The nature of the work undertaken by ARDD-Legal Aid often invokes a high duty of care. As a primary service provider, implementing partner and stakeholder within the emergency and development response in Jordan we must be accountable to a variety of stakeholders. After 8 years of work, and two previous years of substantial organizational growth, ARDD-Legal Aid has recognized the need to develop a specific unit that focuses on issues of accountability within the organization and outside. The specific intent of the unit is to build internal organizational capacity and external capacity through creating a culture of accountability.
This is central to ARDD-Legal Aid’s overall mandate because we believe that the culture of accountability is an essential component of granting access to justice for all citizens. Whether it is through active civic engagement, rule of law, or ensuring a space where people can voluntarily assume their own accountability and demonstrate high levels of ownership in their work, with the aim of creating a society where access to justice is more reachable.
The Accountability unit will examine the mechanisms used to increase citizens’ voices and influence; empowering them to play a vital role in decisions that affect them. This is pursued to challenge poor performance on addressing corruption, improving governance and through this strengthen the provision of services.
What we do:
Accountability & Access to justice
The Accountability Unit strives to empower and strengthen citizens' capacities. The aim through this is to enable them to demand their rights, enhance ownership of the process of change and heighten community standards to increase basic human rights. In short: empowering the voices of the community is a key component of increasing access to justice.
In a practical sense this will be achieved through: education, media, legal empowerment, promoting human rights, access to quality services, ensuring equal access to quality educational opportunities, civic engagement, political participation, and improving the resilience of community. Here ordinary citizens can participate in strategies for development and poverty reduction to improve governance processes through better service delivery. Active community participation and accountability will ensure the long-term sustainability of development programs in communities. The hope is that this will enable them to live in just communities that respect their rights.
Accountability & Protections
In April 2011, the Principals of the Inter Agency Standing Committee (IASC) once again acknowledged the fundamental importance of accountability to affected vulnerable populations. It was also shown that a significant side-effect of greater accountability and better communication is that programmes are more responsive and security improves. The IASC Principals agreed to integrate accountability to affected populations into their individual agencies statements of purpose as well as their policies. Accountability to Affected Populations (AAP) is an active commitment by humanitarian actors and organisations to use power responsibly by taking account of, giving account to and being held to account by the people they seek to assist.
In line with a similar ambition as the IASC, the Accountability Unit seeks to integrate quality and accountability to affected marginalized groups in the implemented projects and delivered service. This is a main objective of our work in order to improve participation and information provision. Accountability is a means for us to improve the relevance and impact of our work to reduce the risk of mistakes; protect the dignity and wellbeing of affected communities; and assist the organization to design and implement accountable and quality programs.
This is to be achieved through a transparent system, protecting freedom of speech and fostering a renewed cultural perspective that can sustain meaningful, expressive, social, economic, and political justice.
The Accountability Unit strives to suggest strategies to improve cooperation and effectiveness, while identifying gaps and weaknesses that limit the effectiveness of the development efforts and humanitarian agencies in the existing structure of cooperation between different actors.
Furthermore, the Accountability Unit examines the role of national governments and their efforts to develop concrete solutions for how to better support vulnerable communities and guarantee equal access to quality services. The Accountability Unit will achieve this through evidence-based policies and programmes, with a particular focus on access to justice. The unit considers the pros and cons of different structures and processes, access and use different data sets and sources as well as identify mechanisms for feedback and participation.
Further efforts are dedicated to ensuring that projects and community work are implemented within best practice standards, including for financial management, risk assessment and programming.
The core values of the Accountability Unit are:
Goals and Objectives:
The Accountability Unit seeks to support ARDD-Legal Aid’s overall mandate to increase access to justice for marginalized communities. To contribute to this mandate the Accountability unit will focus on:
Promoting social accountability
Promoting ethical accountability
Promoting political and legal accountability
Promoting human rights