Accountability is becoming a commonly used word in development work. Accountability is about good relationships. It is about taking our responsibility seriously and explaining our decisions and actions to others, such as donors, peers and the people we serve. We also have a role in holding others accountable to us and to poor people.

This issue looks at accountability in different situations at community level. The first article looks at how church pastors acted to hold politicians accountable to a community in Zambia. An example of a church being accountable to the community is given on page 10. The idea of accountability to communities in NGO work is introduced on page 4 and there are two articles from Zimbabwe and Pakistan that look at how it can be carried out in practice. The centre pages focus on financial accountability and provide practical ideas for keeping treasurers accountable. There are also articles about accountability in water councils and savings groups.

We hope this issue provides ideas that we can all put into practice in our service of others.

Please find below articles from Footsteps issue 76 in html.

To download a pdf version of Footsteps issue 76, please click here (371KB).

  • Accountability in relief work in Kashmir, Pakistan

    The earthquake in Kashmir in 2005 provided an opportunity for Tearfund to develop its understanding and practice of accountability to the people it serves.  The earthquake struck the Kashmir region of Pakistan, killing approximately 73,000 people and leaving and estimated 3.3 million homeless.  Tearfund set up a programme to supply emergency shelter as well as meet the water and sanitation needs fo the affected communities.

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  • Accountability to the community

    by David Bainbridge For many years, the word ‘accountability’ was used mainly in connection with the relationship between organisations and donors. Donors wanted to ensure that organisations spent their money wisely, and organisations wanted to account for how funds were spent and impress donors to ensure future funding. However, the focus on accountability is also beginning to move towards the relationship between the organisation and people it serves. This means that the organisation takes ...

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  • Bible study: Biblical accountability

    by Prince David Read Ezra 8:28-34 Twelve men were selected by Ezra to carry gold, silver and bronze articles to Jerusalem. The articles were weighed beforehand and accounted for at the time of delivery. They were given instructions: ‘You as well as these articles are consecrated … Guard them carefully until you weigh them out in the chambers of the house of the Lord.’ Ezra 8:28-29

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  • Encouraging the local church to be accountable to the community

    by Revd Emmanuel Isaya The church in Mwamadilanha village in Tanzania used to be considered by most community members as meaningless and irresponsible in terms of its relationship with the community. Many church members believed that the church’s mission to the community was the responsibility of the evangelist and pastor. The growth of the church therefore depended on the commitment of these chosen and trained church ministers. All this changed when the Diocese of Shinyanga introduced a ...

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  • Engaging politicians in community development

    Mapalo is an urban community on the outskirts of Ndola in Zambia. It is a community known for its economic poverty. The roads are unpaved, which prevents the movement of goods to market. Many people in the community do not have official titles to the land they live on. Twenty per cent of the people in Mapalo are living with HIV and do not have access to antiretroviral treatment. This article looks at how a group of church leaders turned their passion for community transformation into action by ...

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  • Financial accountability

    When dealing with money on behalf of others, accountability is crucial. The people given responsibility to manage the money need to be able to show that they are being good stewards of what is entrusted to them. It is important that they are protected from being tempted to use the money for their own purposes.

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  • Letters

    Further strategies needed in favour of female students In the Democratic Republic of Congo, female schoolchildren face specific schooling issues. Many parents do not approve of training for girls at higher levels. Parents think that girls should just get married rather than get an education. Traditional culture plays a big part in this phenomenon. UNICEF’s ‘All girls to school’ campaign had a noticeable impact on increased numbers of girls at school, especially in lower level primary school ...

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  • Resources

    Impact measurement and accountability in emergencies: The good enough guide This guide provides field workers with guidelines on how to be accountable to local people and measure programme impact in emergency situations. It emphasises simple and practical solutions and encourages the user to choose tools that are safe, quick and easy to implement.

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