CSOs leverages on social mobilisation to amplify excluded marginalised voices
Connected Development (CODE) in Nigeria,Gambia Participates and Slums Information Development and Resource Centre, Kenya (SIDAREC) have come together to leverage on social mobilisation to amplify the excluded and marginalised voices in their various communities.
Mr Hamzat Lawal, the Chief Executive Officer, CODE and founder of ‘Follow the Money’, an initiative of the organisation at a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday said the initiative had been able to impact over five million marginalised people.
Lawal noted that through the Follow the Money project, the organisation had been able to track over 100 million dollars in budgeted sums for contracts to provide basic education, healthcare, water, sanitation and hygiene essential supplies and infrastructure to rural communities which direly need them.
He explained that the partnership had helped in tracking over 8.1 million dollars World Bank development aid to help provide basic education and healthcare need in Gambia.
” In 2010, a Pan African movement called follow the money started in Nigeria and it was based on the plight of the community called Bageda in Zamfara where we initiated the campaign to advocate for and track 5.3 million dollars which help provide basic healthcare, education for over 1,500 children.
” After that campaign, it expanded to the 36 States and today we have over 2000 volunteers who are community champions and provide real time update feedback on government and international aid spending.
“Just recently the African Union (AU) invited me to speak at the high level segment with heads of States and heads of government and now we have growing interest in follow the money across African continents.
“And we believe that come 2019 we will have new chapters in other African countries an countries.
He added that follow the money was introduced to Gambia and Kenya to help hold leaders in those countries accountable on the utilisation of resources meant for service delivery in education and other sectors.
Mr Marr Nyang, Executive Director, Gambia Participates and follow the money Gambia Lead, said there was need to hold the leaders accountable in order to curb corruption in the African continent.
Nyang said it was important to ensure that leaders use the public funds for what it waa meant to be used for.
” We have recorded so much success stories and we have a report on what we have done so far in Gambia since we started the follow the money in 2016.
” In the Gambia, we have ask questions about the 8.1 million dollars World Bank project to help provide education and healthcare need.
“Today, we are advocating for President Amadou Barrow’s government to pass a law that provide freedom of information to citizens to demand accountability of duty bearers.”
Also, Miss Evelyn Mathai, Programme Coordinator, SIDAREC, who is also the Kenya Follow the money Lead, said a case of the death of a colleague due to poor healthcare facilities compelled actions into investigations to the facilities.
Mathai said investigations into the poor health facility in Kenya revealed that they were not receiving the amount budgeted for since 2010, adding that agitations were later made for the funding to be released.
“In Kenya, we have been able to track 30,000 dollars anuual budget for a primary healthcare centre in one of Nairobi’s slum where there was rising records of maternal and early childhood death due to corruption.
“Today, even though, we have secured 10,000 dollars for the centre, we are advocating and strengthening citizens’ capacity to ask the right questions of duty bearers.”
She said that this gesture had made other communities to begin to start follow the money in their respective communities focusing on education, health, water and sanitation.
She, therefore, appealed to Nigerian youths especially as the country moves into the election year not to re-elect people who had been implicated in economics crimes NAN