Are we talking participation here? Starting a model

The topic of this years Civicus World Assembly is 'Accountability' and I've just been in a plenary session looking at Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and accountability.

During the session I was more and more aware that many of the ideas being explored were those I would understand as issues of participation – rather than accountability… and so I got scribbling trying to put together a model that helps me make sense of how Accountability and Participation relate to each other.

Draft Accountability---Participation Model

It's very much in draft (word version attached) – but the key intuitions are that:

  • Accountability and Participation are part of a broader process of democratisation
  • Accountability should be about the move from activity by CSOs that has the hallmarks of misconduct or bad practise – to activity that is at the least ethical and not harmful to the interests of those a CSO says it seeks to help
  • The move from ethical and non-harmful activity, to best-practise and effective activity, is a movement of participation and the tools of participation are those we should use here.

I suspect that we should be careful about 'concept creep' that overextends the concept of Accountability – as we may find ourselves taking our eyes off the key challenges in answering the linked questions (but questions that may have different answers…)

  • Who are CSOs accountable too?
  • Who should be the participants influencing and affecting CSO activity?


Attachment: Conceptual Framework.doc

One thought on “Are we talking participation here? Starting a model”

  1. I forgot to add – I’d really welcome input from others on whether this model is helpful… and contributions to identifying the problems / methods for solutions…

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