SAVI Think piece: Rising to the challenge: supporting ‘problem driven iterative adaptation’ and ‘politically smart, locally led’ approaches through a donor-funded programme. The experience of the State Accountability and Voice Initiative in Nigeria

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Woman at constituents meeting, Enugu, Nigeria. Ref: George Osodi/SAVI

The importance of thinking and working politically in programmes concerned with governance and institutional reform is widely recognised – but shifting from thinking politically to working politically is proving a major challenge. This think piece reveals how it is possible to support local partners and stakeholders to think and work in politically savvy ways, around locally agreed problems, not through the usual accountable grants, but through mentoring, capacity building, relationship brokering and seed funding.

The SAVI programme came to an end in April 2016. The same management team are now implementing the follow-up programme, the Engaged Citizens Pillar of the new DFID-funded Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL) programme in Nigeria, which started in May 2016. This programme will take a similar approach to SAVI, and this SAVI website will link to the PERL website as soon as it is established.