In 2016, the Accountability Lab carried out its third annual impact and learning study.

Blair Glencorse, Executive Director

The survey took place during a period of growth for the organization- in 2016 we grew to 4 countries (Liberia, Mali, Nepal and Pakistan), with 23 staff members and over 130 volunteers. We worked with over 2,000 people directly, brought together over 1,000 people through our networks and engaged millions more through online campaigns and outreach.

School girlsIn 2015, our survey respondents gave us 6 key pieces of feedback which we worked to address in a variety of ways:

  1. Expand to more communities (we accepted accountapreneurs from across our countries and led national campaigns);
  2. Create greater opportunity for collaboration (we facilitated joint efforts between accountapreneurs, re-opened the OpenGov Hub in Liberia and set-up a new co-working and collaboration space in Liberia called iCampus);
  3. Prepare our “accountapreneurs” for sustainability (we worked with them to develop revenue streams and supported organizational system development);
  4. Make advocacy and media outreach a priority (we wrotLawrence in Monroviee over 40 articles and blogs and spoke at 26 conferences globally);
  5. Communicate further with our staff and volunteers (we revamped internal communications systems and held staff retreats in every country); and document more of what we are learning (we hosted learning sessions with the BMW Foundation and Aspen Institute, hosted 4 learning calls and wrote a series of learning blogs).
  6. Document more of what we are learning (we hosted learning sessions with the BMW Foundation and Aspen Institute, hosted 4 learning calls and wrote a series of learning blogs).

Stakeholders in our work gave us an average score of 7 out of 10 when asked “to what extent do you think the  Lab changes what it does based on learning and feedback?” and we hope the adaptations above indicate that we take learning- and the process of incorporating this learning into our work- seriously.

In the 2016 survey, in response to the question: “how can the Lab improve what it does?” we received the following feedback:

  1. Provide the accountapreneurs with more individualized and hands-on support;
  2. Expand work to reach more marginalized, rural communities;
  3. Tap into media, youth group and university networks to increase visibility;
  4. Better communicate how activities are leading to systemic change; and
  5. Increase staff capacity through new hires and additional training.

Hip Co RappersWe are working hard to make sure we integrate these ideas into our efforts in 2017 and look forward to updating our community early next year as to how we get on. Other highlights of our learning and impact in 2016 included:

  • An independent evaluation of our work in Liberia through Making All Voices Count, which showed clear progress in our efforts to build an eco-system for accountability, despite challenges;
  • An increase in the perceived effectiveness of our programs from 6.6 to 7.5 out of 10. We were particularly thrilled with a jump in this category from 5.8 to 8.1 among government officials- showing the impact of Integrity Idol and our policy reform efforts, for example; and
  • 82% respondents said that the Accountability Lab has helped build a collaborative movement to improve lives- providing inspiration, collaborations, tools and connections to make people in power more responsible.

You can read the full (beautifully designed!) 2016 report with much more detail here, you can find our dataset here. Although this report was slightly delayed (we’ll get our 2017 report out by March 2018!), we’re excited at the progress the Lab is making. We’d love to hear any feedback on all of this- feel free to email us at [email protected] or ping us on Twitter @accountlab.