Frequently Asked Questions
  1. How do you define social accountability (SAc)?
  2. What types of projects does the Atlas feature?
  3. How do you define a “project”?
  4. What is a “Civil Society Organization” (CSO)?
  5. Who runs the Atlas?
  6. Will the Atlas continue to grow?
  7. How can I suggest a SAc project to be profiled on the Atlas?
  8. Can I connect with other organizations through the Atlas?
  9. What is involved in the profiling process?
  10. Why does the Atlas only focus on Southeast Asia?
  11. How do you assess “impact” on the Atlas?

Q. How do you define social accountability (SAc)?

A. For the purposes of the Atlas, SAc refers to the processes through with citizens and those who represent them ensure that people in power are responsive to citizen needs.

Q. What types of projects does the Atlas feature?

A. SAc projects on the Atlas can take the form of civil society-led public expenditure tracking, service monitoring, report cards, scorecards, or any other effort that involves:

  • Collecting or accessing public information,
  • Disseminating that information to key stakeholders,
  • Social action using that information to push for change.

Q. How do you define a “project”?

A. A single profiled “project” can encompass any SAc activities aimed at achieving a single set of objectives. A project can also include a specific SAc activity that is part of another project. Projects can also span multiple years and multiple iterations.

Q. What is a “Civil Society Organization” (CSO)?

A. The Atlas team uses a definition of “CSO” that the World Bank has adopted from an definition developed by a number of leading research centers: “the term civil society refers to the wide array of non-governmental and not-for-profit organizations that have a presence in public life, expressing the interests and values of their members or others, based on ethical, cultural, political, scientific, religious or philanthropic considerations. Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) therefore refer to a wide of array of organizations: community groups, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), labor unions, indigenous groups, charitable organizations, faith-based organizations, professional associations, and foundations.”

Q. Who runs the Atlas?

A. The Atlas team is based at Results for Development in Washington, DC. To provide feedback, suggest projects, or otherwise contact the team, please send an email to atlas@r4d.org.

Q. Will the Atlas continue to grow?

A. Yes. While the pilot version of the Atlas will focus only on Southeast Asia, it will expand to include SAc projects in low- and middle-income countries around the world. In addition, the Atlas team will continuously profile SAc efforts in order to make the Atlas an ever-growing repository for information on how to conduct high-impact SAc work.

Q. How can I suggest a SAc project to be profiled on the Atlas?

A. Send an email to the Atlas team at atlas@r4d.org. Be sure to include the name of the organization that led the project, the key contact from the project team, and any background documents (preferably in English) to which you have access.

Q. Can I connect with other organizations through the Atlas?

A. Yes, just click the “contact” button located on any project profile page to contact the project implementation team.

Q. What is involved in the profiling process?

A. After identifying a project that meets the above criteria, the Atlas team will review background information you have on the project and develop a preliminary version of the profile. The team will then set up a short Skype or phone conversation to address any remaining information gaps.

Q. Why does the Atlas only focus on Southeast Asia?

A. While the pilot version of the Atlas only focuses on Southeast Asia, it will ultimately feature SAc work from across all low- and middle-income countries.

Q. How do you assess “impact” on the Atlas?

A. The Atlas team does not evaluate projects or otherwise assess impact. All results information included in the project profiles comes from project teams themselves. However, the results section is designed to give Atlas users enough information to assess the credibility of any results information, and the level of rigor with which that information was obtained.