Putting Dynamic Accountability into Practice: Feedback from the RendirApp User Community

By September 13, 2021 CSO Standard, NMedia

Analia Bettoni, ICD, Uruguay

August 30, 2021

In 2018 within the framework of the Rendir Cuentas initiative, the Instituto de Comunicación y Desarrollo (ICD) developed the RendirApp with the aim of facilitating an institutional self-assessment regarding the 12 commitments of the Global Standard (GS) for CSO Accountability, geared towards helping to identify areas for improvement.

RendirApp is a comprehensive tool that seeks to include all the topics covered by the Global Standard and specially its dynamic accountability approach. The app was the result of a co-creation exercise between ICD and Transparencia por Colombia – Red ONGxT, with the support of the Latin America and Caribbean Innovation Fund and the Tides Centre. More recently, through an agreement with AGNA/CIVICUS, new developments were implemented to adapt the tool for the use of CSO networks or platforms.  The app is currently available in English, French, Spanish and Macedonian thanks to a cooperation agreement with the Balkan Civil Society Development Network (BCSDN).

When 500 self-assessment exercises from around 40 countries from all over the world were completed (which are more than 700 to date), we felt it was time to listen to those who had used the tool, to receive their feedback about possible changes or improvements and continue to enhance its usability. We thus decided to put into practice the concept of ‘dynamic accountability’ within our own work.

With this objective in mind, during April 2021 a survey was conducted among all the people and organizations that had used RendirApp, focusing on their opinion about the usefulness and relevance of the tool, as well as possible changes or improvements to be introduced to further enhance it. Based on the feedback collected, we organized two focus groups in May to generate an in-depth exchange on the suggestions and modifications for improvement, as well as to facilitate co-creation of ideas. We also took into account the evaluations and comments made by the participants of the 90-Day Challenge organized by AGNA/CIVICUS in 2020.

Organizations from 10 countries responded to the survey. Ninety-five percent felt that the RendirApp is a valuable tool for strengthening CSO accountability and that its 24 questions cover all the commitments of the Global Standard.  In terms of how this exercise has impacted organizations, one third reported that they had adopted improvement plans and a similar percentage indicated that they had implemented specific improvements. On the other hand, a quarter of all respondents did not implement changes or have no intention of doing so.Among the top proposals for improving RendirApp ranks the incorporation of an improvement plan template to help organizations identify and prioritize the changes to be implemented based on the results of the exercise. Other interesting proposals for improvement were also made, such as having an short audio-visual material that shows the different possibilities for applying the tool (as an individual, in a collective manner, by multidisciplinary teams, etc.) and its uses; including a field to enter the location of the person within the organization in the  registration form; adding accessibility options; designing a set of complementary questions aimed at gathering feedback from key stakeholders or primary constituents of an organization; sharing recommendations while also providing good practices based on set of factors such as time and resources involved, and level of difficulty.

We are currently working with the developers and technology experts to incorporate changes and we will soon be able to launch an updated version of RendirApp based on the feedback received.

We thus hope to meet expectations and continue advancing dynamic accountability!

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