MacArthur Approves $67m In 4 Years For Anti-Corruption Projects In Nigeria

MacArthur Foundation, a private group that supports non-profits in about 50 countries with grants, has allocated a $66.8 million investment for Nigeria between 2015 and 2019 to promote transparency and accountability. This is N25.9 billion using current exchange rates.

In a report made public on Monday, the foundation also stated that it gave a total of 138 grants during the four-year period focusing on journalism, criminal justice, electricity distribution, and access to education.

It explained that its strategy to reduce corruption in Nigeria is supporting citizens to demand change while also encouraging public and private institutions to enforce laws guiding them. Because of the complexity of the problem, it has adopted a multilayered approach with several entry points.

MacArthur Foundation said it achieved many of its short-term milestones with criminal justice and media projects but that it recorded less success with its investments in universal basic education and the electricity sector, especially at the state level.

“If the coalition of anticorruption reformers continues to grow, the window for effecting change could open even wider, with additional partners to work with. On the other hand, if the government pursues actions that further tighten the civil society and media spaces, the window of opportunity could close rapidly,” it said.

Some of its achievements, it noted, include facilitating collaboration between various grantees; progress in policy reform; building the capacity of community, legal, and media actors; and contributing to the growth of anticorruption reformers across different sectors.

MacArthur’s funding activity in the country, tagged On Nigeria, started in June 2015 and was fully endorsed by the following year.

As of January 2020, its report stated, $48 million (72 per cent) of the approved funds had been released to the grantees and, as of October 2019, about $20.5 million (31 per cent) had been spent by the recipient-organisations.

“Through On Nigeria, the MacArthur Foundation also conducts non-grantmaking activities, including financial and technical support to grantees, as well as On Nigeria team members’ broad engagement in the Nigerian anti-corruption field,” the foundation said. 

“These non-grantmaking activities include technical assistance opportunities for grantees to build monitoring and evaluation skills, 3 training in communication and behaviour change methods by experienced practitioners, and the MacArthur Foundation staff’s support and mentorship in proposal development and grant management,” it added.

“One of the key non-grantmaking approaches is fostering collaboration among grantees by using the “cohort approach,” whereby grantees within each of the five modules and three cross-cutting areas regularly convene to share knowledge and coordinate efforts for greater effect.

“Finally, the MacArthur Foundation carries out activities to foster collaboration with other donors and stakeholders in the anti-corruption space; independently raise the profile of transparency, accountability, and corruption issues; and advocate to government and private-sector actors for further measures.”

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'Kunle Adebajo

Head of Investigations at HumAngle. ‘Kunle covers conflict alongside its many intricacies and fallouts. He also writes about disinformation, the environment, and human rights. He's won a couple of journalism awards, including the 2021 Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Journalism, the 2022 African Fact-checking Award, and the 2023 Michael Elliott Award for Excellence in African Storytelling.

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