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Strengthening systems, changing local power dynamics and empowering women: how does social accountability contribute?

GPSA Knowledge Platform forums Discussions with Experts Strengthening systems, changing local power dynamics and empowering women: how does social accountability contribute?

This topic contains 3 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Harriet 9 months, 4 weeks ago.

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  • #21373


    Hi everyone and welcome to this e-forum entitled “Strengthening systems, changing local power dynamics and empowering women: how does social accountability contribute?”

    I’m Sue Cant, World Vision International’s social accountability adviser, and I will be co-facilitating this forum based on the findings from an evaluation recently completed for the  GPSA Wahana Visi project, Citizen Voice and Action for Government Accountability and Improved Services: Maternal, Newborn, Infant and Child Health. If you did not get a chance to participate in the GPSA KP webinar we had on this topic on March 12th, the webinar recording and presentation are now available here. A blog was also published hereMy co-facilitators include Prof. Gill Westhorp, Director of Community Matters and lead evaluator for the project, Andreas Sihotang, former manager of the project and now Phd student, and Elvi Tambunan, Wahana Visi Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist.

    Many years ago, a major donor governance adviser told me that there was clear evidence, in his view, that social accountability impacted service delivery. But, he said, the jury was ‘still out’ on whether it impacts governance more broadly. The findings from our evaluation suggest that social accountability does impact governance through system strengthening. We are also seeing shifts in local power dynamics, high levels of women’s participation and greater empowerment for women.

    This e-forum is an opportunity to explore these findings and broaden the theory of change for social accountability to consider these other impacts. We would like to hear from you on your experiences.

    The e-forum will last two weeks, from March13 through March 31. Throughout this time, Gill, Andreas, Elvi and I will provide questions for you to respond to, but we also encourage people to react and comment to each other’s posts because the most important learning comes from sharing and exchanging among us.

    To get the forum started, we invite you to introduce yourself:
    – who you are,
    – what you do, and
    How do the social accountability processes you work with strengthen service delivery systems? What service delivery system are you trying to improve?

    We look forward to hearing from you!



  • #21384


    Hi everyone, it’s Saeqah here. I work with World Vision for the Nobo Jatra project in Bangladesh as the Knowledge Management and Communications Manager. We are using World Vision’s Citizen Voice and Action approach to strengthen service systems at community clinics, Water and Sanitation Committees and Agriculture Committees. I would be interested to learn more about intentional engagement of women in social accountability approaches – how does this link to system strengthening in the long term?

    • #21396


      Thanks for this interesting question, Saeqah, about whether additional activities to support women’s empowerment through social accountability might affect system strengthening in the long term.

      Gill Westhorp, the lead evaluator, who can’t currently access the discussion, highlights that the project evaluation didn’t investigate the question directly so there is no direct information/ ‘lessons’ to provide in answer to this particular question.

      Gill also notes that “Several elements of the system strengthening model  apply – e.g. ‘moving women into the system’, strengthening information flows to and from women who are affected, building relationships between women and service providers/policy personnel, etc.  It would be necessary to design and collect evaluation data to check whether or not these things were happening and after that, a) what impacts, if any, it had in strengthening the system; b) what impacts, if any, strengthening the system had for women and other community members.  That is the purpose of refining program theory in realist evaluation – providing a framework on which the next piece of research/evaluation can build – so personally I’d be delighted to see it done.”

      Please note that World Vision’s methodology, Citizen Voice and Action, – a strategic package of targeted civic education on government and services standards, scorecards, social audits, interface meetings and advocacy – does include sex and age disaggregation in the scorecards to ensure girl’s and women’s voices across activities where mixed gender activities may be prohibitive. We have also been told by local female politicians that what they learned through their participation in CVA helped them achieve local political office. We also have strong empowerment and gender impacts from another older evaluation in Uganda we would be happy to share for other’s interest.

  • #21399


    Hello, My name is Harriet Nuamah Agyemang. I work with SEND GHANA and managed our GPSA project titled ‘Making the Budget Work for Ghana’ We use the participatory monitoring and evaluation framework (comprising; policy literacy, evidence gathering/research, policy advocacy-usually through dialogues-and follow-ups) to implement the project with the goal of improving access and quality of services priority  programmes in the health and education sectors by strengthening transparency and accountability in the budget process.   The project equipped citizens with information on budgets, as well as education and health policies and built their capacity to participate in governance through the national and local planning and budgeting process; engage both local and national government to demand transparency and accountability in resource allocation and utilization to ensure improved service delivery in the health and education sectors. Citizens monitoring committees including women followed up on government to ensure they delivered on their commitments to enhance service delivery. I will be very glad learn more about how women have become agents of change in their communities and how will (or are) they sustaining their efforts with project closure.

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