The spotlight focused on how organisations operating in the social sector can enhance responsiveness and accountability to its clients. But what does “client” really mean? Are we talking beneficiaries, stakeholders, funders, partnering organisations? How do we make sure we are “accountable” to each of them, and all of them collectively, but which “them” do we put first? This seminar was designed to explore and unpack precisely these complexities, and sparked some lively discussions.
Whether you are a social entrepreneur or policy maker, I think we all agree the field of international development, let alone achieving good governance within it, is complex. However, there is hope. The seminar not only got folks talking, but went beyond providing food for thought and unveiled an effort to take action. It put academics and practitioners in the same room and started to identify gaps and possible solutions/practices that need to be explored further. These areas are being evaluated as we speak and a call for papers to address gaps in the existing literature is forthcoming (with a £20K stipend slated to go to the winner).
Of course a simple call for papers won’t solve the complexity of governance, but it is a start. And it will serve as an impetus for the conversation until the second annual seminar next year.