Blog Posts

Our latest posts form blog

This project briefing uses a critical analysis of citizen voice and accountability cases from the Mwananchi Governance and Transparency Fund (GTF) programme to examine how citizen voice and accountability happens in different governance contexts.

The development industry is increasingly pushing practitioners to achieve results, and to do better in demonstrating what works, what does not, and explaining why. There is a growing interest in going beyond the  measurement of results to being able to understand the basis for success or failure. Consequently, the development of explicit theories of change (ToCs) is starting to be viewed as central to this process, as a key part of what constitutes ‘rigour’ in impact evaluations. 

Citizen voice and accountability (CV&A) project interventions produce and reproduce diverse outcomes that are not amenable to linear models of ToCs. This paper uses a critical analysis of CV&A cases from the Mwananchi Governance and Transparency Fund (GTF) programme to examine how citizen voice and accountability happens in different governance contexts.

The analytical framework used in this paper draws on the well-known tools of outcome mapping (OM) and political economy analysis (PEA).

  • Enabling citizens to influence government accountability is a complex process involving political dynamics at the citizens’ interface with state institutions;
  • Developing explicit theories of change (ToCs) from the start of programme planning helps planners delve into complex citizen–state dynamics; and
  • Fusing political economy analysis and outcome mapping tools can help develop a deeper understanding of these dynamics to generate more effective ways to achieve outcomes.

To read the project briefing, follow this link to the ODI site:

This working paper lays out the conceptual foundations for undertaking an action research based programme that seeks to strengthen citizen engagement with the state and improve governance. The Mwananchi programme, as it is called, works to enhance political leverage for citizens as they engage with their governments at different levels so that citizen voice becomes one of the agents that makes state institutions more accountable and responsive to citizens. The strategy is to work with interlocutors of the citizen–state relationship: media, civil society organisations (CSOs), and elected representatives and traditional leaders.

Rumphi District in Malawi’s Northern Region has no history of active youth participation in decision-making at district and community levels.  There is a technical committee for young people, but it is part of the District Aids Coordination Committee and has been unable to champion the participation of youth in various activities. The government is, however, trying to promote the formation of youth networks at community level.