By John Okeke
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) concluded a five-year activity to strengthen the capacity of Nigerian civil society organizations (CSOs) to advocate government institutions for reforms that improve transparency, accountability and inclusive governance.
The $19.3 million Strengthening Advocacy and Civic Engagement (SACE) activity has supported increased engagement and efficacy of civil society to influence public institutions that serve citizens’ interests.
The activity explicitly engaged marginalized populations such as women, youth, and persons with disabilities, and emphasized the importance of leadership and innovation.
“Through SACE, USAID helped civil society organizations strengthen their role as central actors in the development of an accountable, transparent, peaceful, and democratic Nigeria,” said USAID Acting Mission Director Dr. Erin Holleran.
USAID supported 18 primary “anchor” civil society partners, who in turn built alliances and networks with over 200 “cluster member” CSOs. These clusters successfully advocated for over 60 policy and legislative achievements at the national and state levels in the areas of health, education, social inclusion, extractive industries, agriculture, fiscal transparency, and economic growth.
USAID also supported a variety of innovators leveraging technology to promote public participation in good governance, with results such as the “Your Excellency” gaming app and a constituency tracking app called “ConsTrack.”
USAID will continue to assist Nigeria’s “Journey to Self-Reliance” by supporting the work of civil society to strengthen citizen-led groups in advocating for transparency and accountability in governance.