16 December 2014 – Last week, the Occidental College Task Force on Citizen Accountability launched a report of their research findings entitled The Future of Citizen Engagement: Recommendations for Implementing Effective Feedback Initiatives. This research team, commissioned by the UN Millennium Campaign, assessed a variety of citizen feedback initiatives around the world which focus on incorporating citizen voice into local and national policy and/or service delivery. Among the case studies were UNICEF’s U Report in Uganda, and the MY World local spin-off survey, MY Municipality in Macedonia. For a full documentation of the initiatives which the team encountered through their research, see this interactive map.
The research assessed which characteristics make an initiative most effective in a variety of local contexts and across a span of diverse actors. From these findings, the report details a set of nine recommendations for implementing strong and effective citizen feedback initiatives:
- Government buy-in and support is essential to ensure that citizen feedback is translated into change
- All partners must receive value from the initiative
- Existing civil society networks and partnerships are essential for effective outreach
- The timing of a citizen feedback initiative launch impacts its success
- An option of anonymity will allow for more candid citizen feedback
- Technology must be easy-to-use, accessible and functional
- Outreach must use many mediums of communication, including both tech and non-tech platforms
- Initiatives must find ways to include marginalized populations
- Target communities must be informed of their rights and responsibilities
This research is extremely relevant for the future of the MY World survey. Thus far, MY World has allowed over 7 million people to have their say concerning the next international development agenda. The hope for the future is that people everywhere are equipped with comprehensive tools which allow them to have their say in local and national policy processes as well.
These recommendations will serve the UN Millennium Campaign and its partners as they decides how the MY World model can fit into a local or national context.