Who are we?

Colm Allan, Director

Colm is an expert on social accountability monitoring and evaluation and a Research Associate at Rhodes University, South Africa. He has worked in the areas of governance, applied social accountability monitoring and public resource management for the past 18 years. As founder of the Public Service Accountability Monitor (PSAM) / Centre for Social Accountability (CSA) at Rhodes University between 1999 and 2011, he conceptualised and developed The Fundamentals of Social Accountability Monitoring course. This course became the basis for the adoption of the social accountability monitoring and advocacy (SAM) approach by a range of civil society groups across Southern Africa. Since 2012 Colm has developed and tested the Social Accountability Monitoring and Evaluation (SAME) Framework and Indicator set. An early version of SAME Indicators was piloted in Mozambique, between 2012 and 2014 in the health sector across multiple tiers of governance.

Over the years, Colm has undertaken a number of governance and social accountability evaluations and has provided advice to numerous civil society organisations on how to design and implement effective governance and social accountability advocacy interventions. He has undertaken projects on behalf of a number of bilateral development agencies and UN agencies. Between 2013 and 2015 Colm was responsible for conducting a study of trends in the establishment of National Mechanisms for Reporting and Follow-up (NMRFs), which report on the implementation of the UN’s nine core human rights treaties, for the UN Office of the High Commission for Human Rights. Colm is passionate about strengthening development outcomes and social justice through improved governance.

Debbie Coulson, Training and Research Specialist

Debbie has worked on issues of social accountability for the past 11 years and is a specialist in research and training. As head of the Centre for Social Accountability’s Training Programme, at Rhodes University she was responsible for developing and presenting the University accredited short course The Fundamentals of Social Accountability. This course has been attended by participants from across the SADC region from diverse backgrounds including local ‘grassroots’ organisations, members of national CSOs, journalists, academics and members of the donor community. Debbie also assisted in the piloting of the SAME Framework in Mozambique in 2014 -15, and has been involved in a number of social accountability evaluations, reviews and other projects over the years.

From 2012 – 2014, Debbie acted as the social accountability monitoring (SAM) Mentor for the MobiSAM project, which investigated the use of mobile phones as a tool for facilitating participation at municipal level in South Africa. She produced A Social Accountability Monitoring Guide for local civic actors and journalists and translated it into an online course for self-study.

She has a Masters in Participation, Power and Social Change from the Institute of Development Studies at Sussex University.

Fabio Andres Diaz Pabón, Research Specialist

Fabio is a Research Associate at the Department of Political and International studies at Rhodes University in South Africa, and a Researcher at Erasmus University Rotterdam. He has lectured at different universities in Colombia, the Netherlands and South Africa. He also has worked as a consultant in Colombia and Southern Africa on issues related with public policy evaluation and budgeting, capacity building and mathematical models for supporting policy making.

Fabio’s recent work has focused mostly on Public Accountability and capacity building, in relation to governance, government and policy making. In addition, he has worked on technical assistance, training and facilitating the development of mathematical models for understanding and analysing the socio-economic impacts of climate change vulnerabilities in South Africa. His research interests are related to state strength, civil war, conflict and protests in the midst of globalization. He is currently editing a volume for Routledge on the challenges of Transitional Justice for Colombia.

What experience do we have?

• Assessment of Municipal Social Accountability Monitoring (MuniSAM) programme Phase 1 versus Phase 2, in Mozambique, contracted by Concern Universal Mozambique.

• External Evaluation of UNESCO Democratic Empowerment Programme Community Radio Support Interventions, 2013 – 2016, funded by UNESCO Tanzania.

• External Review of Policy Forum Strategic Plan 2014-16, funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation in Tanzania.

• Programme design advice to Mais Vida Consortium (NWETI, CIP, CESC) on integration of social accountability indicators into Mais Vida programme design for strengthening social accountability in the health sector of Mozambique, funded by Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Maputo.

• Multi-country study of trends in the establishment of National Mechanisms for Reporting and Follow-up (NMRFs), which report on the implementation of the UN’s 9 core human rights treaties. Included detailed case studies on Cambodia, Morocco, Senegal, Mauritius, the Bahamas, the Republic of Korea, Portugal and Mexico. Contracted by UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Geneva.

See National Mechanisms for Reporting and Follow-up, A Study of State Engagement with International Human Rights Mechanisms, 2016, and National Mechanisms for Reporting and Follow-up A Practical Guide to Effective State Engagement with International Human Rights Mechanisms (both available at http://www.ohchr.org/EN/PublicationsResources/Pages/RecentPublications.aspxh)

• Piloting of SAME Indicator set across four tiers of governance (Central government, Provincial, District and Municipal) in the health sector of Mozambique. Funded by Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, East and Southern Africa Division and partially self-funded. Between 2012 and 2014.

• Evaluation of the Impact of Association of Public Accounts Committee (APAC) Training Interventions Between 2009 And 2011 for the Association of Public Accounts Committees (APAC) Secretariat, Pretoria, and the Southern Africa Development Community Organisation of Public Accounts Committees (SADCOPAC). Funded by Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Pretoria.

• Conceptualisation and design of Municipal Social Accountability Monitoring (MuniSAM) on behalf of Concern Universal, Mozambique. The MuniSAM Programme was initially designed to cover 6 municipalities in Mozambique, but has subsequently become absorbed into the PRODEM municipal support programme, which will cover over 20 municipalities. Technical advice involved designing and facilitating training workshops for MuniSAM staff and development of monitoring and advocacy tools and support during MuniSAM programme implementation. Contracted by Concern Universal, Mozambique.

• Conceptualised and designed a municipal level social accountability monitoring programme for AMODE, Maputo, Mozambique, funded by Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Maputo, Mozambique.

• Governance Consultant to MASC (Civil Society Support Mechanism established by DFID and Irish Aid), Maputo, Mozambique. Contracted to develop civil society Social Auditing training materials to be used in conjunction with social accountability monitoring tools in Mozambique, and train Mozambican trainers to provide training on social auditing.

• Review of the South African National Programme of Action for the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM). Contracted by Electoral Institute of Southern Africa