Bridging the Gap

USAID Accountable Governance for Improved Service Delivery (AGIS) in Zambia

Improving Internal Controls, Budgeting and Financial Management in Zambia (2017-2022). As a subcontractor to Crown Agents, Connexus provided long- and short-term assistance on USAID’s Accountable Governance for Improved Service Delivery (AGIS) Project in Zambia. Connexus worked with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of General Education to improve internal controls, budgeting, and public financial management (PFM). Connexus also led the development and implementation of a Gender Integration Strategy (GIS), to increase the number of women in budget execution, as well as their substantive involvement in procurement, accounting, and auditing within target ministries. GIS activities included developing gender training modules for Budget Officers and Ministry of Health and Ministry of General Education staff, aiding in the development of gender action plans, and identifying, on-boarding, and training PFM Gender Champions and Gender Ambassadors to deliver trainings that support the implementation of the gender action plans developed by the ministries. Our long-term Communications Specialist was responsible for communications program development, serving as principal editor and integrator of core concepts into all reports and deliverables going to USAID. She also created public outreach materials to engage citizens and promote AGIS’ work with the target ministries at the national and sub-national levels. These activities included producing success stories and branded infographics and supporting the development of the District Capacity Development Plans. She developed a 10-week radio series with Capital FM, a radio station focusing on governance issues and public knowledge of PFM. The series took off in October 2020 and was rebroadcast on select community radio stations in AGIS implementation areas.

More recently, Connexus’ Communications Specialist designed and implemented a PFM Workshop aimed at helping the media gain a better understanding of PFM issues to support improved quality and quantity of news coverage on how the government manages public resources. The two-day virtual workshop included participants from the government, media, and civil society organizations, all of whom worked together to analyze gaps in media coverage and suggest solutions to ensure that PFM information is easily accessible by the public. After the workshop, 32 participants joined a knowledge sharing PFM group (created via WhatsApp) to encourage continued sharing of information among the PFM network. In December 2021, Connexus’ Communications Specialist designed a media campaign to commemorate International Anti-Corruption Day (IACD). She contacted representatives from the Ministry of Education, the Office of the Auditor General, and other government ministries to participate in media interview to commemorate IACD 2021, drafted interview scripts and talking points for the interviewees, and liaised with the media houses. The interviews focused on numerous topics, including how ministries are fighting corruption in certain provinces and how to reduce opportunities for corruption in Zambia.

Client: Crown Agents; 2017-2022

“AGIS aims to streamline public service delivery nationwide by developing the relationship between central and local authorities. At the central level, this involves working with the ministries of health (MoH) and of general education (MoGE), as well as entities like the Public Procurement Authority and the Anti-Corruption Commission. At the local level AGIS currently operates in three provinces, with the expectation that the government will soon roll out AGIS-type support nationally.” – Crown Agents webpage on Zambia AGIS