ISF is working in partnership with World Vision Bangladesh and the University of Rajshahi to conduct an outcome assessment of gender-transformative social accountability in Bangladesh. The research aims to reflect on the implementation of World Vision Bangladesh’s social accountability approach Citizen Voice and Action (CVA), which mobilises and equips citizens to monitor and advocate for improving government services. The research will generate learning about the value of social accountability for achieving sustainable, inclusive water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services and gender equality outcomes.

This outcome assessment is the final activity of a four-year research award supported by the Water for Women Fund of the Australian government. Research is linked to the piloting of gender-transformative social accountability by SHOMOTA, a project implemented by World Vision Bangladesh incorporating WASH, the empowerment of women and people with disabilities, and engagement with government and the private sector. SHOMOTA project sites are in socially conservative districts of Gaibanda, Jamalpur and Satkhira, where patriarchal norms and structures need significant effort to transform to achieve gender equality outcomes.

The research will provide important information on the strengthened focus on gender equality and social inclusion in social accountability, and consider the role of context on outcomes. For example, the COVID-19 pandemic had different impacts for men, women and marginalised groups and affected their capacity to engage in CVA activities. The research will also provide conceptual reflections on how to assess the contribution of gender-transformative social accountability to outcomes, both in terms of incremental and transformative changes.

In-depth interviews are underway with SHOMOTA project staff, CVA working group members, elected representatives to water and sanitation committees, and government representatives involved in social accountability. Look for the research report, which will be shared on the project website in the coming months.