Thanks so much Jayak for the question and interest in SEMA! Your question is SPOT ON - the relationship with local authorities is absolutely central to making any impact whatsoever.
What we find (shamefully) unique about SEMA’s approach is that we invest heavily in our relationship with the officials that run local offices. Most work to improve public services happens at a ministry or “HQ” level, and the people who actually deliver the services that touch people’s lives have no idea how they’re doing.
SEMA delivers a customized, individualized report to local offices every single month about specifically the services rendered at THAT office. These reports include specific ideas on how to improve going forward, as well as comparison to previous months as well as other similar offices. Many police officers, for example, tell us it’s the first time anyone’s ever shown them data about whether they’re really doing well or not.
This work with local offices has brought us the legitimacy to share this information, as well, at the headquarter level. Now, instead of approaching (for example) police headquarters FIRST, we approach them with years of data showing service-level improvements at stations. For example: 80% of stations improve their waiting times, and 70% improve service quality (as perceived by citizens). Police HQ loves this – and is working with us to bring the system nationwide in 2021 as well as to gather police chiefs from around the country to share the learnings, so that these improvements can be made at stations where SEMA’s not even measuring yet.
Would be happy to answer any more questions about SEMA’s work in Uganda and Kenya!