What’s New 2020

December 2020 – ARC researcher Naomi Hossain and acclaimed photographer Ismail Ferdous collaborated on a powerful new ARC Working Paper Picturing Accountability: What We Learned from the Photography of the Rana Plaza Disaster. This essay examines the role of photography in creating visual evidence in support of struggles for accountability. It draws on one photojournalist’s experience of photographing one of the worst indus­trial accidents in world history, the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh in 2013, as well as its aftermath in the lives of those affected.

October/November 2020 – ARC’s October-November 2020 newsletter highlights the Bhilwara Framework, first framed by Dalit activists fighting discrimination and structural injustice in India. A new World Development article on Covid-19 in Bangladesh, based on on-going research collaboration including ARC’s Naomi Hossain. Updated information on Health Worker protests around the world, and a link to Jennifer Johnson’s blog. ARC director Jonathan Fox and researcher Suchi Pande engaged in a 3-day national seminar and workshop on social audits in India. The newsletter offers a glimpse of Colombia’s National Accountability Day.

October 2020 – The COVID-19 pandemic has put unprecedented strain on health care systems around the world. Frontline health workers have faced great risks, from lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) to discrimination and harassment. Some face repercussions for whistleblowing or walkouts. This evolving situation has given rise to a new wave of hundreds of innovative protests and proposals from health workers on the frontlines. For more, read Jennifer Johnson’s October 20 blog Voices from the pandemic frontlines: Health worker protests and proposals from 84 countries. This analysis has grown from the ARC @HealthWorkerPro pilot project.

October 2020 – Launch of new ARC publication From Peoples’ Struggles to Public Policy: The Institutionalization of the Bhilwara Framework of Social Accountability in India. This Accountability Note by @RakshitaSwamy88 explores origins and impacts of the Bhilwara Framework of Social Accountability. Aruna Roy notes in her preface, the Bhilwara Principles focus “on empowering some of the most vulnerable in India to establish a more equal and just relationship with power.”

August/September 2020 – This ARC newsletter covers Health Worker Protest Project updates, new resources on citizen engagement in supreme audit institutions in Latin America (with working papers and links to an international symposium held in Mexico), accountability for social protection in India and the Philippines, as well as a blog on rethinking MSIs by ARCs’ new visiting scholar Judy Gearhart, an award winning international human and labor rights activist.

September 2020 – ARC visiting scholar Judy Gearhart’s blog Rethinking MSIs: MSIs and the Search to Cure the Global Governance Gap reflects on the limitations on Multi-stakeholder Initiatives (MSI) and highlights different models for advancing worker rights: MSIs’ failure to address the power imbalance between rights holders and Multi-national Corporations (MNCs) has fueled growing demands for Worker-driven Social Responsibility (WSR) or enforceable brand agreements (EBAs)—models that are in effect new forms of collective bargaining designed to negotiate a contractual agreement between global brands and workers in their supply chain.

August 2020 – A new working paper by Marcos Mendiburu provides an overview of citizen participation in external auditing in Latin America over the last two decades. This comprehensive review finds the scope of citizen participation in oversight in the audit cycle often emphasizes mechanisms for citizen complaints, with limited citizen involvement in executing audits and following up on the findings and recommendations issued by Supreme Audit Institutions. Citizen Participation in Latin America’s Supreme Audit Institutions: Progress or Impasse? is available in both English and Spanish.

August 2020 – From Poverty to Power blog post Making COVID Social Protection Accountable to India’s Vulnerable Citizens by ARC researcher Dr. Suchi Pande (@ihcus7) discusses two development policies that sound technical, but which are really important. Social protection is the set of services that help protect people against economic shocks or disasters, and from the ups-and-downs all people face in their life-cycle.

June/July 2020 – The ARC newsletter features COVID-19 work in the Philippines, Guatemala, and Bangladesh in addition to ARC’s learning pilot on Health Worker Protests and Proposals. Two pieces of anti-racist work featured are ARC director Jonathan Fox’s webinar on TPA lens on police power and the independent Afro-Colombian monitoring of the implementation of Colombia’s peace agreement. Three new publications – the 30-year anthology of MKSS’ right to information work in India, reversing accountability in the Philippines, and bottom-up monitoring of health system in India. We also highlight the ongoing work of allies in Colombia and Mexico.

May 2020 – The ARC newsletter features the Health Worker Protest Pilot project, four new publications (including two scholarly journal articles), several pieces focused on COVID-19, and an overview partners monitoring the World Bank citizen engagement practices in 12 countries in Africa, Latin America, and Asia.

May 2020 – The May 2020 Journal of Peasant Studies elevates grassroots voices from Guatemala. Read the full article Rural public health systems and accountability politics: insights from grassroots health rights defenders in Guatemala, which includes a preface on “Framing struggles for rural health rights” by Jonathan Fox.

May 2020 – The Health Worker Protest Project is an open-source initiative to share and store reports of health worker protests around the world— coronavirus-related and beyond— to raise awareness of accountability challenges. Twitter account: @HealthWorkerPro.

mayo 2020 – Accountability Note basada en entrevistas presenta el trabajo de dos líderes mayas tz’utujil: Benilda Batzin (CGESS) y Paulina Culum (REDC-Salud). Aprenda más de su trabajo estratégico en Defendiendo el derecho a la salud en Guatemala: Reflexiones de dos indígenas de primera línea.

April 2020 – New short article – Is the World Bank listening to the citizens it serves? – is based on World Bank Citizen Engagement research by ARC’s Rachel Nadelman with the Action for Empowerment and Accountability @A4EA_Research initiative of IDS.

April 2020 – ARC newsletter for April 2020 includes analytical work on government response to COVID in the Philippines, new research on COVID-19 in Bangladesh, a new Accountability Note on health rights defenders in Guatemala, a new working paper on scale in donor-led accountability in contexts of fragility, conflict and violence.

April 2020 – This April 2020 interview-based Accountability Note features the work of two Maya Tz’utujil leaders: Benilda Batzin (CGESS) and Paulina Culum (REDC-Salud). Learn more from their strategic work in Defending the Right to Health in Guatemala: Reflections of Two Indigenous Women on the Frontlines.

April 2020 – New working paper from A4EA, IDS and ARC co-authored by Colin Anderson, Jonathan Fox, and John Gaventa: How Do Donor-led Empowerment and Accountability Activities Take Scale into Account? Evidence from DFID Programmes in Contexts of Fragility, Conflict and Violence.

April 2020 – ARC’s Naomi Hossain, also a research fellow at IDS penned this blog Fear of a fragile planet reviewing “big picture” issues further churned up by the COVID-19 crisis.

April 2020 – Joy Aceron of G-Watch published this [ANALYSIS] Challenges facing social amelioration for the coronavirus in Rappler highlighting the need for independent citizen accountability efforts of targeting and delivery of entitlements.

March 2020 – ARC newsletter for March 2020: Solidarity, Vigilance and Action on COVID-19 includes a message of solidarity, and highlights work of partners including G-Watch in the Philippines, CDD in Nigeria, SATHI in India, the COPASAH network and coalitions of civil society actors in India, plus two new publications.

March 2020 – Institute for Development Studies published ARC researcher Rachel Nadelman’s 4-page policy brief How Do World Bank Projects Commit to Citizen Engagement? Para la versión en español, vea ¿Cómo se comprometen los proyectos del Banco Mundial con la participación ciudadana?

March 2020 – Joy Aceron and Victoria Maglanque of G-Watch leveraged on-going research on the “sin tax” in the Philippines to dissect the preparation and response to COVID-19 [ANALYSIS] Amid the coronavirus crisis, where have all the sin tax funds gone? published on Rappler.

February 2020 – ARC newsletter for February 2020: La construcción de palabras clave │Tendler Network│Afro-Colombian Voices for Peace highlights a new Spanish version of Jonathan Fox’s Political Construction of Accountability Keywords.

February 2020 – Based on a research collaboration with ARC, SATHI produced their first Research Brief on the impact of the Community Based Monitoring and Planning process in the state of Maharashtra.

January 2020 – ARC newsletter for January 2020: Women-led accountability in Mexico City │ Independent monitoring of World Bank Citizen Engagement│ Our Colombia work. New publications and an overview of our collaborations in Colombia.