Citizens as monitors and enforcers of humanitarian aid: the politics of social accountability in Nepal's earthquake recovery (working title)
In the recent years, accountability as a principle and practice has taken the international development community by storm. Particularly within the post-2015 development landscape, ‘making international aid accountable to communities’ is an agenda that has received increased global prominence. However, there is a significant dearth of knowledge as to what it means by accountability in the first place, and more importantly, what it takes for citizen actors and communities to hold the government and aid actors to account. Through an interdisciplinary perspective, my PhD research explores the varied ways in which the notion of citizen-centric accountability is constructed, conceptualised and executed in Nepal, which is reeling from a massive humanitarian crisis. Nepal serves as an ideal empirical setting for this analysis not only because of the ongoing efforts to introduce development and governance reforms, but also that the 2015 earthquake environment has injected a new life into the complex debates surrounding community participation, effectiveness and accountability of development/humanitarian aid.
In my recently completed empirical work in Nepal, I have primarily relied on ethnographic style of inquiry. I draw on multiple data sets, including participant observations of the various forms of ‘accountability mechanisms’ that crisis-affected communities participate in, together with in-depth interviews with civil society activists, public officials, NGO professionals, who are closely involved in producing, promoting and pursuing post-earthquake accountability goals.
The empirical works of my PhD is divided into three distinct studies. First, it explores the meanings of accountability in the context of immediate aftermath of the 2015 Nepal earthquake. Second, through an in-depth analysis of a civil society-led campaign, I explore the ways in which post-earthquake accountability goals are produced, promoted and pursued in post-earthquake context. Third, I examine the contextual conditions that facilitate and promote the crisis-affected communities to hold the duty-bearers to account.
Dr. Flora Cornish; Dr. Alasdair Jones
MA, International Development and Social Change, Clark University, USA
MBA, Kathmandu University School of Management, Nepal
BCom (Honours), Shaheed Bhagat Singh College, University of Delhi, India