ANSA-EAP uses the learning-in-action (LiA) approach to build capacities for social accountability (SAc). LiA begins with participant's experiences, local context and knowledge of SAc and provides them with opportunities to develop more effective ways of applying SAc tools. It involves the use of various learning modalities to promote this continuous process of drawing lessons from experience to improve existing practice in SAc. ANSA-EAP adopts LiA to mainstream and advocate SAc among citizen groups, government institutions and other stakeholders.
ANSA-EAP believes that learning initiatives on SAc are only worthwhile if transformations in learners’ knowledge, skills and behaviour actually lead to some positive changes within their respective organizational and governance contexts.
Generative and iterative learning
SAc learning-in-action is both generative and iterative. It is generative as it recognizes that learning is inherent in every SAc action, and thus encourages SAc learners to engage actively with emerging ideas by linking it to their existing experiences and practice. It is iterative in the sense that each cycle of action-reflection-action allows for a deepening of the learners’ understanding, integration, articulation, and application of SAc.
SAc learning-in-action involves mutual learning as SAc experts and learning facilitators are also able to enrich their own framing and understanding of SAc while helping learners adapt SAc tools and enhance SAc capacities. Mutual learning involves a process of hand holding and partnering aimed at weaving SAc tools into the learners’ organizational strategies and plans, and thus changing learners’ behaviour to create buy-in and commitment to SAc. It also calls for integrating learning-in-action programs into the work of partner organizations and networks to help sustain shared framing and capacity building on SAc.
Learning in a community of practice
SAc learning-in-action also entails learning within a community of practice. The basic idea is that lessons and insights in SAc are not gained merely by practice, but also in the exchange of knowledge and conversations among SAc practitioners and stakeholders. Through a regional network of networks, ANSA-EAP has brought together citizen groups, government champions and individual advocates engaged in SAc. ANSA-EAP’s learning strategies include the development of effective platforms and programs for active exchange of SAc tales, tools and techniques among its network and learning partners.
updated with draft LiA learning brief 05 September 2011