Research Papers

Abstract

Research has continuously expressed a growing need for increased evidence with respect to sexual reproductive health (SRH) services and rights of adolescents and young people in Sub-Saharan Africa. Digital citizen engagement plays a significant role in supporting social accountability monitoring, by providing a platform for the youth to report on issues of access, hence collecting data for evidencebased engagement. The MobiSAfAIDS application is a digital citizen engagement initiative embedded within a holistic programme called ‘Transforming Lives’, which is aimed at transforming the policy environment towards upholding the sexual and reproductive health and rights of adolescents and young people. What emerges from citizen engagement, are the dynamics around government-citizen relationships and the influence of ‘power’ to determine the outcome of engagement, as well as agreed spaces, forms, and levels of participation. The paper uses Agency Theory and the Power cube to explore the role of MobiSAfAIDS as an enabling tool for citizen engagement and social accountability monitoring of access to adolescent SRH services. Pragmatist interpretivism is applied to a longitudinal case study of MobiSAfAIDS, through primary observations and experiences of the researchers in implementing the project in the empirical setting. Abductive reasoning was applied through iterative dialog between theory and empirical data to build the framework. What is paramount in the developed framework is its cyclic nature, where government and youth citizens have to experience a number of cycles of learning and empowerment to eventually arrive at a Principal-Steward relationship for effective engagement and service delivery.

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