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A lack of transparency and accountability has bedeviled Nigeria’s governance context. Traditionally confrontational approaches by civil society organizations (CSOs) have not catalyzed desired government reforms. CSOs’ limited capacity and experience to influence reform, lack of collaboration across reform-minded actors, failure to adapt advocacy tactics to the fluid Nigerian context, and lack of public awareness of and grassroots support for reforms have allowed the status quo to continue, deterring the institutionalization of sustainable reform. This is exacerbated by the complex governance structure of Nigeria which makes advocating for reform overwhelming to most.
We have strengthened CSO networks and coalitions to engage government stakeholders and build wider public engagement to influence sustainable reforms that improve transparency, accountability, and good governance in this complex environment and CLA approaches have been at the heart of our approach from the beginning. Adopting a collective impact approach, SACE fostered a “policy/issue cluster” model for CSO partners. An anchor CSO within each cluster serves a coordination role to identify and advocate for various reforms. Using a range of tools and approaches – including regular Cluster Reviews that form the basis for this case study – SACE has successfully built CLA skills across over 150 CSOs focusing on over 75 policy areas ranging from open budget processes to reforms in the oil and gas sector, as well as education, health, and social inclusion. Over 35 policy reforms have been enacted to date due to the efforts of our Nigerian partners, our team, and USAID/Nigeria.