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Mwananchi Programme


Multi-national, Sub-Saharan Africa  Show on interactive map

Active from:

Aug 2008 to Aug 2013

Implementing organisation(s):

Overseas Development Institute with national organisations in Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Uganda, and Zambia.




Mwananchi Programme


Mwananchi exists to explore and discuss how to improve the way ordinary citizens and their governments in Africa engage in order to achieve sustainable improvements in the quality of life. We seek to understand how politics shapes state-society relations and hence the practice, outcomes and impacts of projects aimed at strengthening citizen-state engagement to improve development.

Objectives of the intervention:

■Creating dialogue platforms for media, CSOs, elected representatives and traditional leaders, as the selected interlocutors, to explore and engage both citizens and governments around governance issues of concern to ordinary citizens. Supporting an average of ten grantees (essentially coalition leaders with a number of other organisations in their coalition for change) per country to try out innovative ways of enhancing citizen engagement and policy change;
■Providing capacity development support to interlocutors; and
■Creating a community of practice around several initiatives being tested both within and across countries, around what seems to work and get better results.

Why was OM chosen?

A DFID working paper by Jeremy Holland & team entitled "Measuring change and results in Voice and Accountability Work" (2009) looked at a wide range of projects on voice and accountability. One conclusion of the study was that behavioural change was not always well addressed in project logframes. Many V&A projects involve a leap of faith that assumes that by building awareness of rights among rights holders, or by strengthening the capacity for responsiveness amongst duty-bearers, there will be an automatic change of behaviour and power relations that will lead the project seamlessly into an improved set of outcomes (Holland et al. 2009).

At the same time the project team at ODI had been discussing OM and they suggested that they used OM as a PME framework for the Mwananchi Project as it makes behaviour explicit in the project design. The objective was to develop a framework to enable us to look at behaviour explicitly but in a way that builds fuses with the logframe as DFID wanted reporting in an logframe format. OM is saying that results that are explicitly in changes in policy or access to services are because of behavioural change and not just changed outputs.

How was OM used?

PME, learning and the focus on relationships in the projects that make up the programme.

What was the experience of using OM?

OM helps you to focus on the core area of governance - which is about relationships. In addition, it helps following through systematically – it allows you to understand behavioural change and how you can contribute to this. Most of our grantees appreciate this. The vision of change really stretches peoples' understanding of where you want the world to be and your contribution to this vision.

Projects have something to report progressively, even if they are “only” early behavioural changes. They do not just have to wait to that ultimate change so they are happy to explain these earlier changes.

The OM language is not always very accessible. For example the term “Outcome Challenge”. In the countries in which the Mwananchi Programme is implemented the word “challenge” is interpreted as a problem. Solution: We did not introduce the work as Outcome Mapping. Only as participants were becoming more sensitised and experienced in the concepts did we use the term OM and introduce the labels. Initially we just described the concepts and what we were doing.

Maintaining monitoring can be a demanding process. Solution: We have yet to come up with a solution: I think if we discussed this with our national colleagues we might come up with a better way of monitoring behavioural changes. You have to observe them over time. They have done it and had a go at it. If we have another workshop we might be able to come up with a way that is more manageable. I am keen to discuss this at the OM Lab (in Beirut in February 2012) and to implement some changes after this. I think the teams we are working with have a lot more to offer so they can share their insights with us.

Boundary partners who are not necessarily “on your side”. This is something that we often encounter in governance work while the OM manual implies that your BPs are already on your side when you are at the intentional design stage. You might have some notion of behaviour which is different from their perception so the whole issue of behavioural change and negotiation is part of the process. Solution: We have to maintain flexibility. We can change the ID. There are so many ways in which we interpret other’s behaviour so we need to be able to reshape the matrix as long we can produce a clear a storyline about why we reshaped the OCs, PMs, etc. PEA helped as a way of thinking of understanding situations in which actors were working and how these situations make part of their behaviour.

The issues of contribution and impact: I would like to see monitoring aspects to be sharpened alongside LF type of things. How can you use OM to measure impact? OM talks about contribution but we want to be sharper on how we characterise this. In the OM community we cannot run away from attribution.

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