CSOs mobilised quickly to address key issues in their communities ©

World Bank / Ousmane Traore

January 2021

At the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Agents for Citizen-driven Transformation (ACT) programme performed a rapid assessment of its civil society organisation (CSO) partners and their ability to conduct effective advocacy campaigns during emergencies.

Four areas were identified as crucial if CSO advocacy efforts were to add value during the pandemic. These included: advocacy in emergencies and health related issues; gender and social inclusion; communication and media engagement; and monitoring and evaluation. ACT then delivered a series of virtual training sessions for over 60 CSOs to strengthen their skills these areas. 

The CSOs then grouped together in coalitions to address key issues in their communities.


ACT helped CSOs to mobilise quickly and play a role in the prevention and spread of COVID-19. With ACT support, CSOs came together in coalitions to join efforts around the issue of COVID-19 and embark on a mass coordinated advocacy campaign in FCT, Lagos, Kano and Sokoto states. The aim was to share reliable COVID-19 information and raise awareness of preventive measures and guidelines. 


ACT helped gender-focused CSOs to group together in a coalition to jointly address and create awareness about the increasing cases of violence against women and girls (VAWG) in Kano and Lagos states.

To better understand the increasing numbers, a monitoring plan was developed to track cases and statistics, relying on data available from the Nigeria Police and the Federal and State Ministries of Gender Affairs. The coalition then coordinated a mass outreach campaign funded by a small grant from ACT. The primary aim was to raise awareness about the increase in VAWG during the pandemic, using evidence from the data collected and translating the data into easy-to-read infographics and prevention messages.


ACT helped CSOs to bridge a gap between government and citizens in the delivery of the COVID-19 response in Lagos state. With ACT support, CSOs grouped together in a coalition to collectively monitor, track and engage the state government on the implementation of the COVID-19 stimulus fund and to advocate for transparency and inclusive access to the government services provided.

A significant effort was made to ensure that the distribution of palliatives was inclusive and facilitated the representation of women, people with disabilities and others significantly affected but often marginalised from decision-making. ACT provided a small grant and technical assistance to implement the advocacy campaign. 

The programme produced a series of case studies to highlight the work of CSOs during the COVID-19 pandemic and reflect on lessons learned.

Download the case studies below.