Topic one: What is social accountability?
In many countries, citizens and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) are no longer relying on “top-down” measures to improve governance, but instead are becoming actively engaged in demanding good governance, participating in processes of public decision-making and resource allocation, monitoring government performance, and exacting accountability. The term “social accountability” refers to the wide range of different actions on the part of citizens and CSOs to hold the state to account, as well as actions on the part of government, media and other societal actors that promote or facilitate these efforts.
Unless public officials and institutions can be held to account, critical benefits associated with good governance, such as social justice, poverty reduction and development remain elusive. In many countries, lack of public accountability results not only in corruption and waste of precious development resources, it also seriously compromises the quality and effectiveness of public policy-making, planning, and the provision of services to meet basic needs. In addition, it denies citizens their inherent right to influence decisions that directly affect their lives and to hold state officials accountable for the public resources with which they are entrusted.