The Ford Foundation announced today an initial investment of $3 million to the World Bank’s Global Partnership for Social Accountability. The GPSA Steering Committee is made up of civil society organizations, donors, World Bank senior management and developing country governments with the aim to provide strategic and sustained support to CSOs in developing countries that are working with their respective governments to promote greater transparency and accountability.

The steering committee for the partnership is holding its first meeting at the World Bank today. This initiative signals a seminal shift by using the convening power of the World Bank toward enhanced beneficiary feedback and participation in a singularly unique manner. Ford Foundation is on the steering committee along with DfID and Finland as donor members, InterAction, ANSA-Arab World, TrustAfrica, WBI, and government representatives from Malawi, Dominican Republic and Bangladesh.

The objective of GPSA is to improve development investments and outcomes through greater civil society participation and input. The foundation’s contribution to the partnership will help support a global platform for knowledge exchange and research among NGOs working on improved government transparency and responsiveness. It will also support social accountability activities by NGOs, including such things as budget literacy campaigns, citizen-driven government report cards, grievance redress mechanisms, independent budget analysis, expenditure tracking, participatory budgeting, procurement monitoring, public access to information campaigns, and user management committees.

“In developing countries, we need to build the knowledge and training of civil society leaders to work effectively with governments,” said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. “That’s why I’m delighted that the Ford Foundation will be working with us to help support the Global Partnership for Social Accountability. Ford brings decades of experience and knowledge working with civil society groups to promote stronger governance and I’m very thankful for its generous contribution.”

Governments around the world are being invited to opt-in to the partnership. Countries that have opted-in so far include Bangladesh, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Malawi, Moldova, Mozambique, the Philippines and Tunisia. The partnership will work with these governments and civil society groups in each country to improve transparency; representation and voice; accountability; and learning for improved results.

“This partnership will encourage citizens and civil society organizations around the world to play an active role in improving their governments and their societies,” said Luis Ubiñas, president of the Ford Foundation. “We know the benefit to communities when transparency and accountability in governance are strengthened. Efforts like this have the potential to exponentially improve the lives of the poorest and most marginalized around the world, and we commend the World Bank for focusing on how it can better engage civil society in its work with governments.”

The Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation is an independent organization working to address inequality and build a future grounded in justice. For more than 85 years, it has supported visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. Today, with an endowment of $16 billion, the foundation has headquarters in New York and 10 regional offices across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

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