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Citizens play a critical role in advocating and helping to make public institutions more transparent, accountable and effective, and contributing innovative solutions to complex development challenges.

Growing evidence confirms that under the right conditions, citizen engagement can help governments achieve improved development results in creating links between citizen engagement and improved public service delivery, public financial management, governance, social inclusion and empowerment.

Evidence also shows, however, that the outcomes of citizen engagement are highly context specific and sensitive to government and citizens’ capacity and willingness to engage. Effective engagement is also affected by social, political, economic, environmental, cultural, geographic and other factors, such as gender dynamics.

Engaging citizens is especially important during times of crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, as effectiveness of response efforts can often hinge on behavior change at the micro-level. Informing and receiving feedback from citizens in real time can provide insight into how the crisis is affecting communities and enable real-time course correction in fast evolving situations, as well as post-crisis. 


The World Bank

Roma Sounding Board

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Washington, D.C.
Uwi Basaninyenzi