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Amplifying SAc through ICT

Amplifying SAc through ICT

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Published by Marlon Cornelio
The experience of CheckMySchool(CMS) and Universidad Coherente (UC) showcase how ICT can be used to amplify social accountability(SAc) towards improving public education service delivery in the elementary, secondary and tertiary levels. However, CMS and UC also show that while ICT provides powerful tools, there are basic principles that should be taken into account to fully utilize ICT. As any other effective SAc initiatives, government openness, access to information, organized and capable citizen groups, and cultural-sensitivity and context-appropriateness are needed as enabling environments. Use of ICT tools have to be complemented by offline activities or grassroots organizing.
CMS and UC are two of the many innovative projects of members of the Global Youth Anti-Corruption (GYAC) network, which is composed of young people, young activists, journalists, artists, musicians and ICT enthusiasts. GYAC provides a platform for young leaders from north to south to share experiences, strategies, tools, and lessons in fighting corruption and promoting good governance in their countries.
The experience of CheckMySchool(CMS) and Universidad Coherente (UC) showcase how ICT can be used to amplify social accountability(SAc) towards improving public education service delivery in the elementary, secondary and tertiary levels. However, CMS and UC also show that while ICT provides powerful tools, there are basic principles that should be taken into account to fully utilize ICT. As any other effective SAc initiatives, government openness, access to information, organized and capable citizen groups, and cultural-sensitivity and context-appropriateness are needed as enabling environments. Use of ICT tools have to be complemented by offline activities or grassroots organizing.
CMS and UC are two of the many innovative projects of members of the Global Youth Anti-Corruption (GYAC) network, which is composed of young people, young activists, journalists, artists, musicians and ICT enthusiasts. GYAC provides a platform for young leaders from north to south to share experiences, strategies, tools, and lessons in fighting corruption and promoting good governance in their countries.

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Published by: Marlon Cornelio on Jul 04, 2012
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1
SAc2.0:AmplifyingSocialAccountability(SAc)throughInformationandCommunicationTechnology(ICT)
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by:MarlonL.Cornelio
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 Synopsis
TheexperienceofCheckMySchool(CMS)andUniversidadCoherente(UC)showcasehowICTcanbeusedtoamplifysocialaccountability(SAc)towardsimproving pubiceducationservicedeliveryintheelementary,secondaryandtertiarylevels.However,CMSandUCalsoshowthatwhileICTprovidespowerfultools,therearebasicprinciplesthatshouldbetakenintoaccounttofullyutilizeICT.AsanyothereffectiveSAcinitiatives,governmentopenness,accesstoinformation,organizedandcapablecitizengroups,andcultural-sensitivityandcontext-appropriatenessareneededasenablingenvironments.UseofICTtoolshavetobecomplementedbyofflineactivitiesorgrassrootsorganizing.CMSandUCaretwoofthemanyinnovativeprojectsofmembersoftheGlobalYouthAnti-Corruption(GYAC)network,whichiscomposedofyoungpeople,youngactivists,journalists,artists,musiciansandICTenthusiasts.GYACprovidesa platformforyoungleadersfromnorthtosouthtoshareexperiences,strategies,tools,andlessonsinfightingcorruptionandpromotinggoodgovernanceintheircountries.
Introduction
Thedawnofaninformationandcommunicationtechnologyera,alongwithitscontinuousunfolding,isredefiningboththewayofthinkinganddoingthings,evenpersonalrelationships.Inthesamemanner,ICTisalsoredefininggovernance,participationandaccountability.The2011OsloGovernanceForumoftheUnitedNationsDevelopmentProgramtakeson,asoneofitsmajortopics,ICTandgovernance.WhilethedebatesareongoingonthebaneandboonofICTondemocracyanddemocratization;youngpeople,naturallypredisposetoICT,havetakenstepsindevelopingtoolsandshowingpracticalapplicationsofICTingovernance.TheroleofICTintheArabspringisacommonexample.
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AnarrativeofthepresentationgivenduringtheOsloGovernanceForum(OGF):Participation,Accountability,Democracy.3-5October2011.VisitOGFwebsiteat:www.oslogovernanceforum.com
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MarlonL.Cornelio,ayouthactivistfromthePhilippines,istheICTConvenorandoneofthefoundingmembersoftheGlobalYouthAnti-Corruption(GYAC)Network.MarlonwasYouthCoordinatorofANSA-EastAsiaPacific,wherehewaspartoftheteamdevelopingCheckMySchool.InGYAC,hecloselycollaboratedwitharepresentativefromUniversidadCoherente.Sendcommentsandqueriesatcornelios25@gmail.com
 
2ThisshortpaperpresentsexperiencesofCheckMySchool
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oftheAffiliatedNetworkforSocialAccountabilityinEastAsiaPacific(ANSA-EAP)
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andUniversidadCoherente
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inPeru.ThetwoinitiativessharecommonalitiesintheuseofICTinsocialaccountabilityinitiativesforbetterpubliceducationservicedelivery.CheckMySchoolfocusesonelementaryandsecondaryeducation,whileUniversidadCoherentefocusesonbudgetandfinancialmanagementofstateuniversities.Thesetwoinitiativesarethemodels,intheapplicationofICTineducationmonitoring,beingsharedintheGlobalYouthAnti-Corruption(GYAC)
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Networkplatform.
TheGlobalYouthAnti-CorruptionNetwork(GYAC)
TheGlobalYouthAnti-Corruptionnetworkiscomposedofyoungpeople,youngactivists,journalists,artists,musiciansandICTenthusiasts.Fromallovertheglobe,northtosouth,youngleaderscometogethertoshareexperiences,strategies,toolsandlessonsinfightingcorruptionandpromotinggoodgovernanceindifferentcountries.Thisisdoneinaprocessthatyoungpeoplecaneasilyrelateto,liketheuseofmusicandthearts.Asanexample,inpartnershipwithJeunessMusicaleInternational,aglobalanti-corruptionsongcompetition–FairPlay
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,isconductedannually.Musiciansfromallovertheglobe,composeanti-corruptionsongs,producemusicvideosanduploadtheminyoutube.Thisisanattempttocreateawarenessonandmainstreamgovernanceissuesamongtheyouth.AnotherexampleistheGlobalYouthAnti-CorruptionForum,wheretheFairPlaywinnersparticipate,alongwithotheryouthanti-corruptionadvocates.Duringthisforum,GYACmembersandinvitedexpertsproudlypresenttheirlatestinnovationsindoingworkintheircountries.Theyopenlyandgladlysharehowtheydevelopedtheirprojects.Inthisprocess,youngpeoplelearntogetherandevensharpentheirtools,andinnovateevenmore.
PillarsofSocialAccountability
AswhatishighlightedinOGF2011,corruptionwillnotbeminimizedandgoodgovernancewillnotbeachievedwithoutoneveryimportantcomponent–thecitizens,thegoverned,andthe“sovereign”wherewhichthepowerresidesandaccountabilityoriginates.Theinclusionandemphasisofcitizenparticipationingovernanceisreferredtoas“socialaccountability”.Socialaccountability,asdefinedbyANSA-EAP,refersto:Organizedandcapablecitizensengagingconstructivelywithgovernmenttomonitoritsdecisionsandactionstowardbetterdeliveryofpublicservices,improvementofpeople’swelfare,andprotectionofpeople’srights.
3
www.checkmyschool.org
4
www.ansa-eap.net
5
www.universidadcoherente.org
6
www.voices-against-corruption.ning.com
7
www.anticorruptionmusic.org
 
3Thisdefinition,necessitateswhatANSA-EAPcallsfourpillarsortheenablingenvironmentforsocialaccountabilitytobeeffective:1.
 
governmentopenness2.
 
organizedandcapablecitizens3.
 
accesstoinformation4.
 
culturalsensitivityandcontextappropriatenessItisimportanttoconsiderthesepillarsone-by-one.Governmentopennesspertainstolawsandmechanismsthatenablecitizenparticipation,thatbringbackthepowertothepeopletoexactaccountabilityfromitsleaders,fromthegovernment.Italsopertainstoagentsinsidegovernmentorchampionsthatadvocateforsuchandensuresthatthisprincipleisobserved.Citizenshavetobeorganizedandcapableinordertoengagegovernmentanditsprocesses.Thismaycomeintheformofnon-governmentalorganization,thecivilsociety,fromthewellestablishedtothecommonparents-teachers-and-studentsassociation,oraneighborhoodassociation;even,andasimportantly,organizationsofyoungpeople.Asidefrombeingorganized,groupsmusthavethecapacitytoengagewithgovernment.Theymustbefamiliarwithitsprocessesandequippedwithdefinedagendaandnecessarytools.Theengagementbetweengovernmentandcitizensforittobeconstructivehastobebasedoninformationoraccesstoinformation.Accesstoinformationisessentialinconstructiveengagement,whichasdefinedbyANSA-EAP,hasthefollowingcharacteristics:-
 
betweengovernmentandcitizens-
 
evidencedorinformation-based-
 
resultorsolution-oriented;and-
 
sustainedandsustainable.Thenecessityoflawsthatguaranteefreedomoraccesstoinformationisemphasizedhere.Includedinhavingaccesstoinformationishavingthemeanstounderstandanduseit.Intheexamplesdiscussedbelow,aswellasmanyotherfruitfulengagementsbetweencitizensandgovernments,accesstoinformationwaskey.Therearemanytoolsandmechanismsavailabletopromotegoodgovernanceandfightcorruption.Andinthese,the3previouspillarsarepresent.Butonceadaptedorimplementedinaparticularlocale,therearehighchancesthatitwillfail–lackingoftheoutputsexpected.Cultural-sensitivityandcontext-appropriatenessisthefourthpillarthatshouldnotbemissedout.Asanexample,inthecontextofyouth,youngpeoplewillusuallyautomaticallyveerawayfromtheseeminglyhighlytechnicalandjargon-filledgoodgovernanceprocesses.Theyhavetobeengagedusingtheirown“language”andreachedusingissuesthatareatthetopoftheirconcerns.ThesepillarsarevividlyvisibleintheexamplesofthetwoinitiativesfromGYACmembers:CheckMySchoolinitiativeofANSA-EAPinthePhilippinesandthe

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