The Affiliated Networks for Social Accountability in the Arab World (ANSA-AW) is an initiative to promote, strengthen and sustain social accountability knowledge exchange activities and praxis globally. Since 2006, several Social Accountability networks have been established in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and East Asia Pacific. Their start-up phase has been funded by the Development Grant Facility (DGF), sponsored by the World Bank..
Social Accountability refers to the ways and means through which citizens, civil society organizations (CSOs), and other non-state actors can hold public institutions, programs and services providers accountable for their performance, using an array of mechanisms. It can be initiated by non-state actors like CSOs, media, think tanks or by government institutions themselves. In both situations, government actions are required for these measures to bear fruit– at the level of policy making, public financial management, public sector performance and service delivery. Social accountability also requires an enabling policy and legal frameworks, supportive political conditions, and institutional capacities for both state and non-state actors.
In October 2010, CARE International in Egypt and the World Bank hosted a Regional Workshop on Social Accountability in Cairo, Egypt. The objective of the workshop was to introduce the concept of social accountability and scope interest for the establishment of a similar network in the Arab World. Participants included CSOs, government representatives, media and private sector from Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine. Strong interest was demonstrated at the time, recently heightened by current events in the region. A regional workshop on social accountability and the strategic planning was also held in in Amman Jordan in June 2011 with the added participation of stakeholders from Tunisia and Morocco, bringing the total number of countries to seven.
The network was officially launched in Rabat, Morocco on the 15th of March 2012 by potential founding members from seven Arab countries- Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Yemen, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco.
The Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in the Arab World (ANSA-AW) is a regional network of practitioners on participatory governance and social accountability targeting civil society organizations, government officials, media and private sector supported in its preliminary stage by the World Bank under the umbrella of the Arab World Initiative (AWI) .
The strategic goal of ANSA – Arab World network is to increase participatory civic engagement in public policy processes and application of social accountability mechanisms in the Arab Region to improve the quality of public services.
ANSA-AW believes that the strategic goal will be achieved through the following objectives:
Connecting key actors interested in social accountability;
Collecting and documenting of good practices; and
Attracting interested people through the establishment of a user-friendly social accountability portal knowledge hub.
A series of activities will be conducted to further enhance the achievement of the above objectives such as :
- Awareness raising events on the concept of social accountability;
- Capacity building training of network members , civil society organizations, government officials , media and the private sector;
- Establishment of a regional grants facility for civil society organizations to implement initiatives using social accountability tools, strengthening, building coalition and networking.