Unlocking Solutions - R4D's Blog

Family Planning and Social Accountability: Fail (and Learn) Fast

This is the second in a series of posts about the intersection of family planning issues and social accountability. For the first, please click here.

Family Planning and Social Accountability – in the Eye of the Beholder?

One of the most exciting changes in the evolving social accountability field is that people and organizations from other fields – people who until recently never thought about social accountability - are starting to talk about it. And not just talk: they are beginning to see its potential value in improving health and education - goals that for decades have not been seen as “governance issues.”

Answering the easy questions about social accountability

In a recent post I outlined the genesis of the Social Accountability Atlas. We started with a simple problem: Civil society organizations (CSOs) designing and implementing Social Accountability (SAc) efforts often did so without the benefit of the knowledge and lessons emerging from past such efforts. So we set out to create something that made just that type of information available. 

Overcoming Obstacles to Social Accountability Learning and Impact

Few people argue with social accountability’s objective of empowering citizens and making governments more responsive to their needs. In practice, however, social accountability efforts fail more often than we’d like to admit.

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?

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.

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.