Learning to Open Government

This synthesis from five in-depth case studies explores when and how pro-reform actors have been able to leverage the Open Government Partnership (OGP) — its processes, spaces, and resources — to most effectively deliver on its goals and help lay the groundwork for the initiative to maximize its impact and effectiveness. Our research, undertaken by teams of local open government experts in five countries, covers Albania, Costa Rica, Mexico, the Philippines and Tanzania, and demonstrates that we could play a useful role in exploring how OGP plays out in particular places, generating useful lessons for participants in OGP.

Evidence from our country case studies indicates that OGP processes in these countries are contributing to efforts to open government at the country level, but in rather limited ways. Our research found three key areas to work on when advancing OGP: high-level political leadership, collective action to rebalance power, and navigating politics of reform.

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Learning to Make All Voices Count

Funded by Making All Voices Count and implemented in collaboration with Global Integrity, L-MAVC supported six MAVC grantees working in five African and Asian countries in co-creating and applying a participatory, learning-centered, adaptive approach to strengthening citizen engagement with the Open Government Partnership (OGP) at national and sub-national levels. The evidence from the program suggests that supporting citizen engagement under the OGP umbrella is not straightforward. Rather than sticking with a static plan, grantees working on L-MAVC iteratively adjusted, tailored, and re-tailored their localization strategies to fit the complex, dynamic, and political contexts in which they were working.

These variations in contextual conditions mean that no single grantee strategy can or should be replicated as an ideal model. However, there are several lessons we can consider. In particular, efforts to broaden and deepen citizen engagement with OGP may be more effective when combined with support that helps local OGP champions iteratively learn, adapt, and discover localization models that best fit their context.

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Follow the Money Mexico

The project “Supporting progress towards more open fiscal governance in Mexico at the subnational level” was a collaboration between Global Integrity, GESOC, the Mexican Access to Information Institute (INAI), and state-level stakeholders, with support by OSF and Luminate. Our goal was to support progress towards more open fiscal governance in Mexican states and beyond. We aimed to do this by strengthening the capacity of state-level stakeholders to access, improve, and use fiscal data to address local challenges, by supporting local champions to design and implement fiscal governance commitments, and by generating evidence and insights to inform the wider open governance community in Mexico and across the world.

We provided valuable support for partners’ efforts to follow the money as regards particular service delivery challenges in five states, informing local OGP action plans, and demonstrating the value of the Treasure Hunts methodology. Several other states and local partners replicated this methodology, and it led to an OGP commitment on the issue that is being implemented.

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Mobilizing citizens against corruption

In collaboration with the Transparency International secretariat and chapters in Tunisia and Georgia, we conducted research to explore what motivates citizens to take action against corruption and to generate lessons that could be useful for efforts to provide specific support (i.e. legal) and promote wider citizen engagement. The report presents recommendations for different stakeholders demonstrating the value of participatory action research on citizen engagement in anti-corruption initiatives, encouraging local actors to carefully reflect on their practice and adapt, while nudging funders to support adaptation at country level. The guide also explores how and why citizens decide to take action against corruption and presents a theory of change and practical guidance to support organisations in exploring how to engage people more successfully in their specific contexts.

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Longer report

State Integrity Investigation

This is a research project that compiled and assessed qualitative data on the state of transparency, accountability and anti-corruption mechanisms in all fifty US states. This project generated a wealth of robust data & evidence that received significant uptake by journalistic outfits by formal institutions, and politicians across many US states pushing for ethics reform. Global Integrity conducted a first round of the project in 2011/2012 and the project resulted in noticeable reform efforts. SII assesses the existence, effectiveness, and accessibility (i.e. citizen access) of key governance and anti-corruption mechanisms through a qualitative and indicator-based research process. Journalists also used media stories, government data, independent and academic studies, and accessed laws and regulation to triangulate and corroborate their findings.

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