Providing services to enhance citizenship and improve accountability: information is key

Providing services to enhance citizenship and improve accountability: information is key

Access to information and education is key for improving service provision

This paper looks at the connection between democratic accountability and enhancing service provision for the poor. The paper argues that enhancing poor people’s ability to demand better services requires providing better education and information services.

This paper looks at evidence collected in communities of India, Uganda, and Peru shows that poor service provision is part of a larger problem of exclusion and disconnectedness. The research shows that lack of information and poor quality education are very important explanatory factors. Simultaneously, lack of adequate healthcare increases people’s vulnerability to falling into poverty.

The paper concludes that promoting upward mobility requires enhancing the poor’s voice in democracy. This means providing better education and information services for the poor. Moreover, improving healthcare, water supply, and sanitation services reduces economic vulnerability. Promoting upward mobility is contingent upon better education and information becoming available. Political as well as economic capacity is enhanced through better service provision. Empowered citizens can demand better services from the state, but making citizens out of subjects is contingent upon making services better. [adapted from author]

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