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Monitoring and evaluation of state-level programmes in Nigeria


Patrick Ward, Andres Andrau, Andrew Wyatt, David Hoole, Luize Guimaraes, Marta Moratti, Matthew Poole, Mike Naylor, Patrick Ward

Despite their importance in combatting poverty and inequality, state governments in Nigeria lack the capacity to efficiently deliver basic services such as health and education. We were part of a consortium of partners delivering the Independent Monitoring and Evaluation Project (IMEP) for DFID’s State Level Programmes (SLPs) in Nigeria. Together, the SLPs represent a suite of mutually reinforcing programmes that aim to address basic service delivery and governance challenges within the country through supply- and demand-side reform initiatives within state governments.

The IMEP team assessed the performance and impact of the programmes both individually and collectively through annual and mid-term reviews, final evaluations, and value-for-money assessments over a five year period. Reviews were based around the OECD-DAC evaluation criteria of relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, impact, and sustainability, and included both quantitative and qualitative research methods to assess outputs, outcomes, and impacts. Stakeholder engagement was a key focus of the project, with capacity building and dissemination activities supporting the transfer of knowledge and operalisation of recommendations during and beyond the life of the project.


Political and economic instability in Nigeria threatens to undermine recent development within the country. This instability is especially pronounced at the state level, where governments have not benefited from the same level of reform and capacity development seen at the federal level and citizens have limited ability to hold administrations to account for poor delivery of basic services.

DFID supported a suite of ‘State-level Programmes’ (SLPs) aimed at addressing these issues within five ‘focus’ states (Lagos, Enugu, Kaduna, Kano, and Jigawa). These programmes had the aim of promoting a ‘critical mass’ of governance reform through both supply- and demand-side initiatives in the selected states. They included:

  • State Partnership for Accountability and Responsiveness Capability (SPARC);
  • State Accountability and Voice Initiative (SAVI);
  • Education Sector Support Programme in Nigeria (ESSPIN);
  • Partnership for Transforming Health Systems (PATHS 2); and
  • Growth and Employment in States (GEMS).

Until this project began, the potential for assessing and learning from the SLPs had been limited, due largely to weak state government monitoring mechanisms. This project addressed the need to develop ‘fit for purpose’ monitoring and evaluation systems to fill this knowledge gap and provided evidence to feed into improvements in the individual and collective performance and impact of the SLPs.

Our approach

The IMEP consortium conducted annual, mid-term, and final reviews to monitor the progress, and evaluate the achievements, of the programmes - both individually and collectively. Mixed-methods approaches were used to measure indicators for the five OECD-DAC international evaluation criteria: relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, impact, and sustainability - with similar approaches used for each review to help ensure the comparability of results.

The team adopted a collaborative approach, working closely with a range of stakeholders to promote knowledge transfer and help ensure the sustainability of monitoring and evaluation at both the federal and state levels. Greater capacity within the SLP teams was also able to support faster and more effective adoption of IMEC’s recommendations, enabling benefits to feed quickly into improved implementation and facilitating the measurement of emerging longer-term impacts such as those on state government performance and basic service delivery.

Activities undertaken by the team included:

  • developing and periodically updating a monitoring framework for the suite of SLP programmes including indicators for outputs, outcomes, and impacts;
  • reviewing and updating monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems for individual SLPs including the validation and physical verification of data;
  • conducting annual, mid-term, and completion reviews/final evaluations of the individual programmes and suite of SLPs;
  • completing value-for-money monitoring and analysis;
  • developing recommendations to feed into programme improvements;
  • implementing a programme of M&E capacity building within state governments; and
  • disseminating findings at state and federal level events.


This project gave the opportunity to improve DFID’s understanding of the performance of its state-level programmes in Nigeria, and offer advice to directly feed back into the programmes, improving their effectiveness, efficiency, and, ultimately, their impact.

More broadly, by providing a base of evidence, the team’s work helped contribute to stakeholder learning and improve accountability - both of the programmes themselves as well as the state governments and partners that implement them.

Over the longer-term, the results from this project will feed into DFID’s own performance assessments and ultimately the design and delivery of other social and economic development programmes across Nigeria.