AMMAN, April 29, 2015 – Representatives from civil society organizations, governments, private sector and the media from the Arab world shared experiences about utilizing various tools to promote citizen engagement in their countries and discussed the role of citizens in holding governments accountable.
The two-day regional conference, Social Accountability in the Arab World: From Theory to Practice, was sponsored by the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability – Arab World (ANSA-AW) and CARE International - Egypt with funding from the World Bank.
“The World Bank is keen on promoting a healthier citizen-state relationship and complimenting its support of service delivery by state actors with support for citizens to have a greater voice in defining their needs and in monitoring and providing feedback on the quality of services they are getting”, said Sima Kanaan, World Bank Lead Social Development Specialist.
The event served as a platform for showcasing best practices and applications of social accountability tools in different contexts in Arab countries and promoting networking and knowledge exchange amongst the participants. It also highlighted lessons learnt from the ANSA Arab World’s experience since the launch of the Network in 2012. One of the cases presented focused on using community score cards to improve the quality of service delivery at the local level in Egypt. Another case highlighted using IT platforms for promoting access to information and channeling grievances to public sector providers in the Palestinian Territories. Government representatives also spoke of their efforts to engage citizens in strategic planning processes and in monitoring services.
“CARE International in Egypt will continue supporting ANSA Arab World beyond the current contract and considers it one of the most important players in the region with whom we should all engage to further strengthen social accountability practices,” said Amr Lashin, Director of the Governance Program at CARE International in Egypt.
With seed funding from the World Bank, the ANSA-Arab World was launched in 2012 with an initial membership of seven countries: Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Yemen, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco. The objective of ANSA-Arab World is to promote the understanding and application of social accountability tools to enhance development outcomes through awareness raising sessions; training on social accountability principles, tools and applications; providing grant and technical support to members interested in applying the tools on specific service delivery programs and, finally, developing resources and sharing knowledge and expertise among members and stakeholders at the regional and international levels.
The Network is supported by a World Bank grant to CARE Egypt as the facilitator of the regional body. It is part of a World Bank-supported global network for social accountability and its creation responds to regional demands for better governance and greater transparency in the Middle East and North Africa. The World Bank funding of the ANSA-Arab World will be phased out by end 2015 and efforts are underway to mobilize donor funding. It will also be registered in Lebanon as an Arab regional network.