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Summary

The African Development Bank (AfDB) commissioned ThinkWell to study civil society-initiated participatory governance methods across Africa. ThinkWell’s team of researchers conducted a comprehensive landscaping review of civil society-led participatory governance methods in Ethiopia, Tunisia, Malawi, Mozambique, and South Africa. Based on these findings, the team conducted key informant interviews with leaders of civil society organizations to elucidate how participatory governance methods were used and what factors influenced how they worked. We captured the diversity of participatory governance across the five countries, cataloguing the range of methods and factors that influence their effectiveness. We identified 23 distinct methods and developed a new entry points framework, grouping each of them by where citizens can engage. Based on the findings from the five country case studies, we developed a political space analysis tool that links a country’s context and project objectives to method selection.

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