Resilient Roots is an initiative working to promote and enhance the accountability of civil society organisations, including CIVICUS itself.
In other words, this means the strengthening of policies and practices that enable an organisation’s constituents - the people and communities it serves and supports, plus its own staff - to have greater influence in its decisions and activities. It also involves the organisation constantly working to be more responsive to the needs of these constituents. Overall, these efforts can make an organisation more effective, trusted, and resilient.
Building on an initial 2.5 year pilot phase, Resilient Roots currently aims to support and influence the accountability practices of an increasingly large and diverse group of civil society actors across the CIVICUS alliance and wider sector. We are primarily doing this by integrating constituent accountability policies and practices into and across the organisation’s teams, projects and member communities.
1. Learn how accountability works in different contexts
Continue to improve the understanding of CIVICUS members and staff about the role accountability plays in enhancing civil society effectiveness, and the ways accountability is achieved and maintained in different contexts. This includes via dedicated peer-learning spaces and activities.Here, we have continued to grow the Dynamic Accountability Community of Practice, supported the I4C network to assess the accountability of its governance structures, and published stories from the original Resilient Roots pilot partners about the ways they are continuing to deepen their accountability practice.
2. Strengthen accountability practice
Formalise and scale CIVICUS’ capacity strengthening support on accountability for different types of organisation.
So far, we have done this through activities such as a 90 Day Accountability Challenge with members of the AGNA community, the 2020 Global Learning Exchange, and revamped the CIVICUS Impact and Accountability Toolkit.
3. Walk the Talk
Promote and enhance policies and a culture of internal accountability at CIVICUS, to our thousands of member organisations and activists, partners, and staff and volunteers.
To do so, we have updated the CIVICUS accountability framework, standardised our CIVICUS-wide planning process to more systematically integrate feedback from members, and started a consultation on a new internal code of conduct, as a framework for practising our organisational values and holding each other to account in supportive and learning-focused ways.
4. Influence Wider Actors
Ensure that action on constituent accountability is increasingly prioritised by civil society leaders and decision makers, and that donors and INGOs adequately resource this work.
Here, we have continued to reach wider audiences with our messages and tools via Global Accountability Week, including the results of the Resilient Roots pilot’s in-depth analysis of the relationship between accountability and resilience, and begun to incorporate accountability considerations into our civil society resourcing work.
Outcomes from the Pilot Phase
During 2.5 years of testing, reflecting and pushing the constituent accountability agenda forward, Resilient Roots published numerous think pieces to capture our lessons learned and resources to help other organisations take action on accountability.
This included in-depth research that revealed a complex but clear connection between constituent accountability and organisational resilience in the face of closing civic space. A summary of our methodology, key findings, two real world case studies and more is available here.