Is accountability to the people you serve linked to the resilience of your organization? This is what Keystone Accountability is testing over the next two years. In partnership with Civicus and Accountable Now, we have launched a new initiative called Resilient Roots exploring the links between increasing public support and trust, and resilience to external threats for civil society organizations.
We are inviting civil society organizations from around the world to apply for a grant of up to US$30,000 to invest in their own experiments – activities which foster downward accountability to the people they serve. In addition to the money, the organizations will receive technical support. We are particularly interested in organizations from areas with closing civic space.
Keystone will be working closely with the successful civil society organizations helping them to design and carry out activities which involve meaningful dialogue with their primary constituents and use this to drive decision making. This could include gathering and responding to feedback on their services, involving people who benefit from their activities to have a greater say in the organization’s governance, or finding ways to improve their relationships with their constituents in the face of changing circumstances. We invite organizations to come up with their own innovative ideas tailored to their work and the context in which they do it. The project will also enable these organizations to learn from each other’s experiences and will create resources which can be used more widely.
Resilient Roots, will test whether these efforts to strengthen accountability make the organizations more resilient to external threats and increases legitimacy. We will test whether the organizations participating in the project are better able to withstand threats such as closing civic space and if a stronger support base makes them more sustainable. Together with our project partners we will develop an evidence base for the wider civil society sector and persuade donors that time and money should be devoted to downward accountability.
Resilient Roots is funded by the Ford Foundation. For more details on this project, click here.