Today's world is changing at breakneck speed, shaking the very foundations of many societies. Increased mobility through massive urbanization and migration allows people unprecedented access to different cultures and ideas; advanced technologies speed the pace of human interaction; the globalization of communication offers new forms of social relationships that may directly contradict traditional norms for behavior. These changes create tremendous stresses on relationships in societies - affecting the way youth interact with their elders, the way women and men relate to each other, how urban migrants and refugees relate to their new environments, and so on. The impacts of these changes are felt acutely in 'fragile' situations, where groups and institutions struggle to adapt to the stresses of rapid social change. In the worst cases, where fragility has given way to open violence - people are more than twice as likely to be malnourished, more than three times as likely to be unable to send their children to school, twice as likely to see their children die before age five, and more than twice as likely to lack clean water. In addition to these domestic challenges, the costs of fragility often spill over to neighboring regions in the form of trafficking in illegal goods and persons, corruption, and violence. 'Societal Dynamics and Fragility' frames a fresh approach to these challenges, by focusing on improving relationships across groups and institutions in society. Drawing on case studies from Yemen, Central African Republic, Haiti, Liberia and Aceh (Indonesia), the book provides a framework for understanding and healing the social divides that often get in the way of building capable institutions and exiting from fragility.
Opening the Black Box: Contextual Drivers of Social Accountability Effectiveness fills an important knowledge gap by providing guidance on how to assess contextual drivers of social accountability effectiveness. This publication aims to more strategically support citizen engagement at the country level and for a specific issue or problem. The report proposes a novel framing of social accountability as the interplay of constitutive elements: citizen action and state action, supported by three enabling levers: civic mobilization, interface and information. For each of these constitutive elements, the report identifies "drivers" of contextual effectiveness which take into account a broad range of contextual factors (e. g. , social, political and intervention-based, including information and communication technologies). Opening the Black Box offers detailed guidance on how to assess each driver. It also applies the framework at two levels. At the country level, the report looks at "archetypes" of challenging country contexts, such as regimes with no formal space or full support for citizen-state engagement and fragile and conflict-affected situations. The report also illustrates the use of the framework to analyze specific social accountability interventions through four case studies: Sierra Leone, Pakistan, Yemen, and the Kyrgyz Republic.