Transparency and Accountability Initiative (TAI) is delighted to publicly release our new strategy and a new website to match.
We are excited by the vision laid out by our donor members and their commitment to work together to amplify the positive impact of transparency and accountability funding around the globe.
There is much that is new – a new team working with the donor members, a new home base in Washington DC, and new clarity on the role that the collaborative will play. At the same time, this is very much an evolution, building on TAI’s achievements to date and the critical networks of relations built.
“We remain as committed as ever to helping build a world where citizens are informed and empowered, governments are open and responsive, and citizen engagement with government advances the public good,” notes Julie McCarthy, director at Open Society Foundations and TAI co-chair. These goals are more important than ever in today’s global context.
The new strategy reflects two refinements in TAI’s approach:
- A stronger orientation toward serving the donor members directly, thereby seeking results through improved grant making rather than direct field-building, and
- Testing the value of the collaborative model by aligning funder efforts on a few specific issue areas that we all recognize as critically important in the current global context.
Of course, working together takes time and money, and requires trust and coordination. So, why do it? We believe that aligning resources, data and leadership helps funders achieve greater impact, without sacrificing the diversity of approaches and funding channels found across the membership. Compared to the mainstays of the development agenda, such as health or the environment, the scale of funding for the transparency and accountability field is small. This makes the case for a deliberate, collaborative, systems-level approach all the greater.
We are already hard at work in pursuit of ambitious goals on four areas:
Data use for accountability: Assuring more and better use of data by citizens and governments, while addressing concerns around data privacy
Taxation and tax governance: Supporting development of more inclusive and equitable tax systems and practice
Strengthening of civic space: Fostering a plurality of independent and legitimate civil society voices
Learning for improved grant making: Boosting impact of TAP funding through thoughtful, evidence-based, adaptive donor and grantee practices.
Stay tuned for more updates to follow – ranging from building an interactive map of taxation grant-supported work through to a tracking of how transparency arguments are being used to justify actions that can restrict civil society freedoms. We will look forward to your engagement in these conversations.
Funders do not lead change on the ground, but have an important role to play. As Martin Tisne, investment partner at Omidyar Network and TAI’s other co-chair, explains, “TAI is a platform through which we can push each other to challenge assumptions and explore new ideas – all with a view to being smarter grant makers and to better support the field.”
My colleagues Alison, Lauren and I are looking forward to helping make this platform as useful as it can be.