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Bridging the accountability gap

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Alex Ross
April 23, 2021
February 6, 2023

Our vision is a world where everyone, including those who are marginalised, vulnerable and underserved, can share their opinion and experience in a safe, open and transparent way, to affect positive social change at the individual, community and global level. 

Imagine a world where I can feedback on anything that is important to me, through my phone, a free messenger service or a text message in my own language. That rich information is then translated into the major worldwide languages and is available online. Imagine if that feedback, based on tags I have added and others can also add, is sent to the inboxes of people who have said they are interested in hearing about this area or this geographic location, making it easier for them to listen, understand and reply to.

Imagine me, sitting at my desk in head office being able to reply in English through an email and it is then translated and texted back to the sender in their local language. Imagine if voice messages could be used to share my story as well, or photos and videos. This would add rich and useful insights to be shared and learnt from. Imagine if I could feedback at any time, on any of my experiences from anywhere along my journey as an IDP or refugee or through the different crisis that affect my area over time (floods, fights, elections etc). Imagine if my story didn’t go to an excel sheet but rather to an open transparent dashboard, where anyone can aggregate and disaggregate the feedback based on location, age, gender, or other features.

I, the service provider, donor, village chief, could explore by clicking to see if people older than 60 are saying the same types of things about the project as their younger counterparts, or if women are feeding back at all. I could extract meta-data and combine it with examples of real conversations, to use in my research, advocacy or decision making. As a researcher I could look to see which tippy tap projects are getting the most positive feedback and which are getting the least, and then deep dive into this to understand why and use that to improve best practices globally as a result.

What if I am from a persecuted minority group who is not invited to meetings or am too scared to voice my real needs and concerns? What if I could feedback on a secure device anonymously about my story? For my reality to be heard and understood. This sense of comradery and security in numbers drove massive change in the #metoo movement, could it be an instigator and add data safely to highly complex and sensitive issues? Imagine, if I could have a look on an interactive map to see all of the different projects going on in an area and get a sense of the types of feedback they are getting and see their contact details. This would help service providers coordinate and local people seek out the right organisation to help their specific need. Imagine if anyone who received support via technology got an automated invitation to share their story through Loop and this was organised and shared directly to the organisation delivering the Aid for free.

What impact would this open sharing of people’s rich experiences have on the quality and effectiveness of support?

All of this is possible with technology that exists today and we are starting to bring it to reality. We can provide this in a safe trusting and independent way globally. Would that contribute to moving the dial on the Participation Revolution in the humanitarian and development sector? 

Information is power. 

Let's shift that power to those who know what they want and need and let's listen and learn about how to better serve them in their time of greatest need and lets share that knowledge for all to own.

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Alex Ross
Loop Lead