ICT facilited social accountability mechanisms

TitleICT facilited social accountability mechanisms
Publication TypeConference Paper
Author(s)Wildermuth, N.
Affiliation (1st Author)Roskilde University, CBIT
Section or WGParticipatory Communication Research Section
DateWed 26 June
Slot CodePCRW2b
Slot Code (Keyword)PCRW2b
Time of Session11:00-12:30
Session Title‘New’ media technologies generating participatory action
Submission ID7255

In government, the use of ICTs holds a promise to increase state-led, ‘horizontal’ mechanisms of accountability and transparency, counteracting corruption and poor performance through a more efficient administration and increased flows of information. Thus the employment of ICTs by the executive may strengthen governance and improve interaction between government and citizens. No less important, a new generation of social accountability, transparency and civil auditing initiatives seek to facilitate citizens’ direct interaction with public service providers and government counterparts through the creation of a solid evidence base for networked advocacy and citizen ‘voice’. Nowadays, increased attention is thus paid to initiatives that seek to engage citizens in social accountability for the public good of society, securing development based on democratic, rights-based and socially inclusive practices of governance (Velleman 2010). For citizens to be engaged, they need information to be aware, communication to organize actions, organisation to make their action more effective and feedback to have results. Citizen media and ICT-facilitated processes of communication can be used in these contexts as strategic mechanism in support of citizens’ actions. It is this participation of citizens that distinguishes social accountability, transparency and civil auditing initiatives from conventional, state-led accountability mechanisms. Moreover, they have proven particularly useful in the context of decentralization, helping to strengthen links between citizens and local-level authorities and service-providers (Malena 2004). Finally, they stress the continued importance of cooperation between civil society, communities and the state. In my paper I will explore the implementation of respective, citizen-led initiatives provides opportunities to improve service delivery and enhance socioeconomic growth and development based on recent field work in Kenya. In specific I will present and discuss major challenges for the scaled-up utilisation of digital networked ICTs (i.e. social media, networked/online applications and mobile phones and their ‘hybrid’ combination with traditional media) with reference to the two Kenyan civil society organisations National Taxpayer Association (NTA) and Social Development Network (SODNET) and their cooperation directed at the testing of the innovative Huduma platform/process.

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