Governing Social Protection in Developing Countries through Community-Based Targeting Mechanisms: A Case Study of Nigeria's "In Care of the People" Conditional Cash Transfer Programme

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Akinola, Olabanji
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University of Guelph

In light of the inability of many bureaucracies in developing countries to effectively ensure transparency and accountability in the governance of social protection programmes, the participation of communities in the implementation of social protection programmes has increased in the past three decades. While community participation can take different forms, the use of community-based targeting methods and mechanisms (CBTMs) as participatory mechanisms for governing social protection programmes is increasingly common. However, despite the increasing use of CBTMs, particularly CBTMs that are designed as hybrids that allow both state and non-state actors and institutions to participate in the governance of social protection programmes, few studies have specifically examined how CBTMs improve or impede transparency and accountability. To this end, this dissertation examines how the CBTM that was utilized in the implementation of Nigeria’s “In Care of the People” Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programme in three communities in Oyo state, southwest, Nigeria, improved or impeded transparency and accountability in the governance of the programme. It is based on an interpretive analysis of qualitative and quantitative data collected during six months of fieldwork in Nigeria in 2013. The finding from the study of COPE’s CBTM reveals that because of the novelty of the CBTM and the final selection of beneficiaries by community leaders and officials in public spaces, transparency was improved in the implementation of the programme. However, considering that there were no alternative sources of information beyond state officials, transparency was impeded in COPE’s implementation. In addition, due to the weak administrative and technical capacity of the state institutions charged with the responsibility of implementing the programme, accountability was weak in COPE’s CBTM. This affected the operation of the accountability structures in practice, and impeded how state and non-state actors were accountable to one another. Hence, this dissertation concludes that while CBTMs can help to improve transparency and accountability in the governance of social protection programmes in developing countries, there is a need to ensure that community members and state institutions have the necessary resources that they need to effectively engage with each one another.

Social Protection, Governance, Community-Based Targeting Mechanisms, Conditional Cash Transfer Programme, Poverty, Vulnerability, Risks, Transparency, Accountability, Women, community, elderly, children