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BBC Earth Report: People Power

  • TVEAPfilms
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  • Last updated on Dec 28, 2010
How can ordinary people hold elected governments and public officials accountable for decisions and actions? Periodically changing governments is necessary, but not sufficient. In a complex world, new models are needed.

One approach is Participatory Democracy or Social Accountability.
This is a relatively new kind of people power involving the use of information, participation, transparency and accountability to demonstrate how democracy and good governance can work for the common good. In this film, we go to four continents in search of groups already practising it.

In Rajasthan, India, activist group MKSS fought long for the right to information. Now they are making use of this newly-won right to ensure clean candidates stand for election, and public funds are properly spent.

In Malawi, local people assess rural health clinics by through a community score card scheme. The village committee then meets healthcare providers to find ways to improve the service.

In Porto Alegre, Brazil, community members annually join meetings to decide on the City Budget. When this is presented to Parliament, law makers cant refuse because so many people have been involved in its making.

In Ireland, the Government is partnering with trade unions, employers, training institutions and community groups to deal with unemployment and other problems affecting youth.
How can ordinary people hold elected governments and public officials accountable for decisions and actions? Periodically changing governments is necessary, but not sufficient. In a complex world, new models are needed.

One approach is Participa...
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