Rebel Group: Who are we accountable to?

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Who are we accountable to?

(raw notes, unedited, none spell checked || done, please improve upon. All the darn bullet points disappeared with the cut and past. Bah!

Russell The government and our members. Members join to access money. Independent source of money. Be interested in what we provide for them learning they support us.

Learning trajectories - identify members on identify the question, the issue they want to talk about. Examine that. Associated with capacity building.

Linking up, increasing self organization, self help capacity of the people. How do you know they want that Because theya re development organizations.

How are they accountable to you? Government - respect. Articulation of civil society experience. Civil society development.

NW Europe. Self organizing. Next to government and private. Hybrid, mixed. In the US a lot of international NGO's are public service contractors. Dutch way - something different. Which is a minority. Issue. Sit down and organize. Link shanty town designers in India and Nairobi. Government has to respect that this is about trial and error, experiments. Respected as a third party. Development can't be just government to government or gov. to business.


Andrew Subversive in Laos. Manage a project. SDC funded project. Managed by Helvetas. Membership based. Maybe accountable to all. Partner is a national government partner. Maybe accountable to them. Office. Daily. Training field workers so they can provide better field workers. I pick and choose. Would like to claim that I'm accountable for the poorer and oppressed of Laos and they never asked me to do it. I pick on something within government policy that appeals. Government also doing things I don't agree with. Ultimately - selective about this. I don't know the answer. Romantic way - accountable to principles. That doesn't sound like an accountability relationship. Depends on relationship and types of principles. The people I would like to be accountability, there is not an accountability mechanism. If you go to specifics, could give a more precise answer. Still a lack of accountability mechanism. Lack of feedback loops. Whatever we call them, clients, stakeholders, partners. The name of the other has evolved a lot from being beneficiaries to a whole services of alternatives to stakeholders and partners. Ultimately develo-pers and develo-pees. Who are calling the shots and who's lives are being affect. We don't have an accountability mechanism between these developers and develo-pees.

Jo Depends on who I am at any one time. It's a deceptively innocent question. So many layers. One person in a team - communication and so on with colleagues. In a monster organization between team and organization. The layer that is about money and money management - more often what is referred to but main focus. Mix of sources, different ways of reporting against those. Project specific work with particular groups and organizations on particular things. Phrase of feedback loop. Accountability to money, but care about accountability to group of people who our efforts are intended. And they don't know who we are, or only a small handful know. What does accountability look like there. A communication loop. If you are going to engage with me, how can I ensure that piece of engagement that leaves you better off, or with more choices than before. Could have done an extractive process. Found a way of completing the loop. Share what everyone contributed into bigger picture and back here are 15 things you can do with this in your local context to take it forward. Even though our work was high level government policy making. That felt like accountability to me. Different than accountability to funders.

Andrew Did something with CARE, the flow of accountability, upward and downward. A lot of problems. Massive rural livelihood program with lots of problems. Why do we have to keep fixing it? Underlying was that they had this huge upward accountability. I was there with DFID doing evaluation. We were part of the problem. Each team would make new recommendations and then everyone tried to implement it. No longer a useful service to the community, but keep 7 layers of management happy. We were part of the problem. Standard review processes are an important part of process of removing accountability away from the direction it should be facing.

Nancy Need a partner for reflection as part of my accountability. Privilege of personal choice. Accountable to un-knowingness. To get and give feedback. Personal mastery - one part of that is feedback. small group of people to whom you communicate about this

Andrew Laos is a small place. Development community in Vientiane is a small face. Attended 3 meetings in 18 months looking for people with whom I can do that reality check. Am I kidding myself, Does any of this make sense. To have the dialogue, someone to hold up that mirror. A number of things that have happened in the last few years is the search for a mechanism, a check for someone to say, that's nonsense, try it like this. Or that it is right on.

Nancy Going back to something Marc Steinlin said it is the community, not the domain. My community is the value I bring to a client.

Jo Telling the truth gets you in trouble; Failure, reasons for not speaking the truth to eacxh other. Hard to achieve in an organization.

Russell Used to be a consultant, worked for UN You need to establish a community around yourself. Not within the org. The social network. A community should not just be the organization. Org does not equal community. It is part of it.

Andrew Relationship with people outside your organization. Makes it possible to get that kind of feedback. I have been the bullshit detector for a more senior person. Not one of their immediate staff. But highly familiar with work. Something they welcomed. Once a week, sit down and bounce ideas. I could say it was nonsense and why. Their own staff would say everything was wonderful - good or not. Now in that position where I need that kind of relationship. We encourage and facilitate that, but who does that with us.

Nancy How to build reflexivity into practice.

Andrew We know this works. It enables you, the test, if I can pass it on to another. If I can explain what I"m doing to someone else and they understand and they can tell it back.

Nancy What is the invitation that is so irresistible so that others put knowledge into their context.

Russell Give the space and opportunity examine and be examined (feedback) It will get close tot he bone. But don't be afraid. Need an outsider.

Nancy Story of everyone reporting themselves as outsiders

Russell You come from the free world where you have the option to step out. Others can't afford to step out of their communities, tribes and families. We play a role stepping into that.

Outsider as someone who is passing through or as someone who is at the periphery. 


Andrew If people all think they are outsiders, then we have a community outsiders. look at the four of us here. Connect that with people reporting they were the outsider on the inside of their org as the KM person. Maybe that is the role. You are never going to feel full connected except to all the other outsiders

Jo our job is to pay attention to process. Fish in water. Your role is to notice the water. That puts you in a different place (making assumption fish doesn't know it is swimming in water.) Role you play when you pay attention to process . Expert - Content Process observer - outsider

Russell You can as an insider play that role, but if you have a connection w/ outside community to help you take that peripheral borderline perspective. Something I'm known for doing with my own team. It's become a culture. Other people will play the joker.

Nancy Guests, how we welcome them, guest as another term for a welcomed outsider. But trust is an issue. Invitation Be accountable to your invitation. Accountability for accepting the invitation.

Russell invitation. Invite to share. Sharing means putting all cards, telling truth, my personal struggles. The invitation contains an key concept. Shared agreement.

Jo Back to values and standards That kind of example, inviting people into a space where a truth can be told, there is an obligation is to be respectful, not leave people on the floor in pieces and walk away A relationship that needs to have a certain shape to it. Not communicating enough about assumptions. Expectations. Make that transparent. Make values and assumptions discussable, but don't have to be in full agreement.


The curtain between learning and funding is totally separate. THe only way it works. If you break that, you are breaking the opportunity for other people to trust you. Why has that worked for the Dutch. Doing it. Slowly. Practice. Deliberate intent.

What would you wish for Part of our members focus on humanitarian aid, emergency stuff. We had this sharing afternoon. We set that up using hidden theater. We treated them as if you go to a drought relief setting. No tea and coffee, just water with sugar. Here, fill in this (completely senseless form) . Colour codes that were unrelated. You want something to eat. After 25 minutes, people say I don't like to be treated that way. We installed collective shame. We're treating you the way refugees are treated. Eye opener. Because we did it carefully. The invitation. Then everyone had taken off their metaphorical clothes. They went along with it. This is not participation. This is routine in your sector.

Invitation can be provocative, specific, If the fairy dust came down I would have all communication be interpersonal communication. Because of what we are saying here, the importance of value, assumptions, trust. About that story. People being objectified. A lot of learning activities, and KM activities we deal with data and people as things. By saying all interpersonal communication does not mean F2F, but we treat each other as people and so much of that doesn't happen. Box in an org chart. A category of other. About data. It should all be about interpersonal communication.

Had to prepare a paper on empowerment, measurement. During the course of this, the World Bank likes to think it has intellectual leadership, project for measuring women's empowerment. Attached ton one of the papers was the survey instrument. Standard set of questions to a sample of women in 5 countries. Section on domestic violence. Does your husband beat you, no, yes, if yes, how often, How seriously does he beat you/ severely, moderately. Could not believe what I was reading. Could not believe they wrote that. Talk about empowering women, but they are treated as sources of data. SO creepy. Depersonalizing.

A role in learning to bring people back in, treat them like people. Sabbaticals, moments for reflection, time to have learning be a delight in our lives. Endless supply of self confidence potion to hand out to people. Yes you can go out and make a mistake. Try something new. Go on. Try. The fun of trying. Pay attention.

Its not the trick or formula of story telling. Something around it suddenly being the case was something visible and tangible that sat on people that they could not hide they are carrying to allow more straightforward. Perhaps different colours of power, -p collaborative power blue, controlling power red. Power is at the centre of these discussions. We can't talk about it. Make it discussable. red with prickles. Self confidence world be green. It would be undeniable. Open power, informal power, hidden power. Will you carry my power. Put it in the centre.

Reflect Rich personal educational feel good about it figured out something about me through interaction with you heard a lot of interesting stories proved to be interesting, fascinating conversation opened my eyes about this CoP - how you work in that. so different from what I've experienced so far as CoP as forced, additional activity.

OK, to put in, take apart, that is to be done enjoyed it particularly not spending another hour going round round on thje same loop not talking that language connecting with what Marc said earlier.