By Jude Odaro
The practice of social accountability demands continued mutual working relationship between grassroots communities, local leaders, local artists and policy makers at local and national level as a mechanism for increasing access to information in order to improve public accountability.
Social accountability, therefore, remains critical in providing opportunities for open and honest dialogue between the Government and citizens for them to share information and tools that enable citizens to monitor performance in the delivery of public services proactively inform the authorities of service delivery gaps and provide practical ways to address the challenges through joint actions.
This potentially develop productive relationships and alliances between public institutions and citizens and restore citizens confidence in state institutions in championing public interest as a good governance practice.
The use of community-based monitoring and evaluation system as an accountability mechanism that empowers grassroots communities to understand the legal and institutional framework for citizen participation, public policies to enable them participate in planning, budget, implementation, monitor service delivery and hold duty bears is an important step to achieve trust and social accountability in Uganda.
The tool has been replicated by many state and none state actors as a bottom up social accountability mechanism that adapts to communities and culture. It also uses action learning approaches for community involvement in monitoring development projects and have the opportunity to build relationships with government structures through established platforms for holding policy-makers accountable.
Therefore, downward accountability can be achieved when government institutions at all levels appreciate the critical role of citizens, CSOs, media and information in order to become better advocates for good and responsive governance and committed to quality service delivery for all.
The writer works with Uganda Debt Network