A common premise of development interventions is that context matters for development outcomes, yet there is little understanding of how exactly ‘context’ affects outcomes and which contextual factors matter most.
The paper focuses on social accountability interventions, to explore macro and micro contextual factors. On the macro side, accountability processes need to take into account larger histories of citizen state engagement and related political processes. At the micro level, local factors can clearly drive the way certain social accountability interventions unfold and the extent to which they are successful, even within otherwise broadly similar contexts.
The research builds on the individual components of accountability and proposes a ‘theory of change/causal chain’ strategy to better understand the micro-context. A number of key points emerge from the paper:
- the existing evidence could potentially be recombined to assess the promise of existing and new interventions by deconstructing the various mini-causal pathways (i.e. in the micro-context) and understanding the contextual conditions that make them work
- existing interventions could be assessed for the extent to which they travelled along the causal chain while identifying the main roadblocks to impact.