Local Governance

Exploring the provision of local public goods - what works?

Led by: Dr Diana Cammack, Research Associate, Overseas Development Institute

Countries: Malawi, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Uganda

Theme: Public goods that are essential to people's safety and well-being are often missing from the local scene in sub-Saharan Africa. Whilst there is some provision, there are also severe bottlenecks which are not explained by scarcity of resources alone. This research is investigating why gaps are sometimes addressed and sometimes not. It is focusing on how institutional arrangements - the multiple and often hybrid forms of governance and leadership that have a bearing on service delivery and rule enforcement - influence the outcomes. It is building up a body of middle-range theory about what works and what doesn't in constructing more developmental forms of local governance.

Intensive fieldwork, comparative analysis and related documentary enquiries are being undertaken in seven countries, generating evidence on the local governance of:

  • potable water and sanitation
  • public order and security
  • safe childbirth
  • market exchange and enterprise.

Research aim: The research aims to provide African governments, their donors and NGOs with evidence on how to be more effective in correcting the under-provision of vital public goods.

Local Governance - research publications

National incentive for Civic Education, Karonga, Malawi - Vikki Chambers