Increasing the Power of the Poor? NGO-led Social Accountability Initiatives and Political Capabilities in Rural Uganda
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AbstractSocial accountability has become an important new buzzword among development actors seeking to understand the forms of state-society synergy that may be supportive of better public services. Advocates suggest demand-side initiatives are key to increasing the power of the poor in service provision, while sceptics question the application of technical fixes to complex political challenges. This article reports findings from qualitative research into the political capabilities outcomes achieved among local health and education stakeholders through the social accountability interventions of a non-governmental organisation (NGO) in Western Uganda. It argues that NGOs are unlikely to generate substantive advances for social accountability in agrarian contexts characterised by patronage politics without organising marginalised groups themselves to tackle the causes of their disadvantage.