Making All Voices Count was an international organization managed and overseen by individuals from NGOs, Hivos and Ushahidi, and the Institute for Development Studies. Until ending operation in 2017, they encouraged citizen engagement and accountable governance.
Mission and Purpose
Making All Voices Count was an international organisation overseen jointly by Hivos, Ushahiki, and the University of Sussex's Institute for Development Studies. The goal was advancing the needs of citizens through engagements with government that ensure citizen participation for the promotion of a government that is effective and listens to the people. Ultimately, Making All Voices Count intended to foster changes that allow all people, including the poor and marginalised, to engage with public and private institutions and call them to account over the issues that matter to them most. The organization's projects developed and improved community capacity to encourage the practice of active citizenship that generates results.
Origins and Development
Making All Voices Count was founded in June 2013 with the intent to run for four years. While the organization's activities were officially concluded in 2017, it continues to publish final reports on its work.
Making All Voices Count worked in 12 countries in Africa and Asia, primarily in Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, the Philippines, South Africa, and Tanzania. The program was initiated with a clearly defined set of aims, a theory of change and a structure centred on four linked components – innovation, scaling, research and evidence, and catalysing global action. The programme has carried out activities under each of components.
Organizational Structure, Membership, and Funding
Making All Voices Count was run by a team of 24 individuals made up from each of its partner organizations: Hivos (an international non-governmental organisation supporting people who are systematically blocked from rights, opportunities and resources), Ushahidi (a group pioneering technology-for-development organisation) and the Institute for Development Studies (a global institution for development research, teaching and learning, and impact and communications, based at the University of Sussex in the UK).
MAVC's organizational team worked out of their partner offices in South Africa, Kenya, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Indonesia.
The organization recieved funding from the Department for International Development (DFID), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and the Omidyar Network (ON).
Specializations, Methods and Tools
Making All Voices Count supported creative and cutting-edge solutions – many of which use mobile and web technology – to amplify citizen voices, mobilize communities, and enable governments to listen and respond.
Activities of the organization included:
- Making grants to support innovation and technology that has the potential to support better governance.
- Conducting research that helps to build a base of evidence about what works and why in using innovation for accountable governance
- Working with policy makers, opinion formers and influencers to ensure that their learning contributions have impact across the sector
- Educating and empowering organizations, communities, and individuals
Methods, Tools and Techniques deployed by the organization in service of their activities and work included:
- Community-based monitoring
- Participatory research
- Voter information services
- Surveys and polls
- Participatory budgeting
- Mapping and participatory rural appraisal
Major Projects and Events
Making All Voices Count is involved in a range of projects across the globe that are aimed at improving citizen engagement and government responsiveness. For the four years it was active between 2013 and 2017, the organization developed and implemented programmes to increase government transparency, fight corruption, and empower citizens. Through partnerships with other NGOs and community-based organizations like Code for South Africa, MAVC experimented with new technologies to make government more effective and accountable.
A few of MAVC's major projects include:
- Action Voices (aimed at improving communication between communities and local government in Ghana)
- The Engine room (which is used for improving the selection and use of ICT tools for accountable governance in Kenya and South Africa)
- Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance (a project in Tanzania that uses mobile phones to provide users with information on government budgets and spending, and enabling them to provide feedback)
- Citizen’s Justice Network (which assists in educating communities with radio journalism in South Africa)
- Black Sash Making All Voices Count Community-based Monitoring Project (empowering community based organization to conduct surveys on public service provision and to use survey data to push for reform)
The Making All Voices Count project has numerous publications including event reports, journal articles, practice papers, programme learning reports, research reports, research summaries, and videos. The organization has made all publications open-access and free to download on their website.
The Black Sash Model of Community Based Monitoring
Black Sash Making All Voices Count Community-based Monitoring Project
 "Publications," Making All Voices Count, Nov 16, 2015, http://www.makingallvoicescount.org/publication/