What’s New

“Who decides what questions get research attention?
Action strategists should have a seat at the table.”

Jonathan Fox, Director

Transparency and Accountability Strategies & Reproductive Health Delivery Systems hosted by ARC at American University in June 2016. The workshop was co-designed and co-convened with Vicky Boydell, the Evidence Project/IPPF and Sarah Shaw at the RHSC/MSI. Photo credit: ARC

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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.

Mai 2020 – Le Projet de protestation des agents de santé est une initiative de open source pour partager et stocker les rapports des manifestations des agents de santé à travers le monde – liés au coronavirus et au-delà – pour sensibiliser aux défis de la responsabilité. Compte Twitter: @HealthWorkerPro.

Maio 2020 – O Projeto protestos de trabalhadores de saúde é um projeto colaborativo de dados abertos para compartilhar e arquivar relatos de protestos de trabalhadores de saúde ao redor do mundo – relacionados ao coronavírus e além – para aumentar a conscientização sobre os desafios da prestação de contas. Conta no Twitter: @HealthWorkerPro.

Mayo 2020 – El Proyecto protesta de los trabajadores de la salud es una iniciativa de fuente abierta para compartir y recolectar reportajes sobre las protestas de los trabajadores de la salud en todo el mundo — que abarca pero no se limita al coronavirus – para promover el conocimiento de los retos en relación con la rendición de cuentas. Cuenta en Twitter:  @HealthWorkerPro

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 2020Accountability 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.

November/December 2019 – ARC newsletter for November/December 2019: Education accountability │ GPSA │ G-Watch Learning 2019 │ Accountability in Urdu. 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.

December 2019 – Following the GPSA, Naomi Hossain penned this blog for 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.

December 2019 – The Accountability Note The Women of Caltongo Who Opened the Government’s Doors: Social Accountability at the Edge of Mexico City by Daniela Rea (@DanielareaRea) with photos by Mónica González (@MonicaGIslas) was co-published with Periodistas de a Pie, Pie de Página, and ControlaTuGobierno.

November 2019 – Professors Felipe J. Hevia (@fhevia) y Samana Vergara-Lope (@svergaralope9) bring insights to educational accountability in the November 2019 ARC Working Paper published in both Spanish and English. This paper addresses the relationship between the concepts of Social Accountability and Educational Accountability.

November 2019 – ARC research professor Dr. Naomi Hossain participated in a panel on Accountability Tactics in Fragile Places during the Global Partnership for Social Accountability (GPSA) annual meeting. This session examined 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.

October 2019 – ARC newsletter for October 2019: COPASAH 2019│Pioneering Accountability Strategies in India highlights our participation in the 400+person Global Symposium on Citizenship, Governance and Accountability in Health. After the conference, we visited multiple partner organizations in Maharastra and Telangana States.

October 2019 – ARC co-sponsored the Global Symposium on Citizenship, Governance and Accountability in Health organized by Community of Practitioners on Accountability and Social Action in Health (COPASAH) in New Delhi, India from October 15-18, 2019. The convening attracted hundreds of practitioners from 40 countries. After this, an ARC delegation visited collaborators in Maharastra and Telangana states to learn more about civil society and citizen monitoring of India’s social welfare programs.

September 2019 – ARC received an 18-month grant from Open Society Foundations for independent civil society monitoring of the World Bank’s Citizen Engagement Commitments. For more, see the project announcement.

July 2019Joy Aceron, convenor-director of Government Watch (G-Watch) in the Philippines and  research fellow and advisor to ARC published How Participatory Reforms Can Enable Voice But Fall Short of Transformation on piece the International Budget Partnership Open Budgets Blog.

July 2019 – Along with Just Associates and PEKKA, ARC co-published the Bahasa Indonesia version of a working paper entitled Membangun Gerakan Untuk Akuntabilitas: Belajar dari Pengorganisasian Perempuan Indonesia (we published the English version Movement-building for Accountability: Learning from Indonesian Women’s Organizing in 2018).

June 2019 – Duncan Green’s blog PEKKA, an inspiring example of feminist activism from Indonesia focused on the lessons from the Working Paper co-produced with JASS and PEKA.

May 2019 – The International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) published a guest blog by ARC director Jonathan Fox How can a rethink of lessons from field experiments inform future research in transparency, participation and accountability? offers a reality check to inform the ‘what works’ question in the TPA field.

May 2019 – A new accountability note Setting the Stage for Increased Accountability: The White Ribbon Alliance Nigeria Campaign to Improve Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health in Niger State penned by Rachel Sullivan Robinson, Associate Professor in the School of International Service at American University and a Faculty Collaborator.

May 2019 – New case studies offering independent reviews of World Bank citizen engagement in Mozambique, Pakistan and Nigeria are published by ARC. ARC researcher Rachel Nadelman co-authored these with Ha Le, Anjali Sah, and Ian Evans.

April 2019 – ARC researcher Rachel Nadelman and two American University MA graduates Anjali Sah and Ha Le published a Working Paper through Institute of Development Studies How Does the World Bank Build Citizen Engagement Commitments into Project Design? Results from Pilot Assessments in Mozambique, Myanmar, Nigeria, and Pakistan.

April 2019 – Join our team! ARC invites applications for a full-time, non­-tenure track faculty research professor! First consideration to applications received by May 10. However, we will consider applications until the position is filled. Ideal start July 1, 2019. For full details and to apply, go to job posting.

March 2019 – Sandwich strategies for reform are tangible initiatives by state actors to create space for societal action for pro-accountability change. What do these change pathways look like, in the face of likely pushback from anti-accountability forces? ARC is looking for multiple cases of sandwich strategies in practice. To propose a case for consideration in a new ARC research study, please respond to our survey (ideally by April 30).

February 2019 – Ver el nuevo Accountability Note de ARC/Unicam-Sur, escrito por Carlos García Jiménez: Experiencias y desafíos ciudadanos para instituir la transparencia y la rendición de cuentas en gobiernos locales del sur de México.

February 2019 – ARC/Unicam-Sur Accountability Note by Carlos García Jiménez: Citizen Experiences and Challenges in Bringing Transparency and Accountability to Local Governments in Southern Mexico.

December 2018 – The first ARC publication in हिन्दी (Hindi) has arrived! From authors Samir Garg and Suchi Pande, ARC published स्थाईबदलावकेलिएसीखनेकीरणनीतिकीभूमिका (Hindi version of the Accountability Note “Learning to Sustain Change: Mitanin Community Health Workers Promote Public Accountability in India”).

November 2018 – ARC and JASS co-hosted a panel discussion on Movements, Power and Accountability: Grassroots Organizing Perspectives from Asia, Africa and Latin America. Panelists included Joy Aceron (Philippines), Paulina Culum (Guatemala), Nani Zulminarni (Indonesia) and Lucy Mazingi (Zimbabwe).

October 2018 – ARC organized a session on Investing in grassroots leadership development strategies for social accountability during the 2018 GPSA partners forum. ARC Director Jonathan Fox moderated a discussion among panelists Joy Aceron, Director, Government Watch, Philippines; Paulina Culum, Network of Community Health Rights Defenders, Guatemala; Wunna Htun, Myanmar Program Coordinator, Bank Information Center; Nani Zulminarni, Director, PEKKA, Women-Headed Households Program, Indonesia.

October 2018 – Nani Zulminarni of PEKKA documents Movement-building for Accountability: Learning from Indonesian Women’s Organizing in a new Working Paper bringing fresh and reimagined language, analysis, and strategy ideas to the transparency, participation, and accountability (TPA) field.

September 2018 – ARC advisor Fletcher Tembo and associate director Angela Bailey joined a panel on learning, reflection and adaptation at the Public Service Accountability Monitor (PSAM) 2018 Social Accountability Conference. The conference report on exploring what it takes to enhance social accountability in practice is available online.

September 2018 – ARC associate director Angela Bailey facilitated a round table discussion with accountability actors in Lilongwe, Malawi. The meeting was co-convened by UNICEF and USAID. Her report from the event is available here Round Table on Social Accountability in Malawi, September 2018: Report and Suggestions Moving Forward.

August 2018 – Samir Garg and Suchi Pande’s Learning to Sustain Change: Mitanin Community Health Workers Promote Public Accountability in India Accountability Note illustrates how the CHW program of the Chhattisgarh state government in central India— known as Mitanin—has, over time, developed a learning strategy that permits CHWs (Mitanins) to enable sustained action on public accountability, whilst simultaneously providing health services and education, and linking communities with government healthcare services.

August 2018 – ARC with Frente Indígena de Organizaciones Binacionales (FIOB), the International Mayan League, and Comunidades Indigenas en Liderazgo/Indigenous Community Leadership (CIELO) hosted indigenous interpreters and indigenous rights advocates in Washington, DC. Over 20 US-based Maya, Mixteco, Zapoteco and Nahua peoples convened to improve interpretation and advocacy skills and to address the pressing language access challenges facing indigenous people from Central America and Mexico. This exchange is informing ARC reflections about the broader issue of how the field of transparency, participation and accountability addresses language rights issues.

July/August 2018 – From July 31 to August 2, a workshop was convened in Bogota, Colombia by the Comisión Étnica para la Paz y la Defensa de los Derechos Territoriales  made up of delegates of the Organización Nacional Indígena de Colombia-ONIC, Gobierno Mayor, and Consejo Nacional de Paz Afrocolombiana-CONPA  to address the goals and priorities of indigenous and Afro-Colombian citizens in the Colombian peace process.

July 2018 – The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has awarded $500,000 to Professors Jonathan Fox (ARC Director) and Rachel Sullivan Robinson, both of American University’s School of International Service, for a multi-year project entitled “Sandwich Strategies: Comparative Analysis of Institutional Change in the Global South.”

June 2018 – Bank Information Center and ARC published How a Community-Led Response to Sexual Exploitation in Uganda Led to Systemic World Bank Reform. The Bigodi community’s 2015 request to the World Bank’s Inspection Panel, bolstered by international media coverage, led Bank management to respond both to the specific harms and to the underlying policy failures that made them possible.

May 2018 – Duncan Green’s blog What kind of Evidence Influences local officials? A great example from Guatemala highlights lessons from the February 2018 Accountability Note by Walter Flores of CEGSS.

May 2018 – ARC published La escala: Su importancia y uso en iniciativas de transparencia y rendición. Versión en español de un resumen originalmente publicado en diciembre de 2016.

May 2018 – ARC published an English summary of a Learning Exchange Report from the First Meeting of Auxiliary Watershed Organizations, convened by Controla Tu Gobierno in Mexico City in September 2017. The full report is also available en español following the same link.

April 2018 – ARC director Jonathan Fox delivered a keynote address at MySociety 2018 #TICTeC on the Political Construction of Accountability Keywords: Lessons from Action-Research. An article in the March 2018 IDS Bulletin covers the topics in more depth, arguing for a two track approach to communicate public accountability strategies: (1) searching within popular cultures to find existing terms or phrases that can be repurposed, and (2) inventing new discourses that communicate ideas about public accountability that resonate with culturally grounded common-sense understandings.

March 2018 – ARC director Jonathan Fox’s article on The political construction of accountability keywords appeared in the March 2018 IDS Bulletin. The article argues for a two track approach to communicate public accountability strategies: (1) searching within popular cultures to find existing terms or phrases that can be repurposed, and (2) inventing new discourses that communicate ideas about public accountability that resonate with culturally grounded common-sense understandings.

February 2018 – ARC’s inaugural newsletter circulated ARC Updates: February 2018.

February 2018 – Together with Center for the Study of Equity and Governance in Health Systems (CEGSS), ARC published our first dual language Accountability Note. Walter Flores, director of CEGSS, traces the lessons learned from a decade of evidence-based citizen action for health in Guatemala. Read the publication in your preferred language: Lecciones sobre acción ciudadana y rendición de cuentas en los servicios públicos de salud de Guatemala or How Can Evidence Bolster Citizen Action? Learning and Adapting for Accountable Public Health in Guatemala.

January 2018 – ARC and AMDD published the Report on the Think-in on Community Health Worker Voice, Power, and Citizens’ Right to Health. Authors Marta Schaaf, Caitlin Warthin, Amy Manning and Stephanie Topp summarize key themes emerging from a June of 2017 learning exchange among 30 researchers, health advocates, and program implementers from eight countries. Can Community Health Workers be all things to all people – extending health services and working with citizens to hold the health system accountable?

December 2017 – Francis Isaac, Danilo Carranza and Joy Aceron analyze and document long-term movement-building app
roaches to build broad constituencies for public accountability in ARC Working Paper 2 From the Ground Up: Multi-Level Accountability Politics in Land Reform in the Philippines.

December 2017 – Ghanaian action-strategist Abdulkarim Mohammed (@paakarim) authors ARC’s first Accountability Note based on his advocacy work with Oxfam Ghana and a coalition of civil society partners. Read more about Following the Money in Ghana: From the Grassroots to the Hallways of the IMF.

December 2017 – ARC director Jonathan Fox, PhD student Julia Fischer-Mackey and three ARC advisors joined the annual meeting of health rights defenders at the invitation of our ARC partner organization Center for the Study of Equity and Governance in Health Systems (CEGSS). The meeting was held in Antigua, Guatemala.

November 2017 – ARC partner OCCDI Global hosted a workshop in Colombia to explore a monitoring system for the Colombian peace accord. Taller seguimiento y monitoreo al punto 4 del acuerdo final para la terminación del conflict y la construcción de una paz estable y duradera: ”Solución de las drogas ilícitas en Colombia.” The workshop partners include Viso Mutop Corporacion and Indepaz.

November 2017 – Carnegie Endowment and ARC co-sponsored round table discussions on ‘Social and Political Action for Empowerment and Accountability: What’s Different in Context of Fragility, Conflict and Violence?’ which drew on the work of the Action for Empowerment and Accountability Research Program (A4EA). Video of the discussions is available on the Carnegie Endowment You Tube channel.

October 2017 – AU SIS associate professor Rachel Robinson presented as part of the Maryland Population Research Center Fall Seminar Series. Her talk took inspiration from research with White Ribbon Alliance “Improving Maternal Health through Social Accountability in Nigeria.”

September 2017 – As part of the A4EA international research consortium, ARC research associate Rachel Nadelman traveled to Myanmar for a field validation of the review of the World Bank Myanmar country portfolio.

September 2017 – Findings from ARCs first action-research incubation are published in Working Paper 1 Citizen Oversight and India’s Right to Work Program: What Do the Social Auditors Say? co-authored by Suchi Pande and Rakesh R. Dubuddu and co-published by ARC and Factly.

September 2017 – ARC published Learning Exchange Report 2 Citizen Action Against Corruption, a report on a workshop for Transparency International (TI) in 2016. The workshop included 17 national chapter representatives and several TI Secretariat colleagues.

September 2017 – ARC and IPPF co-publish Learning Exchange Report 1 Transparency and Accountability Strategies & Reproductive Health Delivery Systems which is co-authored by Victoria Boydell, Jonathan Fox and Sarah Shaw.

September 2017 – ARC partner Controla tu Gobierno, a public interest group, along with the Autonomous Metropolitan University of Mexico City, convened Mexico’s first national meeting of citizen-led local water management committees.

August 2017 – With support from Just Associates (JASS), Coalition of women living with HIV/AIDS (COWLHA) and MANERELA+ the Our Bodies, Our Lives movement has been working on a shared advocacy agenda on HIV in Malawi for years. ARC co-sponsored a workshop bringing 30 women activists monitoring the campaign together.

July 2017 – ARC director Jonathan Fox traveled to Brighton, United Kingdom in July 2017 to attend an event hosted by the Institute of Development Studies on ‘Unpicking Power and Politics for Transformative Change: Towards Accountability for Health Equity.’

July 2017Rachel Robinson, AU SIS associate professor traveled to Nigeria in July 2017 to begin work on a case study analyzing the environments for maternal mortality and social accountability in Niger State. This case study is a collaboration with White Ribbon AllianceNigeria (WRAN).

June 2017 – In collaboration with Columbia University’s Averting Maternal Death and Disability Program (AMDD), ARC hosted a learning exchange with a group of 30 researchers, action-strategists, and activists from around the world in Washington, DC, to discuss Community Health Worker Voice, Power, and Citizens’ Right to Health.

September 2016 – A two-day learning exchange in Berlin on Citizen Action Against Corruption September 1–2, 2016 facilitated by Accountability Research Center staff and affiliates convened members from several chapters and was rooted in the Transparency International 2020 Strategy Together Against Corruption.

June 2016 – ARC co-hosted a learning exchange at American University in Washington, D.C. The event convened over 40 practitioners and researchers to discuss potential contributions from the field of Transparency, Participation and Accountability (TPA) to the performance of reproductive health (RH) delivery systems.