What is it about?


The Lesotho Citizen Voice and Feedback Initiative is funded through the support of the UN DOCO INNOVATION FACILITY of 2017. VOICE innovation as key area for innovation aims at:


  • How does the UN model constructive participation with citizens and how does this change what we do and how we do it?
  • How is UN programming better or different when it brings in peoples’ voices?


We are already aware that it is possible, increasingly so via technology, for the UN to engage people’s views constructively for development. Even when we think we know how poor people are affected by policy, their perceptions are valuable data that can provide insights as to why there is a gap or problem, and how to solve it. Innovating the intake of voices into the UN thus provides valuable access to new and alternative sources of data and solutions; yields the possibility to create new ideas to address specific developmental challenges, and opens room for identifying a more localised approach to the work of the United Nations.


What are we doing?


The Lesotho Citizen Voice and Feedback Initiative hence is an innovative undertaking to include citizens’ participation in policies, services and decisions affecting them, to better inform UN programming. Citizens’ participation will be innovated by passive or active ways of conducting user-centred (perception- & feedback-) surveys while using low-tech off- and online means of communication for increased impact.


The current UNDAF prioritisation has mainly been informed by traditional outreach engaging government and other stakeholder with limited “citizen participation and public accountability”, as area of focus recommended by Nesta, a UK based Innovation Foundation, during its mission[1] to the UN Lesotho in 2016. The increase in available communications infrastructure now provides powerful ways of both outreaching to, but also integrating citizens’ participation into the work of the UN, such as the Common Country Analysis, the design of the new United Nations Development Assistance Framework (2019 – 2023), the development of the National Strategic Development Plan of the Government of Lesotho (2018 – 2023), and the prioritisation and customisation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Integrating people’s voices and feedback will further increase accountability, national ownership and better contextual decision making – lastly meeting the promise of “leaving no one behind” and contribute to the “voices behind data” campaign.


The UN Lesotho will pilot and adapt the Citizens’ Voice and Feedback Initiative for its common development work and as risk preparedness tool for future humanitarian situations. The initiative aims firstly at ensuring that public participation informs localised and accountable decision making-processes through innovative activities such as, but not exclusively, Public Perception Surveys, Mobile outreach activities, and Listening to Communities by mobilising Citizens, CSOs and Volunteer groups. Voices, perceptions and feedback will be disseminated through monthly Issue Reports and integrated in a Dashboard further informing programming and decision-making by different stakeholders.


Secondly, the initiative will merge and coordinate citizens outreach activities by agencies to enable efficient usage of already existing resources and new initiatives, such as but not exhaustively SMS based poling systems, feedback hotlines, suggestion boxes, or other related grievances mechanisms. Combining information flows and efforts on a systemic level is likely to increases cost-effectiveness and availability of information.



Operational Set-up


The Initiative is designed as an Inter-Agency approach and run under the LUNDAP Results Group 4 “Skills & Innovations” pillar chaired by WFP and lead by UNICEF. Further support is envisaged by/to UNDP through the Lesotho Data for Sustainable Development Project.  Further, the initiative set up an Advisory Board defining information needs and further coordination of activities among agencies. The Advisory Board currently consists of Program/M&E Officers of WFP, UNICEF and UNDP. 




They Initiative aims to gather representatives results on a national basis, with the qualification of a minimum of 100 surveys per district for an aggregated sample size of 1,000 people. However, as the Lesotho Citizen Voice and Feedback Initiative is in its pilot phase, it is yet to be decided upon by the Advisory Group if priority districts and thus a higher survey turn out per district will be chosen to be representative on a national basis. At the district level, results can be viewed as indicative rather than representative due to the size of the subsample. Responses in this analysis are reported as weighted percentages of the total. In some cases, responses such as ‘don’t know’ and/or ‘refused’ are excluded from the calculations, thus totals used for these analyses may be different than total number of respondents.


Figure 1 visualises and describes the workflow of the Lesotho Citizen Voice and Feedback Initiative.

Figure 1: Workflow of Lesotho Citizen Voice and Feedback Initiative




While the program-level micro surveys are being conducted through trained Volunteer groups, the project aims to expand partnerships with organizations to conduct surveys at specific points of interest. Organizations interested in participating should contact un.lesotho@one.un.org 














[1] http://www.nesta.org.uk/blog/collective-intelligence-and-international-development