Investigating Formal Mechanisms of Civic Engagement in Ghana, India, and South Africa

Client: United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs
Faculty: David Winder, Charles Bailey
Team: Ryan Brown, Bruce Crise, Elif Erol, Shynar Khassenova, Lauren Kuritz, Kate Staff
Year: 2012
Guided by the theory that public participation, when formalized within legislative bodies, contributes toward greater transparency, accountability and overall improvement in public service delivery, UNDESA asked the team to initiate what is envisioned to be a multi-year initiative looking into such links. Specifically, the team was tasked with identifying and investigating formal mechanisms of public participation at the committee level within the parliaments of the common wealth. After in-depth research and careful selection, the team created a research methodology and conducted fieldwork investigating these mechanisms in Ghana, India, and South Africa. The fieldwork entailed high-level interviews with members of parliament, government officials, media, and civil society organizations. The findings from these interviews were compiled in detailed case studies on each country that discuss the mechanisms of public participation and their perceived effectiveness.