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"Voice of the voiceless": Learning from SORADI's project to strengthen accountability in Hargeisa

Summary

Citizens’ ability to seek accountability from Hargeisa Local Council is highly constrained, SORADI’s evidence-based, coalition-building model provides some clues as to what an effective approach might look like. Diverse, highly-networked, inclusive groups of citizens can work together to design and implement advocacy strategies, creating positive momentum for change. However, the development of capable, accountable and responsive authorities requires a step-change in the quality of the Councillors, who are responsible for leadership and oversight.

The paper draws on 22 key informant interviews who have been involved in the project, including members from both accountability fora.

Key findings include:

  • The breadth and diversity of members in SORADI’s Accountability Fora has been fundamental to their ability to influence, and their authority rests on their collective weight.
  • The inclusion of women and marginalised groups in accountability initiatives requires intentionality – cultural, political and religious norms actively inhibit women’s participation so need to be directly addressed in initiatives that aim to be inclusive. A one-size-fits-all approach is unlikely to be robust enough to bring ordinary women or minorities into the conversation.
  • Understanding the rules of the game is key. Decision-making within government can be complex and opaque. Insiders who understand how the system works are often essential in understanding and providing the right entry points.

Read the full paper and the two-page policy brief.

Photo credit: Clay Gilliland.

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