Mainstreaming Social Accountability in Mongolia (MASAM)

Project completed
Civil society representatives are building their vision for the project. © World Bank and SDC

The project aims to mainstream social accountability for more transparent, accountable and effective public resource management at national and local levels by (1) increasing the capacity of CSOs to hold government to account; and (2) strengthening the institutionalization of social accountability by improving the effectiveness, formalization and sustainability of disclosure and participation mechanisms. Through social accountability, citizens in poor localities will have increased access to public decision-making processes and quality services.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Human rights
Democratic participation and civil society
Anti-corruption organisations
Media & freedom of information
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)
01.05.2015 - 30.06.2020
CHF  2’700’000

Over the past decade Mongolia has transitioned from a largely livestock-based to a minerals-based economy. However, the rapid increase in government revenues due to the mining boom has put visible strains on public sector governance. Poor and marginalized groups of society, such as women, ethnic minorities, indigenous people or youth, often suffer the most from deteriorations in governance. The rapid changes and emerging issues the country is facing - managing its mineral wealth, transitioning to middle-income status, shifting more responsibilities to subnational governments - highlight the need for more innovative ways of identifying and solving core governance issues. By recognizing these needs, the government has introduced several reforms directed at supporting citizens’ engagement and transparency. However, if kept stand-alone, these reforms are not sufficient to ensure greater public accountability and participation, especially for the poor and marginalized. Institutionalization and effective utilization of social accountability mechanisms will lead to the better use of public resources, resulting in improved service delivery and contributing to the reduction of poverty and inequality.


Citizens in poor localities have increased access to public decision-making processes and quality services through social accountability.

Target groups

The project has the following primary beneficiaries:

  1. Civil society organizations in Mongolia
  2. Media and academia
  3. National and local government agencies
  4. Civil servants working in both national and subnational governments

The secondary beneficiaries are:

  1. Communities in 10 targeted aimags (provinces) and Ulaanbaatar city, making up around one third of Mongolia’s population. Poorer households, rural and urban, are especially targeted.
  2. Other CSOs in Mongolia that are not directly working with the project


Medium-term outcomes
  1. Capacitated CSOs and other key actors are scaling up previously tested and proven tools, strategies and resources needed to mainstream social accountability in Mongolia.
  2. Social accountability is institutionalized in an effective, formalized, and sustainable manner at national and local levels.

Expected results:  

  • Improved technical and organizational capacities of CSOs to implement social accountability projects with poor and marginalized groups in urban and rural areas.
  • Targeted CSO networks are more effective in the application of social accountability tools and processes, including evidence-based advocacy.
  • Incentive systems are in place to increase commitment of social accountability stakeholders to foster inclusion of poor and marginalized groups.
  • Strengthened capacity of government agencies and service providers to track and use CSO/citizen feedback/complaints for improving quality of services.
  • Joint problem-solving activities between CSOs and local government to provide increased citizen access to public resource management issues are formalized.
  • Relevant information is being disclosed by line ministries and relevant government agencies.
  • Lessons for effective implementation and sustainability are disseminated to government, CSOs, and other non-state actors.



Results from previous phases:  

SDC and World Bank (WB) have jointly implemented several projects in the areas of civil society strengthening and social accountability during 2010-2014. An external outcomes evaluation confirmed that these interventions laid a solid basis for CSOs to hold state actors to account through social accountability mechanisms. One of the key results was that these interventions contributed to the development of home-grown CSO networks which are able to engage with the government on issues that matter to citizens and focus on “closing the loop” mechanisms. The latter are feedback mechanisms that enable stakeholders to jointly identify and redress specific problems, and which lead to improved transparency, accountability and better services, especially for the poor and marginalized. The external evaluation furthermore recommended that SDC and the WB deepen their engagements in civil society development and social accountability in future by (1) expanding the scope and depth of their engagement to more institutions, sectors and regions, and by (2) increasing CSO capacities to manage programs and engage in social accountability.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
International Financial Institution (IFI)
  • World Bank - International Bank for Reconstruction and Development

Other partners

The project will work with two types of partners:

Implementing partners, i.e. organizations that execute project activities. They will be selected through open and competitive processes and will report to the WB. They might include (i) CSO networks such as the Partnership for Accountability Network (PfSAN), the Public Procurement Partnership (PPP), the Citizen’s Oversight of Budget Network; (ii) CSOs, such as Mercy Corps, Open Society Foundation, the Asia Foundation, MEDAS NGO or the Mongolia Centre for Development Studies (MCDS); (iii) Selected government agencies on the national and local levels; (iv) National and international academic organizations, such as the Institute of Finance and Economics (IFE) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); and (v) International knowledge and project design / management organizations that can provide advice and support to the project.

Development partners, i.e. organizations that the project will coordinate with. Development partners currently supporting a similar agenda in Mongolia include Open Society Foundation, Asia Foundation and UNDP.

Coordination with other projects and actors
  • SDC funded and managed “Governance and Decentralization Program”;
  • UNDP managed and SDC co-financed “Capacity Strengthening of Local Self-Governing Bodies Project”;
  • Up-coming WB managed and SDC co-financed “Sustainable Livelihoods Project Phase 3”;
  • GIZ implemented and SDC co-financed “Public Investment in Energy Efficiency Project”; and
  • The Open Society Foundation’s work on budget transparency at the national and sub-national levels.
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    2’700’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    2’686’912
Project phases Phase 2 01.08.2020 - 31.12.2023   (Completed)

Phase 1 01.05.2015 - 30.06.2020   (Completed)