The Accountability Lab is making governance work efficiently for the public by supporting active citizens, responsible leaders, and accountable institutions. There have been various approaches around the world to build accountability especially by “naming and shaming” or “finger-pointing” the power-holders. This process has mostly led to an environment of negativity and distrust between different stakeholders. Realizing this, the Accountability Lab is using positive mechanisms and processes for accountability shifting norms to “naming and faming” and building a culture of feedback among stakeholders which ultimately builds trust and an environment conducive to collaboration between citizens, government and other stakeholders.

In Nepal, one of our programs named the Civic Action Team, or CivAcTs previously known as Citizen Helpdesks, has promoted a culture of feedback on issues related to accountability in disaster relief processes, foreign labor migration, and open government through fiscal transparency across 17 districts. The CivAcTs are pioneering citizen feedback, dialogue, and community voice platform which bridges the gap between local community members and power holders creating an enabling environment for collaboration by building trust between them. The CivAcTs is facilitated with minimal outside intervention by trained dedicated group of volunteers, who are active youth from the diverse sectors in the community. Data is gathered by trusted community members called Community Frontline Associates (CFAs), analyzed by the Accountability Lab, and disseminated back to the community in creative in useful ways such as infographics and via local radio stations. Additionally, this feedback is fed up to power holders to amplify communities’ voices in decision-making from the ward to national level. A final step in closing the feedback loop through convening – bringing together communities and local government in facilitated town hall meetings to discuss findings, validate data and co-create solutions to challenges.

More than 1500 migrant workers go to the Gulf and Malaysia daily from Nepal. Migrant laborers are vulnerable to exploitation, and support services for them and their families are centralized and often inaccessible. Additionally, returnees often need support to re-establish themselves in the local labor force, or to start their own small ventures. After Nepal’s decentralization process and local elections, CivAcTs has supported communities to create feedback and grievance redressal mechanisms for migrant workers at the local level. This blog highlights three key learnings and impact from experiences of bridging the citizen-government gap through CivAcTs particularly, particularly around foreign labor migration.

Read the full article about accountability through feedback by Soni Khanal at FeedbackLabs.