citizen empowerment en #3 from 2013: Who is Listening? Who is Responding? Can Technology Innovations Empower Citizens to Affect Positive Changes in their Communities? <div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><p> <img alt="" src="" style="float:left; height:186px; width:280px" /><em><strong>Our Top Ten blog posts by readership in 2013</strong><br /> This post was originally published on August 15, 2013</em><br /><br /> It was a sunny, hot Saturday afternoon and I mingled with farmers, community leaders, coffee producers and handicrafts entrepreneurs who had traveled from all parts of Bolivia to gather at the main square of Cliza, a rural town outside of Cochabamba. The place was packed and a sense of excitement and high expectations was unfolding. It was to be anything but an ordinary market day.<br />    <br /> Thousands of people had been selected from more than 700 rural communities to showcase their products and they were waiting for a special moment. President Evo Morales, Nemesia Achocallo, Minister for Rural Development, Viviana Caro, Minister for Development Planning, and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, on his first official visit to Bolivia, would soon be meeting them.  <br /><br /> While waiting among them, I felt their excitement, listened to their life stories and was humbled by the high expectations they had in their government, their leaders and the international community to support them in reaching their aspirations for a better future for their families and communities. From many I heard the need to improve the well-being of their families and communities and their goal of “Vivir Bien!”</p> </div></div></div> Tue, 07 Jan 2014 15:17:00 +0000 Soren Gigler 6435 at Rethinking Social Accountability in Africa <div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><p> <img alt="" src="" style="float:left; height:213px; width:320px" />Mwanachi, a Swahili word that means ordinary citizen, is the name of a governance and transparency program that was funded by the UK’s Department for International Development for five years in six African countries: Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Sierra Leonne, Uganda, and Zambia. This program is the focus of a new report entitled <a href="" rel="nofollow">Rethinking Social Accountability in Africa</a> by <a href="" rel="nofollow">Fletcher Tembo</a>, who served as Director of the Mwanachi program since its launch in 2008. The report acknowledges the important role of several actors in in strengthening citizen demand for good governance, including civil society, media, elected representatives, and traditional leaders. At the same time, it challenges common notions of effective citizen-state relations that focus on a preoccupation with actors and actor categories. Instead, it argues that effective social accountability programs should focus on relationships and contextual realties that are driven by 'interlocution processes.' In other words, processes that address the complex web of incentives and actions through actors that are selected for their game changing abilities.</p> </div></div></div> Thu, 17 Oct 2013 18:07:00 +0000 Uwimana Basaninyenzi 6500 at Can States Empower Poor People? Your Thoughts Please <div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><p> <img alt="" src="" style="float:left; height:210px; width:280px" />I’m currently writing a paper on how governments can promote the empowerment of poor people. Nice and specific then. It’s ambitious/brave/bonkers depending on your point of view, and I would love some help from readers.</p> <p> First things first. This is about governments and state action. So not aid agencies, multilaterals or (blessed relief) NGOs, except as bit players. And not state-as-problem: here I’m looking at where state action has achieved positive impacts. The idea is to collect examples of success and failure in state action, as well as build some kind of overall narrative about what works, when and why.</p> <p> Here’s where I’m currently at:</p> <p> Empowerment happens when individuals and organised groups are able to imagine their world differently and to realise that vision by changing the relations of power that have been keeping them in poverty.</p> <p> The current literature suggests a neat fit with a ‘three powers’ model first proposed by our own <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Jo Rowlands</a> (I think). According to this reading, power for excluded groups and individuals can be disaggregated into three basic forms:</p> </div></div></div> Wed, 26 Jun 2013 17:47:00 +0000 Duncan Green 6384 at Aadhaar Enabled Service Delivery to the Poor in India <div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><p> <img align="left" alt="" border="0" height="240" hspace="0" src="" width="320" /></p> <p> The poor are nameless, faceless, and therefore, powerless.&nbsp; Throughout history, the act of naming is linked to power.&nbsp; In 2010, the poor of India were named.&nbsp; Aadhaar is a unique 12 digit identification number that can used to get social benefits from the Central Government and the State Government by Indian citizens.&nbsp;</p> <p> Most importantly, perhaps, direct cash benefits are supported.&nbsp; The ability of the poor to withdraw their direct cash not only empowers them, but also minimizes corruption-based leakages of entitlements from the system. Moreover, the delays in receiving the money they are entitled to will also be reduced through the use of micro ATMs.&nbsp; A micro ATM is basically a mobile phone with a fingerprint device for real time authentication.&nbsp;</div></div></div> Tue, 19 Mar 2013 18:16:00 +0000 Tanya Gupta 6273 at Time to Put Institutions at the Center of Community Driven Development (CDD)? <div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><P><IMG border=0 hspace=0 alt="" align=left src="" width=350 height=232>Community driven development (CDD) has been a key operational strategy supported by the World Bank for more than a decade – averaging about $2 billion in lending every year and now covering more than 80 countries. By emphasizing empowerment and putting resources in the direct control of community groups, CDD’s rapid spread stems from its promise of achieving inclusive and sustainable poverty reduction. Yet despite its popularity, evidence on whether these programs work still remains limited and scattered. Recently, two significant efforts have been made by the Bank to pull together the different strands of evidence there is on CDD and provide a summary picture of what we know and what we don’t (please see <A href="" target=_blank><EM>What Have Been the Impacts of World Bank Community-Driven Program?</EM></A> and <A href=",,contentMDK:23147785~pagePK:64165401~piPK:64165026~theSitePK:469382,00.html" target=_blank><EM>Localizing Development – Does Participation Work?</EM>). </A>The reviews find on the positive end that CDD-type programs, when implemented properly, do well on delivering service delivery outcomes in sectors like health and education, improve resource sustainability, and help in constructing lower cost and better quality infrastructure.</div></div></div> Wed, 19 Dec 2012 15:18:40 +0000 Janmejay Singh 6195 at Governance 2.0: Can Social Media Fueled "2.0 Web" Really Improve Governance? <div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><P><IMG height=200 alt="" src="" width=280 align=left>Web 2.0 is improving governance, with or without the help of the government in question, and irrespective of whether the country is developed or not.</P> <P>Throwing traditional wisdom to the winds, the Web 2.0 story is continuing to unfold in a way that was not predicted by researchers and experts of the development community and outside. Recently there have been more than a few examples related to the citizen-fueled proliferation of news, occurring independently of the Government, (and in some countries, even inspite of the opposition of the Government).</P> <P>From Egypt to Syria, with the very start of the situation, social networks played a role in disseminating news across the world. <A href="" target=_blank>Twitter, Facebook and blogs providing fascinating live coverage</A> of the various uprisings across the world. Citizens are managing to circumvent any attempts to block Twitter, and often flood the site with their versions of the breaking stories. All major social networking tools are in full use, with <A href="" target=_blank>Twitter leading the attack</A>. Facebook (status updates and groups), Flickr (photographs), YouTube (videos), <A href=";passive=1209600&amp;continue=;followup=;ltmpl=start#s01" target=_blank></A>, and others communicating the ongoing events. (Of course, this is if you accept that democracy and good governance are highly correlated)</P> <P></div></div></div> Wed, 28 Nov 2012 18:55:10 +0000 Tanya Gupta 6174 at “Crowd-Sourcing” the Millennium Development Goals <div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><P><IMG height=181 alt="" hspace=0 src="" width=314 align=left border=0>The open agenda took a new twist a few weeks ago when <A href="" target=_blank>Jamie Drummond</A>, the Executive Director of ONE, talked about the open agenda at <A href="" target=_blank>TEDGlobal</A>&nbsp; by suggesting that post-MDG goals be <A href="" target=_blank>“crowd-sourced,”</A> i.e., people around the world should have a say in what they think the new MDGs should be. In a recent op-ed in the <A href="" target=_blank>Globe and Mail</A>, Drummond refers to this as the “bottom-up” poverty plan and notes, “A new plan can avoid the pitfalls of past top-down approaches – if it supports a more bottom-up citizen-led strategy for sustainable development.”</div></div></div> Tue, 07 Aug 2012 14:44:26 +0000 Maya Brahmam 6062 at