Reflecting on the impact of Primary Constituent Accountability

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Climate Watch Thailand 1The first Resilient Roots case study illustrated the three dimensions of primary constituent accountability (PCA) - giving, taking, and holding to account, through examples from our national partners. The second case study distinguished between organisations that are primarily service delivery or advocacy focused, and examined the implications these differing approaches have on PCA mechanisms. The third case study explored the various common challenges that national partner organisations faced when implementing their PCA mechanisms.

This final case study examines the broader impact of PCA approaches within national partner organisations, moving beyond their pilot projects to highlight their influence on wider programmatic, operational and strategic matters.

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Constituent Accountability Mechanisms in Practice

To illustrate what primary constituent accountability mechanisms actually look like in practice, we have produced a series of infographics outlining some of the real-life examples that our Resilient Roots national partners have developed. Each infographic provides some key context about the organisation, before explaining their specific constituent-related needs, the process by which the mechanism works, and the impact it has had so far.

 

10 tips to “course correct” your accountability feedback mechanism

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Resilient Roots: Conquering the feedback loop - Part 5 of 5: “Course Correct”

By Isabelle Büchner et Belén Giaquinta (CIVICUS)

Blog 5 EN infographic

This five-part blog series tries to break down this process as much as possible, to move beyond theoretical discussions about how to shift power within the civil society sector and offer practical solutions for how to change organisational culture through feedback. In the final step of the feedback loop, which we call “course correction”, we capitalise on the learnings of the feedback process we followed, and use this knowledge to inform changes in the structures and strategic direction of our organisations (and the feedback process itself). The following 10 tips will break down how to approach this crucial process, to foster culture change and truly put your primary constituents in the driver’s seat of your work.

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Common challenges with implementing primary constituent accountability

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Case study 3 RRThe Resilient Roots (RR) initiative examines whether organisations who are accountable to their primary constituents, that is, the individuals and communities they support and serve, are better able to withstand external threats related to closing civic space.

The first case study looked at three dimensions of accountability (giving, taking, and holding to account) and provided examples from the Resilient Roots cohort of pilot partners for each one. The second case study distinguished between organisations that are primarily service delivery focused and those who are more advocacy focused to examine some of the implications these differing approaches may have on primary constituent accountability (PCA) mechanisms. This case study examines the various common challenges that pilot partner organisations faced in the implementation of their PCA mechanisms.

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10 tips to ensure a meaningful dialogue with your primary constituents

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Resilient Roots: conquering the feedback loop - Part 4 of 5: “Dialogue”

By Isabelle Büchner and Belén Giaquinta (CIVICUS)

Blig en info final

By now, you have designed your accountability feedback mechanism, and you have collected and analysed the feedback from your primary constituents. Now it is time for perhaps the most important part of building trust with your primary constituents: meaningful dialogue.

Meaningful dialogue means going back to the people who gave you feedback and discussing the questions, findings, and responses together. This can happen in a number of ways that do not necessarily involve an in-person conversation. Below we list several examples of how Resilient Roots partners have done this. The dialogue step allows your primary constituents to directly inform the decisions and changes you make in response to the feedback you received, and like so “close the feedback loop”.

In this blog post we want to share common challenges you may encounter during dialogues with your primary constituents, and 10 tips for how to make this process more rewarding.

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Primary constituent accountability in service delivery versus advocacy focused organisations

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case study 2 RRThe first case study looked at three dimensions of accountability (giving, taking, and holding to account) and provided examples of how different Resilient Roots partners navigate and practice each dimension. While there are some common threads regarding both the design and implementation of different primary constituent accountability (PCA)1 mechanisms, there are many factors that can influence how they operate. These range from an organisation’s mission to the context in which it operates, who its primary constituents are, and its capacity to respond to feedback received. This case study focuses on the approach and activities of an organisation - distinguishing between organisations that are primarily service delivery focused and those who are more advocacy focused and examines some of the implications these different approaches may have on PCA and PCA mechanisms.

For both, it is important to design PCA mechanisms that can utilise and build upon existing touch-points between organisations and their primary constituents

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10 tips to analyse feedback from your primary constituents

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Resilient Roots: conquering the feedback loop - Part 3 of 5: “Analysis”

By Isabelle Büchner and Belén Giaquinta (CIVICUS)

RR blog3 Analyse

In the first blog post of this series we shared 10 steps to design your accountability feedback mechanism. In the second blog post, you learned more about how to collect feedback in an accountable way and make these efforts fit for purpose. Now, you should have a lot of qualitative and quantitative data about the needs, opinions, complaints and wishes of your primary constituents. If you don’t, you should go back to our second post and check whether your collection method was fit for purpose.

If collecting feedback from your constituents went well, you will now have information that can give you practical guidance on how to strengthen your work and build stronger relationships with those who matter the most to your organisation - the people whose lives are affected by your work.

In this post, we will share common challenges you may encounter when analysing the feedback you collect, some tips for making this process more valuable and thorough, and help you check your assumptions about what your primary constituents want from you.

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The Three Dimensions of Accountability

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The three dimensions of accountabilityThe Resilient Roots (RR) initiative examines whether organisations who are accountable to their primary constituents, that is, the individuals and communities they support and serve, are better able to withstand external threats related to closing civic space. The Resilient Roots team believes that there are several ways to examine and measure changes in primary constituent accountability and, as a result, a cohort of 14 pilot partner NGOs were supported to design and implement accountability mechanisms suitable to their distinct contexts. Considering these diverse contexts and the various challenges each organisation faces, the accountability mechanisms used varied greatly.

In an attempt to better understand the importance of accountability mechanisms in the work of the pilot partners, Resilient Roots will be presenting four case studies. The aim of this first case study is to provide a general overview and provide examples of the different primary constituent accountability mechanisms that have been implemented by the pilot partners.

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10 Tips to collect feedback from your primary constituents

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Resilient Roots: conquering the feedback loop - Part 2 of 5: “Collect”

By Isabelle Büchner (Accountable Now) and Belén Giaquinta (CIVICUS)

 10 Tips to collect feedback RR

 In the first blog post of this series, we shared 10 steps to design your accountability feedback mechanism. Here we discussed how to set your objectives and layout the infrastructure and resources you will need to see this work through. If you missed it, we suggest you start there before turning to the next step: collecting feedback.

In this second part of our blog series on accountability feedback mechanisms, we want to share common challenges our Resilient Roots partners have encountered when collecting feedback from their primary constituents, along with some tips for how to make this process meaningful. Simply collecting feedback won’t make you a more accountable organisation, and it is important to be very intentional about what feedback to gather. This can then help you decide the methods and channels you will use, and the questions you want to ask. All of these aspects, along with the 10 tips below, will make your feedback collection exercise a fruitful, inclusive and productive process. Ultimately, this will help your organisation build a more trusted relationship with your constituents!

 

10 Steps to design your accountability feedback mechanism

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Resilient Roots: conquering the feedback loop - Part 1 of 5: “Design”


By Isabelle Büchner (Accountable Now) and Belén Giaquinta (CIVICUS)

AAA Blog Infographic

In the Resilient Roots initiative, 14 organisations from all over the world are running pilot projects to test new primary constituent accountability mechanisms. In most cases, these mechanisms focus on collecting and using feedback from the key constituents of each organisation.

Feedback is an important element of improving accountability, and for this process to be meaningful feedback mechanisms must include all 5 stages of a closed feedback loop.   You can read more about primary constituent accountability in this blog post, and learn about “closing feedback loops” in this 2 minute video

In this blog series, we want to highlight some key considerations for every stage of the feedback loop, share solutions to common challenges and simple tips that can help you harness feedback to improve primary constituent accountability. To illustrate this process, we are using examples and learnings from Resilient Roots pilot projects.

Are you ready now? Then let us dig a bit deeper! 

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WATCH: Resilient Roots: Closing the feedback loop

 

Haga click aquí para la versión en español | cliquez ici pour la version française

 

Measuring Changes in Accountability

FemPlatzThe aim of the Resilient Roots initiative is to test whether organisations who are more accountable and responsive to their roots - namely, their primary constituents - are more resilient to external threats from governmental and non-governmental sources. We believe that if civil society is accountable to and engaged with its constituency, it will be able to rely more upon them to come to its defence, bridge resourcing gaps, and safeguard its long-term sustainability when it is under political or structural attack. Our approach involves prioritising innovation, taking calculated risks, embracing failure, and most importantly sharing what we learn from our pilot partners with a broader community of interested stakeholders. The initiative consists of three main components; (1) providing support to fifteen pilot partners in diverse geographies and civil society contexts around the globe, (2) improving civil society accountability and determining its relationship with resilience, and (3) fostering an environment of peer-learning and wider uptake.

This article focuses on the second component and in particular, the approach the Resilient Roots team is taking to measure changes in accountability over the course of the initiative among the pilot partners. In it you will find an overview of our methodology and some recommendations of things to consider when setting up your own mechanisms for measuring accountability. We are still working to improve our methodology and invite you to use it yourself, share your experiences with us and provide feedback on our approach. Please also share any similar approaches that you are aware of, or that you have used in your organisation with Resilient Roots ().

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