Re-thinking Social Accountability through a Power Discourse

Following the path of a good learning organisation, COPASAH undertook a year long journey of reflection on its relevance to the field of accountability and evaluating its own strategic directions and pathways. The process which began in 2016 with the community feedback and strategic directions meeting in Vancouver (November 2017), continued with an external evaluation and a debriefing meeting in Delhi (September 2017). The current issue of COPASAH Communiqué provides the glimpses of this collective introspection, reflection and insights for the future directions.

Such a reflection will be followed up by marshalling the energies to consolidate the central theme of COPASAH, i.e. community centred participatory accountability processes and bottom up knowledge making, through the Global Symposium on social accountability, that will be hosted by COPASAH in February 2019, in New Delhi (India). It will be a unique o p p o r t u n i t y f o r t h e practitioners of social accountability across the global south and supporters of such apraxis from other fields such as academia and research, donor community, global policy bodies and institutions, and human rights based civil society organisations.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) followed by Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have rallied the Governments around the world and the civil society to think together and setting collective goals. However, achieving such goals would be highly i m p r o b a b l e , w i t h o u t accountability to such goals and participation of the community. COPASAH firmly believes and would like to reiterate, social accountability is not a ritual or a master-piece that elites and intellectuals can showcase, but is a process of empowerment and reconfiguring power-relations of the community with the structures of power at various levels. We would like to reach out to all friends and associates to be part of the upcoming global symposium to refine and reiterate such a power discourse in social accountability.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

E. PREMDAS PINTO is the Global Secretariat Coordinator for COPASAH. As an Advocacy and Research Director at Centre for Health and Social Justice (CHSJ), India, he facilitates the thematic area of social accountability with a special focus on processes of community monitoring and accountability in health. He also coordinates the South Asia region for COPASAH. He is a Human Rights advocate and Public Health practitioner- scholar, actively engaged in processes and social justice issues of the the communities of Dalit Women, rural unorganized labourers and other disadvantaged communities for the last 22 years. To know more about the work of CHSJ and COPASAH please visit, http://www.chsj.org and http://www.copasah.net

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