CIVICUS Civil Society Index

An international action-research project by and for civil society

Accountability in Zambian Civil Society

Posted by civilsocietyindex on February 22, 2011

The case study on the accountability of Zambian civil society was carried out in Zambia by the Zambia Council for Social Development (ZCSD), the Civil Society Index (CSI) project partner in Zambia.

The case study on accountability sought to “generate information on the status of accountability in a selected sample of civil society organisations in Zambia. That is, its will investigate if there are any accountability mechanisms, how they are employed to enhance accountability among CSOs in Zambia, and what improvements are necessary to increase the practice of values.”

The study has shown that CSOs need both internal and external accountability mechanism for them to for fill their role as the third sector of government. Evidence shows that there are a number of accountability mechanisms in place. These include financial and administrative mechanism, policy and procedures manual, holding of AGMs and submitting of annual returns to the register of society. The CSOs have strived, even under difficult circumstances, to ensure accountability. However this cannot be said for all of them, as there are still pockets of CSOs that are still facing difficulties in this area. The study is of the view that the accountability process in Zambia have inbuilt weakness as there more inclined to saving the interest of the most influential and powerful interest groups such as donors. The study therefore concludes that there is need to look beyond technical managerial accountability mechanisms and focus more on enhancing participatory accountability processes with emphasis on empowering the beneficiaries.

Some of the recommendations from the report include: CSO self-accountability mechanisms and that from outside the sector should be supportive of each other; CSO self-accountability mechanisms should not only focus on financial and administrative processes of accountability, but more on enhancing participatory approaches, and that Accountability should enhance stakeholder participation in governance. Future programmes should focus on the root causes of weak accountability relationship between CSOs and the beneficiaries.

To read the full case study, click here

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