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CARE believes in poor and marginalised people having more influence over how services are delivered. This means supporting service users to hold service providers to account for availability and quality of services provided to poor people.


Community Score Cards (CSCs)




In Ethiopia, Malawi, Rwanda, and Tanzania, CARE’s Community Score Card© (CSC) approach has contributed to strengthening service provision and community-state relations in the health, food security, water and sanitation and education sectors. In the Maternal Health Alliance Project, for example, CARE’s cluster-randomized control evaluation revealed that compared with communities where the CSC was not implemented, women’s satisfaction with health services significantly increased.

In Malawi, through the World Bank funded SSAES project CARE is implementing the CSC to decrease teacher absenteeism and increase the level of efficiency, transparency and accountability in the school textbook procurement process.

CARE's ghana_strengthening_accountability_mechanisms_gsam project works to strengthen citizen's oversight of capital development projects to improve local government transparency, accountability and performance.

In Kenya, with the support of DFID, CARE is implementing the community scorecard in the Maternal and Newborn Health Improvement (MANI) project. The initiative is working with the Bungoma Country Health Management Team to strengthen core health systems and increase survival of mothers and newborns by enabling poor women to access affordable and quality health services.

In Bangladesh, Journey for Advancement in Transparency and Accountability (JATRA) project is using social audits, CSCs and budget monitoring to enhance social accountability in communities. Citizen Forums conducted social_audits of the use and management of block grants used for community infrastructure including culverts, rain water discharge drains, drinking water tube-wells, school benches, and guard walls to prevent landslides. Communities undertook Community Score Card exercises, so that people could provide feedback to local governments regarding the allocation of social safety net benefits, and the use of local government block grants.

In Nepal, CARE supports the European Union (EU) and Austrian Development Agency (ADA) funded project Sankalpa - 'Collaborative commitment for participatory and gender responsive budgets' by supporting citizens in participatory budget monitoring and gender budgeting models. The project is building the capacity of rural communities, particularly women, to understand monitor, and advocate around the use of various decentralised funding sources.

Since 2006, CARE International in Egypt has been taking the lead in working on Governance and Social Accountability projects and interventions on local, sub-national, national levels in addition to the MENA region.

See CARE's 2-page overview of our Social Accountability work:


See here for example of CARE's social accountability work in FCAS:


What is social accountability?

Social accountability can be defined as an approach towards building accountability that relies on civic engagement, i.e., in which it is ordinary citizens and/or civil society organizations who participate directly or indirectly in exacting accountability (World Bank, 2004).

The aim of this civic engagement is to stimulate demand from citizens and thus put pressure on the state or private sector to meet their obligations to provide quality services. The supply side of this equation is about building state capability and responsiveness.

What does it mean in practice?

Social accountability mechanisms are separate from conventional accountability mechanisms such as political checks and balances, accounting and auditing systems, administrative rules and legal procedures. However, the former can complement, reinforce and in some cases activate the latter. Examples of social accountability mechanisms include:

  • Freedom of information petitions and investigative journalism;
  • Citizen report cards and community score cards;
  • Community monitoring of public service delivery;
  • Participatory budgeting and public expenditure tracking;
  • Public commissions and hearings;
  • Citizen advisory boards;
  • Citizen Charters


Programming Examples

There are various different types_of_social_accountability.

Equally, in current academic debate there are a number of emergent trends about what makes social accountability work or not.

CARE uses a variety of social accountability tools, including community score cards, community score boards, participatory budgets and budget monitoring and other locally tailored citizen monitoring initiatives. In particular, CARE has built its reputation in social accountability in the use of community score cards. Please see the Community Score Card CoP to find out more about CARE's tools and learning in this area.

For a summary on the range of tools and approaches CARE uses, please see cares_experience_in_social_accountability.


In the region, CARE has focused its efforts on the social monitoring of maternal and infant health services and participatory budgeting initiatives.


CARE Malawi is a pioneer of community score cards. As such, CARE has modified and adapted this tool to different local contexts across the continent.


CARE is employing a variety of tools and approaches such as participatory budgeting and community score cards to help strengthen demand-driven accountability in the region.


CARE Egypt manages the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability (ANSA) for the Arab world and has ample experience using community score cards to improve service delivery.

Key Tools & Resources

Overseas Development Institute-UNICEF (2013), Social Audit Toolkit

World Bank (2004), Social Accountability: An Introduction to the Concept and Emerging Practice

World Bank (2013), Mapping Context for Social Accountability: A Resource Paper

CARE's Citizen Charter Manual

Kwantu's Community Score Carddatabase

Social Accountability in anti-corruption programming:

Claudia Baez Camargo & Franziska Stahl (2016), Social accountability: A practitioner’s handbook


Post 2015 Advocacy Resources






For more information, please contact the Senior Governance Advisor for Asia, Rebecca Haines, at

social_accountability.txt · Last modified: 2019/01/31 18:54 by