Here are some of our big takeaways from the insights and lessons learned that were shared during the first Dynamic Accountability Community of Practice ‘networkshop’, which explored themes of resilience and dynamic accountability during COVID-19 and what the future might have in store…
- Connection and collaboration has been crucial: We have come together like never before over the past 12 months as civil society organisations, collaborating in new and powerful ways to support our stakeholders and to navigate the unpredictable contexts we have found ourselves living and working in. Our shared challenges – from funding reductions to stalled programmes – have encouraged us to connect more, to strengthen our response and support to our stakeholders by pooling resources, insights and funds to maximise our impact where it is needed most.
- Prioritising wellbeing: Many of our organisations adapted and updated strategies to prioritise the wellbeing of staff – creating new committees, processes and structures to ensure support and greater resilience in times of such uncertainty and disruption.
- Going online and high tech: Our worlds have opened up online with greater digital connectivity and new technologies that have strengthened our reach. Yet this has come with challenges to our work to ensure we are not leaving our stakeholders behind who do not have access to these online spaces and technology.
- Seeking solidarity and advice: Many of our organisations have set up special internal advisory committees, to ensure programmes and priorities that pivoted to respond to the pandemic properly address the needs and experiences of our stakeholders. This has helped to enable a two way flow of information and ensure we close feedback loops, despite the sudden disruption caused to many of our programmes.
- Flexible ways of working: COVID-19 has forced most of us to adopt more flexible ways of working, especially as globally our teams and colleagues have been affected in different ways and at different times. This ‘learnt’ flexibility has helped us to pivot, adapt and respond more rapidly and effectively over the past year to our changing environments that have been impacted by the pandemic.
- Responding at a regional level: Some of our member networks have focussed more on regional collaboration, to share their experiences, challenges and generate solidarity to build strengthened collective resilience. These shared insights and connections have been particularly important as global regions have experienced the pandemic differently, requiring different responses have to address the needs of countries and communities.
- Countering the spread of misinformation: Increasing misinformation or ‘fake news’ has made it harder to ensure both we and our stakeholders have the right knowledge and evidence to take informed decisions or actions. Many governments have embraced this new misinformation culture to push their agendas and evade accountability like never before! Many of us recognise a need to unite more as a sector to tackle this growing misinformation pandemic which shows no signs of letting up.
- More intersection with the humanitarian sector: Many of our organisations a year ago would not have seen themselves as part of the humanitarian sector, however with the impact of the pandemic they have worked more closely than ever with colleagues in the humanitarian field to ensure programmes are resilient and provide the right support to our stakeholders in times of disruption and emergency.
- Opening dialogues with donors: To foster a resilient civil society sector, we need to strengthen our relationships, trust and the collaboration we have with different donors. Prioritising these dialogues will be crucial for generating better mutual understanding of what it will take to build back a more equitable, resilient and accountable world post-pandemic for our stakeholders.
- Networkshopping is a thing: Based on the positive feedback we received, the ‘networkshop’ is definitely the way to go for future events with the Dynamic Accountability Community of Practice and deserves a place in Wikipedia…
To cap off the event, we asked participants to write down the areas that they are keen to continue discussing and learning about. We are collating a list, and will soon identify and convene informal open learning groups (in different formats) to share resources and collaborate together. If you couldn’t attend and would like to express your interest in one of the potential groups, please fill out this form and we will include you in our next steps!
If you haven’t already, don’t forget to join the DACoP Google Group to receive dynamic accountability related resources and to exchange knowledge!