Societal Accountability in the palestinian territories

Rola Jadallah is Professor of Biology and Vice President of Planning and Development at the Arab American University in Jenin, Palestine. In October 2012 she became an elected member of the municipality and vice mayor of Jenin. Rola Jadallah participated in the Passion and Politics Lab.

As vice mayor, Rola discovered that one of the big challenges was the communication between the council and the population. Ideally, elected politicians should be in a regular dialogue with the community. At the same time, the citizens should gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and constraints faced by the municipality.

Inspired by the learnings from her participation in the Passion and Politics Lab, Rola intiated a project that aims to facilitate such an exchange, by organising meetings between elected members and the society - 'Societal Accountability'. After an awareness process of several months, the project is gaining acceptance on both sides and improving the local culture of political discussion step by step.

Each month there is one face-to-face meeting on a central issue in the municipality. The population is gaining a deeper understanding of the constraints the council faces.  

Furthermore, a citizen committee was initiated that prepares the 'Societal Accountability' meetings. It includes people of different ages and from different backgrounds who support the understanding between the positions of the population and the administration. The local administration now also supports the meetings.  

The project has even started to further expand. The organisation which is funding Rola's project wants to test the idea in other regions as well. 'Societal Accountability' is currently being applied in two other districts of the Palestinian Territories.