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Our early On Nigeria theory of change uses the interplay between empowered resident voices calling for change and accountability from the bottom up, combined with top-down government laws, regulations, government champions and reformers, and other methods of enforcement working together to reduce corruption. This sandwich strategy drives a virtuous cycle of accountability from state and society, leaving less room for corrupt practices to fester. It is grounded in work by Jonathan Fox, a professor of development studies at American University’s School of International Service and Director of the Accountability Research Center. While it promotes transparency, participation, and accountability (TPA) in Nigeria, the sandwich strategy can also be applied to a diversity of contexts and themes.


On Nigeria Theory of Change Graphic

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MacArthur supported a series of case studies on sandwich strategy initiatives to analyze how they drive change in Nigeria and in the global South. The studies focus on themes including education, health, gender, housing, social protection, electoral reforms, and environmental protection in countries including Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Colombia, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, The Philippines, and Sri Lanka.

The comparative study, published in World Development, will expand knowledge about the dynamics of reform, strengths, and limitations of the strategy. It aims to strengthen the entire field working in transparency, participation, and accountability. Accountability Research Center carried out the 19 studies, posted below as they become available.


Case Studies


Jonathan Fox and Rachel Sullivan Robinson of American University’s School of International Service presented their sandwich strategy research as part of USAID's Evidence and Learning seminar series. Watch the 20-minute presentation followed by Q&A.