News from the initiative

Call for information: what publications exist on users of technology for transparency & accountability initiatives?


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Research teams at the Institute of Development studies (UK) are calling for papers and publications on the experiences and realities of users of technology for transparency initiatives.  Have any literature or case studies to share, or do you know where these can be found?  

What do we know about citizens’ uptake and use of technology-for-transparency-and-accountability initiatives, and what do we assume?  Are our assumptions proven right by actual take-up and engagement with such initiatives?   A team at the Institute of Development Studies (UK) and Hivos (Netherlands and East Africa) is doing a small study on these questions.  We’re starting by reviewing available published literature and other non-published documentation that discusses the assumed or actual take-up and users of Accountability and Transparency Initiatives in general, and T4T&A initiatives in particular.    We would be most grateful if you could share with us relevant published literature or programme documentation that you know of.  Please e-mail the documents, or URLs or reference details, to Rosie McGee at T4T&   by Friday 6th July. 

We aim to produce a report and policy briefing on our desk review and field research in October 2012, and will share this widely, and ensure that you receive it.


The research questions we are exploring are:

What did/do ATTI and the implementing actors know at the outset of the initiatives about the initiatives’ likely users, uptake and possible constraints on uptake, and how do they know this?

What is known about the actual uptake in well-advanced initiatives, and the composition of actual users?   How does this compare with expectations and assumptions?

How were/are dimensions of social exclusion that may affect uptake and the composition of users (eg gender, age or disability) addressed in the design and implementation of these initiatives?  What is known about these dimensions in actual uptake and user composition?

What could be done to narrow any apparent gaps between initial expectations and actual uptake, use, users and beneficiaries of ATTI-supported programmes?

What are the expectations and motivations of users themselves, and of ATTI and its funders, and are there gaps between the users’ perspectives and ATTI and funders’ understandings of user expectations and motivations?

What is known about the reasons why non-users do not participate? What are the reasons?

Insights will be sought from the following sources:

  • In the published governance and accountability literature
  • In unpublished ‘grey’ literature (institutional and organizational literature and the programme documentation of implementers of TAIs and T4T&AIs), insofar as we can gain access to these often internal documents
  • Semi-structured, in-depth interviews with a small purposive sample of relevantly-positioned actors in the TAI field.  We aim to include northern- and southern-based staff of donor agencies funding and accompanying accountability work; staff of accountability-focused implementing organisations; academics, advisors and consultants working in this field

After the desk review we will conduct two empirical case studies in East Africa, looking at two T4T&A programmes supported by Hivos and Omidyar Foundation and implemented by Africa Technology for transparency (ATTI).


Rosie McGee (IDS), Fieke Jansen (Hivos), Mendi Njonjo (Hivos.ATTI) and  Ruth Carlitz (UCLA).


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