Voice and Accountability: Rural Women's Associations as Platforms for Civic Engagement in the Primary Health Sector in Nigeria

Voice and Accountability: Rural Women's Associations as Platforms for Civic Engagement in the Primary Health Sector in Nigeria

Idongesit Eshiet (University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/IJPAE.2019070102

Abstract

The article assesses the importance of citizen engagement in engendering good governance in the health sector. However, citizens need an effective ‘voice' in order to be heard. Thus, the article argues for the need to utilise existing civic organizations like the rural women's associations as platforms of civic engagements. Using Akwa Ibom state as a study location, the article investigated the role of rural women's associations in citizen engagement in the primary health sector. Findings reveal that although rural women's associations are engaged in diverse socio-economic and political activities, they however do not engage in socially accountable activities. Nevertheless, findings further reveal that associations have the potentials of becoming platforms for social accountability if harnessed by development partners. The argument of the study is anchored on the participatory development approach which argues about the need for beneficiaries of development to become active participants in the development process.
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Statement Of The Problem

Voice and accountability are important dimensions of governance. Citizens as well as state institutions have a role to play in delivering governance that works for the poor. Voice refers to people’s ability to express their views on issues that affect their lives. Citizens’ capacity to express and exercise their views has the potential to influence government priorities or governance processes, including a stronger demand for transparency and accountability (Sharma, 2008). On the other hand, accountability exists when those in governance who make and implement public policies are answerable to those whose lives are shaped by these policies and can be sanctioned if their performance is unsatisfactory (McNeil & Malena, 2010). Voice and accountability are therefore important indicators of the nature of the relationship between state and citizen. However, citizens need effective ‘voice’ in order to convey their views. Similarly, governments or states are more likely to respond to the needs and demands that are articulated by their population (Sharma, 2008).

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