How do citizens hold authorities to account? This short course will help you understand the strategies of citizen-led accountability, and how to improve the design, legitimacy and appeal of your accountability-claiming work in the context of international development.
In an era where trust in governments seems to be diminishing around the world, leaders appear to act with impunity and public services often don’t reach the people for whom they are intended, the need to promote accountability of public authorities is as important as ever. Over the last decade or more, the focus on accountability strategies by a variety of actors – civil society, donors, researchers – has produced a great deal of knowledge from which we can learn.
However, as accountability work has gained traction so too has the world been changing, with democratic backsliding, closing civic space, the growth of misinformation and other pressures affecting how citizen-led efforts to hold powerful actors to account will play out.
In this course you will join other participants engaged in designing, supporting, or delivering accountability strategies in learning how to navigate the challenges of the new terrain. Our courses attract participants from around the world with a wide range of experience: from donors, NGO staff, grassroots activists and members of government, allowing you to take advantage of skills and knowledge sharing with international development peers.
Drawing from case studies and the most recent research across multiple sectors, and guided by experienced resource people, you will learn lessons from existing accountability strategies, deepen your understanding of the power dynamics in these efforts, and learn how to draw from the broader ecosystem of social and political actions currently being used.
IDS is uniquely placed to offer the most up-to-date and cutting-edge research on accountability, from leading academics specialising in this area.
To equip you with the tools to design, support or implement strategies that enable ordinary or marginalised citizens to seek greater accountability from individuals or institutions holding power.
You will share mutual learning and make connections with a broad range of other accountability practitioners, enabling you to develop your own approaches.
Donors and programme designers, civil society practitioners and leaders, government officials, social and civic tech innovators, engaged researchers and evaluators interested in accountability solutions from a range of sectors, including the delivery of health and education and other services, environment, gender and economic justice, climate change, electoral reform, among others.
This short course combines lecture inputs, inputs from practitioners, and small group work on case studies, reflecting on reading material, and applying the ideas shared.
During the course, you will design and develop an accountability intervention to help to address issues or challenges you are facing in your own context or on your own issue. The approach will involve small group discussion in support of this goal, and a presentation to share your conclusions with other participants.
The course will run over five consecutive days. A variety of resources will be shared for preparation and for you to engage with across the week.
Each day will involve some key inputs from researchers and experienced practitioners, and opportunities for whole group discussion and debate.
Participants will also work in smaller study groups to review suggested readings, and apply think tools to selected case studies and to their own project, with guidance and support from facilitators.
Our provisional aims across the week are to:
After completing this course you will be able to: