Social Accountability Atlas

The Challenge

Billions of people throughout the developing world lack access to quality basic services like health, education, and water and sanitation. Social Accountability (SAc) approaches – efforts to hold public officials and service providers accountable for meeting their obligations – have the potential to fix these problems by ensuring that people have access to high quality and appropriate health care, education, clean water, and other essential services.

However, too often, SAc efforts fall short. Despite the proliferation of civil society-led SAc projects in recent years, opportunities to bring successful interventions to scale have been missed, and the quality and effectiveness of SAc work has been uneven. SAc practitioners point to varied sources of these challenges, including a lack of high-quality resources appropriately tailored to civil society organization (CSO) needs and capacity, ad hoc knowledge-sharing, and a failure to capture and share lessons learned from experiences with SAc projects.

The Opportunity

By systematically mapping SAc projects and making information about these efforts easily accessible to a wide audience, more strategic coordination and learning among practitioners becomes possible. These activities, in turn, can facilitate more tailored and appropriate SAc approaches that lead to improvements in service delivery and, ultimately, better development outcomes.

Our Work

R4D, with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), established the Social Accountability Atlas in 2014 to improve development outcomes by driving an increase in the quantity and effectiveness of civil society-led SAc work. The Atlas pursues this goal by providing an accessible, credible source of information on actual SAc interventions. It is designed to facilitate knowledge sharing and collaboration among CSOs, funders, researchers and policymakers.

Users visiting the site can easily:

  • Identify relevant projects based on tailored search criteria,
  • Learn from existing experience, and
  • Connect with the people who led those efforts.

The Atlas builds off the successes of the Center for Health Market Innovations (CHMI) and the Center for Education Innovations (CEI). The site’s development also incorporates lessons from transparency and accountability knowledge platforms and is unique in its objective to provide case studies of existing SAc work on a global scale. Unlike other resources in the field, case studies on the Atlas have a concise set of standardized and searchable information to facilitate easy access to pertinent information and comparison across case studies, while providing a quick snapshot of who is doing what, and where.

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About USAID: The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is an independent federal agency that provides economic, development, and humanitarian assistance around the world in support of the foreign policy goals of the United States. Since 1961 USAID has been the principal U.S. agency to extend assistance to countries recovering from disaster, trying to escape poverty, and engaging in democratic reforms.

Global & Regional Initiatives

R4D is a globally recognized leader for designing initiatives that connect implementers, experts and funders across countries to build knowledge and get that knowledge into practice.