Hivos International


To better understand the process of finding effective digital technology tools in transparency and accountability initiatives, researchers interviewed organisations in South Africa and Kenya that had recently chosen tools to use in their work. They were asked why they had chosen a particular tool, how they chose it, and if they were happy with the results.

This report looks at the processes through which organisations in South Africa and Kenya choose technology tools to use in transparency and accountability initiatives - and how this influences the effectiveness of their work.

The research provides lessons for other organisations and practitioners working in technology for transparency and accountability initiatives.

It also helps organisations to select appropriate digital tools, and to provide an overview of successes and failures that boil down to some basic lessons we all can learn from.

This research, carried out by WaterAid, Itad and IRC, explores the factors that facilitate and inhibit the success of ICT-based reporting mechanisms in water supply sustainability.

Access to water supply around the world is increasing, but poor sustainability of water supply services remains a key barrier, particularly in rural areas. In response to this, a growing number of information and communication technology (ICT) initiatives aim to improve the monitoring and functionality of water supply.

The governance field is preoccupied with the question of how we can make democracy work better.

One of the more promising and talked-about fields in this discussion is ‘civic tech’, the smart use of online platforms and tools that better connect people with their governments. But serious questions remain about how civic tech can make change happen, and what we're learning from the explosion of projects trying to harness its tremendous potential.

T4T&A (tech for transparency and accountability) initiatives intend to make the public functioning of government visible, and states accountable to citizens for their actions. This summary presents findings and reflections from two studies of how marginalised communities use technologies commonly applied in T4T&A work, and the limits of this use. The research is intended to inform communities of practice around T4T&A initiatives: technologists, managers, donors, community-based activists and researchers.

Yowzit is a South African social enterprise that manages rating and review platforms for citizens to share their views on the quality of services provided by public and private entities. Through an innovation grant from Making All Voices Count, it developed ‘Yowzit for Governance’, a website with information on 41,102 public entities that members of the public could review.

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.

Scale shift describes the way that localised collective actions spread to become social forces with national scope, or to resonate in transnational arenas – often through the pathway of mass collective action. Understanding the issue of scale is one important aspect of making transparency and accountability initiatives more strategic. Scale shapes both the causes of accountability failure and the tactics and strategies needed to address it.

What are the possibilities of using new digital technologies alongside radio to help ensure that agricultural development projects are farmer-centred, and meet the needs of the rural citizens they intend to serve? This research assesses Farm Radio International’s Listening Post – a model that combines radio and digital technologies with the aim of collecting and aggregating farmer feedback to aid decision-making and adaptive project implementation.

Mobile health (mHealth) interventions – in which mobile phones are used to advance positive health outcomes – have only recently been applied to addressing broader questions of health governance. This report discusses research on a mobile phone app that was designed to create a coordinated platform through which rape victims could express their views on the quality of services and support offered by police and health-care workers in South Africa, in order to promote greater accountability between service providers and clients.