Rapid Analysis on Social Accountability about identifying good practices

“If you don’t know there is a x-ray service in your clinic, you will not ask for it and you will never know that you have not been served rightly.” Explains researcher Exana Amdework. He carried out a Rapid Analysis on Social Accountability about identifying good practices.

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Some of the most important findings of his research are the increased understanding and awareness of citizens about service standards and service providers being more responsive to the demands of citizens.

Tracking Trends in Ethiopia’s Civil Society (TECS), in collaboration with ESAP2 did the case study. The approach was to examine the work of 4 Social Accountability Implementing Partners (SAIPs) in Addis Ababa and Oromia through Focus Group Discussions and interviews with civil society organizations, government officials, service providers, citizens’ groups and ESAP2 staff.

The results show there is an increased knowledge of service standards and entities among citizens, government and service providers. The better understanding has made citizens more empowered to speak out and advocate for changes and service providers are more willing to listen to them. The study clearly showed that the Community Score Card is the most popular Social Accountability (SA) tool. The Score Card involves identifying priorities and then developing indicators for improvement. 

But there are of course still challenges to overcome, such as the mistrust among service providers, the expectation that SAIPs should provide welfare/equipment and the high turnover of government staff meaning knowledge is lost.

Ezana says that it is important to link SA to existing structures such as the PTA (Parent Teacher Association) to ensure the entire concept of SA is not lost: “Those existing structures will still be there, also after SA projects officially stop. Also, the government should formalize the whole process as it would create greater responsiveness on the side of Service Providers.”

Most SAIPs have finalized Joint Action Plans with clear obtainable objectives with time limits. Many goals and reforms didn’t necessarily require additional budget. The research also showed communities making improvements through own resources. With another 15 months till the end of ESAP2, Ezana advises the immediate follow up of the Joint Action Plans: “This is a critical moment to monitor the service improvement and the implementation of the Joint Action Plans, before they are forgotten or overshadowed by other issues.”

The findings of the study were presented Tuesday September 30 during a Validation Workshop. TECS is a project of the Development Assistance Group.

 Social accountability policy brief