Concept_note_on_Social_Accountability_Eng by welcomegong2


									            Program to Enhance Capacity in Social Accountability (PECSA)
                              Small Grants Program
                           Note on Social Accountability

Introduction                                          Social accountability refers to the
                                                      ability of citizens to hold the
The Program to Enhance Capacity in Social             government responsible and
Accountability (PECSA) aims to improve good           increase the effectiveness of its
governance in Cambodia. Good governance in            programs through a broad range of
                                                      actions that include: promoting
this context refers to the interaction between
                                                      access to information, monitoring of
citizens and the government and within                public services, undertaking
government departments. Through its small             mediation or alternate dispute
grants program, PECSA aims to support social          resolution, and partnering with the
accountability or projects that help the              government to improve its
government become more responsive,                    responsiveness. These actions can
transparent, and accountable. PECSA will also         help the government and citizens
support capacity building and promote                 recognize their mutual responsibility
networking among non-state actors and with the        in promoting good governance.
government. Ultimately, PECSA seeks to
contribute to Cambodia’s democratic development and effective governance of its

This background note provides guidance on the kinds of activities PECSA will fund.
Please note that the activities discussed below are illustrative and are not meant to
restrict applicants from suggesting other ideas.

Thematic Focus of PECSA Grants

PECSA aims to strengthen social accountability in the governance areas listed below.
Applicants can submit proposals relating to any of these areas.

   i.)     Strengthening the management of Cambodia’s natural resources, including,
           forests, fisheries, land, and water;
   ii.)    Increasing citizen participation to make local government and service-delivery
           more effective;
   iii.)   Strengthening the media to promote governance;
   iv.)    Strengthening the governance of the private sector by: 1) creating a better
           environment for businesses, and 2) supporting organizations working on
           labor issues; and
   v.)     Improving the governance of public finances or supporting budget and
           expenditure tracking or participatory budgeting.

Each project proposal should incorporate at least one social accountability tool.
Possible social accountability tools include: 1) promoting access to information; 2)
monitoring and research; 3) alternate dispute resolution; and 4) partnership with
government to make it more responsive. Illustrative examples of these tools are below.
Again, these examples are only meant to help generate ideas, not to restrict applicants.

Social Accountability Tools

Traditionally, citizen or non-state efforts to hold the government accountable have
included actions such as public demonstrations, protests, advocacy campaigns,
investigative journalism, and public interest lawsuits. In recent years, non-state actors
have used evidence from participatory research and other monitoring methods to
engage and negotiate successfully with the state. These include, for example,
participatory community development, participatory budgeting, public expenditure
tracking, and citizen monitoring and evaluation of public services. This section describes
some of these social accountability tools.

Promotion of information

Promoting access to information refers to the dissemination and demystification of
information that can help a target audience make more informed decisions. Under
PECSA, information campaigns should focus on one or more of the focus areas listed
above. If you are interested in this tool, you should consider your target audience and
the media resources or infrastructure available. For example, in rural areas that do not
have access to newspapers or have a low literacy rate, radio may be a more useful
medium. You can use all forms of media in your campaigns including: newspapers or
print media, radio, internet, and television. Your information campaigns should build
public participation and encourage discussion and debate. Other activities that promote
access to information include:

      Research and advocacy on a topic relevant to the community;
      Public forum or a meeting on issues of importance to a community;
      Public hearing, a formal meeting at the community level where local officials and
       citizens can exchange information;
      Development of community media, such as community radio or newsletters that
       are managed by a particular local community; or
      Development of web-sites that contain information on local budgets, the law, or
       other administrative policies, e.g. information for citizens on how to access public


Regular and systematic monitoring of the public sector by non-state actors can increase
the accountability of public institutions and promote more effective service-delivery.
Because community members are the direct beneficiaries of the service, they are often
well-placed to comment on local needs, priorities, and service provision. If you are
interested in monitoring, you should carefully consider what resources are available
before determining your activities. For example, if there is an existing network of
community organizations, you may consider working with them to monitor a particular
sector or government department. If you have qualified staff who are interested in data
collection, you may consider an activity such as citizen report cards that have been
piloted successfully in Cambodia. Citizen participation should not be made burdensome
or technical, but should build on the people’s interests and needs. Possible monitoring
activities include:

      Organizing local committees that systematically monitor service provision in a
       particular sector, such as natural resources management, education, and health
       (using existing committees when possible);
      Implementing citizen report cards, a participatory survey technique, where
       community members can rate services in one or more sectors over a period of
       time; or
      Organizing social audit or social accounting, a process to collect information on
       the resources of a particular public sector organization, e.g. local department of
       agriculture. The information is analyzed and shared publicly in a participatory


Mediation refers to creating channels of citizen feedback and informal dispute resolution
or facilitated negotiation between non-state actors and the government. A key
component of mediation is to improve communication between the community and the
government; for example, through regular public meetings. A non-state actor can also
help negotiate disputes within a community or between the community and government
by gathering the necessary information on the dispute, facilitating dialogue, and
undertaking advocacy. Before undertaking mediation, you should consult with the
government and local communities and discuss what issues require mediation. You
then may want to consider what resources or skills you will need: e.g. what information
will you need to mediate; do you have a responsible mediator available; and what
sensitive issues are likely to emerge? Activities under mediation could involve the

      Providing legal advice to citizens;
      Organizing and facilitating public meetings on key issues;
      Supporting alternate dispute resolution mechanisms; and
      Organizing a citizen jury, a group of respected community members that can be
       convened to provide policy recommendations.


The project’s ultimate goal is to help public institutions become more responsive to
citizen demand. To that end, PECSA will also support activities that will foster
partnerships with government and introduce methods of collaboration between the state
and non-state actors. These activities over time should seek to inform and influence
public policy. Possible activities include:

      Designing an advocacy program that provides regular information to the
      Promoting public participation during the community development process;
      Undertaking participatory budgeting; and
      Helping the government manage common resources, e.g. community forests.

For additional information on social accountability or PECSA’s reform areas, please
contact The Asia Foundation at or call us at: (023) 210-431.

Web Resources on Social Accountability

Cambodian Resources

Citizen report cards

Budget Monitoring

Alternate Dispute Resolution

Distant Learning Courses

The World Bank Institute’s, Community Empowerment & Social Inclusion (CESI)

Video-Session “Porto Alegre: An Interesting Example” (English/Spanish)

Seminar and Workshop Presentations
Participatory Budgeting in Brazil and Implications for Local Governance Projects

Participatory Municipal Planning & Budgeting – Country Design and Implementation

Experiences. International Conference on Local Development, The World Bank, 2004

Participatory Budgeting Workshop in Bosnia and Herzegovina, February 2005

World Bank Participation and Civic Engagement Group

World Bank Institute's Community Empowerment & Social Inclusion Learning

Community of Practice on Social Accountability (COPSA)

World Bank Public Expenditure Group (PREM)

PGU-LAC Collection of Resources on Participatory Budgeting

The Global Campaign of Governance UN-HABITAT

DFID Participatory Budgeting

Children Participatory Budgeting, UNICEF

International Budget Organization

Participatory Budgeting Project - Goethe Institute Porto Alegre

Democratic and Participatory Governance, Human Development Resource Net


To top