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Why local realities matter for Citizens’ Voice and Accountability

Publisher: Institut Veolia Document available online on:


This is about an action research study of the citizen voice and accountability implemented by the Mwananchi Governance and Transparency Fund Program in Uganda. The three piloted governance innovations, which include the Bataka informal justice model, child education monitors and the Village Budget Clubs, were tested for five years. As a result of these mechanisms, service delivery institutions have responded better to community priority needs in agriculture, education and justice thematic areas. Community participation has been enhanced and citizens have been empowered to use the given accountability spaces. In discussions, petitions, community radio and by means of their representatives, they now demand accountability. In Kibaale District, the panel of elders have made it possible for community members to litigate civil and referred criminal cases in formal courts. The process has eased the formal courts’ workload, delays and or a lack of justice. The three initiatives demonstrated that having a voice and accountability is possible if the initiative works within the local realities or locally-based processes that locals know and appreciate. In that way, the members of the community collectively participate in and direct their own development in what is referred to as a ‘best fit’.