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On Nigeria

Our Goal

Reducing corruption by supporting Nigerian-led efforts that strengthen accountability, transparency, and participation.

Why We Support This Work

A thriving Nigeria—with its rich natural resources, young and growing population, and continental leadership—is one of the most important goals for the world today. Yet corruption, impunity, and lack of accountability have far-reaching impacts on access to and quality of public services, the well-being of Nigerians, and overall development. Several new opportunities to achieve meaningful anti-corruption progress have emerged, including the privatization of the electricity sector in 2013, the historic election in 2015 and subsequent peaceful transition of power to an opposition party, President Buhari’s focus on anti-corruption, and efforts to restructure the state-owned oil sector. The problem of corruption, paired with a unique opportunity for anti-corruption reform, sets the stage for the On Nigeria Big Bet. In collaboration with stakeholders from civil society, donor partners, government, and academia, we developed a strategy to reduce corruption and improve quality of life for Nigerians.

Our Approach

Through targeted support, we aim to bolster the momentum around Nigerian-led efforts to strengthen accountability and reduce corruption. Our multifaceted strategy has four complementary areas of focus:

  • Reducing corruption in two sectors, education and electricity, to demonstrate tangible results that citizens can see when accountability and transparency are strengthened;
  • Strengthening the criminal justice system through nationwide adoption and enforcement of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act and complementary laws and policies; and
  • Supporting media and journalism to expose corruption and share information about anti-corruption efforts.

Each facet of our strategy is supported by a variety of primarily Nigerian organizations working on a range of cross-cutting activities, including civil society groups focused on anti-corruption, organizations piloting norm- and behavior-change tactics as a means of reducing corruption, and groups mobilizing marginalized voices and new anti-corruption champions. All organizations supported by On Nigeria work together in coalitions to set and achieve their shared goals and objectives.

Expected Outcomes

We anticipate that this work will lead to the following changes across Nigeria:

  • Increased trust in the government’s ability to combat corruption;
  • Decreased tolerance for corruption;
  • Institutionalization of systems for transparency and accountability across public and private sectors;
  • Improved delivery of goods and services, including in the education and electricity sectors; and
  • Increased adoption and enforcement of new criminal justice laws and policies.

Several anticipated changes will indicate progress toward these outcomes. They include:

  • Increased citizen awareness about entitlements, government funds, and processes related to basic education financing and improved governmental and citizen-led monitoring of the delivery of those promised goods and services to schools in target states;
  • Increased customer and citizen demand for electricity services to which they are entitled and use of redress mechanisms when their rights are not met;
  • Increased capacity of states to adopt the Administration of Criminal Justice Act and of oversight committees that monitor implementation of and compliance with the Act; and
  • Increased quantity and quality of data-driven investigative reporting to expose corruption, monitor anti-corruption promises made by policymakers, amplify anti-corruption wins, and—ultimately—motivate policymakers, civil society, and individuals alike to join the fight against corruption.

Funding Priorities

In the education sector, our grantmaking seeks to promote transparent, effective, and efficient use of public resources in basic education and to reduce corruption in the sector. Our efforts employ various approaches intended to lay the foundation for achieving this goal, from making contracting and procurement practices more transparent, to mobilizing communities, to monitoring and tracking education funds and programs. Our work focuses on two programs: the Universal Basic Education Commission’s matching grant fund and the Home Grown School Feeding program, both of which entail frequent financial transactions and transfer of resources from the federal government to states, local government areas, schools, parents, and ultimately students.

In the electricity sector, we are bringing together regulators, professional associations, civil society actors, and the media to raise consumers’ awareness about their rights in the newly privatized sector, test new mechanisms for consumer redress, and pilot new approaches to improving accountability.

The sectoral work is complemented by support for efforts to strengthen the criminal justice system in ways that will help combat corruption at all levels, from day-to-day exchanges to acts of grand corruption. This work aims to improve government effectiveness by supporting civil society organizations that strengthen the legal environment through the implementation of the 2015 Administration of Criminal Justice Act nationally and in select states. As the law is more widely and consistently implemented, it will become easier to prosecute those who commit corruption.

The media and journalism component of our work seeks to strengthen investigative and data-driven journalism in Nigeria and to reinforce the role played by independent media and citizens in revealing and documenting corruption. This approach is an important part of reaching and galvanizing people and communities across the country in the fight against corruption and generating widespread demand for transparency and accountability.

Additional grantmaking supports media and entertainment organizations to explore corruption-related topics in their programming. Grants also support efforts by religious leaders and interfaith organizations to serve as anti-corruption champions and to encourage dialogue at the intersection of corruption, accountability, and religion in Nigerian society.

While we are not accepting unsolicited proposals at this time, we are always eager to hear new ideas and perspectives


Measurement & Evaluation for Learning

Rigorous, consistent, and agile evaluation of our work is a critical tool for informing our decision making, leading to better results and more effective stewardship of resources. We develop customized evaluation designs for each of our programs based on the problem, opportunity, and approach to the work, as well as our priorities around outcomes, impact, and learning.

We have engaged an evaluation and learning partner to measure and evaluate the progress of our strategy, test the assumptions underpinning it, and collect information about the context in which our strategy operates. The focus of these activities is on learning. We aim to understand the extent to which our strategy is contributing to an increase in accountability and transparency in Nigeria.

Findings and analyses from our evaluation activities will be published as they become available.

In addition, we have hired a technical assistance partner to help grantees identify and collect information so that they are able to more confidently and accurately tell the story of their work.

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