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April 2019

A “Reality Check” on Citizen Engagement & Accountable Government with 3ie/IEG
The “Reality Check” session of the Citizen Engagement & Accountable Government: What Works & What’s Next event co-hosted by 3ie and IEG was a discussion contrasting what we know to what is being done on the ground. The session featured Jonathan Fox, Professor, School of International Service, Director Accountability Research Center, American University; Jean Arkedis, Senior Program Director, Results for Development; Warren Krafchik, Executive Director, International Budget Partnership; and Jeff Thindwa, Program Manager, Global Partnership for Social Accountability, World Bank. Re-visit the interactive dialogue and discussions anchored in evidence from evaluation about engaging stakeholders in ways that inspire them to make better decisions and ask better questions on the future of citizen engagement and accountable government. Jonathan offered inputs to this session: 1) Low impacts may be the result of “low dose” interventions; 2) The evidence does not always show what it seems to show. “Fuzzy proxies” make it hard to know what is really being measured; and 3) Mainstream investment in evaluation places a big bet on only one theory of change (with heavy emphasis on information) which may have crowded out the study of other strategies. ARC is working on some follow-up pieces to elaborate further on these propositions – stay tuned!
How Does the World Bank Build Citizen Engagement Commitments into Project Design?

How and to what degree is the World Bank putting its new institutional citizen engagement (CE) commitments into practice? This question guides an independent assessment that the Accountability Research Center (ARC) at American University has undertaken as part of the Institute of Development Studies (IDS)-led Action for Empowerment and Accountability (A4EA) research programme’s investigation into how external actors can best support local processes of and conditions for empowerment and accountability. This report investigates the World Bank’s incorporation of CE into project design, the critical early stage of donor engagement. To accomplish this, ARC reviewed the World Bank’s fiscal year 2015–17 investment project portfolios for four A4EA priority countries, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nigeria, and Pakistan, which covers 57 projects that range from US$19 million to US$600 million. The analysis determines whether projects commit to seeking a strategic approach to CE, which involves combining multiple tactics so that the whole could be greater than the sum of the parts. This assessment of CE commitments is intended to help to inform possible national, civil society organisation strategies to monitor whether and how these commitments are actually implemented in practice. Read more in the new IDS working paper How Does the World Bank Build Citizen Engagement Commitments into Project Design? Results from Pilot Assessments in Mozambique, Myanmar, Nigeria, and Pakistan by ARC researcher Rachel Nadelman and two American University MA graduates Ha Le and Anjali Sah.

ARC at the World Bank Spring Meetings: Assessing Citizen Engagement Commitments
ARC researcher Rachel Nadelman joined colleagues from Arab Watch Coalition (Amy Ekdawi) and the World Bank (Estelle Raimondo and Sarah Keener) to discuss the status of citizen engagement in World Bank operations since the launch of the Strategic Framework for citizen engagement. The session at the 2019 Spring Meetings was well-attended by both World Bank and civil society, enabling a highly interactive dialogue among professionals looking at the critical issue from lenses inside and outside the World Bank. This gives a “360 degree view” of some of the challenges and opportunities in operationalizing citizen engagement commitments, with a vital field perspective provide by Amy Ekdawi.

ICYMI: ARC is Hiring a Researcher!

The Accountability Research Center (ARC) at the School of International Service (SIS) at American University (AU) invites applications for a full-time, non­-tenure track faculty research professor. This appointment is a renewable 12-month term position and will begin on July 1, 2019. Applicants should hold a PhD in a social science discipline or equivalent (MA/MS and ten years of professional research experience).  We are seeking researchers who study Transparency, Participation, and Accountability.  Candidates should have substantial field experience in the global South, issue/sector expertise, experience with balanced researcher-practitioner partnerships, and a diverse publication track record. To read more about the position and apply, see the job posting. We will give first consideration to applications received by May 10, 2019. However, we will consider applications until the position is filled.

Thank you again for your interest in ARC and our platform for sharing the work of our collaborators around the world. 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
Contact us:
arc@american.edu

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