I don't know how many of you follow the Katine Chronicles Blog over at the Guardian website. Ben Jones has been blogging about multiple accountabilities. Who is Amref, the international NGO running many of the interventions in Katine in Uganda, really accountable to? On the face of it all of the following--the communities they intend to serve, local government, Amref management and the funders of the project. But as Ben Jones rightly points out, the most powerful tend to get their accountability needs met first, often to the exclusion of others. Accountability is development's Achilles Heel--those intended to benefit typically cannot change the way those who design and deliver aid actually behave. IDS is working with Keystone Accountability and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to innovate around something we refer to as 360 degree Monitoring and Evaluation. Such a perspective recognises that different stakeholders have different definitions of success when it comes to development projects and have different levels of power to make their definition prevail in a reporting sense. Funders preferences usually win out. Our pilot project is geared towards developing mechanisms that allow farmers and communities to advocate directly on their own behalf with funders like the Gates Foundation. If a project is not meeting their needs, there exists a very public way of expressing their opinion. The Gates Foundation is unusual in that it clearly holds a lot of power but is willing to use that power to build up other sources of accountability and learning power within the agriculture system. I will keep you posted as this pilot--called ALINe--progresses.
You can find out more at http://www.ids.ac.uk/go/news/improving-impact-planning-and-learning-in-agricultural-programmes