News from the initiative

The launch of a community of practice on impact and learning … to transform the T/A field


$s Published: . Tagged in accountability, Community of Practice, evaluation, impact, learning, research, transparency

The Transparency and Accountability convened in Cape Town an enthusiastic group of funders, civil society organizations, and researchers from all over the world—over 50 people in total – to engage and learn from each other about addressing the tough questions.

The idea was to start working together on issues of impact and learning in the field of transparency and accountability and to launch a community of practice to sustain this work over time.

For three days, we worked together intensely (see a one-page summary and a longer presentation of our work in Cape Town). We achieved two goals:

  1. We started building a safe space for T/A practitioners, funders and researchers learn collaboratively and on an on-going basis in ways that improve their planning and impact. This is because, for example, all can share and reflect on our experience candidly. 
  2. We formed “practice groups” around five priority issues and developed learning plans to make concrete progress in each issue:


Issues identified in Cape Town by CSOs, funders, and researchers for work are:

  • The transparency-participation-accountability nexus: how to better understand and leverage the connection between transparency, participation, and accountability
  • The issue of context: how to analyse the context of interventions to understand how and why they do or do not transfer successfully to new contexts
  • Methods and learning from failure: how to choose the right methods, metrics, and approaches to analyse interventions, evaluate impact meaningfully, and learn from both successes and failures
  • Incentives for learning: how to shape funding relationships and institutional structures to promote learning within and across organizations 
  • Learning how to learn: how to embed learning methods and processes at the core of our organizations and networks


For this year, T/AI will support regular web-conferences and online discussions, both for specific groups and for the whole community. Activities will include convening case clinics to support individual CSO’s approaches to link transparency, accountability and participation on the ground; collation of information about alternative methodologies for learning, monitoring, and evaluation, webinars and small face-to-face meetings to discuss what contextual factors matter or how supply and demand side interventions can be linked for T/A impact (see link) as well as a communication platform for the community.

We know that building a community will take long-term commitment, beyond a one-off meeting. T/AI is committed to help move forward the agenda set by the community. We are optimistic, among other reasons, because a number of members have come forward to provide joint leadership in taking the community through its first year.

We believe that thinking and doing as a community and placing learning at the core of our practice will far exceed the effectiveness of T/AI or any single organization’s attempt to produce knowledge alone. This has the potential to be transformative and strategically strengthen the field.

If you are a civil society organization, funder, or expert working in transparency, and Accountability and are interested in joining our community or following our work, please let us know on this form.  You can also sign up below to be included in the meeting’s newsfeed.  Your input will help shape where we go in the next phase.





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