By Rehana Merali
Rehana Merali is Regional Programme Manager at Y Care International.
On behalf of Y Care International, I was fortunate to be able to participate in Accountable Now’s 2018 Workshop on Dynamic Accountability. Over the course of 2.5 days, participants from CSOs in the global North and South explored the concept of Dynamic Accountability and how it could effectively be put into practice.
The concept demands a new approach to accountability, which (i) moves beyond beneficiary feedback, to encompass all stakeholders – the people we work for and with (traditionally referred to as beneficiaries), our own staff, local partners, governments, donors and others; (ii) requires a two-way exchange of feedback between CSOs and stakeholders, (iii)ensures that this feedback informs CSOs’ decisions, enabling them to build trusted relationships and strengthen the effectiveness of their work and (iv) continues this process on an ongoing basis to drive forward learning and improvements, ultimately supporting achievement of the SDGs.
For Y Care International (YCI) and other CSOs, the workshop provided an opportune moment to interrogate how truly “dynamic” our Monitoring Evaluation Accountability and Learning systems are. We recognised that many of us are already implementing a variety of effective measures in this area (e.g. co-design of projects, youth-led research, smartphone applications to track community development interventions), but that we could still be doing more to “close the feedback loop” and systematise Dynamic Accountability within our work. This implies a power shift, moving CSOs away from pre-defining what kind of information we require and how we would like to obtain it and instead moving further towards empowering stakeholders to speak for themselves, telling us what they need from us and how they would like to communicate with us.
Since the workshop, at YCI, we have updated our guide for establishing youth-focused feedback mechanisms and are trialling it with one of our YMCA partner organisations. We hope to start mapping our accountability practices to identify other areas for improvement. To all organisations committed to enhancing Dynamic Accountability, I would encourage you to read the outcomes of the workshop, as well as sign up to Accountable Now’s Peer Advice Group and its Feedback and Complaints Mechanism 100-day challenge.
We look forward to continuing the journey with you all, to share and learn how we can fully embed Dynamic Accountability into our work, as well as build the evidence base for the increased empowerment, effectiveness and impact that it can generate for CSOs and their stakeholders.