Bridges, K. and Woolcock, M. (2019) 'Implementing Adaptive Approaches in Real World Scenarios - A Nigeria Case Study, with Lessons for Theory and Practice,' World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 8904.


The paper looks at how adaptive implementation works in practice in Nigeria. Drawing on extensive interviews and observations, this paper contrasts the ways in which an adaptive component of a major health care project was implemented in three programmes and three matched comparison states in Nigeria. 

The paper examines the bases on which claims and counterclaims about the effectiveness of these approaches were made by different actors, concluding that resolution requires any such claims to be grounded in a fit-for-purpose theory of change and evaluation strategy. The paper argues that the principles of adaptive development may be gaining broad acceptance, but a complex array of skills, expectations, political support, empirical measures, and administrative structures needs to be deftly integrated if demonstrably positive operational results are to be obtained, especially when undertaken within institutional systems, administrative logics, and political imperatives that are predisposed to serve rather different purposes.