USAID/Pakistan established the Strengthening Citizen Voice and Public Accountability Program (Citizens’ Voice) to increase Pakistanis’ engagement with their government and its responsiveness to them. The mission awarded a 3-year contract to the Trust for Democratic Education and Accountability (Trust), a Pakistani organization, to administer the $45 million program.
OIG’s audit sought to determine whether USAID implemented Citizens’ Voice in a way that promoted achievement of program goals. OIG found that changes made to the contract before award put the program at a disadvantage. The mission cut the amount of funding and the duration of Citizens’ Voice by 40 percent during the design approval phase and did not adjust the expected results or the number of target grants to reflect this significant change in approach. Although the Trust achieved some short-term successes awarding grants to support civic engagement, many of its grants targeted the easily doable rather than making long-term changes to civil society in Pakistan.
OIG made five recommendations to maximize the program’s potential, improve USAID/Pakistan’s contract management and monitoring, and increase training of civil society organizations.