Booth, D. and Chambers, V. (2014) 'The SAVI programme in Nigeria: Towards politically smart, locally led development'. Discussion Paper. London: ODI.


This case study examines the experience of the Department for International Development-funded (DFID) State Accountability and Voice Initiative (SAVI) programme in Nigeria in employing an adaptive approach.

The paper notes that development assistance programmes that start from careful analysis of what works and what does not in country contexts are still remarkably rare. For the authors, this is mainly because aid programming is heavily constrained by what politicians in donor countries believe, often on limited evidence, about recipient country needs and possibilities. To a lesser extent, they argue, it is because we lack well documented examples of programming that achieves a ‘good fit’ with country context, or is ‘politically smart’, problem-driven, adaptive, locally led, etc. This paper is a contribution to an expanding set of studies that is helping to correct this evidence gap.