Almudena Ocejo

Ashoka Fellow
Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico
Fellow Since 2011

Citation

This profile was prepared when Almudena Ocejo was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2011.
The New Idea
Through the Center for Social Control and Democratic Construction Studies (CCS), Almudena is developing and professionalizing citizen-led accountability within the public and citizen sectors. Rather than trying to monitor public institutions herself, Almudena is fomenting a nationwide culture of better and more responsive governance by equipping selected citizen organizations (COs) to hold municipal, state, and federal government agencies accountable for their actions. In this way, she seeks to transform grassroots groups into capable advocates for various citizen constituencies in the public sphere. Her goal is to create a mutually beneficial relationship between the citizenry and the government in which the Mexican people collaborate with their elected representatives to craft public policy.

Beyond simply working with citizen sector groups, Almudena also seeks to create and reinforce a culture of transparency within Mexico’s public sector, for she understands that civic participation can not progress if government actors are not receptive to citizen involvement in public affairs. Almudena works directly with governments to institute regulations that normalize and require government cooperation with COs, thereby protecting civil rights and laying the foundations for public-sector accountability. The idea is that these “rules of the game” will prevail despite changes in political administrations. At the same time, the CCS is implementing an education strategy with schools to teach civic values and the principles of citizen oversight to Mexican students. Ultimately, Almudena hopes to create both the demand for public accountability through the strengthening of oversight organizations and a capable electorate, and transparency and open cooperation within government institutions.

Although currently the CCS works with selected COs whose profiles give them the highest potential to generate lasting impact on local government accountability, Almudena is committed to expanding her work to an increasing number of COs throughout Mexico in the future. She plans to replicate her best practices of public monitoring nationwide, providing medium- and long-term follow-up support to COs that have participated in her incubator program. After integrating their new surveillance tactics into their operations, these COs will collaborate with each other to implement joint projects to increase their influence over governmental actors. This coalition building is fundamental to Almudena’s model for consolidating the citizens’ role in Mexico’s nascent democracy.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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