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Citizen Activism; citizen engagement

Social Accountability, the ‘New Normal’ in achieving development

Mario Marcel's picture

Global Partnership for Social Accountability Award goes to Ibrahim-Tanko Amidu

Program Manager of STAR-Ghana, Ibrahim-Tanko Amidu presented with "Global Partnership
for Social Accountability Award” for the Africa Region by Sanjay Pradhan of the World Bank.


I recently had the honor of opening the Global Partnership for Social Accountability’s (GPSA) second annual Global Partners Forum in Washington, D.C.

This was the first year I participated in this event in my role as senior director for the Governance Global Practice, and what immediately struck me was the strength and vibrancy of the GPSA network.  In the room that day we listened and engaged with over 200 GPSA partners including key stakeholders from government, academia, business and civil society. Together they represented 75 countries all coming together to discuss a passion for one issue: social accountability.

Social accountability may seem to be just a buzzword, but it is truly the “new normal” in development. Let me explain why.

Six reasons to do Citizen Engagement

Mario Marcel's picture
 Chhor Sokunthea / World Bank
Kampong Thom Province, Cambodia. Photo: Chhor Sokunthea / World Bank


Two weeks ago, we launched an exciting new Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Citizen Engagement hosted on Coursera and in partnership with the London School of Economics, the Overseas Development Institute, Participedia, and CIVICUS.

To date, over 15,000 people from 192 countries (45% women) have enrolled in the course and our digital footprint continues to be strong:  the launch event page has had over 2,500 unique visitors while many continue to use the hashtag #CitizensEngage on Twitter.
 
These healthy metrics are a strong indication of just how timely and significant this issue has become and is the latest reason why I firmly believe in the power of engaging citizens to build good governance. This MOOC therefore is a key component of the World Bank Group’s commitment to develop a citizen perspective on governance to improve the contribution of institutions to development.
 
Too often citizen engagement is seen with suspicion, skepticism or fear by policymakers. Yet let me offer six compelling reasons why it is necessary, feasible and useful to do it: