Voice to the People (V2P) Nigeria
V2P drove accountability among community leaders, helping people raise their voices to demand the rights and services to which they are entitled, and to take part in the decision-making processes that affect their lives.
The programme aimed to tackle the high levels of poverty across target states by supporting citizens to influence the provision of improved public services for all, including poor and excluded groups. It set out to facilitate citizen inclusion in decision-making processes about policy and service delivery.
V2P sought change by:
- ensuring community members know and can claim their rights
- establishing regular dialogue between citizens and the state
- coordinating the efforts of civil society organisations
- encouraging greater participation of citizens in governance processes
- increasing the participation of women and girls in decision making
- sharing and learning lessons of what works for effective improvement in service delivery.
Funded by UK aid, Voice to the People was delivered by a partnership of state and national level civil society organisations led by Christian Aid Nigeria.
Beginning in July 2013, the first phase of the programme was implemented by a diversified portfolio of six indigenous partners in 12 of Anambra’s 21 local government areas (LGAs). Directly reaching over 85,000 people, this community driven project supported communities to tackle the high levels of poverty through the demand for improved social services for poor and excluded groups. It indirectly reached 2.5 million people.
In August 2016, the project was extended to cover the rest of the south east region of Nigeria, including all 21 LGAs in Anambra state and Kaduna state.
Anambra, Enugu, Imo, Ebonyi, Abia, and Kaduna states, Nigeria
2013 - 2018
Twelve state and national level partners:
Africa Centre for Leadership strategy and development; AID Foundation; Development in Practice, Gender and Entrepreneurial Initiative; Gender Awareness Trust; Hope Givers Initiative; Justice, Development and Peace Commissions of Awka, Enugu, Nnewi and Onitsha; Legal Awareness for Nigerian Women; Women Aid Collective and Youth Education on Human Rights and Civil Responsibilities.
Christian Aid and its partners on V2P brought significant expertise in demand-side governance approaches, gender-sensitive programming, civic engagement in elections, and power analysis.
Between 2008 and 2013, Christian Aid and JDPC Onitsha worked together on Power to the People, a demand-side governance programme in four LGAs in Anambra, funded by the UK Government’s Governance and Transparency Fund (GTF).
V2P built on these experiences and approaches, broadening the geographical reach and deepening the impact. This approach to implementation was also taken with the extension of the V2P project as it buildt on the experiences of the first phase of the programme while broadening its reach.
V2P had a strong gender focus, a wide range of activities and clearly defined targets in addressing the poverty that persists in Nigeria due to poor governance and ineffective service delivery. The V2P extension took on the Problem Driven Identification Approach (PDIA) to supporting communities to address priority issues specific to their local contexts.
V2P focused on:
- Improving the skills, organisation and confidence of marginalised groups, communities and civil society so they can better demand their rights.
- Increasing the participation and representation of women and adolescent girls in informal and formal decision making structures, such as elections and town union meetings.
- Improving dialogue and interaction between marginalised groups, community groups, civil society and local and state-level authorities.
- Effective sharing of lessons learned to enable civil society to achieve increased links and leverage between voice and accountability programmes in Nigeria.
V2P showed that working in-depth in a selection of communities and LGAs can bring about changes in social norms and behaviour, state-citizen relationships, government accountability, and contribute to improved service delivery. The impact of V2P was also felt in LGAs outside its target areas and at state level.
Advocating for services
V2P’s success was largely due to the integration of power and gender analysis. By identifying power holders and social influencers, such as traditional rulers, president generals and women’s leaders, launching activities in communities was a much quicker process.
Most people interviewed during V2P's baseline assessment in the first phase said they were not able to make demands on decision makers, that government consultation with communities was very low and community members had no direct contact with government.
By the midterm evaluation in November 2014, 94% of respondents said communities were now able to advocate for basic services and 87% noted improved government-community relationships.
More than two-thirds (68%) of respondents said this had led to improved service delivery.
New facilities and services
Two schools, four health centres, seven roads and a market were built and 14 schools renovated, as a result of V2P. Thirty extra teachers and eight medical staff are in post as a direct result of V2P, while the programme also contributed to the deployment of 72 additional teachers and 72km of new roads.
Communities driving their own development
There have been some significant institutional changes and responses by government to community needs. Despite challenges in getting these results, the consistency in demand by communities has played a key role in ensuring they are no longer ignored.
V2P showed that communities with greater capacity, knowledge and access to information can drive their own development – a movement for change which will continue to grow until governments have no choice but to be accountable to their people.
V2P was the first Christian Aid programme to receive an A++ rating from our donor, the UK Government’s Department for International Development.