Philippines—Enhancing Governance, Accountability, and Engagement (ENGAGE)

Client: U.S. Agency for International Development

Duration: 2013-2019

Region: Asia and the Pacific

Country: Philippines

Solutions: Governance Fragile States

This project assisted six conflict-affected areas in Mindanao, Philippines: Cotabato City, Marawi City, Zamboanga City, Isabela City, Southern Basilan, Jolo, and its surrounding environs. Through the promotion of good governance, ENGAGE worked to improve peace and stability by:

  • Strengthening the capacity, legitimacy, transparency, and accountability of local government; and
  • Increasing the involvement of citizens in governance through civic education, civil society strengthening, and the promotion of participatory mechanisms.

In collaboration with local subcontractors Lumaenis Development Assistance, Inc. and Orient Integrated Development Consultants, Inc., DAI operated from two main offices in Davao and Zamboanga City and employed municipal and community engagement officers in the target areas to engage communities and local governments.

ENGAGE supported at least 24 local government units (LGUs) and 48 civil society organizations. Activities focused on improving the capacity of LGUs and civil society actors to work together to resolve conflict and address community priorities. ENGAGE worked with select LGUs to promote stronger management, simultaneously stimulating community leadership—religious and traditional, youth and women, and the academic community—to encourage participation in decision making, strengthening the partnership between local governments and their constituencies.

Sample Activities

  • Increase collaboration between local governments, civil society organizations, youth, and other citizen groups in setting development priorities and implementing plans.
  • Enhance the capacity of community organizations to collaborate effectively with LGUs, and increase the capacity of LGUs to respond effectively to community priorities.
  • Improve transparency to ensure activities, policies, and decisions reflect community needs and are communicated effectively.
  • Assist LGUs to increase the locally generated revenues available for high-priority development and service needs.

Select Results

  • Produced the “Youth and Violent Extremism in Mindanao” research initiative that accessed difficult-to-reach groups, tested assumptions about the drivers of extremism, and identified risk factors.
  • Conducted 41 events in the past year with local government, civil society organizations, and schools and universities, attracting nearly 5,000 participants to discuss violent extremism and stimulate positive community-wide engagement.
  • Supported more than 13,000 citizens, including 9,400 youth, in mechanisms to engage their local governments; in 2018, this included 21 community scorecard exercises across 19 locations to grade interaction between local government and community covering themes such as public safety, disaster risk management, and solid waste management.
  • After the siege of Marawi City in 2018, assisted the mayor on recovery coordination, planning, and communications to promote social cohesion and restoring of basic services.


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