Getting started

Recalling the Readiness Assessment presented in MODULE 1, and after exploring tools, practices, and approaches to citizen engagement, it is now time to start shaping a feasible participatory policy. This practical section will allow SAIs and CSOs to take a closer look at the key issues that must be taken into account for developing a participatory policy.

Identifying priorities

There are two central questions you need to address in order to design a participatory initiative from scratch.

Bear in mind that there are no single answers to them, since contexts differ, and even under similar circumstances agents´ expectations most probably will be different.

Following are some possible responses to the outlined assessment questions.

What are the challenges the project aims to tackle?
  • Making SAI work known to CSOs and to the general public
  • Receiving citizens´ input to improve SAI operations
  • Increasing SAI legitimacy and recognition
  • Ensuring effective actions toward governmental compliance with audit recommendations
  • Developing a strategic alliance with civil society as a comprehensive policy that can gain buy-in from the whole institution
  • Others:
  • Getting involved in the audit process to enhance further effectiveness of SAI products toward increased government accountability
  • Making SAI knowledgeable of CSOs´ agendas and products.
  • Learning audit methodologies toward advancing improved techniques for social accountability
  • Getting input from audit reports and activities to enrich CSOs´ agendas
  • Others:
What are the possible risks to be encountered?
  • Colleagues´ reluctance to engage
  • CSOs´ lack of interest to participate
  • CSOs´ lack of capacity to effectively engage
  • CSOs´ political interests interfering with and hampering SAI work
  • Inability to mainstream citizen demand or reach CSOs´ expectations
  • Lack of resources (financial, infrastructure, staff)
  • Others:
  • Lack of support from colleagues
  • SAI reluctance to engage
  • Lack of effective commitment from the SAI to take in CSOs´ input
  • Fear of being “used” for other purposes rather than for the envisioned goals
  • Lack of resources (financial, infrastructure, staff)
  • Others:

To identify your priorities, diagnosing the context may also prove helpful…

Recalling the content discussed in MODULE 3, you need to identify the following:

  • Which engagement activities can feasibly be used, based on the existing opportunities and constraints
  • The existing strategic entry points for citizen engagement in a given context and ways to tailor interventions accordingly

The depth of this assessment will depend on available resources, the key challenges the initiative aims to address, and the strategic entry points for advancing social participation.

Source: Social Accountability E-Guide. A Step-by-Step Approach to Integrating Social Accountability into Projects, World Bank

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