Who

We work with vulnerable populations in Niger, especially women and children.

What

We improve communication between government and citizen groups to better support the needs of citizens.

Where

We engage local partners throughout Niamey commune and in the regions of Agadez, Zinder, and Diffa.

How

Fostering dialogue between citizens, government, and community leaders to identify priority issues, address those issues with collective action, and create accountability.

Challenge

Niger has consistently ranked at the bottom of the United Nations Human Development Index. Since 1991, the country has also experienced a series of political upheavals. The government’s inability to meet the basic needs of its citizens has diminished public confidence and caused citizens to question democracy as a credible system of governance. Regional security threats, along with increased human trafficking and criminal activity, are consuming Niger’s already limited financial resources. Despite these challenges, Niger’s government has shown support for the health and education sectors through policy reform and gradual community empowerment.

Promise

Counterpart is implementing the 5-year, USAID-funded Participatory, Responsive Governance – Principal Activity (PRG-PA) project. PRG-PA promotes governance and policy reforms that support equitable access to education, health, and security services. Together with our partners, we support increased citizen participation and government responsiveness to citizen priorities through dialogues, advocacy, social partnerships, accountability mechanisms, and communication and information programs to mobilize community engagement. We partner with social sector stakeholders (civil society organizations (CSOs), community-based organizations (CBOs), and traditional and religious leaders) to build capacity to enact change. We work with government agencies to transfer planning, resource allocation, and monitoring to the local level. Under the Security Governance Initiative, Counterpart promotes communication and collaboration between government security forces and citizens in conflict areas. Counterpart works to provide mechanisms for citizens to express their needs and priorities and receive information from security authorities. Counterpart also works with CSOs and media on security issues.

Theory of Change

PRG-PA’s theory of change posits that increased understanding of local dynamics hindering or promoting reform (through research) and increased positive and constructive two—way public discourse (dialogue), combined with the improved willingness, confidence, and ability of civil society, private sector, media, government, and political parties to form alliances and partnerships to achieve reform (collective action), will ultimately bolster in particular local solutions that promote the public good and shift incentives away from behaviors that undermine this good.

In other words, PRG-PA works to empower communities through: (a) decentralization and deconcentration of authority and resources, and (b) increased communication and public information flows. This will ultimately lead to greater community resilience, self-sufficiency, and accountability, and improved welfare.

Impact

PRG-PA created opportunities for dialogue and allowed a safe space for citizens to identify their needs and priorities:

  • Completed 51 multi-stakeholder forums to identify citizen priorities in 14 service sectors. 3000 participants – including 800 women – from the public, private, and social sectors contributed to a published national list of priorities and recommendations.
  • Sponsored 48 communal and regional multi-stakeholder dialogues for 1,626 citizens (419 female). CSOs, CBOs, media, local government officials, private sector representatives, and other community leaders focused on specific health and education issues, particularly lack of teachers and health agents in rural communities.

Based on these local priorities, the following activities were implemented:

  • Trained 156 journalists and radio hosts – including 48 females — to provide information on citizen priorities in health, education, and security.
  • Broadcast 18 radio programs on education, health, and security issues to inform and motivate citizens to advocate for better service delivery.
  • Formed 8 community-based Listening Discussion Clubs to evaluate PRG-PA radio broadcasts and provide feedback.
  • Assisted the Ministry of Primary Education and three teachers’ unions to negotiate redeployment of over 1,176 surplus teachers in Niamey to vacant rural positions.
  • Assisted ministries of primary and secondary education to create teacher redeployment commissions at communal level.

Sustainable Development Goals Addressed

Partners

Funder: United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Swiss Cooperation Agency.
Collaborator: Equal Access International.

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