Strengthening Health, Education, and Water Systems Across Nigeria

Countries around the world are accelerating efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of global milestones adopted by the United Nations, before the 2015 deadline. Though approaches for advancing progress have been effective in some places, achieving development at scale remains a major challenge, particularly for large countries with diverse conditions. Since 2010, the Earth Institute has worked with the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on the Millennium Development Goals (OSSAP-MDGs) in Nigeria to take on this challenge and create the Conditional Grants Scheme to Local Government Area Track (CGS-LGA Track).

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The CGS-LGA Track is a national initiative to advance progress towards the MDGs at scale. The program deploys funds from debt relief gains to support Local Government Areas (LGAs), the most local level of public administration, to better plan and implement health, education, and water systems. While interventions needed to improve these systems are well established, execution can be hampered by gaps in capacity, data, and funding at the local level where delivery takes place. The CGS-LGA Track addresses these challenges by providing LGAs with technical support for evidence-based planning, access to local information, and federal grants matched by incremental allocations from state level governments.

Launched in 2010, the CGS-LGA Track is about to start its fourth round of engagement and has already reached over 450 of the country’s 774 LGAs. The program has supported over 12,000 LGA-level projects to strengthen health, education, and water systems, totaling over $320 million in allocations. The Earth Institute has accompanied OSSAP-MDGs from the inception of the program, providing policy guidance on health, education, and water strategy and helping to engineer and execute its day-to-day implementation. The Earth Institute also underpinned the development of the Nigeria MDG Information System (NMIS), an online GIS information platform that integrates and displays data for health, education, and water systems in every LGA in the country.

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In May 2014, OSSAP-MDGs convened over 20 ministry officials and experts for a ‘knowledge transfer’ workshop in the capital of Abuja. The meeting was organized for the Earth Institute team to hand over institutional knowledge as well as review the history and progress of the CGS-LGA Track and carve out plans for taking it forward. OSSAP-MDGs, in concert with other government agencies, will continue to use the program to advance progress on the MDGs throughout Nigeria with the Earth Institute remaining involved as technical advisors.

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