CSOs worldwide come together to share their own accountability practices
Daniella Hiche and Juliette Wyss, CIVICUS AGNA
The Global Accountability Week (GAW) started as a small campaign in 2017. It raises awareness on the importance of strengthening the dynamic accountability of civil society organizations (CSOs) around the world, while also demonstrating the positive impact of a more accountable sector.
Led by CIVICUS, the GAW has evolved into a full week campaign during which CSOs and platforms including the Global Standard for CSO Accountability share experiences, good practices and success stories on how organizations are finding ways to transform their accountability, legitimacy and transparency practices with their constituents, such as staff, supporters, members, volunteers, partners, peer-organizations, target groups, governments and society at large.
The efforts shared by the organizations participating in the Global Accountability Week – big and small, located in different regions of the world, and often operating in very restrictive environments – are a powerful message that accountability practices are possible to all organizations.
In previous years, the GAW was held online and offline. Social media has been used to share information and engage participants, but local events hosted by CSOs around the globe also ensured opportunities to address the particularities of local contexts and contributed to networking and exchange opportunities. Due to COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Global Accountability Week is being held completely online, offering many forms of engagement through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts, videos and events to exchange!
CSOs worldwide understand and practice accountability in different ways. There are organizations that are more familiar with accountability, the standards and concepts related to it -in sync with the Global Standard on CSO Accountability. However, there are many organizations that implement accountability practices towards their primary target groups without calling them as such. It is also common to find organizations that implement isolated practices, but lack a framework where accountability is embedded across all their programs and actions.
The activities offered during the GAW cover basic concepts about CSO legitimacy, transparency and accountability. It also addresses more advanced topics such as the impact of COVID-19 on the importance of accountability and good practices in light of the current pandemic. Although we realize that conducting activities in only three languages – English, Spanish and French – is not sufficient to reach a global audience, the campaign is open to anyone who wants to promote an activity that can help CSOs become more accountable.
This year the campaign happens between October 12 and 16 and it is led by members of the Affinity Group of National Associations (AGNA), a network of umbrella organizations hosted by CIVICUS. Other CIVICUS teams – Resilient Roots 2.0, Impact and Accountability, Resourcing and Communications – provide logistical and technical support for the campaign.
During the week of October 12, videos and other social media resources showcase how civil society organizations have found new and creative ways to improve their own accountability, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes examples of how national associations supported their members; how they approached their donors during the crisis and challenged themselves to improve their accountability using self-assessment tools, and the findings of the Resilient Roots 1.0 project, recently published.
Some of the featured activities during the 2020 GAW include collective efforts such as AGNA’s 90 Day Accountability Challenge. During this Challenge, 8 national associations from Latin America, Africa, Europe and Asia used the Rendir App for Networks to find out about their strengths and areas for improvement in their accountability policies and practices during a 90 day period. Another AGNA activity featured during the campaign are the National Dialogues on Domestic Resource Mobilization. In this activity, 6 national associations promoted a safe space for various stakeholders – such as government entities, the private-sector, foundations, and faith-based organizations – to examine how to establish trusting relationships and effective processes to fund the civil society sector. The mobilization of domestic resources can have profound implications on how CSOs’ legitimacy and transparency is perceived by other sectors and it can be a powerful tool to strengthen dynamic accountability.
To increase the visibility of CSO legitimacy, transparency and accountability practices, the Global Accountability Week also highlights a set of resources recently made available on the AGNA LTA Platform, as well as the relationship between accountability and strategic communications and why diversity and inclusion are important aspects of accountability.
The Global Accountability Week is open to any group or organization interested in learning more about accountability and sharing its own practices, challenges and lessons learned. By joining the GAW, CSOs around the world are able to learn from each other while moving towards a meaningful accountability approach. If you would like to include your activity in the GAW activities calendar, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Daniella Hiche is CIVICUS AGNA network advisor, and Juliette Wyss serves as CIVICUS AGNA community building officer