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A Synthesised Report on the Impact of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Pandemic on Civil Society Organisations in West Africa

July 5, 2021

This report presents a synthesis of the findings on the impact of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic on civil society organisations (CSOs) in West Africa, with particular focus on Cameroon, The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. In particular, the report document show the COVID-19 pandemic has affected CSOs' operations, funding prospects and relationships with donors and stakeholders. Given that CSOs are agile actors with an agency, this report further analyses' strategic responses for mitigating the effects of the pandemic in ensuring their short-term survival and long-term sustainability. The findings, therefore, present data-based evidence to inform stakeholders' engagement with West African CSOs.The implications of the findings for policy and practice are further discussed.The findings in this study are informed by a sequential explanatory mixed-method design which involves first collecting and analysing the quantitative data followed by qualitative data. As part of the quantitative phase of this study, a survey questionnaire was administered to 313 CSOs across the six countries (i.e., Cameroon – 36 CSOs; The Gambia-16 CSOs; Ghana-86CSOs; Liberia-27 CSOs; Nigeria-80 CSOs; and SierraLeone-68 CSOs) between June and July 2020. Following the quantitative data administration and analysis,6 focus group discussions were conducted with 48 CSOs who first participated in the quantitative phase between July and September 2020. Additional, key informant interviews were conducted as part of the data collection in each country. The final analysis in this report integrated the quantitative and qualitative data, which provided nuanced perspectives on the impact of COVID-19 on CSOs' in West Africa. 

Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Civil Society Organisations in Liberia

March 30, 2021

This research report assesses the impact of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic on Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Liberia. The research further looks at CSOs' resilience during the pandemic, their contributions to the fight against the COVID-19, as well as their programming and operations during the pandemic. The study was informed by a sequential explanatory mixed methods design which involves first collecting and analysing the quantitative data followed by the qualitative data. It is however important to mention that the study began with a desk review where the in-country researcher reviewed existing literature on COVID-19 and its impact on the civil society sector.The findings from the review informed the development of survey questionnaires which was administered to 27 randomly selected CSOs in Liberia from the Electronic directorate of CSOs in West Africa by the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). The analysis and findings from the quantitative phase informed the design of the qualitative phase. The qualitative phase of the research collected data through Focus Group Discussion (FGD) with ten (10) CSOs comprising of eight (8) urban organisations and two (2) rural organisations randomly selected from the list of 27 CSOs who participated in the survey.

Partnering to Realize the Girl Effect: Learnings from a Decade of Delivering for Girls

June 15, 2019

This report summarizes learnings from more than a decade of work, including more than $132 million in investments in more than 80 countries via a network of 140 organizations, occurring between 2004 and 2017. It is the culmination of a review of program reports and evaluations from more than 280 grants and initiatives, as well as interviews with current and former NoVo Foundation and Nike Foundation staff and partners.Our goal was to share lessons and insights that might be useful for others. This document is not a field guide for implementing specific programs, but rather a collection of learnings to inform program design.

Transparency is more than dollars and cents: An examination of informational needs for aid spending in Sierra Leone and Liberia

August 22, 2017

Transparency in international aid is not just about fulfilling a requirement based on people's right to access information, but also about making aid more effective. Transparency can help improve coordination and planning, enable accountability, and build trust. Accomplishing these goals can be a challenge when there are many partners involved in channeling funds through a complicated web of service delivery without clear public information explaining who did what where.This research looks at the information needed by in-country development stakeholders with an emphasis on accountability actors including civil society organizations, charities, government workers, and the media. To collect this information, semi-structured interviews were conducted in Sierra Leone and Liberia. The majority of interviewees wanted information about financial resources and the channels they flowed through, and all respondents wanted information on the services provided and where the work was happening subnationally, suggesting that these two sets of information may be the most important. Unfortunately, information on subnational locations and services provided is infrequently available through open aid data portals, implying a need to update what aid information is shared.

China and the African State: Evidence from Surveys, Survey Experiments, and Behavioral Games in Liberia

November 1, 2016

What are the effects of Chinese investment and development projects on the perceived legitimacy of African states? In recent years, China has dramatically increased the size and scope of its aid to and investment in sub-Saharan Africa; the differences in China's approach to aid, compared to the Western model, have ignited debate about whether Chinese aid negatively affects governance and government legitimacy in the recipient country. In this paper, a research team led by The College of William and Mary tested this proposition in rural and urban Liberia. The research combined a public opinion survey; a survey experiment presenting one of three vignettes describing the roles of Chinese aid, US aid, or the Liberian government in service provision and corruption in Liberia; and an experimental game that measured how voluntary tax compliance—a standard measure of government within the academic literature—was affected by exposure to one of the same three vignettes. Both survey experiment and experimental games included a control group, for participants who were not read a vignette, and the vignettes were identical except for the name of the actor (China, US, or the Liberian government). Key findings from this pilot study include:Exposure to Chinese and US aid and investment improves Liberians' perceptions of Chinese and US donors.Exposure to Chinese and US aid and investment does not weaken and may even enhance Liberians' perceptions of the legitimacy of their government.Exposure to US aid is associated with Liberians' having more positive perceptions of the quality of their democracy.

Effectiveness of Anticorruption Agencies in West Africa

October 1, 2016

This research assesses efforts in fighting corruption in six countries in West Africa with very different governance, macroeconomic, sociopolitical, and institutional characteristics: Benin, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sierra Leone.Similar research has been undertaken by the Open Society Foundation's Africa Regional Office in Eastern and Southern Africa. The raison d'être was to carry out a comparative study which would examine the rationale underlying the successes and failures of agencies devoted to the prevention and combating of corruption, with the aim ultimately being to establish ways and means of strengthening anticorruption efforts on the African continent.

Effectiveness of Anticorruption Agencies in West Africa: French

October 1, 2016

This research assesses efforts in fighting corruption in six countries in West Africa with very different governance, macroeconomic, sociopolitical, and institutional characteristics: Benin, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sierra Leone.Similar research has been undertaken by the Open Society Foundation's Africa Regional Office in Eastern and Southern Africa. The raison d'être was to carry out a comparative study which would examine the rationale underlying the successes and failures of agencies devoted to the prevention and combating of corruption, with the aim ultimately being to establish ways and means of strengthening anticorruption efforts on the African continent

Managing the Risk of Stranded Assets in Agriculture and Forestry

July 1, 2016

To date, much of the research into stranded assets – broadly defined as assets incurring significant unanticipated or premature write-downs or devaluations – has focused on the fossil fuel sector. However, not least in the context of the 2015 Paris Agreement, and with growing understanding that climate change may become a major factor in the creation of stranded assets, it has become clear that it is not just the energy sector that will be affected. Assets in agriculture and forestry may also be at risk of stranding, because of physical impacts such as drought and desertification as well as through regulatory and technological change.The risk of stranding is particularly high in production regions where natural forests are being cleared for agricultural use. Other regions at high risk are those where climate change is predicted to have impacts that will severely disrupt production cycles or shift production patterns. In addition, strong low-carbon development plans can affect the regulatory frameworks that govern the agriculture and forestry sectors, bringing further risks of stranding.Stranding risks have a potential impact on the various actors positioned along the supply chain for agriculture and forest commodities. They include the land- or rights-owners, the owners of infrastructure related to the transport and processing of commodities, consumer companies and investors.The faster the pace of decarbonization, or the more pronounced the impacts of climate change, the greater the chance of asset stranding and the higher the likelihood of economic, social and political impacts. The prospect of asset stranding could be sufficient to cause potentially affected groups to impede efforts towards low-carbon development, but this possibility has not been sufficiently accounted for in the national low-carbon development plans of either developed or developing economies. As a result, there is a potential risk to the implementation of such plans.This paper includes case studies of stranding risk in Brazil, Malaysia and Liberia. In these countries, there are potentially significant risks of stranding, both from regulation and climate change impacts. However, there has been very little consideration of these risks by policymakers, and there are significant information gaps.Further research is necessary in the following areas: analysing the outlook for biofuels to assess the risk of stranding and the possible impacts of new technology; assessing the physical impacts of extreme weather events on investments, taking into account the role of the insurance industry and price fluctuations; and determining whether growing consumer preferences for 'sustainable' products contribute to the risk of stranding in agriculture and forestry.Such research could be used to initiate discussions within producer countries about the risk of stranded assets given their national strategies and policies, and in light of the available evidence of the physical impacts of climate change, in order to identify the options for both mitigating and managing that risk.

Partnership Paradox

December 10, 2015

In 2006, after nearly two decades of civil conflict and instability, Liberia's physical and governance infrastructure was destroyed and its brutalized population stricken with high levels of illiteracy and unemployment. The newly formed government of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was not able to meet the stringent requirements imposed by the global aid architecture at the time.In response to this, the Open Society Foundations and UNICEF, working in collaboration with the Government of the Netherlands, made a commitment to deliver up to $20 million to Liberia's Ministry of Education to catalyze the recovery of the sector and to support the development of a comprehensive sector plan. The Liberia Education Pooled Fund was launched in May 2008.The purpose of this publication is to present the realistic story of Liberia's post-conflict educational recovery and the inherent paradox of the partnerships that are necessary to support it. The contributors to this volume have presented firsthand accounts of their engagement in the immediate post-conflict phase of Liberia's educational recovery, and with this have provided lessons and insight for a growing field of education and international development specialists.

Ebola Impact Revealed: An assessment of the differing impact of the outbreak on the women and men in Liberia

October 28, 2015

This research report examines the differing impacts of the Ebola outbreak in Liberia on women, men, girls and boys. Focusing on the areas of agriculture and livelihoods; gender-based violence; access to health services; and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), it looks at women's involvement in the national response to the outbreak, as well as community coping strategies. The report finds that women were disproportionately affected by the outbreak, and that gender, disability and geographical location were the most important factors in determining how people were impacted by the crisis. Women in rural areas were found to have particularly suffered.The research report draws conclusions regarding how the Liberian government, NGOs and civil society might improve the ongoing national response, including increasing the participation of women and broadening their education and skills.

The Oxfam Ebola Response in Liberia and Sierra Leone: An evaluation report for the Disasters Emergency Committee

July 17, 2015

The context of the Ebola epidemic presented extreme challenges for Oxfam, as it did for many organisations. At the onset of the epidemic, there was a general lack of understanding of the disease and how to respond to it effectively and safely. A pervasive and persistent climate of fear, coupled with changing predictions about the likely evolution of the epidemic, influenced analysis and response at all levels. There was strong pressure to treat the epidemic as a medical emergency requiring a medical response – organised through topdown processes – rather than standard humanitarian coordination.This report reviews Oxfam’s response to the Ebola crisis at an organisational level and programme delivery in Liberia and Sierra Leone in 2014–2015. It is based on an evaluation commissioned by Oxfam with funding from the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), carried out in March and April 2015.

Community-Centered Responses to Ebola in Urban Liberia: The View from Below

April 9, 2015

The West African Ebola epidemic has demonstrated that the existing range of medical and epidemiological responses to emerging disease outbreaks is insufficient, especially in post-conflict contexts with exceedingly poor healthcare infrastructures. This study provides baseline information on community-based epidemic control priorities and identifies innovative local strategies for containing EVD in Liberia.In this study the authors analyzed data from the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Monrovia and Montserrado County, Liberia. The data were collected for the purposes of program design and evaluation by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Government of Liberia (GOL), in order to identify: (1) local knowledge about EVD, (2) local responses to the outbreak, and (3) community based innovations to contain the virus. At the time of data collection, the international Ebola response had little insight into how much local Liberian communities knew about Ebola, and how communities managed the epidemic when they could not get access to care due to widespread hospital and clinic closures. Methods included 15 focus group discussions with community leaders from areas with active Ebola cases. Participants were asked about best practices and what they were currently doing to manage EVD in their respective communities, with the goal of developing conceptual models of local responses informed by local narratives. Findings reveal that communities responded to the outbreak in numerous ways that both supported and discouraged formal efforts to contain the spread of the disease. This research will inform global health policy for both this, and future, epidemic and pandemic responses.