TAI Weekly

TAI Weekly | November 13, 2018
By TAI
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Highlights:

  • Geeking out on global governance
  • Controversy vs uncontroversial: which one wins?
  • Faked out
  • Simple ways
  • Roundup
  • TAI Spotlight: From defending democracy to StoryCorps interviewing model

In case you missed it…

Geeking out on global governancePhoto: Parispeaceforum

TAI members and grantees joined global governance actors in Paris for the Paris Peace Forum – the first of what President Macron intends to be an annual meeting exploring solutions to international challenges on governance and development (follow the discussion thread on #ParisPeaceForum). While launched against the backdrop of armistice remembrance and with a headline focus on peace, the discussions are centered on reviving global governance everywhere from cyberspace to geoengineering to UN institutions. 80 innovative projects are showcased (this Weekly goes to press too soon to know those winning further support.)
 
How does accountability intersect with conflict prevention or mitigation? Myanmar’s Rohingya Crisis provides an immediate example with Bill Richardson arguing accountability for violence is essential but not enough. Turning elsewhere in Southeast Asia, Hema Preya Selvanathan highlights the success of a broad coalition of NGOs coming together in the Bersih movement to challenge poor governance and advocate for better service delivery. For further motivation, read Yannicke Goris’ report on ways civil society can bridge gaps, overcome differences and work with diverse partners.

 

Controversy vs uncontroversial: which one wins?

Many government officials express a preference for CSOs focused on uncontroversial service delivery activities as compared to those working on raising citizen voices and advocating for better policies. Aidan Eyakuze makes a strong case for the latter that is also working to strengthen public services and improve people’s lives.
 
Yet the risks for activists in challenging the powerful remain all too stark, as in the attack on Alfredo Okenve in Equatorial Guinea, and fatal assault on Kateryna Handziuk in Ukraine, sparking Transparency International’s call for justice. Of course, journalists remain a target, too, including in the Philippines. Do these make you angry? Then channel that – turns out that moral outrage is an important factor in driving social change.

 

Faked out

While reputable journalists face attack, those touting disinformation find ever new ways to be effective online. Twitter, Facebook, and Google are all here at the Paris Peace Forum (and parallel GovTech and Internet Governance Forum) explaining their measures to counter fake news, but it’s hard not to get the sense of an uphill battle. The BBC looks at a year of fake news in Africa with links to kindling ethnic violence, confusing voters and even causing currency fluctuations. Pair with findings for India and Brazil, where people’s reliance on WhatsApp was a critical channel for misinformation in the recent presidential campaign.
 
Laura Hazard Owen suggests we learn from the disinformationists and borrow some lessons in response. On the political front, 12 countries launched a process here in Paris aimed at providing democratic guarantees for news and information and freedom of opinion, but Javier Pallero offers a word of caution on the role of internet information intermediaries in their International Declaration on Information and Democracy. Could a new Digital Democracy Charter be a sounder starting point? Luminate hopes so (see TAI Spotlight below).

 

Long read of the week

Digital Outreach Playbook: Reaching vulnerable populations where they are – online by Code for America with support of the James Irvine Foundation.
 
Many people in need of government services are online. It just takes the right digital strategy to reach them.

 

 

Simple ways

Don’t overlook the power of simply asking grantees directly for their feedback through surveys. How to go about it? Melinda Tuan & Jessica Kiessel detail a case for Lean Data and Listen for Good new tools.
 
For grantees, to get faster donor feedback they might need to be proactive with the use of SMS and messaging apps. So far, the figures from the 2018 Global NGO Technology Report indicate only 15% send SMS and 18% use messaging apps. A number which is worrying as the mobile phone is such a simple and effective way of communicating (and given the dominance of platforms like WhatsApp as a news source).
 
Wondering why a healthy organization culture matter? Get inspiration from Engine Rooms’ efforts in promoting each staff’s wellbeing and how it has contributed to achieving their mission and a healthy organization. Something you might want to imitate.
 
There has been much talk of boards recently at TAI’s home in the OpenGov Hub and so we wanted to flag some long-standing resources on building and maintaining effective NGO boards here and here, and flag to our members BoardSource’s survey findings on foundation boards, outlining characteristics that matter most, the value of self-assessment, and a continued lack of diversity.

 

Roundup

Bill Browder explains how the Global Magnitsky Act targets the enablers of Russian corruption in the West while we might take some encouragement from the fact that Pilatus bank, accused of money laundering breaches by murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, has been shut down indefinitely.
 
CSOs in Nigeria are tackling corruption by increasing transparency through various tech solutions (more motivation from our data vs corruption brief on the same). While Mohammed Amin Adam reiterates the Ghanaian government’s commitment to governance and transparency for its oil sector.
 
Governance and transparency of funders matter, too. Gary Forster makes a detailed case for opening up development finance institutions.
 
Finally,” broaden participation, expand deliberation and embed the new institutions in ongoing policy‐making venues” – those sound like good practice for any social accountability mechanism but are certainly born out by the first large‐N study to identify relationships between specific rules of participatory budgeting programme design and well‐being outcomes.

Essential Listening and Viewing

What is the cost of corruption? CNBC’s Xin En Lee explains building on discussions from last month’s IMF-World Bank meetings in Bali, Indonesia. Watch Now!

TAI spotlight

Defending Democracy from Digital Threats | Luminate Group
Ben Scott details some of the new principles and actions needed to safeguard and enhance our democracies.
 
Push to Tackle Corruption | DFID
DFID media team report on how their programs are designed with a range of safeguards to alleviate the risk of fraud and how aid combats corruption.
 
Building Stronger Societies | Luminate Group
Luminate Group explains why they gave a grant of $749,500 to CORRECTIV towards developing their impressive investigative newsroom.
 
The Power of Human Stories: TAI and StoryCorps Training
TAI donor members partnered with StoryCorps for training on an interview model to record stories that get to empathy – important not just in connecting to audiences on issues, but also for exploring ways grantmakers can be more effective.Photo: TAI

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