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What is internal accountability?

To ensure that we practice what we preach, CARE is committed to become a more transparent and accountable organisation, especially towards its primary stakeholders, i.e. the people whose lives it seeks to improve and in whose name it raises its funds.

Also known as beneficiary or downward accountability, internal accountability reflects an intention to set it apart from so-called upward accountability, referring to an organisation’s obligations towards its donors and sponsors. It is meant to capture the wide spectrum of practices, tools and mechanisms that enable project participants (or intended ‘beneficiaries’) to genuinely understand and influence the work and programmes from which they ought to benefit.

What does it mean in practice?

  • Internal accountability is rooted in the sharing of relevant information with impact groups in a clear and accessible manner -transparency;
  • It relies on the active involvement of beneficiaries in various stages of the programme and project cycles - meaningful participation;
  • It includes the implementation of safe and reliable mechanisms for receiving, managing and responding to complaints and other forms of feedback - feedback & dialogue.
  • Internal accountability further requires an organisational environment which is conducive to accountable practices through its incentive structures and organisational values.

Internal accountability cuts across development and humanitarian work and we deliberately aim to promote the exchange of best practice across these domains.

Programming Examples

Internal accountability in LAC

Internal accountability in Africa

Internal accountability in Asia

Key Tools & Resources

CARE International (CI) is in the process of developing an organisation-wide Accountability Framework (AF) which aims to pull together CARE’s various accountability relationships. Within the context of the AF, CIUK is focusing on supporting CARE COs to strengthen their accountability relationships with key external stakeholders: communities, impact groups and partners. More information on the AF and a draft version can be found on CARE’s Quality & Accountability Wiki.

CARE Country Offices (COs) have been developing forward accountability tools over the last few years, perhaps the most advanced is that of CARE Peru, which has developed an accountability system:

CARE Peru (2010) Guide to the organization of systems for NGO accountability to the community (English)



For more info, please see our training page or contact the Governance and Accountability Advisor, Gilbert Muyumbu:

internal_accountability.txt · Last modified: 2019/01/31 20:15 by