Our Work

ARC works to contribute to global thinking on how to improve public accountability and build more inclusive societies. ARC partners with civil society organizations and policy reformers in the global South to contribute to research and practice in the field of transparency, participation and accountability (TPA).

A woman asking for improved drainage at Shama Junction, Ghana, during a Mid-Term review of the 2014-2017 District Medium-Term Development Plan. Credit: Susana Ewuakye, Friends of the Nation

Action Research Incubation

We believe that research, learning, and action should reinforce one another. Through extensive dialogue with partners and collaborators we develop shared agendas on how to make this happen. ARC prioritizes work with “action strategists”—the civil society thinkers and policy reformers who are directly engaged with transforming governance—to co-design exploratory research and organizational learning agendas that are directly relevant to their work. We also play a matchmaking role by connecting researchers and action-strategists.

Projects

Partnerships

Publications

Sandwich Strategy Reforms

ARC is undertaking a comparative study of whether and how sandwich strategy initiatives drive pro-accountability institutional change, in Nigeria and in the Global South more broadly. The sandwich strategy describes an effort to make government more accountable to its citizens that involves collaboration between reformers within government and citizens working to change government from the outside. ARC partners with Center for Democracy and Development in Nigeria in this project funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Colombia

ARC works closely with Colombian counterparts to incubate exploratory action research and proposals to bolster their policy monitoring capacity. The exploratory research asks questions that identify the strengths and limitations of the government’s implementation of peace process commitments. The peace accord includes numerous accountability benchmarks, which opened up opportunities for dialogue on policy monitoring for greater inclusion of indigenous and Afro-descendent actors in Colombia’s development. Collaborators include OCCDI, CONPA and Justicia Racial.

Accountability Notes

Accountability Notes are short, fresh publications focused on lessons learned. This series is designed to distill and share empirical research findings or new ideas for discussion.

World Bank Citizen Engagement

ARC is developing and piloting a methodology that investigates whether and how World Bank projects operationalize citizen engagement in project design and implementation. This line of research is intended to be relevant to national CSO counterparts, with the findings intended to inform CSO decisions about whether and how to engage with World Bank-funded “invited spaces” in government programs.

Guatemala

In Guatemala, ARC partner organization CEGSS is pursuing a wide range of creative, multimedia approaches to advancing the work of the network of defenders and community defenders for the right to health (REDC Salud). Based on their in-house research, CEGSS publishes in academic journals and support from ARC has enabled them to pursue more creative collaborations with journalists to bring the work of health rights defenders to broader public audiences in Guatemala.

Accountability Working Papers

The ARC Accountability Working Paper series allows for longer presentations of original research and/or new thinking on accountability.

Learning Exchanges

ARC co-convenes events with our partners to exchange experiences with public accountability grounded in issue-specific change agendas. These include delivering public services, such as health, education, and water, as well as cross-cutting issues, such as gender and racial equity, anti-corruption work, human rights and peacebuilding. Learning Exchanges bring together researchers, analysts, and action strategists. They create a space for sharing ideas, innovations, and perspectives between accountability researchers and issue-specific networks.

Philippines

Government Watch (G-Watch) is an action research organization working to provide an effective intellectual and civic bridge between the local, national and global arenas in the TPA field, promoting multi-directional dialogues to inform theory and practice in TPA. Having done several pioneering social accountability initiatives with its extensive network and with its independent citizen monitoring and research profile, G-Watch is well-poised to play this role deemed important in advancing a different way of doing TPA that is needed worldwide today.

Learning Exchange Reports

Following most learning exchanges, ARC co-publishes a Learning Exchange Report. This series reports key observations that emerge through dialogues between action-strategists and researchers. The documentation of insights can inform future dialogue.