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Reseachers recommend ways to strengthen women’s inclusion in social accountability initiatives

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INSTITUTE of Development Studies (IDS), a UK-based research institute, has recommended that international organisations and non-governmental organisations must continue to support social accountability initiatives that advance women’s interest.

The group made this recommendation in a new policy briefing series titled: ‘Strengthening Women’s inclusion in Social Accountability Initiatives,’ published in February and authored by Sohela Nazneen and Maria Fernanda Silva Olivares.

NGOs are urged to design participatory processes that address the barriers to women’s participation, such as time poverty due to domestic work, biased gender norms limiting access to public spaces and others.

“This requires that NGOs and implementing organisations pay attention to details, including setting meeting times and locations that accommodate women so they can balance their paid and care responsibilities at home and travel to these spaces,” the report stated.

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Civil society organisations are also charged to provide technical support to women, so they hold public officials accountable through enforcement mechanisms, grievance procedures, and other mechanisms.

To be able to offer support to women, the civil group also must show the capacity to identify key actors at the local level who may be in favour of women’s inclusion and open to challenging gender power dynamics, engage with them from the beginning and connect women beneficiaries to these civil society organisations at the local level, according to the report.

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“This will create a strong network that may be able to pressure service providers to be responsive to women’s demands.”

To track what has shifted in the long term, the researchers advised international organisations to develop a benchmark on women’s status and condition at the outset and infuse it with a clear theory of change around women’s inclusion.

Finally, gender discrimination and social norms that limit women’s chance may remain if NGOs fail to provide long-term funding and technical support for institutionalising gender-sensitive processes, the researcher observed.

IDS and MacArthur Foundation supported the research.

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