www.buseco.monash.edu

Giving voice to development
beneficiaries: the role of downward
accountability
Susan O’Leary
Monash...
www.buseco.monash.edu

Motivation
o Participation, Empowerment, Rights
o Re-orients accountability relationships and
mecha...
www.buseco.monash.edu

Giving voice to the beneficiary

o Desire, mindset and capability to embrace
empowering potential o...
www.buseco.monash.edu

Variations in how communities use and derive
benefit from different types of accountability
mechani...
www.buseco.monash.edu

Power
‘Presumably, if we want to see people empowered we
consider them to be currently disempowered...
www.buseco.monash.edu

Research Focus
What conditions are necessary to ensure that NGO
beneficiaries reap the empowering p...
www.buseco.monash.edu

Clarissa Hayward – “Power de-faced” (1998)
Conceptualising power - important starting point
in anal...
www.buseco.monash.edu

Research Methods

o Two case studies of development NGOs in India
o Women’s empowerment programme
R...
www.buseco.monash.edu

Findings - overview
Conceptualisation of power
Underlying reasons for disempowerment
Attitudes towa...
www.buseco.monash.edu

Governance & communication
Community
Governance

•
•
•
•

Communication

•

Rural - Life
Hierarchic...
www.buseco.monash.edu

Planning & Implementation
•
Planning
•
•
Implementation

•

Rural - Life
Undertaken by
NGO
Technica...
www.buseco.monash.edu

Monitoring & Evaluation
Rural - Life
Unison
• Ensure adherence to • Compilation of data on
What?
ru...
www.buseco.monash.edu

Empowerment outcomes

Rural Life

Unison

• Perpetuation of a dependency on external help
• Restric...
www.buseco.monash.edu

Conclusion
o Simply providing opportunities for participation
is insufficient
o A propensity to par...
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Susan O'Leary- Giving voice to development beneficiaries

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Susan O'Leary- Giving voice to development beneficiaries

  1. 1. www.buseco.monash.edu Giving voice to development beneficiaries: the role of downward accountability Susan O’Leary Monash University
  2. 2. www.buseco.monash.edu Motivation o Participation, Empowerment, Rights o Re-orients accountability relationships and mechanisms o Impact on planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation
  3. 3. www.buseco.monash.edu Giving voice to the beneficiary o Desire, mindset and capability to embrace empowering potential of downward accountability? o Mechanisms to actively encourage and capacitate local communities
  4. 4. www.buseco.monash.edu Variations in how communities use and derive benefit from different types of accountability mechanisms
  5. 5. www.buseco.monash.edu Power ‘Presumably, if we want to see people empowered we consider them to be currently disempowered i.e. disadvantaged by the way power relations presently shape their choices, opportunity and well-being. If this is what we mean then we would benefit from being better informed about the debates which have shaped and refined the concept of power and its operation’. - Mosedale (2005)
  6. 6. www.buseco.monash.edu Research Focus What conditions are necessary to ensure that NGO beneficiaries reap the empowering potential of downward accountability mechanisms? • What role does power play in their design and use?
  7. 7. www.buseco.monash.edu Clarissa Hayward – “Power de-faced” (1998) Conceptualising power - important starting point in analysing empowerment outcomes Power-with-a-face agency Power de-faced networks
  8. 8. www.buseco.monash.edu Research Methods o Two case studies of development NGOs in India o Women’s empowerment programme Rural Life Unison
  9. 9. www.buseco.monash.edu Findings - overview Conceptualisation of power Underlying reasons for disempowerment Attitudes towards beneficiary capabilities Downward accountability mechanisms and controls Empowerment and development outcomes
  10. 10. www.buseco.monash.edu Governance & communication Community Governance • • • • Communication • Rural - Life Hierarchical Structured Inflexible NGO and experts Factual information Unison • Overlapping • Collaborative • Led by community • Purpose of plans are clearly explained
  11. 11. www.buseco.monash.edu Planning & Implementation • Planning • • Implementation • Rural - Life Undertaken by NGO Technical planning Emphasis on rules and discipline Rewards and punishments • • • • • Unison Co-produced with community Critical confrontation of societal issues Continuous needs assessment Advocacy Flexibility
  12. 12. www.buseco.monash.edu Monitoring & Evaluation Rural - Life Unison • Ensure adherence to • Compilation of data on What? rules societal issues • To highlight failures • To identify societal issues Why? and reward discipline and plan activities accordingly • Specific people • Compiled by all participants Who? designated as rule enforcers
  13. 13. www.buseco.monash.edu Empowerment outcomes Rural Life Unison • Perpetuation of a dependency on external help • Restriction of analytic ability for self-development • Societal roles are not challenged • Communities become knowledgeable and competent participants • Reliance on external help reduced • Re-configuration of thought patterns and societal roles
  14. 14. www.buseco.monash.edu Conclusion o Simply providing opportunities for participation is insufficient o A propensity to participate is shaped by power relations o Reasons for disempowerment need to be critically analysed and addressed

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