Lindsay Morgan, Derick Brinkerhoff, and Mohammad Najib
The economic and social fabric of Aceh were shattered by the December 2004 tsunami and the decades of secessionist war that preceded it. In response, the Australian Agency for International Developed launched a governance program aimed at fomenting citizen participation and empowerment in order to spur governments to deliver services to improve living standards. This case study, one in a series exploring community engagement and performance-based incentive (PBI), analyzes a PBI approach that was folded into the ambitious program. It finds the PBI element needed strengthening: the incentive payment was conditional on achievements outside the control of the incentive recipient, and the system to verify results was weak But as a mechanism for enhancing citizen empowerment and social accountable, the program had marked strengths. Among them, the provision to communities of objective service delivery data set against national standards warrants mentioning—it empowered communities to prioritize their needs and strengthened the impact of their engagement with facilities. From a PBI perspective, involving communities in setting the priorities of facility performance contracts is novel and potentially powerful.