Zambia—Local Impact Governance Project (Local Impact)

Client: U.S. Agency for International Development

Duration: 2020-2027

Region: Sub-Saharan Africa

Country: Zambia

Solutions: Governance

Advancing decentralization is critical to Zambia achieving its vision of greater self-reliance and middle-income status by 2030. Recent Government of Zambia (GRZ) advances in the legal and administrative framework are encouraging, but decentralization implementation has been historically slow and uneven. The country struggles to transfer powers, functions, and resources to elected local authorities—the result of a combination of low capacity, misaligned political and bureaucratic incentives, and lack of full engagement of civil society and the private sector.

Local Impact capitalizes on the momentum of recent policy initiatives and builds a sustainable foundation for devolved service delivery in Zambia. By supporting the transformation of subnational governance to be more responsive to citizen needs, Local Impact leverages the U.S. Agency for International Development’s previous gains in transparency and accountability, health, education, and economic growth to help the GRZ improve both the enabling environment and development outcomes critical to advancing self-reliance.

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Sample Activities

  • Engage emerging leaders and change agents—particularly women and youth—through our Champions for Change leadership training methodology.
  • Build core functions (budgeting, planning, management, and oversight) of district councils and deconcentrated sectors around a specific service that is prioritized by citizens and can have an immediate positive impact on their daily lives, such as reduced waiting time in health clinics, better lighting, or improved solid waste management.
  • Design a Learning Lab to serve as a knowledge hub, and connect networks of actors through social media, knowledge diffusion, and exchanges. The Learning Lab will help assess interventions across districts; document what is working, what is not, and why; and accelerate replication and scaling.
  • Engage civil society organizations, citizens, and the private sector to raise awareness of their civic rights and support their participation in subnational governance.
  • Collaborate with national institutions to help local authorities improve planning and budgeting with active engagement from citizens, enhance service delivery, and strengthen public finance management and own-source revenue generation.

Select Results

  • Supported Zambia’s Cabinet Office to formulate a simplified, citizen-friendly version of the National Decentralization Policy (2023-2026) and its implementation plan. The simplified and illustrated versions helps citizens understand and make use of the documents as the decentralization drive takes shape.
  • Supported Zambia’s Cabinet Office—through the Decentralization Secretariat—to review, standardize, and validate data collection tools for the Constituency Development Fund (CDF). Digitizing the CDF dashboards will enable real-time monitoring of all projects in the country and inform decisions around the prudent use of government funds.
  • Supported the Local Government Association of Zambia in hosting its 67th Annual Conference, where the project organized high-level side meetings for the USAID Zambia Mission to interact with government officials.
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