Does promoting citizen engagement in the governance of public services improve development outcomes?

Time: 12:30 – 14:00 BST
Venue: Curtis room - LG9, LSHTM, Keppel Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7HT
Speakers: Hugh Sharma Waddington, Senior Evaluation Specialist, 3ie; and Ada Sonnenfeld, Evaluation specialist, 3ie

Start Date: 25 September 2019 End Date: 25 September 2019

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Does promoting citizen engagement in the governance of public services improve development outcomes?

There is a lot of emphasis by donors on improving governance in public service delivery, in order to improve development effectiveness. Bottom-up approaches aim to engage citizens in the design and delivery of public services and institutions through increasing opportunities for participation, inclusion, transparency and accountability (PITA). Evidence from prominent single studies, implemented in particular contexts, has suggested that bottom-up approaches to involve citizens in governance of public services are not effective strategies. But how generalizable is this finding, and what are the mechanisms through which citizen engagement can be effective?

A new mixed-method systematic review focuses on interventions that promote citizen engagement in public service governance, through participatory and inclusive planning, community-based monitoring, and provision of information about rights and performance of public services. Reviewers examine high-quality evidence from 35 programmes promoting good governance of public services via citizen engagement in L&MICs. They collected quantitative and qualitative data from the included studies and used statistical meta‐analysis and realist‐informed framework synthesis to analyse the findings. Hugh Sharma Waddington and Ada Sonnenfeld, the lead authors of the review, will present the key findings and implications for policy and programmes.

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Hugh Sharma Waddington is a senior evaluation specialist at 3ie, based in London. He set up 3ie's Systematic Reviews programme and the London office, and was closely involved in the development of the evidence gap map approach. He specialises in impact evaluation and mixed-methods evidence synthesis in sectors like WASH, smallholder agriculture and governance. Prior to joining 3ie he worked as a planning economist with Rwanda’s finance ministry. He has also worked with the UK National Audit Office and World Bank Independent Evaluation Group. Hugh is the managing editor of the Journal of Development Effectiveness, an editor with Campbell Systematic Reviews, and held the position of elected co-chair of the Campbell International Development Coordinating Group.

Ada Sonnenfeld is an evaluation specialist at 3ie, with expertise in the fields of governance, rural development and peacebuilding. Her work focuses on evidence synthesis through systematic reviews and evidence gap maps. She is currently leading the development of a forthcoming evidence gap map of peacebuilding interventions, which provides a comprehensive look at the evidence base for interventions that aim to build peaceful societies in fragile contexts. She has eight years’ experience in in international development across diverse contexts including Afghanistan, Argentina, Bangladesh, Canada, South Africa, UK and US.  Prior to working with 3ie, Ada worked with the Aga Khan Foundation in Afghanistan, leading the design and development of new programming in integrated rural development.

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