When funders think about increasing transparency and accountability, they often look first to civil society organizations to get citizens interested in an issue, collect data or advocate to governments.
But often these organizations won’t be able to mobilise the numbers of people needed to challenge entrenched power structures. This could be for many reasons: they might lack the flexibility to respond rapidly to political opportunities, or perhaps they prioritise funding applications over grassroots community-building. In those cases, social movements – networked groups that use substantial grassroots support to challenge authorities on a particular issue – are often better at holding powerful groups accountable.
However, funders interested in supporting activities around transparency and accountability rarely provide support to social movements (financial or otherwise). Why? And are they missing something?Continue reading