Case Studies

This case study series collects experiences with Net-Map from around the world and is intended to explore different applications and adaptations of the tool, inspire future users and initiate discussion and methodological development. Users who would like to contribute their own case study and share their lessons learned, are encouraged to contact Eva Schiffer at

Case Study 9: Funding for new-born survival activities in northern Nigeria

Nigeria has the highest number of maternal and newborn deaths of all African countries, with 33,000 women dying during pregnancy and childbirth and 251,000 babies dying in their first month of life – often due to preventable and treatable causes. Katsina is one of the high burden states, a low average income and high percentage of rural population mean that women and new-born babies in Katsina are at a far higher risk than those in richer and more urbanized states. While general policies to support new-born survival are in place, they often are not prioritized in funding decisions and their actual implementation is spotty at best.

This study was commissioned by Save the Children to learn who influences the budgeting and disbursement of funds for new-born survival in Katsina State. By conducting Net-Map interviews with experts in the field, we discovered that writing the budget and ensuring the actual disbursement of funds were two distinct activities with different sets of influencers. While budget and plans were written by the content ministries with input from the front line health actors, the decisions about whether or not money actually reached these agencies, mainly rested with people outside of the health field, the governor, his wife, the emir and the governor’s political associates.

This means that there needs to be a two pronged advocacy strategy: Supporting the health actors in developing high quality plans and advocating to non-health actors towards the release of funds. When working with non-health actors it is important to understand what matters to them and frame the messages accordingly.

Complete case study 9: New-born survival funding in Nigeria (1845 KB)

Case Study 8: Initiating innovation in a large federal agency: EPA pesticide registration

Paul Boos and his colleagues are involved in the labeling of pesticides at the Environmental Protection Agency. Currently the pesticide producers who apply for registration send PDF documents with the contents to the EPA, somebody has to type these into a document and follow up if the initial PDF doesn’t actually fit the requirements. Pauls group asks: Wouldn’t it be nice if the pesticide producer could type in discrete data elements following a turbo tax-like interview process and spit out a controlled label that meets the rules?

For someone who stands outside of government hierarchies like me it’s easy to say: Yes! Go for it! But we all know that having a good idea and getting approval from the right people in a hierarchical organization are two very different things and figuring out who to ask when and how can make all the difference. Through Net-Mapping Paul and his colleague realized which leaders had to be involved in the process early so that they don’t get miffed and don’t feel disrespected. They came up with 8 concrete networking steps they needed to take and achieved at least a partial success, as you can read here.

Complete Case Study 8: EPA Pesticide Registration (128 KB).

Case Study 7: Corruption hot-spots and communication breakdowns in the fight against avian influenza

If avian influenza breaks out in any developing country, the government is faced with two major challenges: The information about the suspicious bird deaths has to reach the national (and international) authorities in a timely manner and – if an outbreak is confirmed – the intervention, including culling of thousands of birds and enforcing the quarantine, has to reach the ground quickly, so as to prevent a further spread of the disease. While this is a challenge in any country, developing countries have face additional problems of lack of resources, typically weak governance and a less formalized chicken production system in which chickens are often part of the household and are sold on wet-markets (still alive and contagious). Net-Map was used at a participatory workshop, bringing together actors from the government, private sector, research and donors to understand where the crucial weaknesses in the communication and intervention networks are and especially to identify corruption hot-spots and communication breakdowns

Complete Case Study 7 a: Ghana (789 KB)

Complete Case Study 7 b: Ethiopia (770 KB)

Case 6: Can Decentralization and Community Based Development Reduce Corruption in Natural Resource Management?

Regina Birner (IFPRI) compares the cases of irrigation in Ghana and forestry in Indonesia. She uses drawing Net-Maps as a way of visualizing and summarizing her insights, rather than an interviewing or facilitation tool.

Forestry and irrigation are two sectors that are particularly prone to corruption. In forestry, corruption is typically linked to illegal resource extraction, whereas in irrigation, corruption occurs mainly in the construction of irrigation schemes and in the allocation of irrigation water. In both sectors, decentralization of management authority to lower levels of government and to local community groups has been a major approach to reduce corruption and associated conflicts. Using case studies of forest management in Indonesia and small-scale irrigation in Ghana, the paper shows that this approach does not necessarily reduce corruption in natural resource management. Based on the case studies, the paper identifies a range of policy options which can address problems of corruption and mismanagement in decentralized natural resource management. The study suggests that it is the combination of empowering local community and reforming public sector institutions, which has the best chances of reducing corruption in natural resource management.

Complete Case Study 6 (479 KB)

Case 5: Innovation Benchmarks and Indicators – The Ethiopian Maize and Poultry Sectors

How innovative is a certain sector of the agriculture of a developing country? How can we compare innovativeness of different sectors within one country and between different countries? Can the innovation systems approach help to develop meaningful benchmarks and can Net-Map be one of a number of methods that is used to gather data for the benchmarking? These are questions that Regina Birner, David Spielman, Eva Schiffer and Dawit Kelemework try to answer in this ongoing IFPRI research project. After the first field work in April 2008, David Spielman reflects on the things that he has learned by drawing Net-Maps with different actors from the maize and poultry sectors.

Listen to podcast (5 min 17 sec – click player below)

Case 4: Choosing members for District Oversight Committees in the African Peer Review Mechanism Process (APRM) in Ghana

The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) is a mutually agreed instrument voluntarily acceded to by the member states of the African Union as a self-monitoring mechanism. The mandate of the APRM is to encourage conformity with regards to political, economic and corporate governance values, codes and standards, among African countries and the objectives of socio-economic development within the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). Ghana is one of the early adopters of APRM and has chosen a decentralized approach to it’s implementation (Ghana APRM reports). After assessing the development and governance needs on the district level, the Government of Ghana has developed an APRM plan of action and is now embarking on its implementation. To ensure a real engagement of the civil society on the district level, the Ghana APRM Council decided to institute District Watch Committees, made up of civil society members on the district level. This process is facilitated by the German Hans Seidel Foundation and implemented by the National Commission on Civic Education.

This is where Net-Map was used: The NCCE district directors were tasked with assembling nine member civil society committees in their districts but two questions remained unclear for them:

  • Who represents the civil society in my district?
  • Which actors of the civil society would be able to contribute to the successful APRM implementation and reporting?

The case study document here is the first report from a pilot Net-Map activity in the three northern Regions of Ghana, done by Douglas Waale. The positive reactions both on the district and on national level convinced the APRM council to use this approach nation-wide. Activities are ongoing.

Complete Case Study 4 (334 KB)

Case 3:Water User Associations at Small Reservoirs Rehabilitated by IFAD

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) supported the rehabilitation of small reservoirs in Northern Ghana with substantial resources and logistics. Apart from the physical infrastructure the project activities also put a special effort on supporting local institutions for the management and maintenance of the infrastructure. Thus, understanding the successes and challenges of the project, IFAD does not only look at the state of the physical infrastructure but is also eager to learn more about socio-economic aspects of small reservoir maintenance. In this pilot study, a team of researchers and evaluators from IFAD (Moses Abukari), University of Bonn (Jennifer Hauck) and IFPRI (Eva Schiffer) explored, how Net-Map could be used to enrich project evaluation and planning for future projects.

Complete Case Study 3 (538 KB)

Case 2: Research of Fisheries Management in Small Reservoirs in Ghana

This case study is drawn from the PhD research of Jennifer Hauck of the Center for Development Research (ZEF) In this case the research was focused on understanding networks on an individual actor level, to answer questions such as:

  • Which actors were involved directly in fishing activities?
  • Which actors within the community or from outside (apart from fishermen) did influence fisheries activities and profits from them?
  • How relevant were these fishing activities for local livelihoods?
  • Which actors were setting rules for fishing activities and who broke them?
  • What were the reasons for breaking the rules)?
  • What goals did actors have, that influenced the fishing activities (income generation, environmental protection, political goals, etc.)?
  • Did fishermen and other water user built groups and organize themselves to reach these goals? Were people excluded from these groups and why?
  • How important were fishing activities compared to other water uses and which conflicts or synergies arose from these activities?
  • What kind of linkages and flows did exist in the network(s) (advice, money, gifts, instructions, disturbance,)?
  • Which actors and links were involved in management and conflict solving mechanisms?
  • Who could set rules and implement them successfully in the future?

Complete Case Study 2 (195 KB)

Related paper: Jennifer Hauck and Eva Youkhana: Histories of Water and Fisheries Management in Northern Ghana, ZEF working paper, Bonn 2008

Case 1: Understanding and improving water governance of multi-stakeholder bodies in Ghana

(Eva Schiffer, independent consultant)
Listen to podcast (4 min 32 sec – click player below)

In this case the tool was used for a combined research and organizational learning activity with a new multi-stakeholder water governance organization the White Volta Basin Board in northern Ghana. The organization is a river basin board on the sub-national level consisting of 17 institutional members representing district assemblies, regional level line ministries, traditional authorities, NGOs and the research sector. The basin board has low formal decision-making and enforcement capacity and thus needs to strategically use its governance networks to achieve its developmental and environmental goals. In a process of three interventions spread over one year, the members of the new board clarified their own view of the governance network in which they are going to operate, discussed differing views in small groups, agreed on a common network for the whole group and developed strategic ideas based on the strengths and weaknesses of their network situation. Complete case study 1 (222 KB).

7 Responses

  1. I am getting more interested in Net-Map as tool. I will read more

  2. Good post, I will be sure to bookmark this post in my Reddit account. Have a great day.

  3. […] Net Map’in, su yönetiminden doğal kaynak yönetimine kadar farklı alanlarda çeşitli uygulamaları söz konusu. (bkz. […]

  4. I like your posts very much dr Eva. Thanks.

  5. […] Uganda map uganda more than a decade ago we tried to do what this case study 9 does Working with jeff sachs and the Earth institute. We had $40m of funding from the Global Fund for […]

  6. […] the budgeting and disbursement of funds for advocacy programs in fragile environments? SNA was used to map the flow of resources and funding patterns for new-born survival activities in northern […]

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