Founded in 2008, NDCBP is a coalition of activists and civil society organizations advocating for greater transparency and accountability of government spending across the Niger Delta. While its work had gained NDCBP wide respect among local, national, and international audiences, the organization expressed concern that its work had not yielded the government reforms it targeted. Several factors prevented NDCBP from realizing the impact it sought. Historically tense relations between NDCBP and government officials—exacerbated by the coalition’s frequent and antagonistic commentary on government performance—had perpetuated a cycle of mistrust. This dynamic impeded opportunities for dialogue between NDCBP and the state and therefore limited the coalition’s influence.
Additionally, NDCBP’s approach to research was not sophisticated enough to evaluate the complex processes it sought to influence. Its analysis evaluated, in largely binary terms, if state budget allocations translated into visible public assets and used linear models for assigning accountability for poor performance in budget execution. As its analyses lacked important context and technical nuance, governments were able to easily dismiss them as uninformed and unconstructive. Finally, limited organizational capacity and resources further constrained NDCBP’s efficacy.
Despite its activist orientation, NDCBP was open to exploring alternative models for its work. Reboot was engaged to manage a grant to NDCBP to improve the impact of its budget advocacy efforts. Specifically, Reboot sought to enhance the political relevance and influence of the coalition’s advocacy. Doing so required that NDCBP’s work be regarded as credible by the actors it sought to influence; improving the technical rigor of NDCBP’s research and analysis was therefore an early priority. Once armed with reliable data, NDCBP then needed to win the attention and interest of the key actors it sought to influence.