The Lab’s Citizen Helpdesk is a pioneering citizen feedback, dialogue and community voice platform to ensure accountability in the development process. The program has collected critical information from hundreds of communities across Nepal, Liberia and Mali, solving daily problems for citizens and closing the loop on challenges related to everything from migration, to human trafficking, to natural resource management and security issues.

Communities select dedicated groups of volunteers – Community Frontline Associates – led by local journalists, who act as two-way information collection and dissemination units. These CFAs gather information on critical problems on a monthly basis through community surveys, relaying this information to our dedicated teams who coordinate with local and national power-holders. We then ensure validated information on these issues is fed back down to communities through local radio shows, community meetings and info-graphics in local languages, facilitating conversations about key local concerns and working with partners to solve problems.

Accountability Lab has taken the decision to rebrand Citizen Helpdesks as Civic Action Teams (CivActs). This new name better reflects the incredible work of our dynamic network of community activists. We’ve also unveiled a new logo to represent the work of our CivActs program.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been working virtually with CFAs and continue to strengthen our community building processes while keeping participants and employees safe. The aims of the campaign remains to create a space for collaborative evidence-based dialogue to support collective problem solving to shift perceptions of power and address critical problems, build accountability into local decision-making processes and build trust between local communities and powerholders by closing the feedback loop.

The Lab has also moved quickly to lean on our experience creating feedback loops through this model to launch the Coronavirus CivActs Campaign. The Coronavirus CivActs Campaign (CCC) gathers rumours, concerns and questions from communities across the country to eliminate information gaps between the government, media, NGOs and citizens. Download all the bulletins from Nepal, Pakistan, South Africa, Mali, Niger, Liberia and Nigeria here.