The Accountability Lab: What is Accountability, Really?
By: Roxanne Bauer. This post was originally published on the World Bank’s People, Spaces Deliberation blog.
“We need clean water, education and medicines- all of these things” points out Bendu as we talk to her one oppressively hot day in West Point, a township of Monrovia, Liberia. “But we really care about corruption” she adds: “and the law- without these our other problems cannot be fixed”.
Citizens around the world know that these accountability problems are at the heart of development, security and equality. But often their voices are not heard and they do not have the tools to change the status quo. The Accountability Lab works with citizens like Bendu to generate innovative ideas for integrity and make people with power more responsible for the issues they face in their everyday lives. The team provides training, mentorship, networks, management support and seed funding to take these ideas from conception to reality to sustainability.
Blair Glencorse is Executive Director of the Accountability Lab. In this video he discusses the nature of accountability and provides optimism for making it a reality.
Over the past two years the Lab has worked with these “accountapreneurs” to do everything from set up pioneering accountability film schools across two countries; to crowd-sourcing information on public services through a portal that has been accessed over 250,000 times; to using soccer as a way to engage hundreds of young people around issues of corruption. Recently, the Lab set up the first co-working community space for transparency, accountability and open government in South Asia. The emphasis is on low-cost, high-impact tools for change that can be scaled-up and replicated around the world.
Recent impact reports show that it’s working- by creating real pathways for change and engaging a new generation of citizens in a movement for integrity, personal responsibility and accountability. This work is not easy and takes time, but as Bendu points out: “We’ve had a difficult past- we are willing to work for as long as it takes for a better future.”