Sustaining COVID 19 Transparency and Accountability Project Coalition and Partnerships in Africa

Lucy Abagi July 12, 2022 1

The COVID 19 Transparency and Accountability Project (CTAP) is built on strengthening and developing a strong learning community across the African continent thereby curating conversations and experiences on the issues of transparency and accountability across Africa through our global partners. 

CTAP partners increased collaboration and knowledge exchange among them moving from an initial state where their relations were mediated by CODE, BudgIT, and Global Integrity to one where it’s increased coordination and sharing directly among them (see graph below). 

Credit: Global Integrity

This has translated in collaboration for the production of multimedia content, to brainstorm solutions to challenges they are facing, and feature in each others’ events as a way to inspire partners in one country with the experiences and strategies used in other countries to demand transparency and accountability about COVID-19 response and recovery. 

In each country, CTAP partners were able to increase their networks, through events, use of social networks and direct contact with potential partners. Overall the CTAP network grew from an initial point of 93 organizations across the 7 countries to 206 organizations by the end of the first phase of the project. While most of this growth happened in Nigeria, thanks to the mobilization of existing Tracka and Follow the Money networks at the subnational level, all country partners increased their collaboration with national and subnational organizations in their contexts. 

It’s important to note that the way they approached reaching out to the local and community level varied with some countries opting to directly engage with local organizations and others building strong collaborations with national organizations that already had strong chapters across the subnational level. 

In terms of the type of stakeholders that are part of the network, civil society organizations (98), government agencies (45) and media (18) are the main ones. It’s important to note that the group with which CTAP members created more relationships was that of government agencies, in the baseline there were only 13 government agencies with which CTAP partners had relationships, it changed to 45 agencies at the end of phase 1.    

It’s also worthy of note that CTAP partners placed most of their efforts in strengthening their in-country coalitions; organizations working at the local and national level were increasingly brought into the network, 67 and 41 additional organizations respectively. Complementing this focus CTAP partners also increased their relationships with regional and global organizations working in their contexts, bringing in 9 additional organizations, which place them well to increase this type of collaboration into the second phase of CTAP.  Specifically:

In Nigeria,, we organized 2 coalition-building meetings leading to the convergence and creation of CTAP Nigeria Coalition with 42 Civil Society actors as members. They shared their experiences and learnings while engaging with the government on different aspects pertaining to accountability for funds expended.

In Cameroon, we also organized two coalition meetings, hosting about 14 organizations.  The first coalition meeting was held on April 23, 2021, in Yaoundé-Cameroon under the theme ‘’Enhancing COVID-19 Transparency and Accountability in Cameroon”. The second was held on 17th November 2021 under the theme “ Gauging the Transparency of COVID-19 Incidence Management Response”. These coalition meetings took place at the Solomon Tandeng Muna Foundation, Cameroon. We gathered  Civil Society Organizations ( CSO),  political parties, members of the media, as well as technical partners.

In Kenya,  CTAP coalition-building brought together – CSOs leading to the development of a strategy paper that will serve as a roadmap to guide and consolidate collective advocacy efforts at the sub-national and the national level in regards to enhancing COVID 19 transparency and accountability in public budgeting and contracting processes 

In Malawi, the CTAP coalition-building of CSO led to the development of an action plan on tracking COVID 19 funds and collaboration with the Center For Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) for tracking activity in Salima district. During the first coalition-building workshop that we had in Blantyre, the capital city, we had a good number of organizations that are working on transparency and accountability projects.  From the action plans that were developed, participants pledged to collaborate on following how the government is spending funds.  From this activity, 

In Ghana, the CTAP coali tion meeting brought together national and sub-national CSOs representing diverse areas of advocacy under covid spendings such as women’s empowerment, food security, and public financial management under one umbrella to sharpen the call for an audited report on covid spending. 

In Sierra Leone, we held a CSO Coalition meeting with 40 CSOs in attendance, where they shared their experiences and lessons learned from engaging with the government to demand accountability and transparency for health spending during the COVID-19 outbreak,  which led to the formation of CSOs forum to develop action plans based on the findings in the launched country analysis reports.

In Liberia, coalition meeting in partnership with Follow The Money Liberia, Libpedia, YARD Liberia Inc, Volunteer Hub Liberia, and Care for Life launched the Covid-19 Transparency and Accountability Project (CTAP)’s Research Report and calls for Collaboration among CSOs, government, and the media to enhance transparency and accountability in covid-19 intervention funds in Liberia. 

Finally, it became clear in all countries that the main areas for future work and advocacy in relation to COVID-19 response and recovery are those of readiness and effectiveness of the health systems to deliver services and vaccines in an equitable way. This complemented with tracking additional country-specific programs and paired with budget and contract transparency is the best way to ensure that the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic can reach all citizens in an equitable way and thus contribute to development results that benefit all.