Think Piece

Putting Things Into Context, Time to Rethink Social Accountability
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The field of transparency and accountability (T/A) has matured in recent years. Two decades ago reformers sought ‘magic bullets’ – solutions that would work in all countries and all sectors. Today, however, we are increasingly taking account of context. When, where, and how does a T/A intervention work?

To answer questions like this, a group of funders, civil society organizations, and researchers from around the world have formed TALEARN . This is a community and safe space in which members can ask tough questions and seek new ideas. One of TALEARN’s practice groups is currently focusing on precisely this question of context. Our underlying principle is that by understanding the context of T/A interventions we can learn how and why specific interventions do (or do not) work in different settings.

One of TALEARN’s first efforts towards this goal was a webinar on the subject of context. Its focus was a World Bank report on those contextual factors that help social accountability initiatives succeed 1. (The report was presented by Simon O’Meally, and he has summarized its findings in this blog post.) TALEARN’s virtual discussion space enabled members to talk about the study’s findings, and consider their practical implications for T/A interventions.

In this post Think Piece context webinar we present a summary of the main questions asked, and some of the answers that were offered. We also reflect on what are organizations already doing to push the field forward.

TALEARN means innovative work in a candid, collaborative style. Are you interested in joining us or following what we do? Sign up to be part of the conversation!