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Harnessing the power of communities against corruption

A framework for contextualising social accountability

Ignorance, apathy and disempowerment are recurring drivers of impunity. Social accountability, on its part, aims to empower citizens with information and provide effective channels through which to exercise agency. For this reason, social accountability plays a pivotal role for anti-corruption practice. There are many different social accountability tools that development practitioners can use. How suitable the tools are depends on each context. Find out how to choose the best-fitting social accountability tool for your initiative.

9 August 2018
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Harnessing the power of communities against corruption

Main points

  • Designing successful social accountability initiatives to counter corruption in the delivery of public services requires taking into account particular features of each local context.
  • It is important that social accountability initiatives apply an appropriate level of demand for citizen involvement and coordination. It should match the targeted community’s collective action capabilities.
  • Understanding citizens’ attitudes and expectations when accessing public services helps tailor capacity building activities that empower citizens to counter corruption.
  • Engage actors and stakeholders with high social trust in their communities to articulate and share citizens’ voice. This makes social accountability initiatives more effective.

Cite this publication

Camargo, C. (2018) Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Brief 2018:4)

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About the author

Claudia Baez Camargo

Claudia Baez Camargo is Head of Governance Research at the Basel Institute on Governance – University of Basel, Switzerland. In her work she has focused on how informal norms and practices compromise public sector performance and on developing anti-corruption strategies that are closely aligned with context-specific drivers of corruption.


All views in this text are the author(s)’, and may differ from the U4 partner agencies’ policies.

This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


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