Event | July 26, 2016 - July 26, 2016

Communication between the state and citizens is an essential element for an equal and just society. Growing social inequalities, lack of proper public services, and denial of basic human rights all act to widen existing communication gaps. Key to bridging these gaps is ensuring not only that citizen voices are heard, but also that states have the capacity and incentive to listen and respond.

On 26 July 2016, Dr Miguel Loureiro and Aalia Cassim come together, in a seminar in Durban, to reflect on insights from the Making All Voices Count research project "When does the State Listen?" led by the IDS and a South African case study which examined the role of policy champions in driving the 1997 reform of the country’s welfare policy, which established a grant system that today covers about 16 million recipients.

Three types of juncture when the state listened were identified and will be presented by the research team:

  • ‘hearing’ moments, when the state engaged with citizen voices but did not change the way it acted;
  •  ‘consultation’ moments, when it engaged with citizen voices through two-way dialogue, resulting in one-sided action;
  •  ‘concertation’ moments, when coalitions between reform-minded officials, politicians, and organised citizen voices engaged in two-way dialogue and action for accountable governance.