Improving state accountability is a central preoccupation of development efforts. How individuals and institutions can and do hold governments to account for their actions and decisions differ radically between societies. Furthermore, what accountability actually means can differ greatly from one context to another. BBC Media Action is a charity supported by, but operationally independent of the BBC. It has been supported by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) to work with the media in 10 countries across Africa, the Middle East and Asia to contribute to state-society accountable relations and to support the empowerment of individuals to hold their government to account. This briefing introduces BBC Media Action’s approach to accountability, with particular focus on empowering individuals to play a role in holding those in power to account. It also describes the development of a framework for understanding and measuring such individual empowerment. The paper then draws on qualitative research conducted in Kenya by BBC Media Action to illustrate the application of this framework and to validate an approach to measuring impact through qualitative and quantitative cross-cultural research. This approach will be used across evaluation of accountability-focused projects.
BBC Media Action. Conceptualising accountability: An approach to measurement. Bridging Theory and Practice Research Dissemination Series: Working Paper Issue 02. BBC Media Action, UK (2012) 33 pp.