Varieties of Governance: Effective Public Service Delivery in Basic Education, Water and Roads

What roles do formal and informal institutions play in the provision of basic education, water supply and transportation infrastructure (roads) public services at country and sector level?  What are the most feasible institutional and policy options to improve the delivery of public services in different national and institutional contexts?  How do these compare across countries?

These are a few of the questions that the Varieties of Governance: Effective Public Service Delivery in Basic Education, Water and Roads global research project set out to answer.  This project was launched under PASGR’s Partnership and Network Grant in collaboration with the Global Development Network (GDN), the Open Society Institute and the Inter-American Development Bank.

In Africa, PASGR and GDN invited research organisations to submit proposals exploring the link between country and sector governance systems and the corresponding public service delivery outcomes in the areas of basic education, water and roads.  The project is described in this concept note.  PASGR supported one team each from Uganda, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Ethiopia to explore the role of formal and informal institutions in service delivery mechanisms in basic education, water supply and transport infrastructure (roads) at country and sector level.  The four teams were selected from 60 submissions received from Africa and were later joined by two teams from Francophone Africa supported by the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs through GDN.

The Ugandan team of Godber Tumusiime, George Bogere and Eugene Semakula was managed by the Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE).  Their study, Assessing Governance Aspects in the Water and Roads Sectors of Uganda, sought to examine the implementation of the institutional framework in the two sectors and how this affected the quality of services in the country.

Sullay Kamara, Diana Ofori-Owusu and Lovetta F. Sesay undertook a study titled Governance, Accountability and Effective Basic Service Delivery in Sierra Leone under the auspices of the country’s Centre for Economic and Social Policy Analysis (CESPA).  The study sought to identify the link between different governance systems in the three sectors and their effect on basic service delivery, and find out which system worked better with the intention of informing policy actors on best practices of primary service delivery in the country.

Aderibigbe S. Olomola, Anthonia T. Simbine, A. Wadinga and Ademola L. Adeagbo carried out a study on Accountability and Performance of Government Agencies in the Delivery of Water, Education and Road Services in Nigeria managed by the Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER).  This study aimed to examine governance and institutional factors affecting public service delivery in respect of education, road and water sectors in Nigeria; assess and compare the performance of the three sectors in service delivery; and, determine the effects of governance on services delivered in each sector’ and how they varied across geo-political zones.

In Ethiopia, Woldeab Teshome, Degefa Tolossa, Fenta Mandefro and Bamlaku Alamirew examined Governance and Public Service Delivery: The Case of Water Supply and Roads Services Delivery in Addis Ababa and Hawassa Cities managed by the Department of Regional and Local Development Studies (RLDS), University of Addis Ababa.  The study aimed to discover the impact of varieties/systems of governance in the delivery of services in water and roads sectors in these cities.

EPSD activities included a Regional Launch Workshop that was held in Nairobi in February 2011, and a Global Research Workshop in Paris in September 2011 designed to help research teams to conclude and communicate their research projects.  The final Global Workshop was held in Budapest, Hungary in June 2012, with teams from different world regions presenting their final draft reports for comments.

Beyond receiving feedback and guidance from experienced resource persons and PASGR staff, the African teams also benefited from extensive critiques by highly qualified international reviewers.  PASGR is working with all African teams to produce a synthesised report reflecting the African teams’ experience in this project.