International donors and national governments have shown significant interest in social accountability initiatives (SAIs) as possible ways to address widespread dissatisfaction with the poor quality of, and corruption in, basic service delivery, including education. Community Score Cards (CSCs) are one type of SAIs which give more space to service users to express their opinions and needs. This can improve service providers’ responsiveness to local needs and build mutual accountability between service users and providers.
However, to succeed, CSCs depend on some key governance institutions and the willingness of service providers to also be downwardly accountable to their service users. While local NGOs implementing CSCs have found some pragmatic solutions to increase chances of success, there is a risk that these solutions inadvertently shift the burden of service provision from the state to service users.