From 2014 to 2018 the Strengthening Advocacy and Civic Engagement (SACE) project in Nigeria sought to build a stronger, more resilient Nigerian civil society by strengthening the capacities 18 clusters of civil society organizations working on clearly-defined thematic issue areas to form common agendas, coordinate strategies, align outcome measurements, and share knowledge. SACE organized with shared visions for change. To support this work, the SACE program implemented numerous methodologies, including network mapping and collective impact. You can read more about these approaches in our SACE reports, Volume 1, Volume 2, and Volume 3. In this post, Glory Akhbaue, the former National Program Officer for SACE shares her experience with three SACE tools—the advocacy strategy matrix, reflection sessions, and journey mapping—and how she has continued to use those approaches in her new role at PRIMORG.
I was the National Program Officer in the Strengthening Advocacy and Civic Engagement (SACE), a USAID civil society project implemented by Chemonics with Root Change as the technical lead. The core objective of the SACE project was to promote Transparency, Accountability and Good Governance (TAGG) across Nigeria in collaboration with implementing partners working in advocacy clusters. To archive results, the SACE project made use of methodologies some of which are the Advocacy Strategy Matrix, reflection meetings, and journey maps. These methodologies were important to the project to track progress of work and indicate follow-up actions.
Moving from the SACE project after its close out in December 2018, I became the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer of PRIMORG, an anti-corruption organization supported by the MacArthur Foundation whose core aim is to reduce corruption and promote good governance by amplifying investigative reports that have been published by media houses in Nigeria, engaging government institutions, and increasing public awareness through sensitization.
Advocacy Strategy Matrix
As part of my contribution to my new job, I introduced to the organization the use of the Advocacy Strategy Matrix (ASM), a tool created by Root Change and the SACE team to help clusters of advocacy organizations document their activities and outcomes and determine priority actions. The ASM was adapted from the Center for Evaluation Innovation’s Advocacy Strategy Framework.
At PRIMORG, the ASM plays the role of helping the team to identify the activities that have been carried out, the outcomes that have emerged as a result of these activities, and the required actions (next priorities) that are to be considered. It also helped the team to identify the right target audience to be engaged. An example of an intervention where the ASM provided critical insight for the team is the need for increased awareness in the extortion of birth registration. As a result, the team now has clarity on how activities are linked to their outcomes and also to identify the next set of priorities that should be taken towards the eradication of extortion in the registration of birth in the Abuja Area Councils.
Prior to the introduction of the outcome harvester and journey mapping, future actions (priorities) that needed to be taken by members of the team and outcomes from previous engagements were merely discussed in meetings without the use of these tools to indicate current stage of outcome. So far, with the introduction of the ASM, members of the team are now able to see how activities are connected to their outcomes and how these outcomes can further help identify the next level of priorities that are required to achieve results.
In addition, when I joined the team in June 2019, I proposed that there should be a team reflection meeting twice in a year to help improve our work. While working on the SACE project, the reflection meetings were important to help the team reflect on the management and programmatic approaches that were employed by the team, identified the approaches that were useful to the project and what more approaches need to be adopted, hence providing positive impact on the team members.
As part of our reflection in PRIMORG, we will discuss answers to the following questions.
- What worked well in the past 6 months?
- What did not work well in the past 6 months?
- What do we need to do differently to achieve the organization’s objective? Are we speaking with the right stakeholders? Are we using the best strategies to engage stakeholders? If no, what needs to change? If yes, how can we better improve engagement and strategies?
Lastly, I introduced journey mapping to supplement the ASM in tracking the organization’s activities and outcomes and to tell the project’s success stories. A journey map shows a descriptive progression of activities according to their timeline of actions and the outcomes that were achieved. In SACE, the journey mapping was a story telling tool that helped the cluster members to tell a story around activities that have been conducted from the inception of their interventions as well as the outcomes in chronological order.
At PRIMORG, this methodology has helped the team have a holistic approach to describing the organization’s work on two investigative reports that were amplified by the organization and identify the success stories that resulted. The journey map has also contributed to drafting the project’s 2019 annual report.
In my experience, these three approaches can help organizations or projects better identify important decisions to achieve results and help them better document activities, outcomes, and success stories.