PSA - Accountability in gender responsive quality service delivery
Basic services such as education, health, water and sanitation, food, housing and human security are important as they are basic rights. They make it possible to progressively realise other economic, social and human rights for all citizens, especially the most marginalised.
In many countries, the state is unable or unwilling to meet its responsibility of providing basic public services. Essential services are underfunded, poor in quality, don’t reflect people’s needs or are even completely absent. The State is often keen to give up its responsibility for providing basic services by arguing that private companies can do it better, when in reality services for the poorest tend to get worse when they are privatised.
When public services don’t work, it’s communities living in poverty, particularly women and girls, that suffer the most. Around the world, millions of girls are missing out school. Women are more at risk of violence in their cities from poor public transport and lighting. And women are filling the gap where public services don't exist, paying with their time and bodies by looking after the young, elderly and sick.
Participatory methodologies can be used to enhance communities’ understanding of their rights to public services and to build their capacity to demand accountable, transparent, equitable and gender-responsive basic services. They should be able to identify gaps, priorities and spaces to influence decision-making and to hold government to account.
Participatory tools for accountability in gender responsive quality service delivery include:
- Social audit – to collect and present evidence about a government programme or service
- Community scorecard - to enable people to assess and provide feedback on government or NGO programmes, services or facilities.
- Public services map - to map service provision (and the lack of it) in the community showing where people live and where the services are provided.
- Accountability: Quality and Equity in Public Service Provision. Just and Democratic Local Governance series, ActionAid, 2011.
- People’s Action in Practice, ActionAid. Whole publication but in particular, pp. 27-28, 73-74, 125-142.
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