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On Nigeria

Our Goal

The On Nigeria strategy seeks to support Nigerian-led efforts to promote an atmosphere of accountability, transparency, and good governance by reducing petty corruption and strengthening anti-corruption efforts.

Why We Support This Work

Corruption, impunity, and lack of accountability have been major governance challenges in Nigeria, with far-reaching impacts on access to and quality of public services, the well-being of Nigerians, and development in the country. 

Having campaigned on a promise to tackle corruption, Muhammadu Buhari was elected President of Nigeria in 2015. This opened a new window of opportunity to lend support to Nigerian-led efforts to reduce corruption in the country. In collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders from civil society, government, and academia, we developed a two-pronged strategy to build on and bolster momentum to strengthen accountability and reduce corruption. Our aim is to support Nigerian efforts to advance a movement toward transparency, accountability, and improved quality of life for Nigerians.

According to a nationally-representative poll conducted by GeoPoll with support from the Foundation, Nigerians consider education and electricity to be two of the most important public services, yet reported being asked for bribes or extorted on a regular basis as they tried to access those services.  Given the importance of education and power to the daily lives of Nigerians, the Foundation will prioritize efforts to reduce corruption and strengthen accountability in those sectors.

Our Approach

We support Nigerian-led efforts to strengthen accountability and to reduce corruption. Through early, intensive, and targeted support, we aim to bolster the momentum that the Buhari administration has begun to create and see if reform, along with new public expectations, start to take hold. Our grantmaking will support local organizations in Nigeria.

Our two-fold strategy focuses on sectors and systems. The sectoral approach aims to improve the delivery of basic services – education and electricity, to generate tangible results that meaningfully impact people’s lives, and to show that endemic corruption is not inevitable. The systems approach aims to improve government effectiveness by supporting implementation of the 2015 Administration of Criminal Justice Act nationally and in select states. As the new law is more consistently and widely implemented, it will become easier to prosecute those who commit corruption. Furthermore, through the Anti-Corruption and Criminal Justice Reform Fund, established in collaboration with the Open Society and Ford Foundations, we directly support the government in its efforts to tackle these issues. By working in these sectors and on key systems, we hope to ultimately see the government’s anti-corruption campaign institutionalized and sustained beyond the term of the Buhari administration.

Funding Priorities

In the education sector, our grantmaking will seek to promote effective and efficient use of public resources and to reduce corruption in the sector. Our early efforts employ a variety of approaches – from making contracting and procurement practices more transparent, to mobilizing communities, to monitoring and tracking education funds – intended to lay the foundation for achieving the goal.

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 improve accountability.

To complement the sectoral efforts, we are continuing our long-standing work to strengthen the legal system in Nigeria by supporting implementation of the recently passed Administration of Criminal Justice Act, which has the potential to modernize and enhance the efficiency of the justice system. A 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 promoting accountability and revealing and documenting corruption.

At this time, On Nigeria accepts proposals by invitation only.


Measurement and Evaluation for Learning

At this time, we are defining our monitoring and evaluation priorities.  Please check back for more information.


Updated March 2018

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