Updates from the Ground: Liberia, Nepal & Pakistan
Last Friday, we invited our supporters around the world to join a call with Accountability Lab’s three country directors: Lawrence Yealue in Liberia, Fayyaz Yaseen in Pakistan, and Narayan Adhikari in Nepal. They each shared updates on how they’re catalyzing a new generation of active citizens and responsible leaders in their respective contexts. Read the short summaries below to learn about the state of accountability in each country and how the Lab is addressing it.
Since Accountability Lab Liberia was set up in 2012, it has supported five accountapreneurs to address the country’s deep-set accountability problems. The accountapreneurs’ programs adapted to help address the worst Ebola outbreak in history (which continues to present new cases this month). For example, Accountability Film School developed a mobile cinema that traveled across the country sharing life-saving information on the role that citizens must play in preventing the spread of Ebola and overcoming the stigma of its survivors.
In addition, our team has been working with government ministries to develop the Open Government Partnership agenda and transform open government data into artwork and songs that the public can understand.
As Liberian elections approach, our Integrity Idol is helping people gain confidence in the ability of government to make a difference–thus combating voter apathy. Next year, Accountability Lab Liberia also hopes to bring new ideas for reforming the media sector through the incubator, and setting up an OpenGov Hub in Liberia.
Also founded in 2012, Accountability Lab Nepal, has grown to a team of 10 staff members and 120 volunteers. Nepalis often find government difficult to navigate and the Lab has supported a Nepali wiki to help citizens learn how to access public services, and set up the OpenGov Hub in Kathmandu to build an ecosystem for accountability.
The two massive earthquakes that hit Nepal in Spring 2015 brought further social, economic and political challenges to the country. The Lab immediately mobilized volunteers to gather citizen feedback on the earthquake response through the Mobile Citizen Helpdesk.
Currently, the Nepali community is wrapped up in the Lab’s Integrity Idol campaign, a movement and TV show to identify and celebrate honest government officials. This creates a self-reinforcing cycle of reform through “naming and faming”. We continue to hope for the establishment of local elections in Nepal to lay the groundwork for greater government accountability.
Accountability Lab Pakistan was founded this year, amidst a context of weak governance and insecurity. Despite the closing civic space, the Lab recently received its registration as a local organization, and has been given enough room to carry out all its activities.
It was selected as a winner of the Making All Voices Count competition, and is training and deploying accountability ambassadors in Rawalpindi to bridge the communication gap between citizens and their political leaders. They are also working to engage Islamabad’s private sector to get involved in relevant accountability issues.