The UK Government’s Third White Paper on International Development (2006) is titled ‘Eliminating World Poverty: Making Governance Work for the Poor’ and puts the promotion of better governance – national and international – at the heart of the international effort to eliminate world poverty. Effective states ‘protect people’s rights and provide security, economic growth and services’. Building better governance means working with state institutions, with civil society and with citizens, supporting governments, parliaments and judiciaries to function more effectively and to be more responsive and accountable to citizens and developing mechanisms for citizens to engage with and influence these institutions.
SDDirect has particular expertise in the ‘demand’ side of governance – working with both civil society and the state, to build civil society’s capacity to engage with and influence the state and to strengthen the state’s ability to be responsive and accountable to its citizens. Our work often places us at the interface between the state and civil society and our depth of experience of working with both helps us to design and deliver strategies that work. Our approach includes analysis of the institutions and the processes that influence the interactions between states and society, contributing to a better understanding of the social and political drivers of governance. SDDirect brings a particular focus on ensuring that the views and interests of socially and politically excluded groups are represented. A rights based approach under-pins our work. We believe that all citizens have the right to take part, directly or through chosen representatives, in the government of their country.
Examples of our work include mobilising communities and civil society groups to engage with local and national state institutions and with public consultation processes, designing and evaluating mechanisms for funding civil society organisations, civil society and state capacity building, supporting the design and delivery of national poverty assessments and monitoring systems and providing technical assistance to line ministries to develop responsive sector plans and programmes. Our experience includes strengthening governance in sensitive and complex political settings, including post-conflict environments.
SDDirect also provides professional development support in governance, through research, preparing background papers and scoping studies, organising retreats and workshops and supporting recruitment procedures, and continuing professional development for governance and social development professionals.
Allyson Thirkell reports on grants funded by the UK Department for International Development to raise the voice of the people and improve the accountability of healthcare officials in Uganda.
SDDirect worked with RebelGroup Advisory (Netherlands), to develop a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) strategy for the social sectors in Pakistan’s Punjab province. This work was funded by the Asian Development Bank, and formed part of their wider Punjab Devolved Social Services Programme (PDSSP).
Allyson Thirkell (Director at SDDirect) and Hope Kabuchu (a network member) have recently finished a review of DFID's Civil Society Support Programme which funds organisations working on voice and accountability work in Uganda. Here is one of the innovative methods used by one of the programme grantees, CEDOVIP.