State Accountability and Voice Initiative

2007 – 2016; Nigeria; DFID, Palladium

The State Accountability and Voice Initiative (SAVI) was originally established as a six-year, £21million, DFID-funded civil society support programme in Nigeria. It has been expanded from its original conception (of 8) and has project offices in 10 States, and Abuja: Anambra, Enugu, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Lagos, Niger, Yobe and Zamfara.

SAVI aimed to increase the ability of citizens to claim rights and hold state governments accountable, to be achieved by focusing on the following three core areas: (1) The design and facilitation of advocacy projects to be implemented by Civil Society Organisations; (2) Support to independent monitoring, research and policy analysis, in areas such as civil society monitoring and state budgets; (3) Strengthening the functions of State Houses of Assembly.

Ultimately SAVI was designed to contribute to better service delivery from State governments, especially in areas including health and education, and a civil society with more empowered citizens, better able to hold the state to account.

Itad has been a core consortium partner in SAVI, providing the Technical Director, staff, consultants and advice across the programme. Our inputs built on our previous governance work in Nigeria, particularly our DFID-funded JWL water governance programme in the Komadugu-Yobe river basin, working with coalitions of demand and supply side actors to improve public resource management. In addition to cross-cutting inputs on governance and approaches to working with civil society, Itad provided specialist inputs on M&E, knowledge management, and communications and advocacy, as well as advising SAVI on its Value for Money (VFM) approach.

SAVI provides a good example of the use of monitoring and evaluative evidence to inform decision-making, and has been used as a case study for DFID’s working group on flexible and adaptive programming. It is also now widely regarded as example for Harvard’s Doing Development Differently initiative (see ODI’s Discussion Paper, October 2014). SAVI demonstrates how evidence combined with iterative, problem-driven programming can be used to good effect and achieve development results.

SAVI made good progress and has achieved results above expectation, giving the programme an A+ performance rating. Its success in promoting more accountable governance has led to increasingly tangible results in terms of improvements to public policy and service delivery. SAVI has documented 89 cases where its partners have played a role in influencing the design and delivery of public policy and programmes.  SAVI has been able to deliver these changes by mobilising actors in civil society, the media and State Houses of Assembly to advocate for change. Its particular value added has been to build confidence and capacity amongst these actors and to build connections between them. The results of this work have had a powerful demonstration effect that is increasingly generating cases of replication where practices promoted by SAVI have spread beyond its immediate partners and states.

Read more on the SAVI website.

Read more about adaptive programming in practice, with shared lessons from the LASER and SAVI programmes.

Image © Plateau Landscape. Photo Credit: Jeremy Weate