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Sam commented on Supporting the Voices of People on the Move

One of the things I have appreciated most about the Accountability Lab model of Citizen Helpdesks in Nepal has been the innate focus of the work- rooted in the communities being served directly. The team leverages technology appropriately and smartly (sometimes relying on analog methods), and I believe this mentality speaks well for current results and adaptation to shifting situations in the future. There are no golden bullets for social accountability and change, and the Citizen Helpdesk model is right-sized and realistically applies the tools it has at its disposal.

Challenges related to migration are certainly wide in scope and depend on a number of systemic issues- the Citizen Helpdesk model appropriately engages the bigger picture stakeholders like government and leverages the existing power of journalists and media to turn information into actionable and bite-sized pieces. Currently there is a little bit of a vacuum on the destination side of migration, but I believe that is a conscious and wise choice based on their strengths as an organization and model. The beauty of the model is that is works all along the feedback and accountability process domestically in Nepal- when citizens are in dire need or ready to take action, the model serves to connect directly with existing mechanisms for resolution.

This model can both scale in Nepal and be adapted carefully in similar contexts.


Sam commented on Open Financial Data in Offline Communities

One more thought- when it comes to financial inclusion, the intended beneficiary is often characterized as those folks in the "bottom of the pyramid." Even with that audience, a degree of segmentation is crucial. To the extent possible, getting to understand and clarify who is being targeted and what they want and need is key. This old article is worth a read as well:


Sam commented on Open Financial Data in Offline Communities

Sanjay- I agree that data definitely can play a critical role. And sadly, you are right- official statistics are often 3 years old by the time they are available for use in planning and implementing public projects. Increasingly, there are interesting ways of collecting more data in real-time via SMS, the internet, and also good ol' voice dialing. These methods do come at a cost, but there are definitely options in place to offer a shot at prioritizing initial target populations and geographies.