The deployment of UZABE in this election cycle aligns with CODE’s objective to increase and share innovative approaches to information exchange through experimentation, research, and technology. Also, as an accredited INEC elections observer, CODE collaborated with other CSOs to actively participate in the 2023 election observation process, while training and deploying over 20,000 volunteer polling station observers. CODE’s Situation Room received and subjected incident reports to a multi-level verification system to provide 12,889 authenticated and verified reports across the 2023 election cycle, which provided a picture of Nigeria’s 2023 electoral process READ MORE
Connected Development commends the Kano State House of Assembly on the successful passage of the Child Protection Bill. This achievement is a result of the sustained advocacy campaign by the, “Galvanizing Mass Action against Gender-based violence in Kano State” – GMAA-K project with support from the Canadian High Commission and in partnership with BridgeConnect Africa Initiative.
The Child Protection Bill is a crucial piece of legislation that will help to protect the most vulnerable members of society-our children, from all forms of abuse, neglect and exploitation. The bill, when signed into law, will provide a legal framework for the prevention and management of child abuse cases in Kano State.
We appreciate the Kano State House of Assembly for their dedication and commitment to the wellbeing of children in the state, and for keeping their promise to pass the bill. This is a significant achievement that will serve as a milestone in the fight against child abuse in Kano State.
We urge the Governor of Kano State, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, to expedite the signing of the bill into law before leaving office. We also call on the Kano State Government to take further action to ensure effective implementation of the Child Protection Bill.
As an organisation committed to protecting the rights of children and promoting their wellbeing, we will continue to work with the Kano State Government and other stakeholders to ensure that children in Kano State are protected from all forms of abuse and exploitation.
We thank the Canadian High Commission for their unwavering support towards the passage of the Child Protection Bill in Kano State.
Every year on April 22nd, Earth Day is observed worldwide to promote environmental awareness and inspire individuals to actively safeguard our planet. This year, we actively engaged in this global event, amplifying the message of preserving Earth and its invaluable resources. With the theme of “investing in our planet,” the focus was on acknowledging the significance of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as we near the year 2030. Understanding the criticality of achieving these goals is paramount in securing a brighter and more sustainable future for generations to come.
SDG goal 13
The SDGs were adopted by the United Nations in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. There are 17 SDGs, covering a wide range of issues, including climate change, sustainable cities, responsible consumption and production, and gender equality.
Goal 13 of the SDGs addresses explicitly climate action and recognizes the urgent need to take action to combat climate change and its impacts. Key targets of SDG 13 include Strengthening resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters, improving education, raising awareness, human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction, and early warning; implementing the commitment undertaken by developed-country parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to a goal of mobilizing jointly $100 billion annually by 2020 from all sources to address the needs of developing countries in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation and fully operationalize the Green Climate Fund through its capitalization as soon as possible, Promote mechanisms for raising capacity for effective climate change-related planning and management in the least developed countries and small island developing States, including focusing on women and youth.
Despite all these strategies in place, headway towards achieving the SDGs has been slow, and the COVID-19 pandemic further complicated matters. The pandemic highlighted the importance of addressing the root causes of environmental issues, some of which are deforestation, air pollution, and climate change, to prevent future pandemics and protect human health. The climate crisis is one of the most significant threats facing our planet, and it’s critical that we take urgent action to address it.
The impact of the 2022 flooding in Ihuike Ahoada East LGA in Rivers State
Nigeria’s significant impact of climate change.
Nigeria, just like most developing countries, has a relatively low carbon footprint compared to developed countries but has still been impacted significantly by climate change. This has made the country more susceptible to extreme weather events, such as droughts, floods, and storms, which have caused significant damage to infrastructure, property, and livelihoods. The impacts of climate change on Nigeria’s agriculture sector have had a significant impact on food security and nutrition, with millions of people facing food insecurity as a result of reduced crop yields and rising food prices.
According to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the 2012 floods in Nigeria affected over 7 million people across 30 states, resulting in the loss of over 300 lives and causing an estimated $16 billion in damages. In 2018, flooding in Nigeria affected over 2 million people across 12 states, resulting in the loss of over 200 lives and causing significant damage to infrastructure, including roads and bridges. Similarly, In September 2020, heavy rainfall led to severe flooding in several parts of Nigeria, affecting over 140,000 people and causing an estimated $200 million in damages.
The most recent flood in Nigeria occurred in September 2021. According to the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), at least 70 people were killed, and over 100,000 were displaced by the flooding that affected 17 out of the country’s 36 states. The flooding was attributed to heavy rainfall, which caused the overflow of rivers and dams. Several houses, farmlands, and infrastructure, including roads and bridges, were also destroyed.
The impact of the 2022 flooding in Ihuike Ahoada East LGA in Rivers State
How we are challenging the existing state of affairs.
Connected Development (CODE) with support from OXFAM recognizes the urgency of the climate crisis and is taking action to improve public opinion, awareness, and understanding of frontline solutions. Our campaign across Rivers and Akwa Ibom states is a significant step towards achieving the SDGs and raising awareness about environmental issues in Nigeria. The campaign aims to empower local communities to take action and make a positive impact on the environment.
We aim to see Governments, companies, and other power brokers recognise the value of frontline narratives and implement policies and practices that respect and protect the rights of frontline communities and contribute to climate justice.
As an organization, we recognize the need to raise awareness about the devastating effects of flooding and spur reactions and urgent actions from relevant actors, especially the sub-national government. We shot a documentary that amplifies the adverse effects and impacts of flooding across our frontline communities across Rivers and Akwa Ibom State. It was indeed a sight visiting the internally displaced camp where women, men and children were left with little or nothing from the catastrophic impacts of the flood. Pregnant women, elderly women, and sick men were all left to carter for themselves and their families in a dilapidated building with an unpleasant WASH facility. As we interviewed these groups of people, I could barely hold a tear. I was glum and devastated. Click here to watch the documentary.
We will continue challenging the existing state of affairs through partnerships with community-based Organizations and Media to ensure that everyone has a voice in the fight against climate change. By working together, we can make a significant impact on the environment and achieve the SDGs before 2030.
This is me marking the class register for the world’s brightest minds that all four of these children represent, so they might as well respond “present”.
Fareedah Oyolola is a secondary school student at Greensprings school, Lagos Nigeria, honoured as one of the brightest students in the world by the John Hopkins centre for talented youths. Tomisin Ogunubi at age 15, developed an exceptional application to find lost children and she called it “ My locator”. Tanitoluwa on the other hand is recognised as the world chess champion 2020 and achieved this feat at just age 10. My personal favourite (simply because I got to meet with him personally), is Abdullahi Salihu- a 9 year old pacesetter from Misau local government, Bauchi state Nigeria who is already dabbling with inventions. He created a mini torchlight which his family uses to navigate their way in the dark using local materials and finger batteries!
Abdullahi Salihu (Young boy seated) and his invention
These four bright minds are perfect hallmarks of excellence which every child could attain if given the right opportunity and the best possible environment to thrive.
However, as a result of several factors such as poverty, insecurity, cultural and religious barriers amongst others, over 20 million Nigerian children are not in school according to a latest UNESCO report. A 2018 statistics by the United Nations Children’s fund (UNICEF) says that about 10.5 million children were not in school. Distressingly, this number swelled to an alarming 13.2 million by 2019 and the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic which spurred the world-wide lock-down only contributed to more students dropping out of school.
The survey said something else; there is still a huge number of those who are in school, but are learning nothing, noting that schooling does not always lead to learning. It concluded that in Nigeria, there are more non-learners in school than those out of school.
Now while basic education is supposedly ‘free’ and compulsory, the question is why do we still have a staggering number of out of school children and even worse, why do we still have non-learners in schools?
A number of factors are responsible,but the one that catches my attention is the fact that a large number of pupils and students of public primary and secondary schools in Nigeria still have children whose parents struggle to pay their children’s school levies which could be as low as a thousand naira only (N1000)- for states where school levies are required. In states where parents are only required to pay for the Parents, Teachers Association (PTA) levy, some still struggle to pay.
Although the Universal Basic Education Act states basic education is free and compulsory, many Nigerian children are still deprived from learning because some government schools still demand for some level of payments for textbooks, school uniforms and other levies. Out of curiosity and with the company of a few friends, I had a chat with a school administrator of an LEA primary and secondary school in the FCT, Nigeria to gather information on the challenges pupils and students might be facing regarding their learning and the details I got, are heartbreaking to say the least.The school has a required levy of one thousand-two hundred naira only (N1200) per term still, parents of about 110 students and pupils cannot afford to pay the fees of their wards. As disheartening as this is, it is the current reality that we live in.
Oyare on a visit to Birishin Fulani Primary school, Bauchi State Nigeria
As a media and communications officer for Connected Development, I embarked on a work trip to Bauchi for a project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID);LEARN to Read, a project aimed at improving early grade reading outcomes. It was on this trip that I got the lifetime opportunity to interact with promising young bright minds like Abdullahi Salihu. Unlike Abdullahi who was from a more privileged and supportive family- which was a contributory factor to his excelling academic record, most of his counterparts in the state’s capital are not as privileged as he is. In Birishin Fulani Primary School for example, my team and I noted two primary one pupils (Amina and Isa) with untapped potentials who were having a hard time learning in school. We probed the class teachers and parents of these pupils to understand the cause of their challenges. While the teachers attributed the poor performance of the pupils to the nonchalance of their parents towards their children’s education, the parents blamed poverty as the reason why they could not give their children the full academic support that they needed. 7-years old Amina for example had no school shoes, sandals or proper school uniform and always had to assist her mum in hawking groundnuts or selling plastic bottles picked from waste bins after school. Isa on the other hand is an introverted pupil who needed extra attention from his teachers to come out of his shell but for the overcrowded classes, Isa was lagging behind for a long time before his class teacher took the initiative to relocate his seat for close monitoring.
Amina Picking pet bottles from waste bins to sell after school
The poor infrastructural condition of the school building could not go unnoticed as we noted that pupils had to sit on the floors because the classes had no chairs or tables.
Primary 1 Pupils of Birishin Fulani Primary school in class their classroom
There are a myriad of challenges contributing to the number of out of school children in the country and even more to the number of early graders in school who are not learning. The question is, how much attention and priority is being given to the education sector, particularly to basic education? Although the Federal government has allocated an 8.8 percent budget to the education sector, this still falls short of the 15-20 per cent recommended by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). Despite the 3 percent allocation from the Consolidated Revenue Fund for Basic Education which resides with the Central Bank of Nigeria and the commitment of the federal government to cater for 50 percent of states basic education needs, state governments have been guilty of paying lip service to funding education as the budget performance marks terribly low.
It is imminent that now more than ever, priority should be given to ensuring quality basic education for all Nigerian children because as much as every child has an innate greatness they potentially can exhibit, our nation is only as great as the potentials we harness. At Connected Development in collaboration with USAID LEARN to Read, we are mobilising community resources with the spirit of Open Government Partnership (OGP),aimed at ensuring quality primary education across the country, championing one bright mind at a time.
Gender-based violence (GBV) is a global problem affecting millions of women and girls yearly. I like to refer to GBV as a growing Global Pandemic. GBV includes any violence perpetrated against someone based on gender identity or gender expression, including physical, sexual, and psychological violence. While women and girls are the direct victims of GBV, men and boys have a paramount role in stemming it and promoting gender equality.
Unfortunately, GBV incidents in Nigeria have experienced a significant upsurge due to the insurgency in the northeastern region. The escalation of violence in the Northeast since the onset of 2015 has led to a severe humanitarian crisis, with over 2.2 million people displaced due to the intensified attacks by Boko Haram insurgents. May I also remind you that the world is still reeling from the impact of COVID-19, including the socio-economic impact of the pandemic in Nigeria as well as the spike in cases of Sexual and gender-based violence cases? According to a report by the United Nations Women, nearly half (48%) of Nigerian women have encountered at least one form of violence during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hyeladzira Mshelia engaging boys in JSS Garki School
Why engaging with Men and Boys is paramount.
Research indicates that men are more likely to perpetrate gender-based violence than women. According to a study by the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 1 in 3 women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime. The majority of these acts are committed by men. Additionally, the Global Study on Homicide by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime found that over 80% of homicide victims are men, with men being more likely to be killed by other men. These statistics demonstrate the need to involve men and boys in the efforts to end gender-based violence, as they are often the perpetrators of such violence.
While both men and women can be victims of GBV, men are more likely to be the perpetrators of such violence. Engaging men and boys in ending GBV is important because it can play a significant role in stopping the cycle of violence.
Men can influence other men and challenge their harmful attitudes and behaviours towards women and girls. This can be particularly important in settings where GBV is normalized or accepted
Ending GBV requires the participation of everyone in society, including men and boys. Sustainable change can only be achieved if everyone is involved in the effort to prevent GBV and promote gender equality
In this perspective, Connected Development with support from Voice Program in Nigeria took the engagement of men and boys at the core of its interventions to promote gender equality and address violence against Women and Girls within Nigeria. The team and I adopted a grassroots engagement approach that targets men and boys, enabling them to provide direct impact and empowerment to victims and young people. Through this strategy, individuals have been receiving vital information on their roles as responders, the availability of diverse communication and reporting channels, and the importance of mobilizing a collective voice to speak out against gender-based violence. We engaged with diverse stakeholders ranging from informal stakeholders to formal stakeholders. I became conversant with The National Union of Road Transport Workers as a result of spearheading this campaign and very easily, I was fondly referred to as “Iya Motor Park” by my colleagues.
In a bid to strengthen the capacity of 1000 men and 1000 boys as ‘he-for-she’ champions to lead strategic advocacy and multi-dimensional stakeholder engagement against gender-based violence in Nigeria, we held a series of capacity-building sessions, training and town hall meetings for drivers, loaders, conductors, ticketers and even market women. We have come to understand that men and boys can play a significant role as partners and allies in reducing incidents of GBV and promoting gender equality. Equipping them with the necessary tools and knowledge to become advocates and allies in the fight against sexual and gender-based violence is crucial. Collaborations and partnerships are also key to laying a strong foundation for project implementation, which leads to greater success.
Over the past 18 months, our project has yielded significant results, by partnering with the National Union of Road Transport Workers, the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency, and The Enugu State Ministry of Gender Affairs and Social Development, we were able to mobilize various stakeholders throughout the project cycle. This resulted in the creation of five gender desk offices across five states in Nigeria, across the informal sector where women can rant and speak out without fear from their perpetrators, as has never been the case in places like the motor parks in Nigeria. We have thus far created safe places and a reporting channel for women to seek justice and demand accountability on issues relating to sexual and gender-based violence and sensitize school authorities on including guidance and counselling in curricula. In addition, we empowered 2,610 boys through the Boys Against Gender-Based Violence Club and reached a total of 2.5 million people through online engagement. We also recorded positive behavioural changes by men and boys through their willingness to engage and educate other men and boys, who will do the same for their peers.
The most exciting aspect of engaging men and boys as allies in ending GBV was through our extracurricular activity in the form of consent education for boys and girls in Junior Secondary schools. This was not only targeted at the students, and this was achieved by also strengthening the teachers’ capacities through the use of the Actions. Boys.Choices [ABC] on the SGBV manuals and ensuring they handled club activities regularly.
A cross-section of participants during a Motor park town hall meeting in Abuja
Using innovative tools to directly impact and empower victims, young people across the project states
Young people across the project states are utilizing our innovative tools to directly empower and impact victims of GBV. These tools are designed to provide immediate and practical assistance to those affected by GBV, as well as to raise awareness about the issue and promote social change.
We developed a Social Construct Platform which is a digital data collection and analysis tool to access the misogynistic tendencies of men and boys, educate them on the subject of gender-based violence, and provide a one-stop reporting platform for victims and survivors. Click here to check your SABI level.
Using the Actions. BoysChoices [ABC] on SGBV Manuals, we developed a 24-week educational manual on mentorship and extracurricular activities for secondary school students, both boys and girls, across several states targeted by the project. As part of this initiative, we launched the Boys Club Against Gender-Based Violence in 30 schools, making it one of the first of its kind in Africa. Through this program, we have successfully educated and mentored over 3,000 boys on the issue of SGBV, empowering them to be allies in the fight against gender-based violence. ABC Manual for Boys
We produced a series of documentaries aimed at engaging with rights holders and raising awareness about the harmful impact of sexism and male dominance on ending all forms of violence against women and girls. These documentaries helped to shed light on the issue and promote dialogue around the need for action to end gender-based violence. Find a link to the docu-story here
We initiated dialogue with rights holders about their experiences and perspectives on gender-based violence through a VOX POP production. This initiative was conducted in three languages – Yoruba, Igbo, and Hausa – and was instrumental in starting conversations and engaging with communities on the issue of SGBV. Find a link the Vox Pop here
SGBV Manual for Transport Workers and Organizations in the Informal Sector: We designed and developed an SGBV Manual for Transport Workers and Organizations in the Informal Sector. These manuals engaged gender desk officers within the motor park space. Manual for Road Union Workers on GBV
We created various knowledge-sharing materials, including fact sheets, cartoons, infographics, jingles, stickers, handbills, and community-based information dissemination tools. These materials were placed strategically in motor parks, buses, and cars to ensure maximum exposure and to reach a diverse audience
Through leading this campaign, I have realized that gender-based violence also affects men and boys, who often remain silent about their experiences. Male victims of gender-based violence often face a unique set of challenges, including social stigma, lack of support, and even disbelief from others. This can make it difficult for men and boys to come forward and seek help.
One of the key obstacles facing male victims of gender-based violence is the lack of data and research on the topic. Historically, most studies and statistics on gender-based violence have focused exclusively on female victims, leaving male victims largely invisible. This has contributed to a widespread misconception that gender-based violence is exclusively a women’s issue. In reality, gender-based violence affects individuals of all genders and can have devastating consequences for men and boys.
In recent years, there has been growing recognition of the need to address the needs of male victims of gender-based violence. This has led to the development of new initiatives and resources aimed at providing support and assistance to male survivors. These initiatives include counselling services, hotlines, and support groups specifically designed for male victims of gender-based violence.
However, there is still much work to be done to ensure that male victims of gender-based violence receive the support and resources they need. This includes challenging social norms and attitudes that perpetuate the myth that men cannot be victims of violence, as well as increasing funding for research and services aimed at addressing the unique needs of male survivors.
Ultimately, the fight against gender-based violence must be an inclusive one, recognizing that individuals of all genders can be victims and survivors. I hope to witness more initiatives and remedies geared towards addressing the needs of men and boys impacted by gender-based violence.
These were the words of a roughly fourteen (14) year old boy in JSS3.
Project SABI utilizes a fundamental approach to curbing gender-based violence in Nigeria. Instead of hacking at the leaves, the project seeks to dig at the root causes to engage men and boys at the grassroots level.
There are quite a few dimensions to the project to engage men, boys and even women. However, the Boys Against Gender-Based Violence (BAGBV) Club is one initiative that has stuck with me. We have been able to set up the club across the project’s focal states.
In the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), we engaged over 300 boys in Junior Secondary Schools. We aim to educate and mentor these boys who will in turn become gender advocates in their schools and communities.
I got the opportunity to engage with the boys on several occasions and might I say that I underestimated their abilities. I heard these boys give me proper descriptions of various concepts related to gender-based violence. On certain occasions, they would back up their definitions with proper descriptions of what they have seen, heard or even been a part of.
While I was excited to hear what these bright boys had to say, I was looking forward to hearing from those who didn’t have an understanding of the concept in general. In every classroom I walked into, I was on the lookout for the weak links- those who didn’t agree they could be abused just like girls. I knew they didn’t all agree that they could be abused, I was sure they all didn’t have the same ideologies around GBV so I wanted to initiate the process that could lead to behavioral change at least.
For every group I spoke to, I could see the uneasiness among some of the boys. I tried to get their opinions but it seemed almost impossible. Perhaps, they only just met me and didn’t think speaking to me was safe or maybe they just weren’t interested. Whatever it was, I had to find a way around it.
Finally, I met one bold young boy. Nothing could have prepared me for the moment. He was clear, he didn’t stutter. He didn’t believe he could be abused because he is a boy. In his understanding, his gender shielded him from every form of abuse or violence known to man. First, I was happy to hear his perspective, I was eager to see the world from his perspective so I could easily walk him through the process of letting go of culturally inherited biases.
“If I walked into this room and hit you in the face, have I abused you?”
“Yes,” I admired his courage and it was glaring.
“So are you a boy or a girl?”
“A boy,” his countenance changed. I knew his mindset didn’t just change, it is a process but I was so sure the conversation initiated something.
He is one out of millions of boys with a warped sense of understanding of gender. (Women aren’t excluded either) Why he believed being a boy exempts him from abuse can be tied to several factors. His initial refusal to believe he could be abused isn’t a stand-alone idea. It stems from several experiences and beliefs he had lived with. He could have had the orientation that boys are stronger, superior and untouchable whether physically or emotionally as opposed to girls who are ‘weaker’.
A recent study by the University of West London has shown that some men and boys are ridiculed or blamed as the cause of the abuse they go through. These detrimental stereotypes also have negative impacts on the help-seeking behaviour of men and boys who have been abused.
One boy at a time! This is the essence of my 18 months of involvement in training boys who would grow up to become wholesome men who understand their roles in fostering and sustaining an equal and safe society for everyone, especially women and girls.
Here is a toolkit developed during the time of this project that can be used to check your misogyny level in less than 3 minutes!
Staring at the dilapidated one-room building, Philip Duah knew that Project 12 was a sham. “The municipal assembly said the project – a new high school building – was at 90% status and ongoing,” said Duah, the Director of ABAK Foundation, a small non-profit that runs a primary school for low-income children and serves as a watchdog for local government projects. What Duah found was a shabby one-story schoolhouse “with no electricity…and no construction work.”
After talking with several neighbors, the school’s headmaster, and a municipal assembly member, an explanation for the project’s shoddy delivery came into focus. In Ghana, assembly leaders are appointed by the national party in power, and party bosses expect assembly officials to fulfill a secondary, unofficial responsibility: stumping for the party in local elections. As Duah put it, “Practically, if you are a politician…and you are not able to push some of this [project] money to support political activities…brother, you can never be reappointed.” Project 12 had all the indications of a community project whose funds had been redirected by government officials for their own ends. “The ambitions of the political parties to make money during their time [in office] is killing us,” Duah lamented.
Force Multiplier Over the years, numerous watchdog organizations like Duah’s ABAK Foundation have toiled in isolation to try and close gaps between government promises and on-the-ground results, with varying degrees of success. But in the last few months, ABAK Foundation’s efforts have been boosted by joining a regional initiative called iFollowTheMoney, a Pan-African movement that unites the efforts of over 6,000 activists, journalists, legal professionals, and researchers to better track and follow up on aid and government projects.
The movement recognizes that while inclusive development must start at the local level, it is strengthened by the support of a global network of like-minded people. Joining the iFollowTheMoney network gives local organizations access to far greater amplifying power through social media as well as cutting-edge grassroots accountability training developed by iFollowTheMoney’s organizer, Connected Development (CODE).
Founded in Abuja, Nigeria in 2012 by activist Hamzat Lawal, CODE is now a leading African government accountability organization that has tracked over $2 billion in government funding. Its work has spread across Nigeria and to chapters in 10 other African countries, with Ghana its most recent addition.
Citizen’s Guide In 2022, CODE began a new partnership with the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) with the goal of formalizing its unique approach to promoting accountability and accelerating adoption of this approach by civil society groups around the world.
The CIPE-CODE partnership reached its first major milestone with the launch of iFollowTheMoney’s Citizen’s Guide to Making Public Accountability Work on October 25, 2022. The hybrid launch event was held near ABAK’s headquarters in Kumasi, Ghana and attracted over 60 virtual participants and 40 in-person attendees, including 18 representatives of local media.
CODE Chief Executive Lawal, who led the event in person with CODE Programs Manager Uchenna Kingsley Agu, shared how this new step-by-step guide would benefit citizens in marginalized communities and drive greater accountability. “Corruption and mismanagement of public resources stem from opacity, which characterizes public governance in Africa,” said Lawal. “This step-by-step guide essentially teaches citizens how to access information and use [it]…to demand accountability from the government.”
“Perhaps the most important aspect is that it also encourages community mobilization,” Lawal added. “With this guide, communities can rally together and drive the development and provision of basic amenities and essential services in their localities.”
CIPE’s Anti-Corruption & Governance Center Director Frank Brown also spoke at the event. “CODE’s approach initiates a cycle of feedback and follow-up between project implementers and project beneficiaries”, Brown said. “CODE’s social media savvy has brought needed help to isolated communities in just a few days – and sometimes just a few hours – after concentrated bursts of likes and shares spotlight attention on pressing needs and generate responses from authorities”.
The guide, which can be freely accessed online, incorporates case studies, step-by-step tutorials, and a list of free-to-access templates to make implementation easier. By simplifying tricky topics like how to understand government procurement processes and how to fill out a formal Freedom of/Right to Information request, the guide is an essential resource that makes sophisticated government accountability campaigning more accessible to local organizations like ABAK Foundation.
Sharper Strategy Together, CODE and CIPE are supporting local organizations like ABAK Foundation implement projects that follow the methodology in the new guide. In the first of an anticipated series of incubation grants across Africa over the next year, CIPE has awarded the Kumasi-based organization with funding to run a 4-month campaign to follow government projects in the health and education sectors.
Guided by mentors from CODE, ABAK is changing the way it engages with government officials and community leaders as it implements the new approach. “CODE’s FollowTheMoney approach can require civil society groups like ABAK to change their tone and interaction habits because it doesn’t pre-suppose that anyone is the bad guy,” said CIPE Program Officer Ben Schmidt, who arrived in Kumasi the day after the launch to join meetings with Duah, Agu, and local community and government leaders.
“It encourages respect and collaboration between all relevant stakeholders, whether it be the government official who is responsible, the implementing contractor, or the community leaders,” Schmidt added. “The goal is open communication about what is needed and accomplishing what all the parties want—delivering projects on time and on budget and benefiting the community.”
Five young Nigerians have emerged as the inaugural fellows of the Ewah Eleri Climate Change Fellowship implemented by Connected Development (CODE), Africa’s leading civil society organization.
The winners were announced at a press briefing held in Abuja on November 1. The fellows are the first cohort of the prestigious fellowship named after the Executive Director of the International Centre for Energy, Environment & Development (ICEED), Ewah Eleri, and will serve as technical advisers to the Nigerian government at the forthcoming United Nations (UN) Conference of the Parties (COP) on Climate Change, holding at Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt from 7-18 November 2022
This fellowship will also serve as an opportunity for the fellows to engage signatory governments on plans for nations of the world to jointly address climate change and its impacts. This conference could be a chance to turn the Glasgow outcome into action, through implementing climate change adaptation, mitigation, and financial strategies.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Chief Executive, of CODE, Hamzat Lawal, noted that the COP, stands as the supreme decision-making forum of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and there is a need to empower young leaders who can contribute to solving climate change.
“Leveraging innovation and technology, young people have an advantage and can contribute immensely to solving climate change. This is why we are taking the step to empower young leaders who can shape the very important conversation at COP 27.”
“This is a legacy inspired and named after my mentor, Ewah Eleri. I’m optimistic that it will bear the right fruit,” Lawal said.
On his part, Eleri explained that the initiative was necessary following the hazards experienced in recent times, such as flooding which had destroyed lives and properties as well as rendered thousands of citizens homeless.
According to him, it’s important for Nigeria to begin to convert climate transition to opportunities, build resilience with people through human capacity development and create more awareness of climate justice.
The winners include Gift Olivia Samuel, Seasoned Journalist of The SightNews; Gregory Odogwu, Environmental Columnist at Punch Newspaper; Idowu Esuku – aka Climate Man, A Climate Change musician, and activist; Etta Michael Bisong, Abuja bureau chief EnviroNews Nigeria and bio-diversity advocate; and Hyeladzira Msheila – Climate Change Activist.