Embracing change while adjusting to evolving contexts

Bethany Spendlove Keeley

Communications Coordinator, Accountable Now

This blog was reposted from the Global Standard website. See the original article here

Change is at the heart of any civil society organization, both in terms of its own sustainability (internal change) as well as for measuring its effectiveness (external change).


At Accountable Now we ask our members to ensure that the change they seek is made in a transparent and accountable way and is based upon their engagement with partners and the people for whom they work.  These values drive the four accountability commitments of Cluster B from the Global Standard for CSO Accountability.


This influences how our members design their policies and programs. It sets an example for equitable, fair and therefore strong partnerships among CSOs, and it ensures that civil society advocacy work is based on the views of affected people while making their voices be heard. Lastly, while looking to promote change externally, we challenge our members to ensure change internally: our members should be transparent and open about all successes and failures.


Given that we often get caught up in lofty explanations of our values and our approaches to accountability, what does it mean in reality for a CSO to practice these accountability commitments? For this, we dove deep into some of our member’s recent accountability reports to find out.



Commitment 5: People-driven work


Learning from the people CSOs work with and ensuring stakeholder views are reflected in decision-making processes sets the ground for Commitment 5: People-driven work. Restless Development has continually demonstrated its commitment to people-driven work. As a result, their strategic model is built around long term, community engagement led by volunteers. They are truly walking the talk by building stakeholder engagement into their processes, policies and programs:


Find out more about how Restless Development fulfils the 12 accountability commitments in their 2017/18 accountability report and 2018/19 interim accountability report

Restless Development research is available at www.thedevelopmentalternative.org


Commitment 7: Advocating for Fundamental Change


Commitment 7 addresses how CSOs advocate for fundamental change which aims to ensure that their advocacy work is informed by the views of people affected by their work. It takes a holistic view of advocacy with root causes addressed, all stakeholders engaged in the process and evaluations made on a regular basis on the impact of advocacy work.  An example of a member implementing this commitment is ADRA, with their Advocacy Network Working Group:


Find out more about how ADRA fulfils the 12 accountability commitments in their 2019 Accountability Report.


Commitment 8: Open Organisatons


Lastly, transparency and organizational openness are absolutely essential for building accountability and trust. Our member Taiwan Fund for Children and Families has adopted a set of practices around Commitment 8 – Open Organizations:


Find out more about how TFCF fulfils the 12 accountability commitments in their 2019 Accountability Report.

These are just a few among many examples of how Accountable Now members are leading the way in how change is sought in the civil society sector. You can find more examples of how CSOs are implementing these accountability commitments on the Accountable Now website!

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