Social accountability (SA) is an approach that aims at building accountability which relies on active participation of ordinary citizens or civil society organizations that participate explicitly or implicitly in demanding accountability. Social accountability refers to a broad range of actions and mechanisms that citizens, communities and civil society organizations can use to hold public officials and public service providers accountable for their actions and decisions.
Conventionally, efforts to tackle the challenge of accountability have tended to concentrate on improving the “supply-side” of governance using methods such as political checks and balances, administrative rules and procedures, auditing requirements, and formal law enforcement agencies like courts and the police. These “top-down” accountability promoting mechanisms have met with only limited success in many countries.
In recent years, increased attention is being paid to the “demand side” of good governance that is to strengthen the voice and capacity of citizens (especially the poor, marginalized and discriminated citizens) to directly demand greater accountability and responsiveness from public officials and service providers.
GoGo Foundation works to enhance the capacity of citizens to engage with public service providers and politicians in a more informed, direct and constructive manner through applying various social accountability tools such as Public Hearing, Public Audit, Social Audit, Citizen Report Card, Community Score Card, Public Expenditure Tracking Survey and Community Monitoring, among others.
As demanding social accountability from public institutions is a new mechanism, especially in the rural areas, capacity building is of paramount importance. GoGo Foundation has been engaged in capacity development of community-based organizations, citizens and its district-based partners to enable them to use social accountability tools effectively and competently.
GoGo Foundation has been working to institutionalize these SA mechanisms by linking them to existing governance structures and service delivery systems. It strongly believes that effectiveness and sustainability of SA mechanisms are improved only when they are fully ‘institutionalized’ and when the state’s own ‘internal’ mechanisms of accountability are made open to civic engagement.