Strengthening the voice of the poor: religious organisations' engagement in policy consultation processes in Nigeria and Tanzania

This paper describes attempts in Nigeria and Tanzania to build the capacity of selected religious organisations to participate in policy consultation processes, by strengthening their ability to speak effectively to governments on behalf of poor communities. These attempts arose out of enquiries into the limited involvement of faith-based organisations in the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper processes which were a condition of debt relief. Two pilot projects, one in each country, set out to foster inter-faith networks for cooperation and resource sharing, increase skills in data collection and use the evidence gathered to put forward constructive proposals for future policy and practice aimed especially at poverty reduction. The submissions to government prepared by the participating organisations did appear to reflect the voices of the poor, and a workable model for future engagement in policy processes by faith-based organisations emerged from the pilot projects, although replicating it more widely is likely to depend on further external support.

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