News | August 29, 2017

The three new pieces of research featured in this newsletter each offer a perspective on citizen participation in accountability processes.

Reports from work in South Africa, Kenya and Indonesia discuss what different tech-enabled participatory approaches teach us about how marginalised citizens engage, while a practice paper from Nigeria gives insights on how information about budgets can most effectively trigger the digital and non-digital citizens to participate in holding their elected representatives accountable to their promises.

Translating complex realities through technologies: lessons about participatory accountability from South Africa

This research report focuses on four case studies of using tech-enabled participatory processes to examine the lived realities of marginalised groups and the activists that campaign on their behalf. It reflects on the strengths of different tools - including digital storytelling, filmmaking and geospatial mapping – for empowering citizens from the margins through engagement in accountability processes. It also offers insights on the role of accountability intermediaries who bring citizens and government actors together.

Read the report | Watch ‘Being Young in Delft’, a short video in which young people describe how they want government to respond to them

Budget oversight and accountability in Nigeria: what incentivises digital and non-digital citizens to engage?

This practice paper reflects on what Nigerian civic tech organisation BudgIT has learned about how simplified budget information incentivises different kinds of citizens to participate in budget monitoring and demanding accountability from government for budgeted projects. It reflects on the different patterns of participation demonstrated by ‘digital’ and ‘non-digital’ citizens.

At times, digital citizens report receiving too much information from different sources, which may complicate their move towards taking action. They appreciate simplified information, but …it needs to be engaging, so that it prompts citizens to take the critical next step from being interested to doing something about it.

Read the report

Pathways to accountability from the margins: reflections on participatory video practice

Two of the central challenges in building accountability for marginalised people are how to reach and meaningfully involve the most excluded, and how to establish the kinds of relationships that mean they can achieve, influence and expect government responsiveness. This report reflects on these challenges in the context of two long-term participatory video processes in Indonesia and Kenya. It offers insights on how this widely-used approach can be adapted and strengthened to inclusively engage citizens and foster responses from decision-makers.

Read the report | Watch ‘Unintended consequences’, a participatory video about why leaders need to learn from communities.

Other new research blogs

Women’s votes matter: unpacking gender politics in a Pakistani mega-city (Ali Cheema, Asad Liaqat and Shandana Khan Mohmand)

Chronicling the expansion and contraction of participatory budgeting in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa (Brian Wampler, Michael Touchton, Osmany Porto de Oliveira)

Practitioner reflections on the diffusion and adaptation of participatory budgeting in Indonesia (Ahmad Rifai)