What do social accountability and power have to do with children?

Rakesh Rajani, Director of Democratic Participation and Governance at the Ford Foundation, recently visited UNICEF as part of the Conversations with Thought Leaders series. After the event we got his views on where the field of citizen-led accountability is headed and what risks and opportunities there are for working with and for children in this area.

UNICEF: What are you the most excited about in relation to civic engagement and social accountability right now?

Rajani: Two things. First, and it is easy to underplay this, is how the concept of social accountability, or the basic idea that governments are there for people and that citizens need to have channels and ways in which they know how government is working for them, has gotten traction. The fact that governments need to be accountable to people and that people should be able to hold them accountable is now largely agreed in much of the world. And that’s powerful, because even 20 years ago, that was not the case. The norms have shifted. It means one does not need to spend energy fighting to say why people matter, we can focus on how to make governments more responsive and accountable, and learn from it.

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