Social Movement: A Vital Instrument for Social Accountability in Africa

Social Movement: A Vital Instrument for Social Accountability in Africa

Social Movement: A Vital Instrument for Social Accountability in Africa

Social accountability is an approach towards building accountability that relies on civic engagement in which citizens participate directly or indirectly in demanding accountability from service providers and public officials. It usually combines information on rights and service delivery with collective action for change. It has become a tool for direct engagement with service providers to ensure that citizens get adequate services or adequate explanation when those services are not available. When social accountability mechanisms are weak, the context becomes more challenging for communities or individual citizens to play a powerful role. Also, social accountability is fundamentally and ultimately a question of power as it requires both social and political pressure to ensure that duty bearers are kept on their toes. This piece will therefore explore the tools and approaches that some African social movements used to effectively drive the social accountability agenda. The tools we are exploring here are respectively social media and creative arts, while the approaches will be based on their ways of mobilising and organising. We conclude by making some recommendations for donors, government, citizens and other stakeholders.

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