Enhancing Governance, Accountability and Engagement (ENGAGE) Project

ENGAGE is a five-year activity to improve the capacities and practices of local government units (LGUs) and civil society organizations (CSOs) and build peace and stability in conflict-affected areas in the Southern Philippines’ Mindanao region.

ENGAGE supports USAID/Philippines’ goal of a more stable, prosperous, well-governed nation by improving peace and stability in Mindanao, and supports the U.S. Embassy Inter-Agency Mindanao Working Group’s strategic plan for combatting violent extremism in the region.


Working with the Mindanao Development Authority, ENGAGE assists LGUs to improve the delivery of services while ensuring accountability and transparency (the supply of services), establishing legitimacy. The project increases civic engagement by building the capacity of CSOs to serve citizens, engage with LGUs, and represent public interest (the demand for services), sharing responsibility for development.

Through these two streams of assistance, ENGAGE strengthens local governance, the nexus between the local government and the people. Local governance comprises the mechanisms, processes, and institutions by which local government and the people interact, articulate their interests, exercise their legal rights, meet their obligations, and mediate their differences in the exercise of political, economic, and administrative authority.

ENGAGE also supports improved local government capacities to generate own-sources revenues; institutionalize improved participatory mechanisms and functionality, as provided for in the Local Government Code; increase public participation in local governance processes; increase the involvement of youth and women in civil society and community development activities; increased citizen engagement and satisfaction; and, strengthened community mechanisms to minimize conflict and enhance peace and order.


  1. Added 11 new local government partners to now reaching 30, against a target of 24
  2. Provided assistance to 54 civil society organizations
  3. Shifted more support to civil society, to balance the program and prepare for upcoming elections.
  4. Increased staff in 5 target cities to support geographic expansion, and work with civil society, implementing partners, and stakeholders (political, traditional and religious leaders, police and military)
  5. The LEADERS program: 39 Internships in partnership with Mindanao State University, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, and the Department of Budget and Management

Activities with Local Governments:

  • Updating of local revenue codes
  • Public expenditure management plans
  • Public consultations and communications plans
  • Gender and Development Plans
  • 2 priority services w/ each local government
  • $1m in grants (over five years)