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Making All Voices Count – promising new initiative (and source of funding)

September 27, 2013
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A big new initiative on citizen voice, accountability etc was launched this week. OK it’s a bit obsessed with whizzy new technology, and light on power analysis and politics, but it still looks very promising, not least because it is being run by three top outfits – Hivos, IDS and Ushahidi. It is also a potential source of funding for work on accountability, whether programmes, research or campaigns – applications close 8 November.

Here’s the blurb from the website:

Making All Voices Count is a global initiative that supports innovation, scaling-up, and research to deepen existing innovations and help harness new technologies to enable citizen engagement and government responsiveness.

This Grand Challenge focuses global attention on creative and cutting-edge solutions, including those that use mobile and web technology, to ensure that the voices of citizens are heard and that governments have the capacity, as well as the incentive, to listen and respond.

Making All Voices Count is supported by the Department for International Development (DFID), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Open Society Foundations (OSF) and Omidyar Network (ON)..

The aim of Making All Voices Count is a substantial push towards effective democratic governance and accountability. We believe that open government depends on closing the feedback loop between citizens and government.

Making All Voices Count aims to close the feedback loop by creating:

  • tools to enable citizens to give feedback on government performance
  • stronger incentives for, and greater capacity within, governments to respond to citizens’ feedback
  • incentives and the capacity for citizens to engage with government to improve their policies and services.’

[H/T Nick Pialek, who also points out that given the state of internet bandwidth in many developing countries, the very snazzy web design may be self-defeating – hard to make all voices count if they can’t access the website.]

And a two minute intro video, setting out the big idea.

Recent posts on transparency and accountability initiatives here and here.


  1. Making All Voices Count is most relevant in Kenya right now with the devolution process. If devolved governments could go digital, and transparently inform and account to the public on resources, intended strategies and progress, it could close that feedback loop.

  2. Thanks for the post, two small remarks from Making All Voices Count. 1) One of the main objectives of Making All Voices Counts is to contribute to more knowledge and evidence in the field of transparency & accountability in relation to for example questions around trust, inclusivity, government responsiveness etc. The programme has a special component focusing on “research” and approx. 20% of the budget is dedicated to this. 2) The website is designed “responsive” meaning that it will adjust to the bandwidth available to the user/visitor. So case of low bandwith, the images on the site automatically are reduced in size.

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