To close out this year - we take a look back at what’s happened, how our community got here and what we have in store for you in the near future. But first - thank you so much for your engagement and support throughout the year!
Our Community's story began in Belgrade, Serbia - where around 50 civil society organisations (CSOs) from around the world discussed their needs and experiences with accountability to explore whether a new global Community of Practice would be a helpful platform to advance this work further across the sector. These discussions and subsequent feedback from surveys suggested that despite much diversity and innovation in current accountability practice around the world, most practitioners have not yet had the opportunity to exchange their knowledge on the topic. There was therefore a clear interest in creating a place where civil society actors (working at the national, regional and international level), along with academics and even donors, can engage together and learn from each other.
Armed with the outcomes of our consultation process, we knew that the Dynamic Accountability Community of Practice (DACoP) ought to be a platform focused on sharing and learning, and to find synergies and ways to collaborate. However, we were not sure what this should look like, so we went into a pilot phase with a number of interested practitioners to test out some different approaches.
Our pilot didn’t really go as planned (as we outlined in our Failure Flog Post) but we were able to take the lessons learned, consult further with our stakeholders and re-launch the DACoP in a more simple form. We decided on a monthly newsletter that would bring resources to the community, providing information to practitioners who are interested, but not necessarily able to engage in active conversations. We set up a Google Group that enabled members to share and ask questions, and committed ourselves to host Open Dialogues that are publicly available to ensure the accessibility of the Community’s work on Dynamic Accountability to everyone.
Our first Open Dialogue was in April 2020 on “Accountability in the Times of COVID-19” and our first newsletter came in June with a similar focus. Since then, largely thanks to your continued support and engagement, our community has grown tremendously, with now over 100 subscribers to the newsletter as well as 120 members to the DACoP Google Group. We also see regular and healthy turnouts at our Open Dialogues, exploring topics from the power of language for increasing accountability and shaping the narratives we communicate, to the ways our sector’s switch to an almost totally digital engagement model provides both new opportunities to expand our reach whilst magnifying existing power imbalances.
The topics we have focused on, as well as the type of content we have published has been continuously informed by the wealth of positive and constructive feedback received from Community members, dialogue participants, and wider partners. This includes an attempt to make the Google Group multilingual so that French and Spanish speakers can participate fully, by ensuring all correspondence is sent in all three languages. We’ve also learned that we need to centre diversity more prominently when planning our activities, not just in terms of identifying speakers or contributors from different places and backgrounds. Most members also seemed to not engage directly with the activities of Global Accountability Week 2020, so we will need to start earlier and work harder to better facilitate their involvement next time.
So, what is in store for the DACoP next year? For 2021, we aim to continue with the newsletters, grow our Google Group and host more open dialogues. We’re very keen to strengthen and expand our connections with and between community members, and will continue to solicit your feedback and suggestions. We are therefore going to carry out more community building work, with a particular focus on helping members to get to know each other better. We are also going to continue the conversation on Shifting Narratives to further explore how we as a sector can all communicate our work in a more compelling and Dynamically Accountable way, thus helping to change perceptions about our sector’s work and enhance our legitimacy.
As we’re about to break for the end of year holidays - we just want to thank you again for your support and engagement with us this year! While we may be away, our feedback channels are still open and you can share suggestions with us by clicking here or via the button at the end of this newsletter! If you’re looking for some end of year reading inspiration - why not look at our past newsletters or notes from our Open Dialogues (Accountability in Times of COVID-19, the Digital Dilemma and Shifting Narratives Workbook)? If you’re not a member yet, why not join our DACoP Google Group - it’s a place where practitioners can get advice and learn from one another on the best practices of Dynamic Accountability.
See you next year!
Your DACoP Team