Making All Voices Count

Making All Voices Count is a global initiative that supports innovation, scaling-up, and research to deepen existing innovations and help harness new technologies to enable citizen engagement and government responsiveness.

This Grand Challenge focuses global attention on creative and cutting-edge solutions, including those that use mobile and web technology, to ensure that the voices of citizens are heard and that governments have the capacity, as well as the incentive, to listen and respond.

Making All Voices Count is supported by the Department for International Development (DFID), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Open Society Foundations (OSF) and Omidyar Network (ON), and is implemented by a consortium consisting of Hivos (lead organisation), the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and Ushahidi.

The aim of Making All Voices Count is a substantial push towards effective democratic governance and accountability. We believe that open government depends on closing the feedback loop between citizens and government.

Making All Voices Count aims to close the feedback loop by creating:

  • tools to enable citizens to give feedback on government performance
  • stronger incentives for, and greater capacity within, governments to respond to citizens' feedback
  • incentives and the capacity for citizens to engage with government to improve their policies and services

IDS is responsible for the Research and Evidence component of Making All Voices Count. The Research and Evidence component connects and strengthens the Innovation, Scaling and Catalyzing Global Action components, acting as both a cement and an amplifier of programme impact and lessons learnt. It will:

  • Build an evidence base and contribute to theory-building in the general field of voice and accountability, and specifically for the incipient fields of practice of tech and Open Government, which are relatively evidence-free zones. This evidence will be built up partly from the initiatives supported by the Innovation and Scaling components. In turn, it will help to build a critical mass of diversely positioned actors and mobilize them to respond in their various ways to the challenges of improving government responsiveness, narrowing trust gaps and closing feedback loops between citizens and governments.
  • Contribute to improving the performance and practice in the field by strengthening learning on the part of governments, development practitioners and tech-actors, through supporting critical reflection on failure as well as success, documenting emerging insights and good practices, and making them available to the designers and implementers of other initiatives, both within Making All Voices Count's sphere of direct influence and beyond.

Besides being a fund for innovation and scaling-up of citizen engagement and government responsiveness initiatives, through its Research and Evidence (R&E) component, Making All Voices Count will also be an applied and practical fund for research and learning. The R&E component will be integrated with the innovation, scaling-up and global catalyst areas. IDS will manage the R&E programme, as well as conducting research that contributes to the building of an evidence base in this field.

Research grants will be provided on a competitive basis to individuals or institutions, within the terms of a Making All Voices Count Research Strategy. The strategy's overall aim will be to build an evidence base and test the proposition that closing the feedback loop between citizens and their government is a catalytic force that enables better governance, enhances service delivery and strengthens democracy.

This research window will help development and aid actors understand which interventions work (or not), how, why, and when,and will make a considerable and unique contribution to learning in the field.

For more information, visit the Making All Voices Count website.

Key contact

Photo of Rosemary McGee

T: +44 (0)1273 915738

E: r.mcgee@ids.ac.uk

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Photo of Alex Shankland, IDS Research Fellow

T: +44 (0)1273 915746

E: a.shankland@ids.ac.uk

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Photo of Alison Ashlin

E: a.ashlin@ids.ac.uk

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Photo of Ciana-Marie Pegus

T: +44 (0)1273 915645

E: c.pegus@ids.ac.uk

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Photo of Duncan Edwards, ICTs Innovations Manager

T: +44 (0)1273 915797

E: d.edwards@ids.ac.uk

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Photo of Evangelia Berdou, Vulnerability and Poverty Reduction team

T: +44 (0)1273 915652

E: e.berdou@ids.ac.uk

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Image of Hannah Hudson

E: h.hudson2@ids.ac.uk

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Photo of Jethro Pettit from Participation Power and Social Change Team

T: +44 (0)1273 915740

E: j.pettit@ids.ac.uk

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Katy Oswald photo

T: +44 (0)1273 915875

E: k.oswald@ids.ac.uk

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Miguel Loureiro photo

T: +44 (0)1273 915707

E: m.loureiro@ids.ac.uk

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Photo of Patta Scott-Villiers

T: +44 (0)1273 915616

E: p.scott-villiers@ids.ac.uk

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Photo of Rhiannon McCluskey

T: +44 (0)1273 915654

E: r.mccluskey@ids.ac.uk

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Photo of Talia Jenkin

T: +44 (0)1273 915822

E: t.jenkin@ids.ac.uk

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Photo of Tessa Lewin

T: +44 (0)1273 915736

E: t.lewin@ids.ac.uk

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Partner organisations