Hivos International

Civil Society

The story of two tech platforms

Blog | June 1, 2017 | Keke Molebatsi

Learning visits offer a range of benefits, well beyond just taking in information and understanding the work your host is doing.

It’s more of an intellectual and physical journey that creates a common understanding, relationships forged in the fun and hardships of shared experience, commitments to new approaches, and a moment of reflection for the host on the journey travelled towards achieving (or not achieving) the objectives.

Ratings and responsiveness in South Africa: Site visits with Yowzit

Blog | June 7, 2017 | Keke Molebatsi

The main challenge that Yowzit has faced in scaling up our model of transparency and accountability has been in going beyond the traditional user base of our ratings-and-review platform. We have tried to go beyond our predominantly suburban, middle class users, who have access to connectivity, to ensure that our platform is more representative of the demographics of South Africa - by including blue collar, mostly township-based users, with limited access to connectivity.

Tech innovation hubs: A way forward towards policy engagement and co-creation

Blog | June 20, 2017 | Preston Whitt

Let’s start with the punchline from Results for Development’s MAVC-sponsored research on tech innovation hubs and policy co-creation:

"The full potential of tech innovation hubs to contribute to a more vibrant local policy ecosystem is yet to be achieved".

Understanding how to learn in Liberia

Blog | July 6, 2017 | Heather Gilberds and Blair Glencorse

In search of productive local councillor-civil society engagement in South Africa

Blog | June 29, 2017 | Evan Lieberman

Was it crazy to pursue a research project that focused on the ‘human dimension’ of politicians, at a moment when politics has become more hostile than at any other time in South Africa's democratic era?

Much of the literature on citizen accountability focuses on citizen voices. This research briefing is one of four which turn the spotlight on the how the state behaves in instances of accountable governance. Each examines a landmark social justice policy process in Africa, asking when and how the state listened, and to which actors; and why, at times, it chose not to listen.

Holding power to account requires understanding where power lies and how it is exercised. It entails understanding how decisions are made and who makes them, and the nature of entrenched, institutional obstacles to change.

With technology for development - and in particular the idea of open data - holding so much potential for better governance, how can we make sure that these new ideas are building on what we already know about how to really hold power to account?

How do marginalised communities use tech for transparency and accountability (T4T&A) work?

This research report, by the Tactical Technology Collective (Tactical Tech), presents reflections and learnings from two studies of about how marginalised communities – lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer (LGBTQ) people in Nairobi, and economically marginalised housing and urban development rights activists in Johannesburg – use technology to demand their rights and hold their governments accountable.

A new generation of strategies for government accountability is needed, one that fully considers entrenched, institutional obstacles to change. Vertical integration of coordinated civil society policy monitoring and advocacy is one such strategy. Engaging each stage and level of public sector actions in an integrated way can locate the causes of accountability failures, show their interconnected nature, and leverage the local, national and transnational power shifts necessary to produce sustainable institutional change.

A new generation of strategies for government accountability is needed, one that fully considers entrenched, institutional obstacles to change. Vertical integration of coordinated civil society policy monitoring and advocacy is one such strategy. Engaging each stage and level of public sector actions in an integrated way can locate the causes of accountability failures, show their interconnected nature, and leverage the local, national and transnational power shifts necessary to produce sustainable institutional change.

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