Institute of Development Policy

PhD Defence Lisa Popelier

18 January 2021 - 5PM

Lisa Popelier kindly invites you to the public defence of her doctoral dissertation which be held online on Monday 18 January 2021 from 5pm. As the ceremony will take place virtually, registration is not required. To stream, we will use Blackboard Collaborate here. It is advised to use Google Chrome.


Uncovering the potential of social accountability initiatives in fostering disability-inclusive development. A multi-method analysis of the influence pathways of disability-sensitive community-based monitoring in Katakwi, Eastern Uganda.
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Nathalie Holvoet
Under the impetus of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and the WHO estimation that about 15% of the world's population lives with some form of disability, the need for inclusive public services has gradually entered the international development discourse. This was accompanied by a search for more equity-focused evaluation practices and bottom-up accountability mechanisms to address failures in the provision of public services to marginalized groups. Throughout this thesis we rely upon the ‘evaluation influence framework’ (Henry & Mark, 2003; Mark & Henry, 2004) as our overarching theoretical framework to uncover the ways and conditions under which disability-sensitive community based monitoring can facilitate or hinder the achievement of social betterment for persons with disability in Katakwi, Eastern Uganda. To this purpose, we adopt a mixed methods approach in the collection and analysis of primary and secondary data. Thereby we employ various social network analytical (SNA) techniques, including visualizations, descriptive network statistics and inferential statistics, to compare the social fabric in the three study areas and to document the relational outcomes emerging from the intervention. In addition, the study draws upon an adapted version of the ‘Most Significant Change’ (MSC) technique initially developed by Davies (1998) to document and give meaning to the important changes witnessed within the involved communities. The thesis reveals that perceptions on what constitutes disability are context-specific and that disability prevalence estimates among village residents (> 25 years) are influenced by the measurement instrument and the moment of data collection. Additionally, we systematically observe quite sparse problem reporting networks compared to the more non-committal information exchange networks which indicates that engagement in voicing actions is far from self-evident. Further, the results signpost various behavioral, motivational, relational and affective changes that may lay the foundations for collective action towards disability-inclusive development in the longer term. Yet, the study equally highlights the local governments’ inadequate capacity to respond to demands for more inclusive education services in the short term. Overall, this thesis endorses the usefulness and applicability of the ‘evaluation influence’ framework in disentangling the effects resulting from community based monitoring activities and gives a first impetus to the use of social network analysis in tracing relational outcomes. Variations in terms of the nature and level of involvement of disadvantaged groups, the contextual setting, the measured relations and the integration of applied analytical techniques could provide interesting avenues for future research.