Natalia Herbst, Blair Glencorse and Heather Gilberds recently completed a practitioner research paper to assess the Accountability Lab’s efforts to engage in an adaptive learning process.
Liberia’s post-conflict context has seen a new generation of young people who did not experience the conflict, which stretched from 1989 to 2003. The Lab sees this an opportunity to engage with them in new ways and support them to become actors in a process of building positive accountability dynamics.
Through a multi-method approach, which included citizen surveys, focus groups, and key informant interviews, the paper describes how Lab was able to gain insights into how to improve their efforts within the local Liberian context. This included insights into strategies for reaching citizens outside the capital; how and with whom to expand their networks and partnerships to create local hubs in the interior; and how to engage their local staff in research processes.
The paper also provided an opportunity to place a spotlight on Liberia’s accountability landscape. The findings showed that efforts to build governance have so far focused on institution-building and creating laws that do not always match local norms and culture. In response, the Lab has developed a people-centered strategy which proposes to train champions and create networks that can positively affect mindsets and change behaviors, embedding accountability and transparency in local culture progressively over time.