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Can the Data Revolution Save Traditional Aid Agencies?

Two weeks ago, the ever-thoughtful Ruth Levine at the Hewlett Foundation called attention to a new essay by CGD’s Lant Pritchett (Can Rich Countries be Reliable Partners for National Development?

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  • We know context matters…but how?

    This blog was authored by Senior Program Officer Sam Polk and Senior Program Associate Aprille Knox.

    The relatively young field of social accountability (SAc) has boomed in recent years. Conferences have proliferated, research has expanded, and important global actors like the World Bank have thrown their heft behind the concept. All of this hubbub reflects a powerful basic insight: civil society voices and action are an absolutely critical ingredient in the effort to improve government services.

    Designing social accountability differently

    There is a dirty little secret in transparency and accountability circles: 

    Some percentage of social accountability interventions fail.  

    We don’t know what that percentage is (which is a different problem for a different post).  But anyone working on social accountability can find a few cases – maybe even some from their own work – that just did not do what they were supposed to do.  

    Citizens did not participate.  Advocacy or collaborative engagement did not happen.  Services did not improve.  

    Should We Re-Imagine the Open Government Movement as a “Network Forum”?

    I’ve been recently making my way through a mind-blowing book that traces the intellectual history of contemporary techno-utopianism back to the World War II military-industrial complex and counterculture movements: From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, The World Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism by Fred Turner. It’s an absurdly interesting history of how we ended up at today’s personal “digital empowerment” movement.

    Global and Asian Perspectives on the Post-2015 Discussion

    This post originally appeared on NORRAG Newsbite and was authored by Shoko Yamada, Associate Professor at the Graduate School of International Development, Nagoya University in Japan.

    The Social Accountability Atlas: An Origin Story

    We began with a really simple problem.

    We at R4D had worked intensively for several years with civil society organizations (CSOs) all over the world on social accountability (SAc) projects. Each one of these projects produced fantastically rich information about pressing problems, whether maternal health in Uganda, education in Guatemala, or others from around the world. Our partners regularly shared their triumphs and struggles in person with one another.

    Are “Grand Challenges” Kryptonite for Innovative Ideas in Development?

    Nathaniel Heller is a Managing Director at R4D, focusing on governance and social accountability. For the last ten years, Nathaniel led Global Integrity, a non-profit organization that promotes greater transparency and accountability in governments worldwide through high-quality research, cutting-edge technology, and innovative policy insights. Nathaniel was recently appointed as a civil society steering committee member of the Open Government Partnership.

    Ensuring An Equitable Universal Health Coverage Agenda Starts With Political Commitment

    This post originally appeared on the Joint Learning Network blog. It is authored by Suneeta Sharma, PhD, Director, Health Policy Project, Futures Group and Sarah Alkenbrack, PhD, Senior Health Economist, Health Policy Project, Futures Group.