Making All Voices Count

Making All Voices Count was a global initiative running from 2012 – 2017 that supported innovation, scaling-up, and research to deepen existing innovations and helped harness new technologies to enable citizen engagement and government responsiveness.

This Grand Challenge focused 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 was 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 was implemented by a consortium consisting of Hivos (lead organisation), the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and Ushahidi.

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

Making All Voices Count aimed 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, which was led by IDS, connected and strengthened the Innovation, Scaling and Catalyzing Global Action components, acting as both a cement and an amplifier of programme impact and lessons learnt. Over the 4.5 years of the programme, it:

    • Built 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
    • helped 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.
      • Contributed 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, Evidence & Learning (REL) component, Making All Voices Count was an applied and practical fund for research and learning. The REL component was integrated with the innovation, scaling-up and global catalyst areas. In its role as lead of the REL component, IDS managed the research grants portfolio, as well as conducting research that contributed to the building of an evidence base in this field.

Related resources

All MAVC publications, including over 90 publications produced by the Research, Evidence and Learning component, are available on the MAVC archive website. For more information:

Recent work


Adaptiveness through ‘simplest tools and practices’

In recent years, more and more influential development organisations have been openly recognising the central role that adaptive management capacities – the ability to keep improving strategies and actions as programmes unfold – play for the success of complex interventions. As a result,...

13 November 2017


IDS at GPSA: citizen action for open, accountable & inclusive societies

IDS and partners are showcasing work on accountability from two international research programmes, Making All Voices Count (MAVC) and Action for Empowerment and Accountability (A4EA), at this year’s Global Partnership for Social Accountability (GPSA) Partners’ Forum.

1 November 2017