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November - December 2019

Working Papers: Education Accountability Accountability Educativo 

Professors Felipe J. Hevia y Samana Vergara-Lope bring insights to educational accountability in the November 2019 ARC Working Paper published in both Spanish and English.

This article addresses the relationship between the concepts of Social Accountability and Educational Accountability. The analysis of the similarities, differences and tensions between these two different concepts can strengthen citizen participation for educational improvement by identifying the full range of actors and processes in decision making that influence the success or failure of educational policy beyond of the teachers. Educational Accountability or Social Accountability in Education? Similarities, Tensions, and Differences

Este artículo aborda la relación entre los conceptos de Accountability Social y Accountability Educativo. El análisis de las similitudes, diferencias y tensiones entre estos dos conceptos distintos puede fortalecer la participación ciudadana para la mejora educativa al identificar la gama completa de actores y procesos en la toma de decisiones que influyen en el éxito o fracaso de la política educativa más allá de los maestros. ¿Accountability Educativo o Accountability Social en educación? Semejanzas, tensiones y diferencias

GPSA Panel: Accountability Tactics in Fragile Settings  

ARC's new research professor Naomi Hossain co-created a panel at GPSA in November 2019, tackling Accountability Tactics in Fragile Settings. In the past decade, civic space and civil society have faced increased threats that constrain their actions for accountability. Greater restraints on freedom and independence of social movements, media, academia and civil society organizations have been imposed through new legal and policy measures, and through informal restrictions, including the use or threat of violence against such actors. This session will examine how actors and organizations have responded to the changing nature of civic space, drawing on experiences of pro-accountability actors in fragile - and conflict - affected settings where accountability action has long depended on negotiating dangerous space. The session will include a framing presentation that outlines the key issues and several cases from the global south in which different marginalized or excluded groups have demanded accountability in the context of restricted spaces, with a focus on lessons from settings where accountability actors routinely negotiate fragility and conflict. ARC’s new Research professor Dr. Naomi Hossain (@nomhossain), Research Professor joined co-panelists Dr. Euclides Goncalves (@egoncalves8), Director, Kaleidoscopio, Mozambique; Dr. Udy Okon (@okonud), Executive Director of Youth Alive Foundation, Nigeria; Shaazka Beyerle (@shaazka), Senior Research Advisor at the Program on Nonviolent Action at the United States Institute of Peace. Moderator: Dr. Anuradha Joshi, Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Development Studies, Sussex.
BLOG: Why the World Bank is missing out on an Accountability Revolution: Reflections on the Global Partnership for Social Accountability Forum 2019

Following the GPSA, Naomi Hossain penned this blog, reflecting on the GPSA “We don’t have to believe that these protests are authentic expressions of the majority to recognize that they are highly dangerous – for the participants. For the last 18 months, I have been following protests triggered by fuel price rises, in which hundreds of people have died. From a social accountability perspective, that raises a pressing and difficult question – why do citizens feel driven to take actions that attract disproportionate and violent responses from governments? Why have the institutionalized mechanisms failed so thoroughly to enable more peaceful dialogue between states and citizens? When people take such drastic actions, on such vast scales, we must ask: why is this the only way people can voice their concerns so that ruling elites can hear?” For the full blog, see December 3, 2019 From Poverty to Power Why the World Bank is missing out on an Accountability Revolution: Reflections on the Global Partnership for Social Accountability Forum 2019

Partner Focus: G-Watch 2019 National Meeting and Learning Exchange

On November 27-30, G-Watch held its 2019 National Meeting and Learning Exchange convened leaders and partners from 12 locations all over the Philippines. The discussions focused on how government can best enable citizen action for accountability. G-Watch has been convening a national meeting and learning exchange annually since 2014. The Philippines has vast examples of efforts of government enabling citizen participation. The learning exchange examined key questions:
(1) How is your initiative mobilizing citizens? What are the strengths and challenges of your initiative in mobilizing citizens at scale: vertical – levels of decision-making, horizontal – geographical areas and sectors?
(2) Based on your initiative’s experience, what were the factors, strategies or approaches that enabled citizen action for accountability? What role/part did the government play, especially in achieving scale? Since responsiveness to citizen voice is the biggest challenge, how is this enhanced/enabled? 
(3) Would you say that these factors, strategies or approaches that enabled citizen action for accountability in your initiative continue to be applicable in contexts of closing civic space? Does/did your initiative deal with the problem of closing civic space? If yes, how did you grapple with the context of closing civic space, what are you doing differently given such context? 
For more on the meeting, visit

Conceptual Translations: Accountability in Urdu 

The Volume 17 (July – December 2018) issue of “Paidar Traqi” (Sustainable Development) includes an Urdu language version of Jonathan Fox’s article “The Political Construction of Accountability Keywords,” originally published by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) in March 2018. Paidar Traqi is a publication of Pakistan’s Sustainable Development Policy Institute. Download the Urdu version (see page 63-80). Thanks to Fayyaz Yaseen (@fayyaz_yaseen) of the AccountabilityLab in Pakistan for translating and submitting this to Paidar Traqui.

ARC has had another very rewarding year.  We started with a renewal of support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; engaged in many rewarding collaborations with organizations, individuals and networks; hired a new researcher Naomi Hossain; had very in-depth visits to multiple partners in India; and co-produced 12 new publications bringing fresh insights to the transparency, participation and accountability field.

We are poised and ready for a productive and engaging year in 2020, with several new initiatives and publications forthcoming. Please share with colleagues who may be interested to sign up for future monthly updates on publications and highlights of our partner organizations’ work for social change and greater accountability. Those who prefer can also follow ARC on Twitter (@AcctResearchCtr) or Facebook

With Regards,
Jonathan Fox
Director, Accountability Research Center
Professor, American University School of International Service
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