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Language, listening and learning: for imputability based on critical thinking for the ONGI





`titrebLanguage, listening and learning: critically reflective accountability for INGOs`/titrebThis article examines the emergence of two waves of reforms across the international non-government organization (INGO) sector in accountability discourse and practice. The first wave accountability model was narrowly framed around the demands of powerful stakeholders such as donors and governments, whereas the second wave was a more holistic approach that prioritized the obligations of INGOs towards their ‘beneficiaries’. It is argued that INGOs should embed critically reflective accountability by pursuing further reforms in three thematic areas. First, words such as ‘beneficiary’ should be expunged from the language of accountability, since it is encoded with norms that implicitly undermine the rights of people and communities to expect that INGOs should be answerable for their actions. Second, listening to marginalized stakeholders should be facilitated by inclusive discursive arenas that enable and empower people ‘to speak and be heard’. Lastly, INGOs need to use feedback to become a learning organization, and collaborate with peers to engender a culture of reflective learning across the sector.Points for practitioners:The article offers several policy recommendations structured around the its three core themes. These include suggestions for the training of field staff, issues concerning the design of participatory exercises, and proposals for a strengthened regime of peer-regulation.

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