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Evaluation Period: 2015 - 2018
Total Awarded: $29.78 million
Total Number of Grants: 57
Geographic Focus: Nigeria


Since 2015, our Big Bet On Nigeria has supported Nigerian-led efforts to reduce corruption that strengthen transparency, accountability, and participation. The On Nigeria strategy builds on Jonathan Fox’s theory positing that corruption can be reduced through the sandwiching of “voice” initiatives, representing citizens’ actions to demand change and develop local solutions to corruption, and “teeth” initiatives,  representing the efforts of government and other high-level actors to develop and enforce laws and regulations, using incentives to discourage corruption and sanctions to punish it. Additionally, the On Nigeria strategy supports skill building and collaboration efforts among and between “voice” and “teeth” actors to further develop the enabling conditions for systems-level accountability and transparency to take hold.

We are applying this strategy in five areas of work or modules. Two modules are anchored within the education sector, one focused on the Universal Basic Education Intervention Fund in Kaduna and Lagos states and the other on the Home Grown School Feeding program in Kaduna and Ogun states. A third module is dedicated to reducing corruption in the electricity sector, specifically regarding the distribution of electricity in catchment areas associated with the Abuja and Benin distribution companies. These sectoral modules were chosen for their potential to demonstrate how strengthened transparency, accountability, and service delivery can be seen and felt in daily lives of everyday Nigerians.

Two additional modules focus on improving the criminal justice system’s response to corruption and amplifying anticorruption efforts through the journalism and media field. Our strategy also funds a range of organizations whose work is intended to shift norms and behavior toward transparency and accountability, such as faith-based groups and those using entertainment to educate audiences about the pitfalls of corruption.

We developed a theory of change that identifies the initial outcomes we aim to achieve in each of On Nigeria’s modules, as well as the longer-term impacts that we expect to be institutionalized at a national level.

As of the posting of this report, we have supported 112 grantees, totaling $57.21 million in funding, through the On Nigeria strategy.

What We Evaluated

In 2016, we commissioned EnCompass LLC to serve as the Evaluation and Learning Partner for the On Nigeria strategy. EnCompass developed an evaluation and learning framework aimed at answering three overarching questions we posed:

  1. How is the On Nigeria strategy contributing to changing transparency and accountability of government and private-sector actors?
  2. How is the On Nigeria strategy contributing to changing social norms and citizens’ behaviors related to corruption?
  3. What kinds of adaptation or changes are needed to achieve better results?

To answer these questions, EnCompass systematically and continuously collects key information about the context of our strategy, measures progress toward the outcomes and impacts outlined in our theory of change, solicits feedback from key actors on the implementation of the strategy, and helps us learn from the synthesis of these data in order to make informed decisions about the design and overall management of our efforts.

This report presents the first synthesis of evaluation data about the On Nigeria strategy, which was collected between 2017-2018. During this time, 57 grantees were actively implementing grants, representing a total of $29.78 million in awarded funds.

What We Learned

The following conclusions can be drawn from the findings of this first synthesis report:

  • In its first couple of years, the On Nigeria strategy has laid a strong foundation to contribute to the long-term achievement of reduced corruption in Nigeria. Across sectoral modules (education and electricity) and systems-level modules (criminal justice and media and journalism), there is evidence of initial progress, momentum, and traction. Civil society organizations are building capacity to hold government accountable. Grantees, civil society organizations, and government actors are collaborating to build coalitions that amplify anticorruption efforts.
  • However, there is still substantial work to be done, particularly to increase transparency in public procurement systems, continue asset recovery, further strengthen the legal framework, continue confronting corruption, and, above all, foment changes in social norms necessary to break corruption’s vicious cycle. More time is required for anticorruption gains to spread and institutionalize beyond targeted geographies and sectors.
  • The cohort approach, whereby we convene grantees according to module, has been productive in fostering coordination and effective use of resources. Grantees are interested in identifying more strategic opportunities to work together. Grantees also appreciate the capacity-strengthening activities we provided and seek more opportunities to expand on previous training in ways that help them advance their anti-corruption efforts.
  • The broad On Nigeria strategy to address corruption in Nigeria continues to be relevant to existing public priorities and political windows of opportunity. However, economic headwinds, security concerns, and weak public sector capacity could eclipse corruption as a priority or stall reforms.


View the full report ›

Annex 1: On Nigeria Theories of Change and Measures ›

Annex 4: Data Collection Instruments ›

Annex 5: Documents Reviewed by Module ›

MacArthur's evaluation philosophy ›