Browse by Theme: Inclusive Governance

About a decade ago, the development sector fell into the same trap the financial services industry did in the mid-1990s. We were all seduced by clever people selling clever methods we didn’t really understand. Only, we had a different acronym. Financial services had their CDSs (Credit Default Swaps), we had our RCTs (Randomised Control Trials).

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In the first blog in this series, we showed how participatory power analysis, by identifying the marginalisation of specific groups, can help ensure that participatory local governance does not simply enable those who already have privilege and access to gain greater influence. But what happens after marginalised groups and the reasons for their exclusion are identified? How do we build concrete strategies to include the voices of poor communities and excluded women? In this second blog in the series, we look at citizen forums as a strategy for wider participation.

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Denis Tumwesige used to make his living illegally cutting trees in protected forests in Uganda, until he got arrested. Instead of a jail sentence, the local officials connected him with CARE’s Forest Resources Sector Transparency (FOREST) project, which taught him about the importance of forest conservation. Denis then wrote a song about forests, which is a huge hit, and is routinely played on national radio. The song succeeded in raising awareness of forest policies. Here is what else the project achieved. 

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Last week CARE Bangladesh hosted a week-long study tour for 25 participants from 10 countries in Asia, in partnership with the Local Governance Initiative and Network (LOGIN). This blog explores some of the key things that participants learned from CARE Bangladesh’s approach, in its World Bank-funded JATRA project, to empowering the poorest and most marginalised to participate in, and meaningfully influence, local government decision-making processes.

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Local folk songs about rights and accountability were one of the most successful innovations in CARE’s Journey for Transparency, Representation, and Accountability (JATRA) project in Bangladesh. Those songs helped 15% of voters get involved in the open budget process, which resulted in local officals being able to budget nearly 25% of their resources to fulfill requests from the poorest people in their area.

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There is no classroom so you are teaching outside. The children are hungry and distracted. Most of them can’t read. There are no books, pens, paper. And you haven’t been paid this month. Unfortunately, this is too often the reality of teaching in Malawi – but a CARE project, giving parents and the community the tools to support the school and hold it to account, has turned the situation around. Here’s how they did it.

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Political economy analysis has largely ignored gender as a system of power in society. This paper is written as a guidance note for practitioners, to help integrate an understanding of gender and its effects into each stage of a political economy analysis.

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