Oxfam Australia’s experience of ‘bottom–up’ accountability

Oxfam’s experience suggests that ‘bottom–up’ accountability can be an important mechanism whereby men and women living in poverty can hold others to account. The first section of this article illustrates this with two examples of Oxfam experience in Vietnam and Sri Lanka. The second section draws out some of the lessons from these, and attempts to situate them within the broader debate about approaches to accountability. In the third section some suggestions are put forward about what would need to change if active citizenship and ‘speaking truth to power’ were to become the renewed focus of accountability.