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Update Brownbag on Liberia Accountability and Voice Initiative (LAVI)

In the first week of 2018, USAID's Center of Excellence on Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance hosted an excellent presentation and discussion with Milica Panic, the chief of party of the Liberia Accountability and Voice Initiative (LAVI), implemented by DAI. LAVI is considered an archetype example of a program designed to think and work politically, and to develop local capacity to make change in more thoughtful ways - see in particular the solicitation.It was a great discussion and I can't do it full justice in an email, but a couple of bright spots I wanted to highlight:
  • One of the challenges has been too much advocacy on issues led and framed by either donors or national NGOs, or both, with government as their "object" of advocacy. They used political economy analysis to identify issues that resonate with people at local level, starting with education, and then set up a larger group to inform the directions of work which included stakeholders typically seen as the audience (or the problem) rather than part of the solution. 
  • They carefully used discussions to identify within the broader discussion of education as an issue specific, meaningful changes that could be pursued by such a diverse coalition. This is a classic example of "best fit" rather than "best practice" in that they didn't simply define a perfect education system and advocate for it to obtain, but found feasible steps forward to push for, which aligned with incentives strongly enough to get done (if still being hard to achieve), and used that to get progress and start to build trust.
  • They also selected partners through a quite careful process - I've attached their APS in addition to their presentation - which built off of network analysis to see how stakeholders were communicating. As you can see in the APS, they further asked applicants writing expressions of interest to identify what they are doing and what they would bring to the table - selecting partners who can play a pivotal role, rather than those who can identify technically correct answers that they would advocate for. Again, this element of realism is often spoken about but rarely translated into the nuts-and-bolts mechanics of subaward processes in this way.

Uploaded here are the slides from the presentation as well as their APS template and Education APS call that was issued in Liberia. For further information, please contact either Milica at [email protected] or Jeremy Kanthor, [email protected]