Sharing civil society experiences from the Republic of Congo with University staff

16 August 2021
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CIDT’s PhD student Mr Teodyl Nkuintchua presented his ongoing PhD research on civil society accountability in the Republic of Congo at the Wolverhampton Researchers’ Week and Annual Research Conference June 2021. Teodyl shares a snapshot of his research in this blog:

“Accountability refers to the process through which an organisation gives account to their stakeholders and, addresses any gap that those stakeholders may identify. In Africa, most studies have emphasised on the role that civil society organisations (CSOs) play in demanding account to governments and companies. But little is known about whether and how civil society itself is accountable vis-à-vis other actors.

In the context of Congo, such knowledge could have important implications. A large portion of the development aid to Congo is channelled through CSOs who act as intermediaries between donors and other constituencies: state, rural communities, and their own staff. But CSOs are not only intermediaries. They are also part of a civil society ‘community’ meaning that they interact with their peers. Such closeness among CSOs may also shape the way in which they perceive and operationalise accountability. Consequently, this study may inform the entire aid system as well as help address specific issues that affect the life of civil society in the country.

The research aims to deal with the following questions: how do CSOs and their stakeholders perceive accountability? How do CSOs operationalise accountability? And, how relevant are their efforts with respect to the expectations of their stakeholders? This qualitative investigation within two case studies in Congo uses a mix of semi-structured interview, focus group discussion, observation and archival research. From earliest interactions between the researcher and a few informants, the concept of ‘civil society accountability’ is loaded with both praise and suspicion; and this may have to do with the historical context of the country. The research is almost halfway through – so readers may expect more insights in the coming months.”

Teodyl played an important role as technical specialist on CIDT’s EU funded Citizen’s Voices for Change project from 2016-20, leading on the development of sustainable networks of well-informed local non-state actors.