Social Accountability as a requisite for Post-War Recovery?

sean.darby Mar 1, 2018

Following our visit to Colombia last September, Integrity Action again had the opportunity to explore applying Community Integrity Building (CIB) to efforts of Post-War Recovery with future academics in the field. 

On Monday the 12nd of February 2018, Integrity Action’s Sean Darby visited the University of York to give a lecture to students studying a masters (MA) in Post-war Recovery Studies. The MA is focused on development in states which have recently emerged from conflict. The course has a practical emphasis, providing students with an insight into how organisations operate in post-conflict settings; this includes sending students on a two month placement. 

Part of the MA programme requires students to undertake a two month placement in a developing or post-conflict state. Integrity Action has previously facilitated placements for students to work with partners in Afghanistan, Kenya and Nepal. This provides students with work experience in a development organisation, as well as the opportunity to conduct in country research for their thesis. 
1Waste builds up in residential area of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, despite the cities multimillion dollar budget dedicated to waste management, demonstrating how the poorest are hurt the most by corruption.

Sean described how Integrity Action’s approach to fighting corruption in post conflict settings empowers citizens to demand integrity from power holders. Then, how this bottom up- approach to introducing social accountability proactively finds solutions to problems rather than reactively, such like that of top-down reforms. More specifically, how this comes in the form of the CIB approach.  

There was plenty of time for a lively Q & A session. Questions asked included the following;
•    How does Integrity Action work in situations where its monitors could be harassed by government officials?
•    Do monitors get any additional financial support?

Sean explained that Integrity Action’s CIB approach encourages collaboration and constructive engagement to fix the problems that monitors identify in service delivery. Working with stakeholders who might present obstacles and frustrate their efforts enables monitors to pre-empt solutions to problems, rather than isolating stakeholders. 

In addition to providing training to monitors through local partners, Integrity Action ensures monitors have access to phones or tablets to use the apps that have been created. While there are no cash payments for monitoring, if monitors do incur any costs themselves through monitoring such as travel, food or internet cost, they will be reimbursed appropriately. 
Several students provided their thoughts on the talk:

"It was inspiring and encouraging to learn about Integrity, their innovative approach opens new ways of giving support to war affected communities"
“I had not learnt about Integrity Action’s new approach prior to this lecture, and respect local capacity and ownership” 

Integrity Action has had a relationship with the Politics Department at the University of York for several years now. We hope that we can continue to exchange ideas with the MA students in the future, helping each other to continue to learn.