This project is no longer supported by CEDIL due to UK aid cuts during COVID-19.

Scaling social accountability for health: leveraging public policies and programmes

Programme of work

Enhancing evidence transferability

Principal investigator(s)

Suzanne Cant

Host institution

World Vision UK

Other institutions

University of Cape Town
The World Bank
Santa Catarina State University, Udesc Politeia Research Group


January 2020 to May 2020 (TBC)

Project type

Exploratory project


Indonesia and Afghanistan

Research question

This study will develop a middle-range theory focusing on the causal mechanisms and contextual conditions through which social accountability interventions, that are complementary to public sector interventions, may contribute to:

  1. Behavioural and relationships changes, e.g. multi-stakeholder collaboration and/or co-production of services and accountability;
  2. Operational change, by strengthening health delivery systems; and
  3. Institutional change, by scaling of programmatic participation for health policymaking.

Research design

The study seeks to build a mid-level theoretical framework on the development value addition of social accountability as it is embedded in health sector programmes and policies at scale, focusing on its function (what) and its mechanisms (how).

The study will use an inductive–deductive approach to theory building. It will develop concepts and explore relationships among them, drawing on research, evaluations, monitoring and evaluation, and the team’s tacit knowledge. Process tracing will be the principal research method.

Data source

It will draw on comparative case studies of social accountability programmes in Afghanistan and Indonesia, as well as broader evidence base related to the social accountability programmes from World Vision and the World Bank.

Policy relevance

A strengthened middle-range theoretical framework will provide policymakers with the capacity to make more evidence-based decisions about the implementation of social accountability interventions, particularly in relation to efforts to scale up these interventions.