role does or should the private sector play in governance
    A different challenge comes in the area of trust, sense of exclusion and the historic experience of lacking any right to make decisions, well stated by @meskerem ‘thou shalt not sue a king…nor do you plow the sky’. This leads back to @lucia How to open up space? Ethiopia Social Accountability Program
    What are other examples of opening up space or changing nature of dialogue
    @gusmaurino what do we mean when we use the term ‘democracy’? you have noted how governance is a ‘social practice’ and that social practice is a ‘collective interpretative process’, so then how do these understandings create the foundation for how you conceive democracy. In practical terms, for example, @saggy21 has defined the NCPC as a fascinating hybrid of citizen direct participation in the ‘councils of government’ not just as advisors. This may connect with what @charlesgay has noted as the centrality of power relations in governance. He also points to the importance of legal empowerment and access to systems of justice, which connects with the points of @aderonkegbadamosi2015 about seeking judicial remedy and claiming rights and those of @bfniang regarding slow, costly justice. Are there good examples of legal empowerment and/or seeking judicial remedy by poor people or different excluded groups?

    • #4873


      Hi @lucianass

      It’s great to hear that you are learning from the Pook experience. Maybe it depends on context, but in the Philippines, given that we have been into ‘best practices’ ‘islands of good governance’ mode for a while, the question of whether these practices and islands are actually gettting sustained and making a long-lasting impact not only on their areas but in the country is becoming a pressing issue. For me, we need to go beyond patches and aim for turning good governance a country-wide and if possible a global wide practice, so we stop focusing too much on it and we can move on to more substantive questions of policy content and strategi direction.

      Governance, after all, is only the means and the idea of ‘good governance’ provides a framework for such means which assumes to achieve better ends.

      • #4930

        Myanmar [Burma]

        Hi @joyaceron – Your observation brings an experiences to mind where CSO’s have organised to bridge islands of excellence (Paoung Ku in Myanmar), or used their networks to “score services” across the country (Malawi – education sector), or successfully came together to call for better policies, laws (NGO working group on Land Laws in Myanmar). Would be good if the WRD studies this angle of civil society organisation.

  • #4855


    My name is Guillaume. I am a Governance Advisor with the International Rescue Committee.

    Today, I’d like to respond to the second question asked by Steve (what challenges related to governance have you faced and how have you overcome them?). In a different post, I will bring my perspective on ideas shared last week.

    I will use my experience in eastern Congo supporting IRC’s largest community driven reconstruction program called Tuungane (meaning Let’s Unite in Kiswahili) which is financed by the UK government ( to illustrate some governance challenges we faced and how we try to overcome them. However, I feel that it is important first to put those in context.

    Eastern Congo has been plagued by a cycle of conflict which has destabilized the country and region, destroyed social infrastructure and weakened state and civil society-run mechanisms of service provision, severely restricting the population’s already-limited access to basic services. Communities are often disengaged from decision-making processes around public service delivery, thus limiting their input into how these services function and address their needs.

    Tuungane operates on the premise that people’s needs are best met when public authorities are capable of providing basic services, when they are responsive to citizens’ needs and priorities, and when the general public can engage in decision-making and hold them to account.

    Each community is supported to identify a sector in which they want to invest, make decisions regarding this investment and manage a block grant for the construction/rehabilitation of basic social infrastructure. In each community where funds are invested, a Village Development Committee (VDC) is elected to facilitate community decision-making and manage funds on behalf of the population.

    Since 2010, the program has strengthened and built on its community-driven approaches by fostering greater linkages between community members, frontline service providers, line ministries and nascent decentralized local government structures, thereby building foundations in the short to medium term for improved accountability in state-run service delivery. These linkages are fostered, in part, through the implementation of a social accountability tool: the community scorecard (CSC). In theory, this scorecard approach provides greater access to information and creates a space for dialogue between service users and providers, thereby supporting collective problem solving and fostering greater accountability and responsiveness from service providers.

    So, you might wonder what could possibly be challenging about that, right? I will present three challenges we faced (mental model, incentives structures and collective action ceiling, and operating at scale) and explain how we tried to overcome those.

    First, Tuungane mostly attempts to stimulate governance changes at the community level. That is, changes in the way decisions are made (the how) and what decisions are actually made (the what). Here, by community level I mean the space just above the household, but below the district level. One of the prior assumptions I often heard in meetings is that services providers are to some extent pleased with the status quo and that service users and providers (because they have different power) are engaging with each other through confrontation, hence the absence of change. Well, it turns out that this is not exactly right. Our experience shows that impoverished and conflict-affected communities can take meaningful steps to address service delivery challenges. This seems possible if they know about their rights and entitlements, if they have an opportunity to discuss service delivery problems with frontline health care providers and if they are supported to implement locally available solutions. For those who would like to know more about the types of changes associated with this SA tool and the mechanisms through which changes emerge, I suggest that you read an article my colleagues and I recently published in the journal Conflict and Health (

    Second, Tuungane works in multiple communities. While I have seen first-hand changes we report in our article, I have also attended town hall meetings where service providers ignore questions and changes being asked by service users which suggest a lack of willingness and perhaps active resistance to change. I have heard from frontline service providers and user committees about changes such as adding staff on payroll or increasing medical supplies that cannot find solutions locally which suggest a collective action ceiling. While we had wins in multiple sites, we also had difficultly shifting the incentive structure for changes beyond the lifespan of the project and for resolving service delivery problems with root causes located beyond the sphere of influence of frontline service providers and community members.

    Third, Tuungane operates at scale. Here, by scale I mean in more than one thousand communities simultaneously spread over four provinces. Operating a governance program at scale has its own sets of challenge such as recruiting skilled staff and actively supporting them, decentralizing implementation to ensure that the approach is adapted to the local context and constantly learning to adapt to new realities. To seize the opportunity of operating at scale, we recruited more than 450 Congolese facilitators of change and provided them with on the job coaching and mentoring. We also created core teams of ‘champions of change’, all Congolese, that ‘got it’ and were readily deployable to remote communities. We also ensured that our facilitators of change were physically located as close as possible to communities, while ensuring basic safety and security. While we did what we could to seize these opportunities, we missed some others to further strengthen relationships between users and providers of basic services by relying on a standard set of implementation protocols. While this approach ensured that minimal standards for quality were respected, it did not allow program staff to fully embrace local dynamics and sufficiently tailor the scorecard process to the context of each community. For example, religious leaders in some communities are particularly invested in service delivery issues and have considerable influence over service providers. More deliberate engagement of these stakeholders in training sessions and community meetings would have allowed program staff to leverage this influence so as to support greater responsiveness from service providers to users’ demands. For those interested in the Tuungane community scorecard approach, learning emerging from this approach and the implementation considerations of rolling-out social accountability approaches at scale, I suggest that you read a briefing paper Isatou Batonon and I wrote last year (

    In conclusion, our experience suggests that locally-led development must starts with people problem-solving together for solutions that fit their context. We, as INGOs, can play the role of brokers of change by convening a safe space for dialogue, for example, linking community members up with the right actor in the service delivery chain and injecting new resources in judicious ways. These incremental gains are great. Though, one must not forget that stimulating sustainable governance changes should be negotiated locally and structurally simultaneously.

    There are other governance challenges we faced and tried to overcome over the years in eastern Congo and in other fragile and conflict affected settings. I will bring those to life in my future posts by bringing insights from the field. For now, I want to bring a close to this already long contribution by sharing two hopes.

    I hope that the WDR2017 report will make a distinction between induced vs. organically-led governance initiatives because the pathways through which changes emerge might be different. Also, I hope that the WDR2017 report will explore the practical and theoretical reality to bring to scale pilot initiatives while ensuring that they remain adapted to the context (as World Bank President Kim said at the GPSA Forum in DC last May, from pilot-ology to scalability).

    • #4864

      Myanmar [Burma]

      Thanks @guillaumelab – for an sharing an experience that will make everyone a bit quiet. 450 Congolese facilitators, that is a fascinating force – is it connected to the wider structures in any way? It makes me think of nation building, and the role of the international community. Are others in the forum working in this domain?

      Reading this brings me back to Myanmar where I worked when the previous regime was still firmly in place. In Myanmar, networks of local community organisations emerged under the radar of the previous regime, and they have now begun to bring some real change about. I evaluated an initiative called Paung Ku (bridge) a few years back – and we found examples of local communities now fighting to get back their fishing rights and land rights from previous power holders. It was beginning to be successful, although not without pain. The support to this was a very light touch enabling local communities to connect, for instance mobile phones were provided, and spaces created where communities could meet up on their own agendas. They had bigger fish to fry than basic services – as their livelihoods had been severely affected by the previous regime.

      CSOs in Myanmar have observe that the private sector seems to have much more influence on poor peoples lives than all donors and INGOs combined. In that sense, good that the private sector is being brought into development financing and related debates about sustainable growth with equity (have we invited the private sector to this forum?). Yet lack of environmental and labor laws in countries like Myanmar, make that some of the most polluting and exploitative industries in the world seem to be moving there now that the winds of democracy have started to blow. It is interesting to see local groups connecting to this, researching and engaging with the problematic – mostly with their own resources, I may add.

      • #4921


        @lucia-nass Tuungane is a large-scale community-driven reconstruction program implemented in 1,025 communities. To support each community to identify a sector in which they want to invest, make decisions regarding this investment and manage a block grant, we rely on hundreds of staff. I prefer to call my colleagues facilitators of change because this is really what they do. Each community project is connected to the wider structures. For example, if a community decides to invest their block grant in the education sector, we make sure that this decision is endorsed by the Ministry of Education. We want to avoid being in a situation where a school is rehabilitated / constructed, yet no teachers are assigned by the Ministry of Education to it.

  • #4856

    Barbara A
    United States

    I will try to tackle the “judicial remedy by poor people” question somewhat…I am coming from a perspective of an American international relations degree with mostly British professors, from living and working in Europe for twelve years as a spouse of an American enlisted military man (i.e. not a policy making military officer), and as someone with a humanitarian, social accountability focus. I have been writing a few grants and continually strategizing how to eliminate hunger and extreme poverty – both locally (In America) and globally… simultaneously. My work is for poor people not by them – though actually I consider it for all humanity.

    The only example I have “by poor people” on this topic is in my work with youth in 2009 there was a thirteen year old girl that spoke of desiring more healthy food at her school. She researched what it would take for her school cafeteria to prepare more nutritious food. She then went to the “local” school board and asked permission to present her issue. Per her perception, she thought the school board would graciously allow her to speak since she was a child. In her case she was right. She explained how she was very prepared with research and data and ended her presentation demanding the school board change their policy to insist more nutritious food was served to students. The school board did. They created requirements regarding the cafeteria to prepare more healthy food. The young student encouraged other students to speak up for causes they believed in. She said she thought adults do not expect children to have all the information and data supporting a position, but if young people do, and there is an accessible system available, she thought the adult policy makers would then listen because of the novelty of the youth being so well prepared. She said we needed a “Food Revolution.”

    For 25 years I have heard that hunger problems were not an issue of availability, that the problem was a governance issue. Yet still today there is hunger in “All” 3144 counties in America – per USDA data that I have not seen has changed. For a country blessed with resources as America is this is unacceptable. And, often when one speaks of eradicating “global” hunger, some Americans will listen politely and then say, Yes, this is an admirable goal but we need to eliminate hunger in our own country first.

    That’s why I say it needs to be done simultaneously – locally and globally. Those who talk about needing to eliminate hunger in America are correct. The time is well past to do so. Per my assessment America should be a leader in doings so globally.

    In a related conversation on sustainability and climate change a “local” city mayor said the only way to get citizens to change in this regards was to make it an economic issue.

    If food security is a major concern leading up to 2030 and beyond, where is the governance accountability on this issue NOW? I figure I am only speaking the obvious that all involved in this dialogue know. But, I also feel it needs to be said repeatedly. And, for those of us that believe this it becomes a matter of access to resources and capacity. Is not such – access to resources and capacity of citizens – a governance accountability issue?

  • #4858


    Dear @janet-oropeza, very good point / question on how to incentivize local service providers, local governments and government more broadly. I am not sure to what extent this applies to Mexico, but as per my IRC colleague @guillaumelab mentioned, we did find that constructive engagement between service providers / local decision makers and citizens did result in actions and responses in many instances, despite the limited capacity and resources of local providers in eastern DRC. However, there is clearly a “collective action” ceiling and issues like increasing funding toward salaries or key inputs that depend on the central government, were often very difficult to address. That said there are instances where representations (we can think of a coalition between local providers and citizens) were made to higher levels and resulted in increased allocations. This is where the convening power of IRC helped give a greater voice and access to higher level officials. This does speak however to the need to nurture local capacity to pressure government officials so that they fulfill there responsibilities and ultimately that credible sanctions be enforced when they don’t. So focusing on both a bottom up approach combined with top down support in relevant sectors / ministries (so that they have the right policies and actually enforce them) can help make a difference, though the incentives of key political and bureaucratic actors to go along will be an important constraining factor. Finding how to best influence these power holders remains a challenge and additional experimentation and research about how best to affect in a constructive and sustained way these incentives is definitely needed.

  • #4859

    Greetings from Ghana. I have been following the interesting discussions on governance with different views, in Balla Fall (Senegal) view; governance is more than ‘government’. It includes the relations between the state and society which includes the private sectors who are the engine of growth of every nations. From the private sector point of view, it is all about autonomous operations and governance (good governance). We always lay considerable emphasis on transparency and accountability. Both are not attainable unless citizens participate in governance process. That is why the major role of private sector / chamber of commerce is advocacy.

    The Chamber would continue to play its advocacy role by collating the views and concerns of its members in order to shape the future of the Chamber to enable it project the real challenges and constraints that the private sector faced in governance between the state and society. Additionally, in order to correlate government trade policy and its effects on country’s business environment, business advocacy is of central importance.

    Some recent interpretations of governance in Africa introduces the private sector and the civil society including the local government system as participants in and promoter of good governance, through changes in their subsidiary roles and direct involvement in areas hitherto kept exclusively in the public domain.

    Within the broad area of governance, we are interested in the quality of government regulations for the private sector, that is, the overall business environment in the key sectors of the African economy.

    With a clear advocacy on good governance, the private sector has a positive influence on the quality of government regulations and that this influence is more likely to be sustainable in the long run that will positively affect the society.

    Therefore governance need to be thoroughly defined to cut across state and society, we should look at bad governance, failed governance and failed state as it affects the society which includes the private sectors.

    I will come back after I have feedback from other participants on autonomous operations as it relates to good governance to improve business environment for growth and development of developing nations that will enable us wipe out two prime curses in Africa: poverty and corruption. Poverty is endemic and corruption is widespread and very disturbing in Africa, the question that looms large is: how to overcome these crises. It is widely believed that good governance is the panacea to these two social ills.

    • #4865

      Myanmar [Burma]

      Thank you @matthew-ade for bringing in the private sector perspective. You mention “the private sector has a positive influence on the quality of government regulations and that this influence is more likely to be sustainable in the long run that will positively affect the society.” I was wondering if you could share some practical examples?

      I have had glimpses of the role of the private sector in Myanmar, in agribusiness for instance, there was a private sector argument for minimum prices for products, and for minimum wages. Next to making business sense, this was helpful for poverty reduction in the area. The Thai businessman engaged with this found it very hard to convince government of these measures for various reasons, one of which he called “an outdated understanding of economics” (I quote). We met on the plane, so I am not sure of the eventual outcome – but curious to read about practical cases from your experience.

  • #4860

    Anabel Cruz

    Dear all, sorry I am coming a bit late to the debate. My name is Anabel Cruz, from Uruguay: I am the Director of ICD in Uruguay and at international level I am a Board member of CIVICUS and the Co-coordinator of the Regional Initiative Rendir Cuentas. Just a couple of keywords or key topics that I think the World Development Report 2017 on Governance and the Law should address.

    (1) In terms of the complex interactions between state institutions and civil society organizations, the report could explore on which are the conditions for a real enabling enviroment for the work of civil society. How are the relationships with government shaped? What implications has government funding (be it too little or too much) vi-a-vis the identity of CSOs? This first point brings along another important topic, the real civic space for people and organizations.
    (2) In terms of citizen participation, the report could explore how the different countries are situated in terms of real public incidence. How much have the countries advanced in relation to citizen participation laws and legal instruments to enable such participation? How do the intergovernmental spaces contribute to national legislation in this topic?

  • #4862

    Dr. Fletcher Tembo

    I would like to comment on the interesting contribution that @lucia-nass made that speaks to the question of ‘how do you address the governance challenges’ – the second part of the main question of the week raised by @scommins. Two main points – the first is that working in a context where many researchers and practitioners, based on their analysis, think that you cannot do effective governance work. ESAP has managed to get regional government on board and is managing to get service provision improvements. The second is dealing with language, from the loaded language of ‘vulnerability’ to asking the simple but effective question ‘who is not being served?’ . Based on these two observations, my comments are as follows:

    a) Having worked on an action research governance programme in Ethiopia (the Mwananchi programme which I introduced in my first contribution) for five years, at the same time as working in Uganda, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Malawi and Zambia, I noticed a striking difference between Ethiopia and the other five countries, of course there also differences among the five. Ethiopia was the only country (it might sound an exaggeration) where government officials at the local level (Zone, Woreda and Kibele) would attend social accountability meetings without too much push, and sometimes only noticed through a round of introductions. As an action researcher, while I was very happy with this response, I wondered if there was a wider political regime orientation that incentivised this response/ behaviour. Having recently done research on Ethiopia at the regime level for the UNECA, I am convinced that there is something there that amounts to what the ODI research findings on the Africa Power and Politics Programme (APPP) called ‘policy disciplines’, that works through the bureaucracy that is different from one country to another. The same thing I think can be said about governance institutions which @janet-oropeza alludes to in her contribution. This makes me think that while acknowledging the positive local level governance changes and improvements in service provision that comes from it, in the WDR 17 exploration, we need to interrogate where the wider regime incentives, for or against, are coming from. Otherwise, we might develop a WDR2004 orientation that was great but at the same time did not speak to politics as much as it should have done, as most commentators have observed.

    b) In the case of vocabulary, I know that ESAP in my opinion has done an excellent job in avoiding the loaded, and rather combative demand side language, to a more neutral collaborative one, as implicit in the question ‘who is not being served here?’ as opposed to ‘whose rights are not being demanded, or who is not demanding their rights here?’. I think where as the analytical language of what good governance can be articulated in the broadly understood fundamentals obtained from academic literature, we have to acknowledge that they might not have a universal way of translating them into practice – those who ‘cut’ language from theory and ‘paste’ it wholesome in practice are bound to fail in certain contexts. Unfortunately funded projects look for this universal language to qualify projects, which then affects practice as practitioners strive to look fashionable in their writing by adopting this speak – perhaps this is okay but they should also remember to do things differently in practice.

    • #4863

      Myanmar [Burma]

      @fletchertembo2014 you make me curious about two things:

      1) what made local government officials eventually appear at the SA table in the other countries of the Mwanachi program?
      2) there seems to be an inherently human element to wanting to do well for those less fortunate – many of the changes we see happening (not just in Ethiopia) are due to the relentless efforts of volunteers, citizens as well as service providers, with local government sort of following suit. So for the WDR2017 – Where do we see this local spirit translating into national politics, and incentives? Or put differently, why is there so much disconnect? Money in politics was mentioned by @joyaceron – what else has been observed in practice?

  • #4866


    Thanks to IRC for bringing up the Tuungane projects and the mention of community scorecards. CARE is a partner of the IRC in that project and we have extensive experience with scorecards, since they were conceived in Malawi over a decade ago. This allows me to briefly respond to Stephen’s question: What processes has CARE found are effective in citizen empowerment?

    Scorecards are among the most promising citizen empowerment approaches we have. Over the last few years CARE has implemented scorecards in Egypt, Morocco, Malawi, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Cote d’Ivoire, Burundi, and Cambodia, and there are various other countries that are starting to use the toolkit and planning process. For example, next month I’m conducting an evaluation of a grants scheme within the ANSA initiative I mentioned above which is supporting CSOs in Morocco, Tunisia, Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan and Yemen to implement scorecards.

    @guillaumelab has already provided a description above from the toolkit of what the process is about. We recently conducted a multi-country study with the ODI on what works in scorecards and why?
    See here for a summary:
    See here for the full report:
    See here for the toolkit:
    See here for our community of practice:

    • #4867

      Myanmar [Burma]

      Thanks Tom @aston for sharing the links – which I am passing on to the Ethiopia network.

      We are currently entertaining a worry about CSC, that in the long run it may stop being effective (similar to the “toolification syndrome” from the PRA days…). Are you aware of studies that show use of CSCs over longer periods?

      In ESAP we are strategising around a process that gets more complex as communities learn and their organisations connect: Combining CSC results for a certain sector and geographic area, so that it can be used for policy dialogue. Following up on suspicions of leakage that may arise during the CSC process, using a micro form of Public Expenditure Tracking Survey. Integrating Gender Responsive Budgeting principles in CSCs, etc. We are beginning to have a set of interesting experiences with such combinations of SA tools.

      • #4923


        @lucia-nass While I am not aware of studies that show use of CSC over longer periods of time, I can share our experience in Eastern Congo. What we have started to notice after a few years of supporting communities and local authorities on using community scorecard is a ‘collective action’ ceiling. That is, frontline service providers and user committee members will problem-solve locally and implement solutions successfully. Often, they’ll be quite creative. For example, during the scorecard process one community in North Kivu decided set a policy of ‘pay school fees for two of your children and the other ones can attend school for free’. However, there are problems which cannot be resolved locally (such as adding teacher to the payroll). Therefore, overtime, communities might lose faith in the process because their participation does not lead to change. Hence, your proposal of combining multiple SA together and others to work on the capacity and incentives of people higher up in the service delivery chain is very promising.

        IRC recently partnered with the Development Impact Evaluation in the research group of the World Bank ( to rigorously access, through an experiment, how accountability associated with the scorecard process can be improved. It asks whether top-down oversight, bottom-up monitoring, or a combination of the two can foster accountability and improve outcomes associated with the scorecard process. The result of this experiment should be available in 2016.

    • #4922


      @aston Apologies for this oversight. This is right, CARE has been an implementing partner of Tuungane for the last seven years. Thanks for sharing the link of CARE’s community scorecard community of practice. Please feel free to add our community scorecard briefing paper (in English: and in French:

  • #4869


    What challenges related to governance have you faced and how have you overcome them?

    One of the best examples of implementing a project in a post-conflict environment that involved both trust and confidence building, and rebuilding economic potential in rural areas was implanted by JICA in Bosnia and Hercegovina over a multi-year period.

    I was fortunate to have been involved as staff from my office assisted in identifying the site, along the Drina River in an isolated area of the Srebrenica municipality. As @fletchertembo2014 noted discussing transformative change, helping achieve ‘buy-in’ to collaborate and work together doesn’t happen overnight and clearly requires peeling the onion to achieve political leverage.

    Quite a number of governance issues came to the table over time, with the establishment of a unit for integrated development an outcome that spread to include all villages (MZs) in the municipality that was deeply affected by violence during the war in the early 1990s.

    Today, 20 years after the end of the conflict, the importance of helping to achieve early success stories is clearly apparent.

    • #4931

      Myanmar [Burma]
  • #4870

    Dr. Fletcher Tembo

    @lucia-nass, as regards your question “what made local government officials eventually appear at the SA table in the other countries of the Mwananchi program?” I would say organisations were using different strategies depending on their analysis of what they thought were the incentive structures that the local government officials that they were concerned with were facing. Monetary incentives were the most common but not the only ones, there sometimes other incentives that we had not thought of at project design that also emerged while implementing the projects. Of course we always have to be careful that we are not categorising every actor in the same bracket. For instance, in making the difference between Ethiopia and other countries, I am making a general observation based on common occurrences in these countries by looking at the behaviours and understanding them as situated within certain incentive structures both locally and nationally. These incentives are both internal motivations (e.g. material or monetary gain, social advancement or spiritual gain) as well as opportunities or constraints that come from the political, social-cultural or economic environment in which they belong and continually seek to either seek acceptance or reduce risk of losing position (e.g. the relationship between a politician with their political party or between a frontline bureaucrat and their ministry headquarters). These incentives are reinforced in a big way at a wider level by the nature of politics because in situations where there is greater polarisation, with lack of policy disciplines e.g. if a bureaucrat fails to perform they are just transferred to another location rather than sanctioned as written in the employment guidelines, this practice reinforces incentives of a certain type.

    In practice, we got to these incentives, or attempted to, by combining Outcome Mapping methodologies with political economy analysis. I developed a practice methodology for this and was training organisations in using political economy analysis to understand the ongoing political dynamics, and then outcome mapping to work out how to influence the behaviour of strategic actors by targeting incentive structures.
    In my response I have concentrated on the principles rather than listing things that brought local government officials to the table as you asked. This is because the incentives were as varied as the specific contexts, and also varied from sector to sector though if I had much space, I was going to articulate the most common ones. At the broad level though, I think in countries with polarised politics , heavy contestation between ruling party and opposition parties almost year in year out, the policy and implementation disciplines tend to be weakened as the ruling party tends to be preoccupied with the ‘low hanging fruit’ in order to win votes. This means that for most government officials, they tend to get caught in between loyalty to the ruling party and following their own choices of what is right to do – and these things can reflect strongly in whether they show up at SA meetings or not, and what they actually do when they come to those meetings.

    Lastly, the ‘human element’, e.g. volunteering etc that you refer to in the second question is very important, and operates most effectively in localised initiatives, where trust is high and actors obtain a lot of non-monetary rewards from these actions. The disconnect happens when we move from these localised actions to the sub-national and national levels when these local practices are not allowed to inform the sub-national and national practice, mainly because at that level other wider incentives kick in – e.g. strong elite interests colluding with businesses and the way the bureaucracy operates. All these practices are heavily political in nature – so my definition of politics here is not limited to political party contestations but all the different contestations and struggles for access to power and resources characterising society-state relationships in a given country context. As a suggested way to overcome these challenges, I recommend an incremental approach where localised SA practices become ‘policy experiments’ for scaling up to sub-national and national levels through a collective action approach that is based on addressing conflicting incentives. I have recently been researching and writing about this.

    • #4924


      @fletchertembo2014 You mentioned that you have been writing and researching about incremental SA approaches. Could you share some of your work with us?

  • #4871

    Thank you @Lucia for also sharing with us the role of the private sector in Myanmar. Let me quickly point out again that several activities for economic governance, traditionally under the purview of the government, are likely to be better performed by non-government actors like the Chamber of Commerce which is the umbrella of the private sector.

    There are so many issues of governance that my chamber has been able to approach Government and made an input that has a positive influence on the quality of government regulations and this influence positively affected the society.

    Tax Reforms for business growth (Loss Carry Forward tax system) – Review of investment and tax policies.

    This action looked at chamber input on policies to indicate their relevance and their potencies for promoting business growth. The action provided policy options that were used during dialogue processes with the various government agencies for possible changes. Business advocate consultants were employed to design programme that helped the Chamber in providing a platform for constant dialogue. The results were adequately circulated at centre for business operators. Also tax and investment experts were engaged on short term basis to review tax policies and make relevant recommendations for adoption of which Government adopted.

    The policy proposals adopted from the various reviews and dialogue were tabled by employing various advocacy tools to engage relevant Government agencies to act appropriately to reduce the challenges that SMEs face. Such activities constantly monitor their successes and failures, documented appropriately circulated and shared among the network for possible exchange of best practices. Experiences and agreements were publicised at the centre as well as other national media to promote the aspects of good governance and indicate also the cleaning of business environment to attract investment.

    The others were, advocacy for quick passage of the Local Content Bill into law – Passage of Oil & Gas Local Content Bill into law

    Advocacy for the removal of product certification bottlenecks – To streamlined certification procedure and possible merger of the Food & Drugs Authority and the Ghana Standards Authority

  • #4872

    Barbara A
    United States

    @Mathew-ade … Mathew I am intrigued with the advocacy and action roles your Chamber is involved for development. I am sure our US Chamber board and large business representatives are able to use the good offices of our Chambers of Commerce more than I am aware of. But, seemingly their role is more to cultivate an internal network. Networks are good, but any program actions just because there is the network is non existent. Of course leaders often initiate something they feel passionately about, but again this is not necessarily part of a Chamber of Commerce initiative. Now I am speaking very locally. I do wonder what our small local Chambers of Commerce may learn from you and others in other countries regarding building democracy and economic development. I have been looking for ways to merge profits (economic development) and democracy and definitely corporate social responsibility (and accountability. Any ideas?

  • #4874


    Hi all,

    Thank you for the contributions to the discussion so far. Stephen and the others will be providing us the summary of the key points raised so far, so let me immediately go ahead and introduce the last session. I will be co-moderating this with Stephen and the rest.

    After reflecting on the concept of governance, the challenges confronting ordinary citizens on governance and the law as well as the factors likely to affect governance, let us now delve further on the “good practices of engagement between civil society organizations and governmental agencies and ways to promote reforms in governance.”

    However, since there are already several good practices shared here in this forum and this is something commonly discussed and written about, let me invite everyone to reflect on a particular dimension of good practices in CSO-government less tackled and delved upon: continuity and sustainability. This, to me, has a lot to do with the kind of reforms or changes in the system, structures, norms and capacities that are introduced or set in place over time and could therefore allow us to identify critical ways forward.

    We can start by trying to answer these questions based on our experience: What kind of good practices in governance and law have been sustained and continued over time in your country? What were those that were not continued, got easily changed, remained ‘patches of green’ that never expanded and are continue to be under threat of getting overturned? What were the critical factors that affected the sustainability and continuity of these good practices? Why is it important that we put into account the question of sustainability in the initiatives that we introduce to improve governance and the rule of law?

    Looking forward to your thoughts.

  • #4875

    Amr H.

    Dear All,

    This is Amr Lashin from CARE International in Egypt. I am the Governance and Civic Engagement Program Director. i would like first to thank the GPSA and the facilitators to give us the chance to participate in the WDG report development process as aside from shedding the light and getting exposed to other applications it would also help us to network, interact and unify our ideas for the good of the cause which is improving living conditions of the poor.

    Regarding the subject itself, i would like to highlight some key points – and sorry if it has been said before -, in CARE we believe that engaging citizens needs to work not only on empowering and organizing them but also working with the supply side to provide the enabling environment for citizens engagement. this would also requires that the supply side is able to perform its expected role and understands the value, importance and benefits of engaging citizens. More info about this concept – The governance programming framework GPF could be found on our website.

    Regarding the implementation of the concept, we dont focus on the SA tools in the beginning – a point which we have found that most of the applications start with – as we focus on the context analysis first which will then guide the implementation and the selection of both the most appropriate tool(s), entry point(s) and required interventions – aside from the tool –

    we have implemented the Community Score Card (CSC) since it was developed by CARE Malawi back in the early 2000, in many different sectors, like: Youth services, Cultural services, health, Municipality services, Solid Waste Management and many other not only in Egypt but in 7 countries in the Arab World.
    we have also applied the Citizen Charter (CC) tool for the first time in the region in several governmental services. Also we have been able to implement a “Third Party Monitoring Process” on a major Public Works and Community Development Project in the country.

    It is worth sharing what we have learned so far from all the above applications since 2008 until today:
    – Service Delivery is the entry point to gain the acceptance of the government (supply side) to apply SA. Although the term SA is not mentioned in the beginning to prevent any miss-understanding of the concept. This will ensure the by-in of the government which is needed.
    – Creating a Platform for both side to interact, negotiate and agree on what needs to be done should be thought of and planned for from the beginning.
    – Citizens need to know how to “Talk” and governmental entities needs to know how to “Listen”, then both needs to know how to switch roles in order to “Listen” after Talking and Talking after “Listening”
    – Working with Media is crucial, but unfortunately it is not paid attention too.

    there are many other points that resulted from our work and i will be happy to share..



  • #4876


    @amhrlashin: Thanks for sharing your thoughts on what works based on your experience in CARE-Egypt. Can you elaborate more on what you mean by ‘supply side.’ If this refers to the policies and mechanisms, processes and prioritization of government, any thoughts on the components or elements of a ‘supply side’ of accountability conducive to citizen engagement and supportive of its sustainability and how we get to put together/ set up those components or elements based on your experience.

    Thank you.

    • #4877

      • #4879

        Amr H.

        thanks for your response..

        Thanks for sharing your thoughts on what works based on your experience in CARE-Egypt. Can you elaborate more on what you mean by ‘supply side.’ If this refers to the policies and mechanisms, processes and prioritization of government, any thoughts on the components or elements of a ‘supply side’ of accountability conducive to citizen engagement and supportive of its sustainability and how we get to put together/ set up those components or elements based on your experience.
        Regarding your question about Supply side, it do refer to whomever entity which is providing service to citizens, this could for sure be the government and extends to CSOs – i know that it might look strange but in our region CSOs do provide services to community members – media and private sector.
        we have been able to apply the supply-demand side relationship (what i have early mentioned as the GPF) both on the government and also the CSOs on their community development project.
        This two way relationship entails working on the policies, mechanisms, process..etc. that provide the enabling environment for citizens (demand side) to be engaged in the development/enhancement process from the beginning onward.
        As for the Sustainability point raised by you and @Stephen, it was very crucial for us to plan for the institutionalization of the process within the different sides, within the government and also within the community. This made us focus on applying as much SA applications on the local and sub-national levels to “have proof” that the process works and do lead to change. In the same time we were creating linkage between our partners/stakeholders from the local and sub-national levels with key players on the national levels, this linkage was crucial for the national level to eliminate the “built-in fear” they usually have from engaging with citizens and in the same time for the demand side to be presented in a different way “as being able to talk”.
        This has actually led to having many Good Governance Pillars in the National Administrative Reform Plan in Egypt ” which has been approved by the cabinet and the president” which read as follows: Efficient, effective, transparent, fair, and responsive administrative governmental system providing quality services, subject to accountability, raise public satisfaction, and strongly contributing to the fulfillment of development objectives and enhancement of the Egyptian status” And as you can notice that Accountability and Responsiveness are clearly mentioned in the vision “you can clearly relate that with the two way supply-demand relation and the talk & listen concept”.
        Moreover the SA has been clearly incorporated in the reform plan under one of the key goals called “Improving trust relationship between government and citizens” where SA tools have been clearly mentioned like the CSC, CC, Citizen Budget, Participatory Budget and others.
        Know there are several Governmental entities (mainly ministries) have started to highlight the importance of citizen engagement in their service provision and also relaying on citizen satisfaction as key factor in assessing public administration performance.
        In the same time we are working with the demand side representatives (mainly CSOs) to benefit from such breakthrough and reach out to the government to work together in applying and implementing this plan..

        i hope i have been able to respond to your questions.. and please feel free to share any further points that need clarification..


  • #4878

    United States

    @joyaceron how do we move from splendid oases to consistently functioning mechanisms for accountable and transparent government? Your point about electoral politics and changes in administration, and her concern about having advances in governance being overturned, is particularly important. I appreciate that you have reiterated this question again, and I encourage others to share your thoughts on this challenge.
    @guillaumelab the report on IRC’s experiences in DRC, which is a notable Fragile and Conflict Affected States (FCAS) echoes some of the other comments in terms of what level of government can be enlisted in governance processes and how can communities entrust themselves in processes that may be deemed as carrying risk. The Tuungane paper (I have read several of the reports, and they are excellent in the details of the process work itself) that you have linked is a good resource for others, as are the earlier and later ones from @aston.
    @wt48 has added to the FCAS perspective with his account of working to get buy in from communities affected by conflict. I note, as with the DRC example from IRC, that time frame for change becomes important. Donors tend to want to rush ‘success’, but especially in FCAS, issues of capacity, trust, weak government systems and the impact of violence all mitigate against deeply rooted change. At what scale can governance be supported in FCAS?

    @anabel thanks for your questions for the WDR17 team, which will be shared with the chapter authors. You mention the importance of the enabling environment: can this be handled at the local level when the central government is not supportive, or must it have a buy in at all levels?
    @barb13 has highlighted the actions of one young person to make changes. The actions of young people are central to the process of changing future approaches to governance, and examples would be welcome.
    @aston thanks for sharing the links to the previous work of CARE with ODI. What are the primary goals of the evaluation with ANSA?
    @matthew-ade has expanded our horizon by reminding us that the private sector plays a major role in governance and in the demands for good governance. As the WDR17 is concerned about the connections between growth and governance, the perspective of private sector actors becomes even more important. What are some of the areas where civil society organizations and private sector organizations, such as Chambers of Commerce, have worked together to improve governance?
    @lucia-nass has identified ‘toolification’ as a potential problem, and indeed, it is important to recognize that good approaches to governance can lose their cutting edge if they are seen as techniques that are separate from the more complex and contentious issues around the nature of a specific context. There is a proverbial ‘needle to thread’ in more difficult governance settings, as @lucia-ness and @fletchertembo2014 have both described in their responses. But, even in less fraught contexts, the risk of complacency or ‘splendid oasis’ exists.
    @amrhlashin thank you for sharing the experience with the Community Scorecards. These have become widely used as you have noted. Going back to the comments from @joyaceron on having gains overturned and @lucia-nass on ‘toolifcation’, what has been the experience in CARE of being able to sustain change in different contexts?

    • #4880

      Amr H.

      Please see my response to Joy that answers your query..

    • #4926


      @scommins At the IRC we are interested in how decisions are made, by whom and with what consequences for the existence, quality and sustainability of services for the people we seek to help. An important part of how decisions are made, from our perspective, is whether the preferences and perspectives of the people affected by those decisions can influence these decisions. Do people have a voice and if so, do all people, especially women and other marginalized groups? Whose voice translates into influence? We are focusing on decision-making in social organizations that are ‘bigger’ than the household or neighborhood in fragile and conflict affected settings.

      Though, I am curious to know what you mean by scale? If you mean the number of decision-making sites in FCAS, then the scale might be determined by the opportunity for people to deliberate without risking their safety (for example). If you mean the level (local, district, provincial, national) at which we can support governance, then this might be a function of the accessibility of the places/spaces where decisions are made and implemented.

  • #4882


    My Name is Jeffrey Maganya

    The Hunger Safety Net Programme (HSNP) is an unconditional cash transfer programme targeted at the chronically food insecure. The goal of the HSNP is to reduce extreme poverty in Kenya. The purpose is to support the establishment of a government-led national social protection system delivering long-term, guaranteed cash transfers to the poorest and most vulnerable 10% of Kenyan households. The programme delivers cash transfer in four of the poorest arid and semi-arid counties in northern Kenya; Turkana, Mandera, Marsabit and Wajir making regular cash transfers to about 80,000 households every 2 months.

    The role of HelpAge is to deliver an accountability, complaints and grievance system for the programme. HelpAge has c. 400 Rights Committees whose members collect complaints and grievances from beneficiaries. these are channelled to the government and to the payment service provider (Equity Bank) for resolution. In the last quarter there were c. 11000 complaints and updates. 20 percent of these complaints are usually resolved. Most complaints are about wrongful exclusion and inclusion as a recipient, misspelled names, lack of Identification Documents and distance from payment points. There are however complaints that require more than administrative fixes. They are of Human Rights Violations, Corruption and Administrative Injustice. these are dealt with through state institutions.

    Good practices and law in Kenya

    Kenya Constitution 2010: In Kenya the very foundation of good governance was established in the constitution. Social protection like all other state activities are prone to poor governance and corrupt practices. So the constitution of Kenya has the following provisions that support social protection and cash transfers:

    The Kenyan Constitution provides that every person has the right–
    (a) to the highest attainable standard of health, which includes the right to health care services, including reproductive health care;
    (b) to accessible and adequate housing, and to reasonable standards of sanitation;
    (c) to be free from hunger, and to have adequate food of acceptable quality;
    (d) to clean and safe water in adequate quantities;
    (e) to social security; and
    (f) to education.
    -A person shall not be denied emergency medical treatment.
    -The State shall provide appropriate social security to persons who are unable to support themselves and their dependants.

    There are also provisions on the process of delivering state services. These include participation, non discrimination, transparency and accountability in policy making, policy interpretation and policy implementation(including an obligatory participatory budget making). Section 10(2)(a) includes participation of the people as part of the national values and principles of governance while Section 201(a) also outlines public participation as one of the principles of public finance alongside openness and accountability.

    International law
    The Kenyan constitution 2010 recognizes international law as part of the domestic legal system. That means that the right to social security which cuts across a number of provisions of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights – e.g. provisions on the right to work, to just and favourable conditions of work, to adequate standard of physical and mental health, adequate standard of living etc.
    Article 9 provides that “the States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of
    everyone to social security, including social insurance”. These have become provisions that may be challenged in local courts.

    Accountability framework
    The Kenyan Accountability framework is anchored in the constitution. There are various constitutional commissions that deal with complaints. These include The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, The Kenya anti corruption Commission and The office of the ombudsman. Other state bodies include the legislature and judiciary. The constitution has widened their powers and independence.

    Practice of participation
    In terms of practice all the cash transfers has elaborate mechanism for allowing citizens to participate. HSNP has a Proxy Means Testing and Community Based Targeting as a means of identifying beneficial.

    Practice of Non discrimination
    The cash transfers in Kenya are a de facto tool that that deals with discrimination as they targeted people who are most discriminated against. Older persons cash transfers. Cash transfers for orphans and vulnerable children, cash transfers for people with severe disabilities and Hunger Safety Net Programme which targets Kenya’s 4 poorest counties.

    Practice of transparency and accountability
    All Cash Transfers in Kenya have general agreement that transparency and accountability is important. HSNP has a vibrant accountability framework with 4000 volunteer rights committee members, an MIS for reporting complaints and a system where duty bearers may respond to and resolve complaints.


    The main challenges that governance brings to cash transfers is one of results based programming (Can focus on easy wins) vs inclusion of deserving persons 9It is harder to prove results with people who are not easy to get due to marginalization). It is thus easy to reach target numbers that to ensure that persons who should get the targeting is right. One of the main problems is identity. The use of government issued identity cards (Which have de facto become proof of citizen ship) posses a challenge. some persons who are targeted may not have to ability to acquire IDs and thus loose out in the targeting.


    A cessation in provisions of CTs can be arguably challenged in Kenya courts. this is because the Kenya constitutions has the following provisions that are also found in the CESCR:
    1. Progressive realisation: CESCR, in interpreting the standard of progressive realisation, has affirmed that States must move as expeditiously, and as effectively, as possible towards meeting their goal of the full realisation of SERs.
    2. Obligation to take steps: In an effort to expeditiously realise SERs, the standard of progressive realisation requires the State to immediately take deliberate, concrete and targeted steps aimed at and capable of fully realising SERs
    3. The maximum of available resources: An important component of the standard of progressive realisation is resources, and the requirement that States expend the maximum of their available resources is an acknowledgment that the realisation of SERs in any particular State is vitally dependant on the economy of the State.
    4. Prohibition of retrogressive measures: The use of the term “progressive” necessarily prohibits the adoption of retrogressive measures by the State in the realisation of SERs. this means that the state has an obligation to continuously improve conditions, and the obligation to abstain from taking deliberately retrogressive measures.

    Operationally; the executive and legislature are gradually moving from perception of participation and good programming principle; but as a right.
    Politically CTs support some of the poorest and most vulnerable Kenyans; stopping it would be politically difficult for any government.

    Because much CTs are supported by donors, governments have to start taking up much of the duty and responsibility of delivering Cash Transfers.

  • #4883

    @Stephen. Before I come back to share the areas where civil society organizations and private sector organizations, such as Chambers of Commerce, have worked together to improve governance. Let me quickly share this video on Public Governance makes Inclusive Growth happen before I provide a link with Private Sectors to help determine how we can shape the policy cycle to deliver growth for everyone.

    “In many countries inequality is growing as the benefits of economic growth go to the richest members of society. Inclusive Growth is all about changing the rules so that more people can contribute to and benefit from economic growth.

    Governance – the way that governments do their jobs – can make the difference as to whether growth benefits everyone, or just a few”.

    Please watch

    • #4888


      Hi Jeffrey. Thank you for sharing the experience of CCT in Kenya. It is almost the same as our CCT here in the Philippines.

      How many years has your country been implementing CCT? Has the CCT in your country survived change in administration? How?

      Besides the actual program, it’s important to look at the governance structure and principles of the program. I supposed it also ensures that the implementation follows good governance principles. How is this sustained? What are the challenges in sustaining it? Have you had the experience of your CCT being captured or facing the threat of getting captured by partisan/ particularistic interests or by patronage-based politics?

    • #4889


      It might be good to delve more deeply on how ‘successful’ initiatives have dealt with attempts by ‘anti-accountability/ anti-reform’ forces to undermine or capture efforts towards good governance. For example, anti-povery, service delivery and infrastructure projects even with good governance infrastructure are easy prey to backsliding into something that fuel patronage-based politics. Anti-corruption projects, on the other hand, sometimes divert attention from and camouflage high profile, big ticket, systemic form of corruption. How were this avoided in projects that were sustained over time? How critical is it to avoid/ deal with these threats?

  • #4884


    My name is Refaat AbdelKarim; Governance Program Adviser at CARE International in Egypt. I would like to share with you some local expertise about local service providers’ responsiveness and interactions with the Citizen Charter (CC) initiative in Upper Egypt.
    CARE International in Egypt, in collaboration with CARE UK, had implemented a pilot project in Upper Egypt (low income & marginalized) to improve local services using CC. The model had been built based on CSOs taking the driver seat in the beginning of the project; particularly tool’s definition and mobilization of stakeholders. Gradually, CSOs handling the leadership position to the service providers during specifically internal mobilization of service provider as an institution to build the capacity and sustainability. Within this initiative; eight grassroots organizations had implemented CC; where six of them had succeeded in the adoption of the Charter. While trying to analyze local Service providers’ responsiveness with the CC initiative; we had varied between the following types of interaction:
    1. Immediate acceptance for cooperation, coordination and work.
    2. Warned –conditioned- acceptance; with no commitments (verbal or written).
    3. Refusal to work without the approval from a higher level of authority.
    4. Refusal to work without any reasons presented.
    Some factors could be identified which contributed to service providers’ responsiveness variations, as follows:
    • Extent of service provider’s innovations and acceptance to initiatives outside familiar frameworks, Vs traditionalism that provides much of security and less risk.
    • Extent of the official’s confidence in the charter’s effectiveness in improving the service, Vs his belief that more fund is only thing needed for service improvement.
    • Previous experience and appreciation of the service provider for the previous activities managed by the CSO as well as its reputation.
    • Grassroots organizations’ insistence on the implementing the initiative, and its hang-on to the social accountability approach and CC tool to improve services provision (don’t give up easily).
    • Ability of «the demand side», on sizing rich local social capital (kinship and neighborhood networks, mutual trust relationships, etc.), to communicate with the official services provider to cooperate with the initiative.
    • Grassroots organization’s proficiency and ability to market the CC initiative, as well as the “win × win” approach that could be gained from the CC piloting.
    • Own negative previous experiences with similar initiatives with other partners.
    One clear conclusion is that most these factors are based, to a great extent, on the judgment of the key official person in charge of the service provider not on an institutionalized decision, which adding more risks and doubts on sustainability.

  • #4885

    United States

    the wonderful and wonderfully diverse comments keep coming.
    For our third and final week, the question posed is:

    What good practices related to governance and the law can you share coming from civil society, the academia, the government or a collaboration between these actors? What factors have led to greater success and what are the obstacles to creating change?

  • #4886

    United States

    The co-facilitator for this week is:

    Joy Aceron is program director at the Ateneo de Manila School of Government, directing Government Watch (G-Watch) and Political Democracy and Reforms (PODER) programs, both aiming to contribute to citizen empowerment by strengthening governance accountability in the Philippines.

  • #4887

    United States

    The following post is submitted by a team at Cordaid:

    Dear Steve,

    My name is Izabella Toth and I am the Senior Corporate Strategist at the Dutch INGO Cordaid ( Cordaid has a focus on fragility ( and works primarily in FCAS.
    The input below is the result of an internal team effort, all experts on Security and Justice : Rob Sijsterman, Erica ten Broeke, Alexandra Kuin and undersigned.

    Thank you for all your valuable contributions and reflections on the theme of governance this week.
    This topic invites lengthy responses as so much can be said about it, but us try to be short and to the point.
    This might sharpen some points we make, which in turn perhaps opens up new possibilities for debate. These are naturally welcome.
    Reflecting on the question and the contributions here above I would like to share the following from an INGO perspective:
    Let me start with a critique on current governance intervention processes: Reality is the key ingredient that often missing when dealing with governance. In our work in fragile states we often find that donor interventions, especially in the field of governance, rule of law and security are unrealistic due to unachievable mandates, their highly politicized nature and short-term nature. As many of you know research shows that major rule of law and governance programs are often far more ineffective then localized ground level interventions that address the specific needs from local people. In my opinion we need to stop wishing for better, but getting real about working in these countries. Investing in fragility means high risk and often a low reward (find a video about Cordaid’s view on realism in FCAS here:

    For instance, in countries like South Sudan, DR Congo and Afghanistan the majority of people do not have access to their government and lack any form of formal access to justice. The majority of people still refer to informal justice systems. One of our researches on Community Justice ( shows that merely focusing on strengthening the justice sector to increase governance is a partial solution that takes such a long time to become effective that the majority of the population is denied access to justice for decades to come. This means that in the field of law & governance the trust of the people in the formal government, so the strengthening of the social contract is not taking place. Often the opposite is happening. The ‘simple’ focus on strengthening of institutions also has perverse effects like maintaining the unequal status quo, thus inhibiting real progress and allowing continuous high levels of corruption. In several countries the Ministry of Justice is deemed the most corrupt Ministry. If he take this as a given for now, then how do we expect local people, and especially women who are disproportionally affected by the absence of a culture of justice in land and heritage cases in the countries to put trust in a slowly developing government?
    Therefore our organization believes that flourishing communities need to be built by the communities themselves, actively engaged with local, national and international stakeholders. That is why we work closely with governments, not building new structures but strengthening existing systems and linking them with the communities we work for.
    Public services should be provided by the government, with the well-being of the public in mind. Our role is to encourage this process, through innovative financing, by bringing all parties to the table and by speaking out for those whose voices might not otherwise be heard.
    We put our effort in governance and law towards the strengthening of security and justice mechanisms, and at the same time improve people’s knowledge of the formal systems and how they can access them. In this our core value is that we facilitate community dialogue. In that way, people can express their needs and undertake locally led initiatives.
    So, in short, when the question is asked, ‘what are key dimensions of governance?’, then our response is that justice and good governance are critical for equitable and sustainable development, particularly in fragile and conflict-affected states (FCAS). Many fragile countries that are characterized by weak or even absent governance, access to justice for all is a very distant reality. And although reality is not as aspect of the theme governance as such, for us it is a key element in our work. Because when we become real about the situation on the ground, are able to facilitate open and honest dialogues between formal and informal actors, then we know we are working towards a culture of justice that increases the social contract between the state and its people.
    So, if we then take this reality to the international level we think that, for instance in relation to the SDG, all components of SDG 16 – peace, justice and good governance should be operationalized with a focus on fighting social exclusion and poverty and strengthening the social contract between people and the state ((find our position on SDG16 and post-2015 justice here: Access to justice, along with security, is a critical foundation on which development is built. Without this, people cannot confidently invest in their futures and governance remains an unrealistic achievement.
    I look forward to your reactions and am looking forward to the upcoming question. Please do not hesitate to contact me directly for specifics!
    Best wishes
    The Cordaid WDR2017 team

  • #4890


    It is amazing to read a lot of good practices being shared here.

    It might be good to delve more deeply on how these ‘successful’ initiatives have dealt with attempts by ‘anti-accountability/ anti-reform’ forces to undermine or capture efforts towards good governance. For example, anti-povery, service delivery and infrastructure projects even with good governance infrastructure are easy prey to backsliding into something that fuel patronage-based politics. Anti-corruption projects, on the other hand, sometimes divert attention from and camouflage high profile, big ticket, systemic form of corruption. How were this avoided in projects that were sustained over time? How critical is it to avoid/ deal with these threats?

  • #4891


    This is a very thoughtful forum. My name is Fabio Ono from Brazil and I am currently a strategy lead of Sebrae, which is a non-profit organization that fosters the competitive development of small businesses in Brazil and focuses on the improvement of the business environment for SMEs. One of our programs aims at enhancing the local governance conditions in different municipalities.

    I am sorry to join to this debate so late. I have been reading theses posts and I confess it has been quite overwhelming to assemble so many insights, cases and profound ideas. I will try to shed some additional thoughts to this forum and addressing the questions posed by @scommins but I am afraid to be dull.

    1) Regarding the question on governance, I think the question raised by @carolina-cornejo on the difference between Governance and Good Governance is key to the discussion. I agree that the basic concept of governance is related with a process of making decisions and implementing them (as stated by @janet-oropeza and @geoffroy-groleaurescue-org). However, this does not necessarily imply in good decision and good implementation (or good governance overall).

    In my experience, the attributes of good governance involve: a) a dedicated staff with a set of skills to serve as a backbone to the entire governance to help implementing the plans, b) a structured process that leads to a common agenda and mutually reinforcing activities among all participants, c) other attributes that include shared measurement, continuous communication.

    2) What challenges related to governance have you faced and how have you overcome them? Although we had some good cases in Sebrae where solid local governances were developed I would rather bring a case that I am currently struggling with. I am helping coordinating a long term planning (30 years) at a State level. A plan that was not meant to be conducted by the Government, but by the organized civil society (ie. Federation of industry, agriculture, commerce etc) and so the primary focus of this planning would be related with productive development. The governance structure is comprised of 16 institutions representing different interests of the civil society. To cut to the chase, the plan stalled at its very beginning when the government approval ratings dropped and the institutions decided not invest resources in strengthening the governance but to wait for the government actions.

    3) What good practices related to governance and the law can you share coming from civil society, the academia, the government or a collaboration between these actors?
    In my opinion a good and innovative practice involving the collaboration between public and private actors is the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (PEMANDU) of Malaysia. This case is well described in a study by the Competitive Industries and Innovation Program (CIIP) available at: The recursive model is one of the qualities of PEMANDU that I impressed me. It is described in this short excerpt of this report: “in the PEMANDU model decisions at “lower” or local levels are corrected by judgments at “higher” ones, as well as vice versa. Such models are neither top down nor bottom up; and the need to articulate the reasons for decisions across levels makes possible explicit learning that is hard to achieve when adjustment is tacit and local”

    These are some of my thoughts to this forum. I hope they might be useful.


  • #4892


    Dear all,

    I’d like to share with you some information about initiatives in Latin American that are related to democratic governance, since are aimed at citizen engagement to ensure accountability, the “right to the city” and democratization in urban contexts:

    The Latin American Network for Fair, Democratic and Sustainable Cities and Territories (Red Latinoamericana por Ciudades y Territorios Justos, Democráticos y Sustentables congregates 70 initiatives in 10 countries, working in four lines of action:
    1) monitoring quality of life, public policies and citizen’s perceptions about the city;
    2) democratization and access to public information;
    3) promotion of citizen participation and public deliberation, including diverse sectors and political actors;
    4) incidence in public policies.

    The pioneering experience was in Bogota, Colombia (1998) – Bogota Cómo Vamos ( ) which inspired other cities, like Medellin and many others, that conform the Colombian Red de Ciudades Cómo Vamos ( ).

    In Brazil, the country where I live, the most prominent initiative is the “Our São Paulo Network” (Rede Nossa São Paulo). Here you can see a full presentation in English about the characteristics and activities of Nossa São Paulo and its work to develop the Brazilian Network for Fair, Democratic and Sustainable Cities and Territories:

    Another prominent initiative is Nuestra Córdoba, in Argentina – , where the role of the universities were essential for their achievements.

    All these initiatives are mainly led by civil society organizations, the media, corporate foundations and universities, with variations from one context to another.

    As researchers, I and my colleagues in different cities in the Region are engaged in these initiatives, performing different roles, including a current cross-national investigation about the incidence of these initiatives in Citizen Participation and Citizen Engagement, Transparency and Accountability and Local Governance, Public Policies and Public Services.

    Here is possible to see academic papers about these initiatives (in Spanish and Portuguese): Regarding Governance and the Law, is particularly interesting to see the analysis of Pamela Cáceres, from the Universidad Católica de Córdoba (page 302-…), about the “Plan of Goals”, an instrument proposed in cities like Córdoba and São Paulo by these initiatives and incorporated in the local law, to be observed by the mayors. The title of her paper is: “Planes y programas de metas como innovaciones en los processos de rendición de cuentas en el nivel local. Experiencias en el marco de la Red Latinoamericana por Ciudades y Territorios Justos, Democráticos y Sustentables.”

    I can add information about these initiatives and our current research and the Plan of Goals, if you want more details.

    I’ll also send you later information about other initiatives in Brazil.

    • #4893


      Trying to reflect on the question suggested by @joyaceron (“how these ‘successful’ initiatives have dealt with attempts by ‘anti-accountability/ anti-reform’ forces to undermine or capture efforts towards good governance”), I observe some characteristics in these initiatives I described that can be seen as essential for their chances of incidence in accountability and democratic governance:

      1. Articulation in networks: i) in the local level, bringing together diverse actors, from different sectors; ii) in the national and regional level – national and Latin American Networks (Red de Ciudades Como Vamos, na Colombia, Rede Brasileira, Red Argentina, Red Latino-Americana), what is an opportunity to share methodologies, experiences and knowledge, and also to gain legitimacy and power.

      This network feature implies a challenge in governance of the initiatives themselves.

      2. Technical and political action: investing in producing qualified and countinuos information about the city and its indicators/challenges, and engaging citizens and public servants/politicians in discussions about the challenges in the city and possible ways to deal with these challenges;

      3. Production of qualified information and also demanding more and qualified information and accountability from governments;

      4. Promoting innovation in public policies and services, citizen engagement to solve community problems, coproduction of public services, public-private partnerships etc.

  • #4894

    United Kingdom

    Hello all,
    HelpAge Mozambique have been keen to contribute to this discussion, unfortunately, they are experiencing technical difficulties, and since the forum is ending today, they suggested I post on their behalf. This is a country example of advocacy in national programmes. Here is their contribution. This was written by Ferdinando Almeida who is project manager with input from Avaro Zimba who is the Social Protection and Livelihoods Coordinator.

    Background information:
    HelpAge International and a consortium of civil society organizations led by the Mozambican Civil Society Platform for Social Protection (PSCM-PS) are implementing a project of Independent Community Monitoring (MCI) on the Basic Social Subsidy Programme (PSSB) implemented by the National Institute of Social Action (INAS). This project, with duration of three years, is implemented by APITE, ASADEC, FAMOD, KUBATSIRANA, RAVIM, VUKOXA, APOSEMO and AAVEDOS. It is funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Mozambique. The main component of the project are the 75 community monitors which is a mix of Older People and adult and some youth, who are responsible to collect the perceptions of the beneficiaries on the PSSB at community level. The Independent community monitoring of PSSB has been influenced by the traditional Old Citizen Monitoring(OCM) on its format and content. The project have the following objectives:

    Objective 1: Launching a pilot monitoring mechanism led by civil society for social protection programmes in Mozambique
    Objective 2: Collect evidence and lessons to support the improvement of the pilot mechanism for a national system of independent monitoring and contribute to the dialogue on an affordable and adequate social protection.
    Objective 3: Empower civil society to participate in social protection programmes

    Currently the project is being implemented in Maputo, Gaza, Inhambane, Sofala, Manica, Tete, Nampula and Niassa provinces.
    Main achievements so far:
    • Spaces created for voice of older people to be heard contributing to active citizenship and participation; This happens at Focus Group Discussions and at District Meeting (on quarterly basis) where all PSSB stakeholders met to discuss the concerns raised by the Independent Community Monitoring in a particular community.
    • Civil-Society led Social Protection accountability;
    • Significant contribution in the Age Demand Action particularly on the call for old age income security as right of older people and call for Universal Social Pension as an appropriate mechanism to materialize the right to old age income security.
    • Contributed through advocacy based on evidence, to the installation of two payment posts near by the communities in Tete province, where previously some beneficiaries had to walk over 10 kilometres to receive their subsidies
    • Contributed to reduce malpractices from “the Permanente” which is an elected community member, who serves as linkage between the service provider (INAS) and the beneficiaries. In Sofala province there were cases of illegal demands from “the permanente” to enrol potential candidates to the PSSB, or taking a cut from the subsidy paid to the beneficiaries. In this province also, the visits to beneficiaries were brought back thanks to the community monitoring, however not all beneficiaries are receiving these visits, which are mandatory in the guidelines, due to lack of staff and time from the INAS, a randomly selection on beneficiaries list is made in some communities to determine whom to visit.
    • At national level, the lessons learnt from the community monitoring were shared by HelpAge during the evaluation of the National Strategy of Basic Social Security 2010-2014 (ENSSB in portugues), and helped the shape the new one, that has not been approved yet. Also were shared to HelpAge International-Kenya during an exchange visit on March 2015, were comparisons were made between the PSSB and HSNPII

    What kind of good practices in governance and law have been sustained and continued over time in your country?
    In Mozambique, the current Social Cash Transfer Programme (PSSB in Portuguese) has its origin in the 1990’s and has been growing in terms of infrastructure, legislation, and number of beneficiaries. Currently we have one government entity, the National Institute of Social Action (INAS) that implements the programme supported by the following legislation:
    • The Basic Social Security National Strategy (ENSSB 2010-2014),
    • The Constitution of Mozambique, and other legal bills such as the Law 3/2014 on promotion and protection of the rights of Older People
    • The Government is reasonably open to engagement with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) on thematic area of social protection, with a regularity both Government and CSOs meet as per initiative of either side.
    • Some forums for discussion of social protection are so multi-sectorial to the extent of involving Government, Civil Society, International Development Agencies, Private Sector, Academicians, etc.
    • Some of the key actions of social protection programing are made public by the Government, for example, 5-year plans, annual plans, annual reports, and annual budgets.
    • All spheres of Government (District, Provincial and National) recognize the role of civil society on thematic area of social protection.
    • Mozambique Old Age Forum and its individual associations of older people are particularly recognized and respected by the Government as legitimate representatives of needs and rights of older people.
    • The Government of Mozambique is reasonably sensitive and responsive to independent findings on social protection.
    The PSSB had very ambitious targets in the ENSSB2010-2015 which has to reach out around 950,000 households of vulnerable people (Older People, People with Disabilities, and People with Chronic Illnesses), when the evaluation of the strategy was done last December 2014, only 435,000 households were reached out during that period 95% were households headed by Older Person. We have around 1,3million Older People in country.
    Governance means access to accurate Information at the right time, which is not a regular practice in Mozambique, the bill on “Access to Information” has been discussed in the Parliament over the past 10 years, the bill was approved this year. That bill would help Civil Society to monitor budget planning and expenditure on social Protection. The current annual budget for the social protection sector is less that 2% of the overall government budget.

    What were the critical factors that affected the sustainability and continuity of these good practices?
     The expansion of PSSB throughout the country has not be accompanied by Human resources, vehicles, and enough budget to increase the number of beneficiaries
     Despite the annual increment of the subsidy, it remains below 10USD a month for a Household with one beneficiary , and in the second semester of 2015, the local currency (Metical) is facing a systematic depreciation compared with the American dollar, which is the index currency for import /export of goods in Mozambique. Today the exchange rate is 1USD to 42Mt
    The PSSB subsidy in 2015 is paid as follow:
    – Grade 1- Household with one beneficiary- 310.00Meticais a month
    – Grade 2- Household with two beneficiaries-390.00Mts
    – Grade 3- household with three beneficiaries-460.00Mts
    – Grade 4- household with 4 beneficiaries 530.00Mts
    – Grade 5- household with 5 beneficiaries 610Mts
     The eligibility criteria stills a barrier for most of potential beneficiaries, long waiting lists, lack of ID (here the ID costs around 250Mts, and takes time to be issued, and the service is not available in most of the communities).
     The Country has 11 provinces and over 150 districts, The INAS has 30 delegations in the country, each delegation with less than 20 staff serving around 8 districts. The geographical expansion of the PSSB programme puts INAS under pressure in terms of Human resources and equipment such as vehicles to reach out remote communities.
     The PSSB is funded by the Government (70%) but there is a component of external funds from DFID, The Netherlands Government, etc, which makes the programme not 100% sustainable if donors stop funding it.
     Heavy Bureaucracy.
     History of centralization of decision making and lack of public accountability.
     Government accountability to donors and not to the citizens.
     Lower levels of active citizenship and inclusive governance.
     Lack of check and balance systems in governance.
     The PSSB does not have a formal and standard complain mechanism, which hinders the rights of the beneficiaries concerning governance and accountability.

  • #4899

    Barbara A
    United States

    Wow, I have been so impressed with the work and knowledge all have shared about their work in many countries. The depth of scholarly examples have also been remarkable! I do hope this exchange can be archived for further study and learning. I want to comment on the challenges encountered with anti-(good) governance, anti-accountability. and anti-reform. First let me frame the comments with the statement, “Well developed States and governance systems continually need civil society supports to remain viable.” I am amazed how at the local community building level in the United States that citizens face the same trials and difficulties many of you explain occur in developing countries and fragile states.

    I have seen this before when citizens from new democracies have talked to the vulnerable persons involved in the community building projects I speak of, and from comparisons I have made from accounts community building efforts implemented in developing countries. I remain committed to projects that will bring diffuse citizen’s voices together. I think the world can be enlightened from such encounters, i.e. Russian and US high school and college students dialogues about global challenges, small rural farmers in America and smallholder farmers in developing countries, women concerned about security issues from NATO countries and from war torn countries, and local and global civil society peoples involved in eliminating hunger and extreme poverty.

    I spent 25 year building community and “planting seeds” in low income communities through grant funded government-academic partnership projects. In one community funds ran out after three 5-year grants, after local leaders were intimidated by persistent drug dealers and other corrupt entities, after the denial of information by government departments, and after law enforcement, other “leaders?”, and the media were caught in lies. But, seeds were continually planted – seeds of change, capacities were constantly being enhanced, and the behind the scenes advocacy, for the often “not” heard, still continues.

    Numerous small civic organizations have taken on pieces of development. There seems to be a critical mass of these now existing; their visible. There is still a need for collaborative and integrated work, but the community capacity potential is great. What’s next? Persistence of democracy re-creation by some who see the need is one factor. Awareness and subtle investigation of the “undercover” corrupt power brokers is a constant need. They have not gone away. Upon legitimate citizen engagement for the common good recognitions there is the element of letting go of ego of those of us that have done this work. There is a reality of impatience for citizen learning of systems. But, the letting go to allow for authentic citizen learning is a must. How can the seeds still be planted and nourished – but not in an obvious?

    Governance and the law are still important societal factors. But, possibly their roles in the US need to be adjusted toward a deeper citizen empowerment for civic responsibility. Many of the initial barriers to human justice issues are still present, but they surface in well meaning governance actions and in unrecognizable ways – at least unrecognizable to the unaware. I remain an advocate for dialogue as some of my initial posts promoted. In the southern US vestiges of racism remain, but in the context of governance and the law, changes are happening. Many of the vulnerable are empowered. I expect growth, but also an ongoing need for knowledge and means of citizen engagement. The citizen work of democracy, including governance and the law, is never done!

  • #4900


    Hi! This Sandra Elena. I am the Director of the Justice and Transparency Program at CIPPEC a think tank based in Argentina. We are a center for the study of public policy for equity and growth. We help governments implement innovative solutions to promote better governance.

    I am not going to analyze theoretically what governance is; this has been extensively done. What I want to say is that good governance implies quality policy results delivered to the population. In this sense, I would like to focus my intervention on how governments can improve the process of designing and implementing public policy; and the key here is to promote evidence-based public policy and increase public participation. Public policy is very often implemented without appropriate knowledge and this may result in failure: poor services to the community, people´s disbelief in public institutions and a deterioration of governance. On the other hand, policies based on technical knowledge but without taking into account the voices of main stakeholders may end in a gap between policy objectives and people´s needs.

    As I am writing this contribution only a few days after the Global OGP Summit ended, I would say that the core values of open government can facilitate good governance. Production and disclosure of information, transparency in public processes, civic participation and collaboration in the design of policy, innovation and the use of technology and sound systems for public accountability are requisites for good governance.

    In summary, I would say that to promote good governance we need to move from thinking about processes to ensuring results; from writing nice laws to implementing evidence-based policies, from just technical solutions to public participation in the decision-making process. We also need to think beyond transparency. Most of the innovation on public management is focused on increasing access to data and information. This has been wonderful but not enough. The implementation of accountability systems that allows citizens to monitor and control public institutions will help reduce the risk for corruption and will help improve the quality of policies. And all this, according to the theory of change, will result in better governance. It is a big challenge for our countries, but after one week of learning about successful cases around the world, I would dare to say that better governance is possible when governments and civil society work together.

  • #4901


    Thank you all for the inputs. Keep them coming. Below, I tried to summarize/ generate the highlights so far:

    @jeffreymaganya of Kenya raised the following factors critical to ensuring sustainability: supportive constitutional-legal framework, a solid constituency that will ensure the sustainability of the program that is working

    @refaat of Egypt acknowledges that the factors contributing to service providers’ responsiveness to Citizens’ Charter initiatives are largely dependent on “the judgment of the key official person in charge of the service provider not on an institutionalized decision, which adding more risks and doubts on sustainability.”

    This points to the importance of building institutions to sustain gains and the danger/ risk of relying on individual actions.

    Cordaid, through Steve, shares very rich points highlighting the difference of working in fragile states, which to me, is a situation shared widely by many states but only on varying levels. Cordaid points the importance of long-term intervention, the basic problem of trust between citizens and government that doesn’t exist, which points to the need to work from the bottom, the communities. Cordaid raises a critical point of departure from the usual discourse which makes governance the point of entry or intervention. Cordaid is saying, in some states, social exclusion, security, access to justice must first be addressed before governance. “Access to justice, along with security, is a critical foundation on which development is built. Without this, people cannot confidently invest in their futures and governance remains an unrealistic achievement.” I hope I captured that point right.

    @fabiohono from Brazil sites an example of a “recursive model” of learning as opposed to top-bottom or bottom-up. It might good for @fabiohono to elaborate further on this and share his thoughts on how can this practice be initiated and sustained.

    @paulaschommer from Brazil shared the following as critical components of sustainability of accountability and democratic governance: Articulation in networks, bringing together of diverse actors from different sectors at local and national levels, Technical and political action, particularly building based of information and evidence and engaging citizens and public servants/politicians around the base of info, identifying innovative solutions with participation of citizens.

    The others raised resources, lack of complaint/ accountability mechanisms as factors to sustaining good practices, the importance of going beyond processes to thinking of results instead and the need to deepen citizen engagement.

  • #4902

    United States

    I will try to summarize some of the input on the theme for week 2, but will save a few of the items in order not to overload the system. Thanks to everyone for all the input, and I look forward to further discussions in the next few days.

    What challenges related to governance have you faced and how have you overcome them?

    @meskerem Every time with no response, what happens is that we all return to our ways with the usual attitude popular to Ethiopia ‘thou shall not sue a king.. nor do you plow a sky’- to signify that it is impossible for you to ask from higher body. This kind of paradigm has passed from generations to generation that you should not come face to face with an authority.
    @saggy21 Naga City evolved model of civic engagement within local government itself, and further noted that there are still challenges of understanding policies, capacity of agencies and mistrust, all of which needed to be overcome
    @lucia-nass pointed to the experience in Ethiopia where some Social Accountability Committees are given seats on local councils, she further noted that sometimes overcoming obstacles requires organizations to ‘just sit in that space you have been given and show the difference you can make’. She also reported that the ESAP team is currently working with Participatory Video, Theater for Social Accountability, and stories, which are such great instruments, as they mirror what is happening in society, whcih can be a real eyeopener. We are adding awards to it, inspired by Galing Pook in the Philippines, a way to connect islands of interesting local government practice.
    @aston provided links to some of CARE’s extensive experience with Community Scorecards. This includes a multi-country study on what works with scorecards and why.
    @amrhlashin reported on the use of Community Scorecards specifically in Egypt in a range of sectors, as well as the development of Citizen Charters. He summarized the importance of gaining government acceptance of processes, the platform for dialogue and citizens needing to know how to talk with the government. This work has contributed to Good Governance Pillars as well.
    @matthew-ade contributed an important reminder that private sector organizations provide input on quality of governance in regards to regulations, taxes, corruption and transparency.
    @gusmaurino political inclusion, public reason oriented education, ‘radical participatory/majoritarian decision making processes’ what is the balance between majoritarian and the potential for excluding minority groups?
    @charlesgay noted the importance of power analysis and political economy analysis for Christian Aid, how does this lead to specific programming decisions?
    @barb13 outlined challenges in an extension outreach system. 1. It was a challenge involving the targeted audience in the process: They did not understand the systems we were working with (grants); nor the formal planning processes (visioning & strategic planning) academic extension personnel were accustomed to using. 2. Extension personnel did not understand the trust issues involved in spaces were residents of the low income community would meet together.
    @lucia-nass responded to several posts: deliberative democracy used by @gusmarino and @barb13 – had to look it up. so for those readers who are also unfamiliar with the term, here goes (wikipedia)
    “deliberative democracy or discursive democracy is a form of democracy in which deliberation is central to decision-making. It adopts elements of both consensus decision-making and majority rule. Deliberative democracy differs from traditional democratic theory in that authentic deliberation, not mere voting, is the primary source of legitimacy for the law.
    @janet-oropeza reported how in Fundar, they have tried to use and activate the institutionalized spaces that the government has created to work with citizens such as the Open Government Partnership working groups, Citizen Councils, etc. There, they try to work constructively with the government ministries and share with them how the existing policies or the lack of them affect citizens, particularly those in most need. They have also tried to use these spaces as accountability mechanisms for the government to report what it is doing or not.
    @aderonkegbadamosi2015 reported how HelpAge has supported grassroots organizations in Kenya that worked to make the budget more pro-poor.
    In the challenging environment of Fragility, Conflict and Violence, IRC has a well-established program in DRC, Tuumgane. The program seeks to stimulate governance changes at the community level. It works in multiple communities at one time, while facing challenges in sustaining momentum after the end of the lifetime of the project. IRC has sought to work to scale by engaging with over 1000 communities and recruiting over 450 Congolese facilitators. @guillaumelab noted that the WDR17 should make a distinction between induced and organically led governance initiatives—how do we define these in practice?
    @wt48 offered another FCV experience from the Balkans, where governance challenges included the mistrust between communities and lack of confidence on government.

    • #4925


      @scommins In “Localizing development: does participation work?” ( Mansuri and Rao provide a useful definition of induced versus organically-led participation. They write “Organic participation is spurred by civic groups acting independently of, and often in opposition to, government.” And add “Induced participation refers to participation promoted through policy actions of the state and implemented by bureaucracies.” I think that the WDR2017 team could derive a definition from Mansuri and Rao’s work that is practical.

  • #4903

    USA - but UK really

    Aiming to make this brief, with apologies for joining the party rather late, and with appreciation for the very rich contributions to the E-Forum which we are still digesting …

    WDR17 is a great opportunity to advance a governance agenda that finds a learning-focused middle ground between a one-size fits-all approach and a context-is-king approach. To do this, the WDR17 needs to:

    – first, clearly explain the relationship between governance arrangements and development outcomes (why does governance matter? intrinsic value and/or extrinsic value?)

    – second, make explicit the assumptions/understanding about how progress towards more effective governance happens (e.g. it’s about politics, it’s context-dependent but not determined, it’s driven primarily by domestic actors)

    – third, outline the challenges this poses for organizations – including the World Bank – that are keen to support progress toward more effective governance and to strengthen accountability systems

    – fourth, explore the various ways (successful and otherwise) in which organizations have sought to support progress toward more effective governance in ways that take account of how governance reform happens (e.g. a governance agenda that is focused on supporting country-level learning).

    – fifth, consider the extent to which this sort of approach to supporting governance reform is useful in conflict-affected and fragile states as well as countries with more open governance environments.

    These questions are at the core of Global Integrity’s new strategy – two-pager below (and attached) – so we look forward to being part of the discussion.

  • #4906


    Thank you @alanhudson for the contribution. One of the points you raised, which I think worth delving on much deeply given the topic of the third session of this forum, is the importance of understanding the peculiar context (the power structure, history and institutional-legal framework) of the country where development work and reforms happen. This, of course, is a function of research and learning, which is frequently assumed to be automatically happening in countries, organizations and/ or initiatives.

    Perhaps to keep the conversation going, I can ask the participants to share their thoughts on the role played by research and learning in the initiatives they deem successful or the good/ best practices in governance and law in their country. Can we say that the good practices that have been sustained over time are usually supported by organizations/ mechanisms/ leaders that facilitate or enable learning? How did learning happen in these good practices? How did these practices make use of evidence or research findings.

    • #4911

      Amr H.

      Dear Joy,

      I like your 2 raised questions:
      Can we say that the good practices that have been sustained over time are usually supported by organizations/ mechanisms/ leaders that facilitate or enable learning? How did learning happen in these good practices? How did these practices make use of evidence or research findings.

      I think that the importance of research isnt really stressed on and focused on in most of the CSOs work in general, this might be due to the lack of such experience in the CSOs and in the same time the poor relation between the research organizations and the CSOs.

      In the same time, we – in CARE Egypt – do see that SA tools are very important in pushing CSOs to dig deep for information, conduct research and evidence in order to be able to start the dialogue with both the supply and demand side as SA is an evidence based process that allows for valid and realistic recommendation improvement and enhancement which both sides focus on during their interaction.

      in our case in Egypt in being able to include SA in the national local administration reform plan, it was the results – and not the impact – of applying SA on the local level – in different sectors – which helped us – and others – to bring the national players down to the field in order for them to listen and assess what changes has been done. that is why their consider SA as the key process to enhance the trust relationship between citizens and the government.

      • #4914


        Regarding the questions suggested by @joyaceron about how learning happens in the good practices and the role of research, I would say:
        – learning in the good practices I have been studying in Brazil is deeply connected with practice, including trial an error and adaptative strategies to the opportunities and barriers faced in each context.
        – the diversity of actors engaged in the practices, the oppeness to criticism and diverse perspectives on the same problem, the continuos dialogue with different actors (in the local level and with people from different places that are working with the same topics) are also important.
        – meetings, networks, e-foruns and the production of some kind of systematization of the strategies and achievements (manuals, videos, reports) are also helpful. Many initiatives/projects/good practices are working on this, recognizing this is relevant for their work.
        – the interaction with universities, research institutions and initiatives like GPSA, for example, are possible ways to amplify learning opportunities. However, this kind of interaction usually takes time, capacity to deal with different repertoire (idioms; concepts); and people “working in the front” not always have the practical conditions to engage in this kind of interaction.
        – from the university, I observe that we, as researchers, need to be closer of the action we want “to study” and to help to improve, in a long term perspective, not only observing from outside. Which is not always compatible with our traditions and the institutional demands we have to answer in the university; which implies volunteering; and oppeness to learn new methodologies and kinds of “products”, in different “languages” and channels of diffusion.
        – of course we can contribute with good questions, papers and information to incentivate reflections, but the expectation of the field organizations about what the university can do is usually higher than this. The risk of frustration is always present. So, is important to define together and be clear about the expectations and what can really be done; and to work in a long term perspective, as I already mentioned.

        It’s importat to observe that, in some initiatives, like Nuestra Córdoba (Argentina), which I mentioned in a previous comment in this Forum, the engagement of the universities, researchers and students was essential to define the characteristics of the initiative. And the learning with the cooperation is also influencing activities and policies inside the universities, which want to be more deeply engaged with the city life, the city problems, the city governance.

  • #4908


    Again, I´m thrilled by the quality of this forum and all your contributions.

    I really like this distinction @joyaceron makes between governance and good governance, and how to move from these “good practices” or “island of good governance” to sustainable and structural reforms. Indeed that´s the big challenge! This brings me to the Argentinean case: in 2012 the Government joined the Open Government Partnership despite lacking a FOIA Law. ACIJ together with other CSOs have been advocating for the enactment of such a law. We thought the OGP would be a further space to push for change, but it seems that -at least from my country´s experience- it´s more about promoting good practices, offering open data or getting specific government offices to commit to disclosure of (limited) information. For sure we´ve tried to push for a FOAI Law in Congress and in meetings with parliamentarians, but you know… it´s about politics and timing. However, I guess we still need to encourage the good experiences -necessary though not enough-, especially at the local level, and learn from them. ESAP´s experience can be really inspiring. I like to think that small stories can work as eye-openers, as noted by @lucia-nass, and indeed “picture” paints a thousand words.

    Also, as @selenacippec-org mentioned, we need to move from transparency and access to information to furthering citizens´ engagement in public monitoring. Getting back to a critical issue @janet-oropeza raised earlier, this is why in ACIJ we´ve been promoting collaborative work between citizens and supreme audit institutions (though often unknown, a key player in the accountably ecosystem) both at the national and regional level. I´m sharing two brief notes where we draw on these points:

  • #4909


    Hi, I am Sothea Phan, a governance program manager from VSO Cambodia. I feel inspire by the contribution you all made to the discussion and cannot wait to share my thought based on experience from Cambodia. In Cambodia, good governance cover wide range of principles in its ambition though, in fact, there are many obstacle facing the commitment to realize those attempts.
    Governance is the way in which a society organizes itself to make collective decisions and take joint action for the benefit of its citizens. Cambodia began the process of improving governance over 20 years ago and has a way to go before all citizen benefit from a fair and equitably democratic society. Amidst relatively high economic growth, Cambodia still faces many development challenges, particularly regarding integrity, human rights, social equity and widespread poverty.
    Understanding that there is no definitive path for a country to achieve good governance, Cambodia is now working towards establishing its own approach. Civil society organizations in the country is trying to explain options and provide recommendation on how to develop a governance system that meets the practical and strategic needs of Cambodian people especially socially disadvantaged groups.
    Governance is recognized as the most critical challenge for development in Cambodia. Good governance requires not just government commitment but active demand from citizens and civil society. The government is currently involved in various initiatives to improve governance from the “inside”. In 2007, the Royal Government of Cambodia prioritize good governance in its development cooperation by carrying out several governance reforms, for example, to bring government closer to men and women, to make public administration more efficient and accountable, to establish a more transparent and efficient system of public finances, and to build an independent and fair legal and judicial system.
    We at VSO is contributing to improving governance by promoting citizen participation, transparency, accountability, inclusiveness, human rights and gender equality, with the aim to develop constructive relations and engagement between state and society, yet in many communities the relationship between government and citizens is broken due to a mismatch of sate responses and citizen demands despite government promises that should guarantee essential services to families, the reality is different. For example, local health clinics may lack basic drugs or nurses and doctors may not attend the clinic as they should (potentially leading to the chronic illness and death of community members); or local primary schools may lack basic equipment and resources and may be overcrowded. Citizen voice is sometime muted by skepticism, excuse reasons and the Repression of Expression of political group in the country. There is still a long way to go to engage citizen voice in state decision making.

    • #4913


      Thank you @carolina-cornejo for the notes you shared and the comments about Open Government Partnership and FOIA Law in Argentina.
      Brazil was one of the founders of OGP, and our FOIA Law was approved in 2011. We had a lot of improvements in terms of access to public information, but the progress is not homogeneous among the Executive, Legislative and Judiciary agencies and among the regions/municipalities in the country. The partnerships between Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), the media and Government Control Institutions are essential for the advances we have in some agencies and municipalities.
      The interaction between CSOs and Government Agencies/Institutions, however, is not always continuous; we see sometimes stepbacks and frustration. In OGP, for example, the expectations about the participation of CSOs in decisions and implementation were higher than we had achieved until now.
      To overcome the resistance to access to information in some agencies and the superficiality of civil society participation (sometimes limited to good intentions and formal participation), It’s necessary to continuosly mobilyze and articulate different organizations and people in civil society, and to balance the capacity to demand answerability and to cooperate with the diverse institutional agencies that conform the accountability system. It’s important to identify “allies” among the public servants in govenrment agencies, which can act as brokers in the partnerships between citizenship and government.

      • #4917


        Hi @paulaschommer,
        The Brazilian experience is quite interesting! What strikes me most is the fact that engagement between CSOs and oversight institutions goes beyond social monitoring… at least, judging from the recent events when the CGU was at risk, there was some CSO-movement in support of the institution. This case is enlightening, given that collaboration towards good governance can be framed by -and have impact on- political incentives (maybe you can share your impressions on this).

        I do agree with the need to balance the demand for answerability with cooperative strategies. Indeed this is what can make good practices sustainable. Let me share an experience so you can picture this.

        Since 2003, the General Audit Office (supreme audit institution) of Argentina has been promoting a participatory-planning mechanism that enables CSOs to suggest specific audits that may be included in the annual audit plan. ACIJ has been taking part in participatory-planning meetings for almost a decade, and in 2010 we decided to document this experience as a good practice (note the importance of research and learning, as suggested by @joyaceron). In the report we included some recommendations to improve the mechanism and allow a broader set of CSOs to engage. We´ve also shared this experience at the regional level. All of this has helped the AGN see us as an ally.
        Moreover, we´ve suggested that the institution implemented thematic workshops so that CSOs working on specific fields (education, environment, etc.) could meet with audit teams and share information and knowledge on critical fields, which could in turn enrich the audit plans and help to better identify mismanagement or irregularities to enhance audit findings. Two years later, the AGN implemented these workshops, and so far they´ve been regularly organized.

        What have we learnt from this experience?
        1. It´s important to create trust and show the positive impact that the so-called good practices can deliver, thereby approaching audit institutions in a collaborative manner.
        2. We need to ensure that agendas are aligned and that both parties can maximize benefits (being cautious not to get captured, especially when it comes to institutions that are seriously affected by lack of independence).
        3. Building a relationship of mutual trust takes time: we need to be aware of this (sometimes CSOs seem to rush in an effort to deliver quick results to their donors, but every initiative needs to consider context, incentives and political will).
        4. As many of you have noted, it´s important to identify the “champions” within the institution and bring them on board (those who own some decision-making power and will to implement the good practices and make them sustainable, possibly institutionalizing them).

        Again, collaborative approaches can work at some level, but when it comes to urgent matters that are directly related to the neglection of citizens´ rights, we can´t be soft on our interlocutors.

  • #4910


    I am Agho Claude Sango, the Monitoring officer of a local NGO in Cameroon.
    To us the idea of governance refers to the principles, rules, institutions that are put in place to manage the resources of a people for their common good. it also carries the connotation of equity, fairness and participation.

    • #4919


      Hi Carolina (@carolina-cornejo),

      Thank you for sharing this great experience of collaboration between CSOs and the General Audit Office in Argentina. The possibilities of cooperation are beyond we can imagine (specially when we overcome our skepticism). The learning you have acchieved with this experience is impressive.

      The recent situation you mentioned in Brazil is amazing. The Brazilian Office of the Comptroller General of the Union (CGU), which have been working in collaboration with CSOs in recent years, mainly in themes of access to information and open government, was loosing power in recent government reforms. Many CSOs (and also other national and international agencies) publicly manifested their support to CGU, demanding from the government to keep the agency power and attributions.
      Here you can see one of the public notes (subscribed by many CSOs and social movements)

      It is an incentive to cooperation, as you said. Some CGU members, years ago, had noticed that working closely with social control agents could reinforce their power inside the government. Now, one more evidence they were right.
      However, the cooperation has to be continuosly “feed”, nurtured, reinforced, because some conditions change along the time (people in strategic positions, priorities, internal policies) and some conquests can be lost.

      For those that read in Portugues, here are two papers about CGU and collaboration with CSOs (the second one is about a national conference on transparency and social control, lead by CGU; despite the advances in collaboration, we conclude that the Conference express that our approach of social control in Brazil is still “state-centered”)

      LOUREIRO, Maria R. et al. Do controle interno ao controle social: a múltipla atuação da CGU na democracia brasileira. Cadernos Gestão Pública e Cidadania, v. 17, n. 60, p. 54-67 Jan-Jun. 2012.…/2851

      SCHOMMER, Paula C.; DAHMER, Jeferson; SPANIOL, Enio L. Controle social no Brasil: estadocêntrico ou sociocêntrico? Evidências da 1ª Conferência Nacional sobre Transparência e Controle Social, Consocial. Revista Administração Pública e Gestão Social, v. 6, n. 1, p. 1-55, Jan-Mar. 2014.

  • #4915

    South Africa

    Hello, my name is Sandra and I am a Programme Officer (Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning) with the Regional Learning Programme at the Public Service Accountability Monitor in South Africa. My organisation focuses on social accountability and is working on different projects to enhance social accountability in South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Thank you GPSA for facilitating the forum. I am joining the discussion late but wish to add some brief comments to the previous rich contributions.
    1. What does governance mean to you and what are key dimensions of it?
    I largely agree with the points made by previous contributors and especially around what @ermotaks raised as “a tool of power for dictating the will of decision makers over the rest of society”. I think this is a reality which raises questions around what we can truly achieve when we aspire for “good” or “democratic” governance. The power dynamics around decision making to help a society progress or develop often risk leaving certain groups out, therefore, what good governance or democratic governance means has to be renegotiated. Like @saggy21 pointed out “governance will be a constantly evolving approach of government in addressing economic development leading towards its sustained and autonomous operations and ensure the empowerment of its constituents especially the marginalised sector”. There are many stakeholders involved in the issues of governance. While they are the decision makers, there are those that have given them their mandate, the citizens. When I consider the key dimensions, I agree with @carolia-cornejo on the issue of citizen participation. The example from @lucia-nass work gave a practical look at some of the challenges to this and I especially agree with her point about the importance of “responsive and meaningful government action”. I believe good governance needs this element to become less abstract in people’s lives.
    2. What challenges related to governance have you faced and how have you overcome them
    I enjoyed learning about everyone’s challenges and how they overcame them. In my position, I do not implement projects but evaluate them and have to analyse as well as share what we are learning through the implementation of our programme. A challenge I have come across is measuring governance and contributions towards improved governance. My organisation promotes social accountability as an avenue towards better governance and public resource management to lead to a positive realisation of rights and capabilities. In trying to describe the qualitative contributions of my programme to systems of governance, there are so many connected concepts to governance and this poses an analytical challenge at times. While there are indicators out there for governance matters that relate to particular development outcomes, in my situation, working for a civil society organisation, I have found selecting and framing evidence of CSO contributions in governance changes where they matter most a challenge. Overcoming this has required constant reflection and exploring ways to improve understanding as well as analysis of the largely qualitative information.
    3. What good practices related to governance and the law can you share coming from civil society, the academia, the government or a collaboration between these actors
    For this question, I initially had a few challenges framing a short response and appreciate that some further questions were raised relating to learning (Can we say that the good practices that have been sustained over time are usually supported by organisations/mechanisms/leaders that facilitate or enable learning? How did learning happen in these good practices? How did these practices make use of evidence or research findings?). I will add to these instead. I agree with @amrhlashin’s point that “the importance of research isn’t really stressed on and focused on in most of the CSOs work in general”. In the area of social accountability, I believe research practices need to be interrogated by CSOs. It is important that our inquiry in applied research be thorough enough to truly deal with analysing what is taking place around governance. Good evidence has to be the basis for meaningful engagement on where we have come from, what we are doing and where we are going as we pursue enhanced development and governance outcomes. I agree with @paulaschommer on the need to be open “to learn new methodologies and kinds of “products”, in different “languages” and channels of diffusion”. I believe constantly striving to improve analytical abilities of civic actors in particular can assist in deepening learning of evolving governance situations as well as enable these actors to better respond to their different situations.

    • #4920


      Hi Sandra (@sandramakwembere),
      Thank you for the points you mentioned. I really appreciate your reflections. Particularly about the challenge of “measuring governance and contributions towards improved governance”, sometimes I think the very wide use of the term governance maybe turn it “an amorphous concept” or “a shapeless concept” (I don’t know how to say it). As you said “…there are so many connected concepts to governance and this poses an analytical challenge at times.”
      Regarding knowledge and research, I totally agree with you, when you say “It is important that our inquiry in applied research be thorough enough to truly deal with analysing what is taking place around governance. Good evidence has to be the basis for meaningful engagement on where we have come from, what we are doing and where we are going as we pursue enhanced development and governance outcomes.”

  • #4918


    My Name is Isaac Ampomah from Ghana. i am the CEO of Concern Health Education NGO in Ghana

    Governance is a process of Engagement using set guidelines that is agreed upon . These guidelines can be a constitution in the case of political power , or corporate BY LAWS and structures.

    In the past there has been an imposed governance systems which did not stand the test of time. These systems used guidelines like decrees and military power. However it is debatable to say there has been an imposed governance system by the west which pride itself as a module of Good governance but fails to understand other governance system in other countries.
    In conclusion, governance are a structured system that is able to monitor its own structures and uses set guideline to correct itself. Eg an effective judiciary that is with out prejudice promotes an effective governance is a given country.

    Thank You

  • #4927


    Dear Forum Partners,

    Still thinking about the main subject of this forum, Governance and the Law, I would like to add something, from my perspective, in Brazil.

    Since the 1980s, we are experiencing a democratization process in Brazil, which includes advances related to transparency, access to public information, fight against corruption, and qualification of control over public administration, by means of initiatives of the State or civil society, as well as through an interaction between them.

    Citizen participation is something formally assured by the Federal Constitution (1988) and many other instruments of public policies. Despite this is a social conquest, which has been built for decades, now we have, in my opinion, a high degree of “formalization of participation”. This formalization (law and institutional mechanisms) is important to guarantee basic rights and the stability of policies. But, when we try to formally regulate everything about participation and collaboration between government and citizenship, we tend to limit the innovation capacity, and the learning processes.

    Regarding trust and distrust, which many participants mentioned in this Forum, we are living at this very moment, in Brazil, a period of instability (maybe a deep change). For the first time ever, we have important politicians and businesses under investigation and some of them punished (one of the reasons is the integration and strengthening of different institutional control agencies). With more access to information, people know much more about problems like corruption, inefficiency, political promises that are impossible to achieve etc. We also had a few CSOs involved in corruption (what was enough, for part of the public opinion, to “criminalize” the entire sector).

    All these elements, on the one hand, show we are advancing in our accountability system; on the other hand, they increase distrust, frustration with politics, with public administration, even with CSOs, and with our own country. The remedy proposed by many? More restrictive and detailed rules and control instruments, usually expressing a bureaucratic, State-centered and processual logic. These factors hinder “governance” and reinforce traditional “government”.

    One example is the current (and long – almost one decade) debate about a new national legislation for CSOs and government partnerships. The new rules, recently approved, are restrictive, detailed, reproducing a bureaucratic logic; to work with the State, when implying financial resources, the CSOs have to adapt many of their practices, to expand the staff to deal with formalities; and to prove by documents, every moment and step, “they are honest”. For many local governments, it is almost impossible to observe this new legislation and to continue partnerships with CSOs to provide public services, for example, because the CSOs will not be able to fulfill all the requirements.

    We could see in this situation the presence of a “Narcissistic State”, as observed by our colleague in Brazil, Professor Eduardo Pannunzio (based on the “Myth of Narcissus”). For the State, something is beautiful only when mirror its own shape, its own logic and procedures, still very bureaucratic. Many CSOs, in turn, seems to be “hypnotized” by this logic.

    What we see, instead of expanding CSOs-Government partnerships, co-production of public services and innovation in models and practices, is the decline or maintenance of the same levels of State-CSOs cooperation for years.

    Of course, this is not the whole picture; at the same time, we have innovation and many advances in Brazil. What shows the changes are not linear and always in the same direction, combining tradition and innovation.

    In this Book is possible to see data and analysis about “The Institutional Architecture of support to Civil Society Organizations in Brazil”, particularly CSOs in the are of human rights:
    Mendonça, P.M.E.; Alves, M.A.; Nogueira, F. A. (2013). Arquitetura institucional de apoio às organizações da sociedade civil no Brasil. São Paulo: FGV, 180-205.
    In English:
    In Portuguese:

    In this paper, we analyse the relationships between social observatories and government agencies promoting accountability and co-production of information and control.
    Schommer, P. C.; Rocha, A. C.; Spaniol, E. L.; Dahmer, J.; Sousa, A. D. (2015). Accountability and co-production of information and control: social observatories and their relationship with government agencies. Revista de Administração Pública, Rio de Janeiro, 49 (6): 1375-1400, nov./dez.
    In English:

  • #4928


    In response to @scommins request for additional information, I would say that the so-called “recursive” governance model is a variant of PDIA (problem driven, iterative adaptation). PDIA underlines the importance of locally defined problems as a starting point for change. It involves gradual and iterative changes in the way the governance participants interact. To ensure that these changes (reforms) are viable, legitimate and relevant, the PDIA model requires an active engagement of a broad set of agents. The attributes of iteration and adaptation entail experimentations (as opposed to “right” or a “one-size-fits-all” type of policy) and feedback loops that facilitate experiential learning. In this sense it seeks to create an authorizing environment for decision-making and accountability at various levels.

    In the “recursive” model the feedback loops are such that it uses the output of one round of review and revision as the input for the next round or level of implementation. It assumes that a large number of stakeholders are gathered to develop an initial plan with suggestive ideas. However, this plan is regarded as provisional (not definitive). This model emphasizes the role of local actors in incrementally improving initial plans, or putting together alternatives. Authority is invoked to induce deliberative problem solving by participants and so, revision is continuous, both disciplined and enabled by approval requirements and escalating reviews. This recursive model demands the participants at every level to disclose and mutually correct their tacit understandings of how and under what conditions things work and what they should strive for. Similarly to PDIA, in this model the actors should make their successes and failures accessible to outsiders in the broader community of reform.

    According to the study on PEMANDU conducted by CIIP, there are 3 precondition for the recursive model to work:
    1) political and economic elites must in fact be committed to change/improvement;
    2) civil servants or public sector employees who are the co-protagonists of reform cannot be uniformly hostile to it;
    3) some actors must be acquiring, or disposed to acquire, the kind of recursive capacities that PEMANDU fosters.

    This model is sustained by a strong commitment to problem solving, the development of trust among the participants and by leadership. In this sense, as far as social accountability is concerned “individuals act as leaders in this dynamic when they mobilize people to seize new opportunities and tackle tough problems”.

  • #4929


    Hi all,

    Very rich discussion again.

    @amrhlashin recognizes the poor relation “between the research organizations and the CSOs” which makes research and learning least of the priorities of CSOs. It is interesting to dig deeper into why this is so and what is the impact of this on effectiveness and sustainability of CSO-government engagement.

    For instance, @paulaschommer mentioned that in the good practices she studied in Brazil, learning is “deeply connected with practice,” enabling organizations to adapt their strategies in changing context. Good to think more on what facilitated this practice within organizations or initiatives and if this is something that benefited them in the long run or post certain consequences on them and their initiatives, affecting their sustainability? How did organizations handle the hindrances to learning or disincentives of changing strategies?

    @carolina-cornejo brought back the importance of ‘good practices’ as an inspiration and an ‘eye-opener’. One good question to ponder on is whether these scattered, small, unsustainable good practices could be keeping us from addressing the more deeply-seated problems. Does this create a condition in social accountability field where only the symptomatic causes of the problems are being addressed, only the low-hanging fruits are being achieved because these are those that deliver ‘good practices’ and give reasons for celebration? Isn’t this way of addressing public interest problem self-reinforcing and self-perpetuating in the long run that we all end up simply scratching the surface and moving perpetually there? Good to reflect on the OGP in this light. Is OGP’s celebratory tone, celebrating successes in small things (those that governments, regardless of their state of democracy and rule of law, are willing to commit to) becoming sort of a camouflage for the bigger, deeper problems that wreak havoc in societies: human rights violations, narcopolitics, systemic corruption, impunity, etc.?

    In the case of @sotheacam‘s experience in Cambodia for instance where “citizen voice is sometime muted by skepticism, excuse reasons and the Repression of Expression of political group in the country,” is social accountability, facilitation of ‘constructive engagement’ between citizens and government, really the way to go in dealing with the government? Should we say there are minimum democratic pre-requisites to the application and practice of social accountability?

    Some critical ways forward have been raised worth delving more on. @paulaschommer said: “It’s necessary to continuously mobilize and articulate different organizations and people in civil society, and to balance the capacity to demand answerability and to cooperate with the diverse institutional agencies that conform the accountability system.” @carolina-cornejo shared engagement with accountability institutions as providing a promise of addressing issues of corruption and abuse more sustainably with impact on political incentives, which is at the core of these issues. In starting the work with accountability institutions, she mentioned the importance of trust and how the documented ‘good practices’ served as proof of credential for effective and constructive engagement. I can imagine that there is a need for CSOs to engage these accountability institutions because the latter require strengthening and reform as well having been either ineffective in the past, captured or undermined. What else can strengthen accountability institutions?

    In the Philippines, now, the Ombudsman has never been this effective in holding power to account. It’s been suspending a lot of officials holding national to local posts, even the most powerful ones who we never thought would ever be jailed. Just the other day, she filed cases against state auditors.

    The Ombudsman’s qualities and competence as a leader and public servant is key to this. She is very good. This means, the ones leading the accountability institutions matter and therefore so is the appointing authority. In the Philippines, the Ombudsman is appointed by the president. What is most notably significant in the drastic change in the way the PHIL OMB is working now, which is recognized too by the OMB and other key stakeholders and actors of accountability in the country, is how the sitting president is respecting the independence and autonomy of the Ombudsman. Unlike the past presidents, according to the sitting Ombudsman, this president has never intervened in how she is doing her job.

    It is good to see what will be the long-term impact of the effective work of the Ombudsman today on anti-corruption and the fight against impunity. One key institution to look at is the judiciary because most of the cases will go to them for decision.

  • #4932

    Myanmar [Burma]

    I was busy last week, so I am happy that the Forum discussion has been extended for another week.

    I would like to share the example of state- civil society and development partner cooperation that lead to the development of National Social Protection Policy in Ethiopia. The country had a range of policies, legislation, strategies and action plans with implications for the provision of social protection, but there were legal, social, political, economic and institutional limitations that constrained their systematic and integrated enforcement towards a comprehensive social protection system. The National Social Protection Policy addresses multiple challenges.

    The policy was in the making for years. In 2010, Ethiopia signed on to the Africa Union Social Policy Development Framework in which it was agreed by Member States that national development plans would develop explicit policies, strategies, and action plans for social protection at the time of their next updates. In response, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs set-up a National Social Protection Platform under the co-chair of two state ministers.

    A series of consultations and drafting sessions took place, leading to the production of working papers. There was extensive engagement of federal and regional governments and civil society in the “Social Protection Platform”, with a national validation workshop hosted by the two state ministers in November 2012. The policy passed parliament in 2015 (date to be verified), and its implementation strategy is under formulation.

  • #4933

    Barbara A
    United States

    I want to share some added information on Deliberative Democracy. The Wikipedia definition did not exactly capture its meaning as some practice DD. The Citizens Center for Public Life purpose and mission is to strengthen democracy through the deliberative dialogue process, support citizens’ ability to make informed decisions, and develop public judgment about difficult community problems, and help implement community actions for the common good through the practice of citizen focused and engaged deliberative democracy, inclusive of complimentary community action to support citizen centered collaborative decisions. We seek opportunities to partner with other organizations and individuals in order to more fully achieve our purpose.

    Since Deliberative Democracy was not well understood by participants perhaps others would like to know of these books that might help enlighten others on DD: The Ecology of Democracy by David Mathews, Reclaiming our Democracy by Sam Daley-Harris, Wicked Problems Workable Solutions by Daniel Yankelovich, The Civic Renewal Movement by Carmen Sirianni and Lewis A. Friedland, and Democratizing Deliberation with Derek Barker, Noelle McAfee and David McIvor, Editors, of which I will share several excerpts.

    Though a founding partner of the Open Government Partnership, my impression is that most American’s know little or nothing about the initiative. Per the US 2015 report, public participation seems well supported, yet seemingly few Americans become involved in government agency development initiatives other than those prescribed by grants. Many citizens seem disillusioned and devoid of information on opportunities to become involved in governance and policy recommendations impacting their lives. My opinion is that Deliberative Democracy and the networks supporting DD can serve well to accelerate more citizen participation. Plus DD helps citizens learn what they can do to improve their communities – without relying on the government to fund or respond to some concerns.

    The Deliberative Democracy I use and have referred to is different than seeking consensus. Citing Noelle McAfee, this model welcomes particular perspectives, stories, affect, and differences. Disagreement is seen as an inevitable aspect of working through difficult choices. Democratizing Deliberation further cites McAfee, from her observations of National Issues Forums, as seeing “deliberation in programmatic terms as achieving tentative agreements for specific purposes of decision making and action, without resulting in… consensus.” (See

    Believing strongly in the learning power of stories, I will share the following story from a National Issues Forum I moderated on Youth At Risk.
    Participants were deliberating the merits of: 1. Creating a non-violent culture, 2. Focusing on teaching morals and values, or 3. providing the evidence based programs that are known to positively impact risk factors. There was a diverse group of race, age, and gender participants inclusive of teenagers and older women representing the faith community. The dialogue was centered on defining who was at risk of causing violence.

    On participant said, “We know that the guys standing on the corners when others are at school or work are most likely buying or selling drugs. Why don’t we just work with our police chief and have law enforcement move them away to keep them from loitering on corners in our neighborhood.”

    Then another participant shared this story:
    “When I went to the gym last week there were ten big burly guys standing outside. It looked strange so I walked up to them and asked what they were doing. They told me a dog (lying at their feet) had been hit by a car and was dying. They were waiting for it to die and then were going to bury it. They told me they were saying a few words over it. I went into the gym and told the director. He went out to see, came back in, and said they told him the same thing.”

    The forum dialogue continued, “Did you say they were praying.”

    “I don’t know, that’s what they told me.”

    “Their mama had to teach them to pray,” said one of the women from a church.

    “And if they were concerned about a dog, they have to have some compassion in their hearts,” said another participant.

    One of the teens said, “Why don’t we create a street outreach program and go up to the people standing on the curbs and ask about their needs and then try to help them.”

    This group of citizens created such a program. They researched similar programs, developed a personal needs survey, and referred people to resources throughout the community. They even formed partnerships with businesses, whereas if they referred people to the business the business would automatically give them an interview. I knew the Citizens Coalition group were having an impact when a government social services agency called me at my academic outreach office to ask if a client could be referred to the Citizens’ Coalition – the social service case worker said they had tried everything and had not been able to help the client. The Citizens’ Coalition was able to help them!

  • #4934

    United States

    CASE STUDIES: Many e-forum participants have been generous with providing case studies. Beyond this forum the WDR17 team has several ways in which it will engage with these studies in the coming weeks and months.

    The Website to be launched in December will include links to all of the submitted case studies under different topics.
    After the first draft of the WDR17 has been completed, examples from some of the case studies will be integrated into WDR17 chapters
    The case studies from this e-forum as well as the many others that we are receiving will be linked/identified on the final WDR17 publication site

  • #4935

    United States

    This summary is more structured under topics (none of them fixed in stone, but hopefully a guide to the reader) that seem to have arisen over the past few weeks, especially in week 3.

    GOVERNANCE OR GOOD GOVERNANCE: This question from @joyaceron presents many issues
    @refat’s point about that many of the results are based on the decisions of key officials not institutions is a reminder that there is much to be learned inside the ‘black box’ of local government
    @fabiohono outlined some elements of good governance in his experience in terms of dedicated staff with skills, structured process for a common agenda, and shared measurements and regular communication
    @selenacippec-org writes that the cores values of open governance can facilitate good governance (commenting also on the recent Open Government Partnership Summit)
    @sandramakwember referred back to the point about responsive and meaningful government action
    @sotheacam summarized that good governance requires not just government commitment but active demand from citizens and civil society.
    @inades commented that governance refers to principles, rules and institutions, with the additional value proposition that this involves the connotation of equity, fairness and participation.
    @concernhealthghana commented that governance provides a structured system that is able to self-monitor, and further that governance cannot be an externally imposed system.

    @aston has given us a range of lessons and highlighted multi-country work on Community Scorecards
    @jeffreymaganya reported on how Help Age has launched 400 Rights Committees
    @aderonkegbadamosi2015 kindly shared input from her HelpAge colleagues in Mozambique, provided by Ferdinando Almeida with input from Avaro Zimba as well. They used Community Monitoring approaches in support of monitoring beneficiaries in a number of communities. One finding is that this has created spaces for older people to be heard and to have more active citizenship. They were able to reduce malpractice and increase voice.
    @refat identified the experience with Citizen Charters
    @fabiohono briefly presents a recursive model of learning which is neither top-bottom nor bottom-up. He described the Problem Driven Iterative Adaption (PDIA) method which underlines the importance of locally defined problems as the starting point. The model has a strong commitment to problem solving with feedback loops and an emphasis on local actors.

    @joyaceron raised a major issue that deserves greater attention, which involves the anti-accountability or anti-reform forces that seek to undermine or capture efforts at good governance.
    @fabiohono made a valuable point about trust and distrust by illustrating the tensions in Brazil, where there are actions by government agencies and some CSOs that have undermined the accountability system even as advances have been made over the past two decades. He notes current legislation under debate that would apply bureaucratic logic to CSOs.

    @jeffreymaganya noted that the executive and legislature in Kenya are moving from viewing participation as a programming principle to understanding it as a right
    Cordaid’s submission provides a comment on the importance of informal judicial systems, notably in FCAS, but more broadly this is a valuable reminder that there are many decision making mechanisms that are not in the formal government arrangement.
    @fabiohono’s report of the stalling of a process due to the political unpopularity of a government is an important reminder that participation relates to political institutions as well as his term, the Narcissistic State.
    @amrhlashin reported on how CARE Egypt has been working to include Social Accountability in the national Local Administration Reform plan.
    @carolina-cornejo reported that the General Audit office in Argentina has been promoting participatory-planning mechanisms, but that this requires regular interaction between CSOs and the government to build a collaborative approach.

    The questions about institutions presents some important issues about local government, where most of the daily work of governance and accountability processes take place. There are references to cities and local governments and municipalities in the posts, but these have also raised up a fundamental challenge of better understanding how departments and individuals within governments work on a daily basis, especially at the local level.

    @paulaschommer noted the role of the Federal Constitution of 1988 and provided a link to a recent paper that assesses recent lessons
    @jeffreymaganya pointed to how the new Kenya Constitution is the very foundation of good governance
    @carolina-cornejo identified the challenges in enabling a Freedom of Information Act law in Argentina, with the cogent point that it’s about politics and timing

    @fabiohono linked the Performance Management and Delivery Unit of Malaysia as an example of collaboration and linakges between sectors
    It would be good learn from @refat and others on the long term results from the establishment of Citizen Charters
    @barb13 has highlighted the challenges of maintaining momentum for change and avoiding slippage. She uses the term ‘democracy re-creation’ to illustrate the continuous process involved in governance initiatives. She also notes that citizen learning can easily be lost due to impatience in the work itself.
    @carolina-cornejo endorsed @selenacippec-org point about moving from transparency and access to information to furthering citizens’ engagement in public monitoring
    Cordaid argues that flourishing communities need to be built by the communities themselves: is this realistic in FCAS?
    @paulaschommer highlighted how progress is not homogeneous between different branches of government or between different municipalities, and that there are sometimes set backs and frustrations.
    @sandramakwembere illustrated the challenge of measuring governance and the contributions towards improved governance.

    @joyaceron commented on the CCT experiences by noting that it is necessary to consider the governance structure and principles of a program
    @refat’s report on Citizen Charters provides a good outline of the steps around supporting and nurturing what happens with Citizen Charters, offering a detailed set of lessons
    @paulaschommer introduced the Latin American Network for Fair, Democratic Sustainable Cities and Territories, she also highlighted the ‘Our Sao Paulo Network” and Nuestra Cordoba in Argenina.
    The HelpAge program in Mozambique has contributed a superb set of lessons that I will not try to summarize, but encourage others to read in detail.
    @sandramakwembere presented important points about the difficulty of indicators—this is an area where sharing of experiences would certainly be useful between organizations and countries. She further noted the necessity of good evidence to support the work.
    @paulaschommer further summarized the role of networks, which resonates with the input from CARE; HelpAge; IRC and others.
    @paulaschommer also outlined some of the processes from a university perspective on learning from good practices and the roles that universities can play in support of praxis
    @matthew-ade shared a video on CSO and private sector efforts at working on governance issues in Ghana

    Cordaid pointedly reminds the reader that too frequently international donors have a template and a time frame that is completely unrealistic in regards both to the government’s capacity and the existing social structures in FCAS. Investment may have high risk and low reward compared to initiatives in more stable environments.
    Security and justice mechanisms may be the most important ‘governance’ arrangement in FCAS
    @joyaceron responded to @alanhudson contribution with a reflection on understanding the peculiar context of the country, which is perhaps even more important in FCAS.

    @matthew-ade noted that there are significant issues of exclusion and poverty that should be considered in how we view good governance
    @jeffreymaganya identified interesting challenges involving the tensions between results based programming versus inclusion of deserving persons, which raises up an issue of how to set priorities amongst poor people
    @selenacippec-org focuses on how good governance implies policy results delivered. She summarizes her input by reiterating that good governance is more than processes, it includes results.
    @sotheacam focuses on the failures of service delivery as a result of governance failures, with the additional challenge that citizen voice may be muted by skepticism.

    INTERNATIONAL NORMS: we have not had much discussion on how international norms affect good governance, so it was good to have a few comments on this
    Maganya noted that the Kenya Constitution recognizes international norms
    Cordaid summarized some of their key points in relation to SDG16, highlighting the role of international norms, and it would be good to consider whether the new SDGs will have any impact on governance in practice.
    Finally, I appreciate the very specific WDR17 input from @alanhudson which will be shared with the WDR17 authors.

  • #4936

    United States

    Questions that could use further elaboration, in my perspective, revolve around issues of Inclusion and Exclusion, which have not received much specific attention (thanks to HelpAge for raising up the issue of older persons). Governance and the Law are experienced differently by different groups based on their identity, status, social norms, etc. Are there examples of issues related to inclusion and exclusion in the following (or other) areas?

    People with Disabilities
    Minority Ethnic and Religious Groups

    • #4946


      As I mentioned in one of my previous post when we talk about governance at the IRC we are focused on key decision-making processes in communities, local governments and service-providing organizations (e.g. health or education ministries) that establish how resources are allocated and rules and policies established. We are then very much interested in whether and how these decisions are implemented and ultimately whether and how services are delivered to the populations that IRC seeks to serve. An important part of how decisions are made, from our perspective, is whether the preferences and perspectives of the people affected by those decisions can influence these decisions. Do people have a voice and if so, do all people, especially women and other marginalized groups? Whose voice translates into influence?

      Therefore, issues of inclusion and exclusion based on population groups (gender, refugees, people with disabilities, elderly, youth, minority ethnic/religious groups) or places (urban/rural, stable/conflict affected, easy to access/remote location, etc.) are very important in our governance work. I’d like to share quickly two examples from the field. Both examples aims to decrease the space between decision-makers and those affect by their decisions.

      IRC’s experience in Turkana West (Kenya) suggests that the participation of women in public decision-making processes is mediated by their partners. It is therefore not surprising to see that most decision making processes are dominated by male. To mitigate this, IRC Kenya sensitized and trained men and women separately before they engage them conjointly through a participatory scorecard process. This is one of the strategies to improve the inclusion of women in decision-making. However, the other, less apparent inclusion/exclusion factor is the remoteness / “difficult to reach” reality of Turkana West. This means that those making decisions that affect the nomadic population of Turkana West needed to develop strategies to stimulate their engagement in governance processes. Instead of having the Turkana population comes to decision-makers, a more meaningful technique was for decision-makers to go to them. The IRC recently implemented a scorecard approach in 12 health facilities and 37 outreach post (mobile clinic). Through the scorecard approach IRC brought health officials closer to the people affected by decisions they make (opening hours, day of the week, etc.). Also, through SMS, IRC and health providers sought service users’ feedback to ensure that decisions were aligned with their needs and preferences.

      The second example I’d like to share is IRC’s ServiceInfo initiative for refugees ( Service Info addresses a complex system of aid in Lebanon where a dispersed urban refugee population not inside conventional refugee camps, combined with multiple service providers, can leave refugees unaware of what support is available to them. While this is mainly a platform for refugees in Lebanon to know what is available to them (sharing information), it is also a web-based tool for refugees to tell service providers and IRC about a missing services or on how to improve current services (sharing feedback and contribute to decision making processes around resource allocation). Instead of being on the margin of decision making processes on who access what, where and how, refugees can engage in governance processes through ServiceInfo (

  • #4940

    Barbara A
    United States

    This is an answer to Steven’s post above regarding issues related to inclusion and exclusion. I had started writing a narrative heavy on opinion and adding some examples of exclusion and inclusion from my work with vulnerable audiences. Possibly I will add this later, but I am partly waiting to see others’ posts. But, I just watched HUMAN, the film recently shown at the UN General Assembly. I encourage all to watch this, and I ask how can American’s specifically be motivated to watch it?

    So the following is now my post as a response to Steven’s question:

    When I was 13 I was inspired to “find civilization.” I have searched to find, define, and create civilization. Now, I am 66 and I can say I am still seeking civilization. What is civilization? Can we create civilization? As a species are we civilized; will human beings actually become civilized? If anyone is excluded, excluded from having their basic human needs met, excluded from having an opportunity for a “better and longer life”, excluded because of (gender, disability, age, youth, minority status, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation,..or because of poverty, education opportunity, being able to express oneself, knowing that someone else cares about you…), if anyone is excluded like this are we really civilized? Can we find “civilization” together? Per one definition, can we become more advanced in human social and organizational development that we are in fact civilized as a species, to a point where EVERYONE is included in the “good life”?
    What are fellow humans (citizens) and governments (governance) and the law’s role in “finding civilization”?

  • #4941


    I am TCHACONDOH Ouro – Bossi I am a consultant-trainer , facilitator and Chairman of BRIDGE Center for Observation and Promotion of the Rule of Law in TOGO. Since the creation of the center our activities is more focused on the restoration of the state of law, good governance , elections. About good governance entant I think that developing countries must take it as a way to satisfy the public interest. i think that the idea of governance refers to the principles, rules, institutions that are put in place to manage the resources of a people for their common good. it also carries the connotation of equity, fairness and participation. There is compelling evidence that failures in governance hurt the poor more than any other single factor.
    On good governance , my center and train 250 local administrative authorities on the implortance to involve all actors and all populattion in decision -making and governance.
    MPs was formed to involve henceforth all social ( civil society, all socio- political, cultural and economic development of the social contracts.

  • #4942

    United States

    An apology to @paulaschommer and @fabiohono:
    there are two comments mentioning FABIOHONO, but actually Paula wrote the comments: one, in the topic ANTI-PARTICIPATION, about the bureaucratic logic applied to CSOs; another in the topic INSTITUTIONS, referring to the “Narcissistic State”.
    Fabio is also from Brazil, but it is a big country with many views, so he should not be listed with these points, that are controversial there.
    When I pasted all the input into a document for the week summary, apparently I didn’t move the cursor correctly and ended up mixing up participants.
    Please note the corrected views.

  • #4945

    Barbara A
    United States

    I want to further explain some of my comments I made on 3 November and Steven’s 9 Nov. summary of this post, under a sustainability heading Stevens’ summary of my post was: ” ,,, highlighted the challenges of maintaining momentum for change and avoiding slippage. She uses the term democracy re- creation’ to illustrate the continuous process involved in governance initiatives. She also notes that citizen learning can easily be lost due to impatience in the work itself.”

    Here is a portion of my post: …But, seeds were continually planted – seeds of change, capacities were constantly being enhanced, and the behind the scenes advocacy, for the often “not” heard, still continues.

    1. “slippage”? I should have explained the need for changing directions when the grant funds supporting one group of citizens ran out and this group was too intimidated by criminal elements (the corrupt power brokers referred to in the below Nov. 3 post) to continue their visible work. Plus, I should have explained that “the impatience in the work” referred to the impatience of agents of governing bodies to build the capacities of the citizen’s group. The citizens did not stop learning; they just learned from different people and in different ways. Plus other community citizens stepped up and led community development efforts. In fact many of the members of the original group that I worked with went back to formal schools.

    2. Many disenfranchised, often representatives of “excluded” groups that Steven mentioned in a later Nov. 9 post (those excluded because of gender, minority or ethnic status, religion, youth or elderly status, and poverty and education that I add to the list) do not understand the governance systems that impact their lives. We may not understand how to teach these systems if we do not understand how others perceive the systems – or possibly do not understand the underlying concepts of a system, or how the system impacts those excluded. (America’s institutional racism and white privilege customs impact the systems many peoples excluded by race and ethnic status function within. Much of “White America” do not understand these impacts.)

    Here is the rest of my Nov. 3 post: Numerous small civic organizations have taken on pieces of development. There seems to be a critical mass of these now existing; their visible. There is still a need for collaborative and integrated work, but the community capacity potential is great. What’s next? Persistence of democracy re-creation by some who see the need is one factor. Awareness and subtle investigation of the “undercover” corrupt power brokers is a constant need. They have not gone away. Upon legitimate citizen engagement for the common good recognitions there is the element of letting go of ego of those of us that have done this work. There is a reality of impatience for citizen learning of systems. But, the letting go to allow for authentic citizen learning is a must. How can the seeds still be planted and nourished – but not in an obvious?

    3. The letting go, again refers to the agents of governance, those of us involved in citizen capacity building and economic community development efforts. Some how citizens need to be seen and recognized for their legitimate civic capacity building initiatives, and taught how to see them when they occur, i.e. learning by naming the action themselves. Deliberative dialogue forums help this happen!

    The rest of the initial Nov. 3 post is here…Governance and the law are still important societal factors. But, possibly their roles in the US need to be adjusted toward a deeper citizen empowerment for civic responsibility. Many of the initial barriers to human justice issues are still present, but they surface in well-meaning governance actions and in unrecognizable ways – at least unrecognizable to the unaware. I remain an advocate for dialogue as some of my initial posts promoted. In the southern US vestiges of racism remain, but in the context of governance and the law, changes are happening. Many of the vulnerable are empowered. I expect growth, but also an ongoing need for knowledge and means of citizen engagement. The citizen work of democracy, including governance and the law, is never done!

    4. A partnership between citizens and elements of the government responsible for governance and the law will become more important as humanity becomes more “civilized”… see my 11 November posts.

  • #4947


    My name is Isatou Batonon, and I’m a Governance Advisor at the IRC. I’d like to share some of our experience on the topic of inclusion/exclusion in governance.

    Exclusion of certain segments of society from governance processes is undesirable to say the least, but when it comes to youth, particularly those living in conflict-affected societies, their exclusion can come with a particularly heavy price tag. IRC has worked in politically polarized communities in Zimbabwe since 2008 and our teams have long understood the impact that partisan and exclusive decision-making has had on citizens, particular youth. According to Zimbabwe’s Centre for Research and Development, politically motivated violence has resulted in polarization and deep-seated hatred among communities, damaging the social fabric, hindering people’s livelihoods, and impeding development. With high rates of unemployment and secondary school drop-outs, youth represent a critical group in terms of conflict dynamics. Idle, unskilled youth, mostly males, are highly vulnerable to mobilization by political actors, constituting the largest group of perpetrators of political violence. The roots of their exclusion from public decision-making is not only socio-cultural but also political. Those participating in and leading Village and Ward Assemblies and other local governance structures tend to be considerably older and have historical affiliations to the ruling ZANU-PF party, whereas a growing number of young people in the rural areas where IRC works are supporters of opposition parties, hence the reluctance of many community leaders to engage these young people. Youth themselves are often skeptical of the need to engage in local governance structures which they see as being removed from the issues they care about and offering them few benefits. The mobilization of young men as foot soldiers for political parties, particularly in the run-up to elections when they have been used to support politician’s campaigns, including through manipulation, has only served to further alienate youth from community leaders and local decision-making spaces.

    The IRC, through its Youth CAN! project has sought to promote youth integration in their communities and reduce feelings of marginalization, powerlessness and vulnerability to manipulation by fostering their participation in local level decision-making and development activities. The project has targeted Village and Ward Assemblies as the focus of youth inclusion efforts. These are spaces that offer opportunities for collective decision-making, local development planning and resolution of community grievances over land and natural resource management. Over the years, they have become under-utilized, co-opted by political groups, and exclusive of youth and women. In addition to working to strengthen these community structures as spaces for non-partisan and inclusive decision-making, the project has also partnered with the Ministry of Youth Development, Empowerment and Indigenization (MoY) to establish youth forums at the village level. These serve as a safe space for capacity-building, youth interaction across political divides and preparation for engagement with the wider community, including through the Village and Ward Assemblies.

    A number of lessons have emerged from our implementation of Youth CAN!, including the importance of preparing both ‘sides’ for engagement (youth and adult facilitators of local governance processes). As a result of the life skills and conflict mitigation training received by youth and the space for reflection offered within their forums, they have been able to build their confidence and engage meaningfully in Village and Ward Assembly meetings. We have witnessed high levels of youth attendance at these meetings in project areas, as well as a shift towards discussion of more youth-focused priorities and initiatives such as income-generating activities. Trust has also been built with community leaders, with youth volunteering to repair roads and latrines and some village heads have even made land available to young people to create market gardens.

    However, the project has not been without its challenges. There have been examples of political interference in the functioning of some youth forums, with a few being co-opted by politicians and members of their families. This has discouraged some youth from participating in efforts to engage them in local decision-making. Some traditional chiefs and local government officials have also shown more willingness to narrow the distance with youth and bring them closer to decision-making than others. IRC has had to invest a lot in sensitizing these leaders and has leveraged the good will created through its past support for governance projects in the area to bolster their willingness to reach out to young people.

    You can find out more about the Youth CAN! project and the changes it has stimulated among members of the Youth Forums here:

  • #4948

    Myanmar [Burma]

    The ESAP2 projects in Ethiopia pay special attention in the Social Accountability (SA) process to the needs of vulnerable groups. In our August 2015 quarterly report, we highlighted evidence from the education sector that SA makes a positive contribution for vulnerable groups. As a typical example, in Harari region, Shenkor (APAP), citizens noted through engagement in the SA process that physically challenged children do not have access to wheelchairs; there is a shortage of materials such as braille books for visually impaired children and hence it is difficult for teachers to help them; and finally, there is no schooling for the children with intellectual disabilities. In cases like this, citizens and their local government find context specific solutions (next to solving more generic problems). The following selection of improvements for vulnerable groups was recorded during ESAP2 monitoring visits in the education sector in the second quarter of the year:

    • In Tiro Afeta woreda, citizens observed that here should be a means for visually impaired and hearing impaired children to attend education. Parents do not send their children with disability to school and hence children with disability are discriminated. One citizen, member of the SA committee, explained that he has child with hearing problems. He planned to send his child to school in Addis Ababa, but now that he has seen the change regarding social inclusion, he will send his child to school in the district. The community expressed that they have learned to be more inclusive and “not laugh at or make fun of students with disabilities”. (EMRDA, sub-partner of EIFFDA).
    • In Asella district, a program for visually impaired has started, and a special needs education teacher was assigned. (AFD, sub partner of SOS Sahel).
    • In Aisayita, Afar Region, inaccessibility of schools to children with disabilities was solved by the construction of ramps (DEC sub-partner of WCAT).
    • In Debre Markos, Amhara Region the school compound was transformed to create a disability friendly school. Special needs education started in Abema School, and in the same school a total of Birr 420,000 was endorsed by the local government to relocate local bars and houses inside the school, which was risky to girls and in general disruptive of the teaching-learning process. Inspired by the inclusive SA process, the Mayor office has targeted about 200 poor households that are affected by HIV, and constructed 210 low cost houses worth Birr 6 million for poor households. Community members shared more than half of this budget through their labor and material contribution.
    • In Oromia Region, Adada district, citizens explained that more girls and disabled students are attending school now. Parents have started to allow their children with disabilities to go to school, and this attitudinal change is the result of SA interventions. The school is more accessible for disabled students, as there are ramps installed. In in Leliso primary school, the government has employed special needs teachers for students who cannot see and hear. (GMEDA, sub-partner of LIA)
    • In Arada sub city of Adis Ababa a feeding programme was realized in collaboration with citizens and the government for students from poor families, and in the case of Addis Ketema, woreda 7, the first aid room in school is now opened to help girls with menstrual problems.

    A young SA Committee member, representative for people with disability in Enarj Enawaga district, illustrates the difference SA has made for people like him:

    “We were shunned and outcast before the introduction of SA in our area. More than the education, we just wanted to feel the touch of other persons. Feel included. Now we get an education, we feel part of the student body and are included in community discussions.”

    There are many concerns and issues that exist in the education sector, like teacher absenteeism, ineffective use of school grants, lack of drink water taps and insufficient toilets for boys and girls. But with quality facilitation that keeps issues of excluded and vulnerable group on the table – among the many other issues, there is a lot of potential for local solutions that address the needs of all.

  • #4958

    United States

    I want to close this forum with my thanks to the moderators, Janet Oropeza, Lucia Nass, Joy Aceron and Carolina Cornejo. Their active contributions spiced and enlivened the forum. I want to next thank all the contributors who shared their ideas, experiences and questions.

    As mentioned in an earlier post, the input to the e-forum will contribute to the WDR17 process in several ways:
    1. I will be contacting a number of participants to ask their permission to use shortened excerpts of their posts on the WDR17 website which will go live in a few weeks.
    2. All of the case studies will be captured on the website, in the WDR17 references and in the planned e-post that will accompany the final publication.
    3. @isatoubatonon made a very fine submission on exclusion and inclusion recently, and one of the subjects that I hope we can explore further in the coming months is to have a more nuanced and detailed discussion of different forms of exclusion. @barb13 continued to offer some very detailed perspectives on citizen engagement and participation, including some of the challenges in the USA. @lucia-nass provided further details on experiences with social accountability in very specific details that are a reminder that we need to get into the details of these processes.
    4. Finally, I also wished to note for readers that one superb post somehow ended up near the beginning of the forum, even though it arrived later in the discussion, so I would encourage readers to check out the very detailed and thoughtful contribution of JEAN GERVAIS AYISSI; Site WEB: ttps://
    Twitter: @UReportCameroon

  • #4963

    Janet Oropeza

    Dear all! I would like to echo Steve and thank you for your great and insightful contributions. It was inspiring to get to know about your experiences and projects. I am attaching as well an image of a cloud I made with the most mentioned terms of this discussion. I invite you to check it! As you can see, the words that resonated loudly in the discussion are governance, accountability, community, citizen, social, public, local and work.

    Here is the link to the wordcloud:

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