On Nigeria Big Bet: 2019 Evaluation Report

by Indu Chelliah; Kimberly Norris; Kirsten Tanifum; Lauren Else; Lynne Franco; Pragati Godbole; Zachariah Falconer-Stout

Feb 28, 2020

Since 2015, the MacArthur Foundation's On Nigeria strategy has sought to reduce corruption by supporting Nigerian-led efforts that strengthen accountability, transparency, and participation. Its theory of change builds on Jonathan Fox's "sandwich theory," which leverages the interplay between a push from below, by which citizens demand change ("voice"), and a squeeze from above to encourage public and private institutions to develop and enforce laws and regulations ("teeth").

As of January 2020, the On Nigeria strategy has made 138 grants (totaling $66.8 million) that are a proving ground to develop and test a range of tactics and entry points for addressing corruption. Corruption is complex and ever-evolving, and progress toward the goal of reducing it will most certainly not be linear nor simple. Thus, On Nigeria reflects a multilayered strategy, comprising five areas of targeted programming, or modules—the Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF) Program, the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) Intervention Fund, Electricity Distribution, Criminal Justice, and Media and Journalism; and three cross-cutting areas—behavior and social norm change, civil society pressure for government accountability, and election-related efforts.

The goal of this paper is to provide the latest information from the ongoing evaluation of On Nigeria, facilitate learning, and serve as one input to determine the next stage of programming. The evidence presented explores the strategy's progress to date, the validity of its theory of change, and status of windows of opportunity in the strategy's landscape.