SAVI supports citizen engagement in governance through a facilitated partnership approach, in contrast to the usual approach of grants to civil society organisations (CSOs). The overall aim is to facilitate and support working relationships and processes of reform that are home-grown, self-sustaining and, after initial engagement, not dependent on external support. Our way of working resonates well with current influential debates on ‘thinking and working politically’ and ‘doing development differently’.
In-house teams of SAVI staff in each state, drawn from a mixture of government, civil society, media and State Houses of Assembly (SHoA) backgrounds, play a hands-on, behind-the-scenes role facilitating locally-driven change. They help to foster improved understanding and better working relationships between citizens, civil society (CS) groups, media organisations, SHoA and government actors around issues of mutual concern and key democratic processes.
SAVI staff support local partners through brokering relationships, mentoring on thinking and working politically, technical support and complementary seed funding. They work closely with sister DFID-funded programmes and other development partners working on governance and sector reform in the same states. SAVI partners have complete flexibility to determine their own priorities and activities, as well as the kind of tailor-made assistance and mentoring they require.