Deepening Citizen's Interest in Government Spending and Accompanying Corrupt Practices(DeSPAAC) Project Overview.
Spread across Nigeria are thousands of Constituency projects littered in rural communities, the disheartening part of the tale is that these projects ought to assist in developing marginalized communities and bringing the dividends of democracy right to their doorstep. In truth, the reverse has been the case, as Nigerians continue to suffer the effect of the crippling educational, healthcare, and WASH systems in their communities. A major challenge faced over the years has been the lack of accountability and transparency from elected officials, hence leading to ineffective service delivery or in worst-case scenarios siphoning of public funds.
Constituency projects were established to improve the living standards of communities through projects’ nomination by their federal representatives and lawmakers, which is why Connected Development (CODE) with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation is Deepening community (citizen’s) interest in government spending and accompanying corrupt practices in Kaduna State through tracking of constituency projects. The project seeks to;
1. Empower the Community Monitoring Teams to effectively provide oversight on constituency project implementation and ensure that projects reflect their needs.
2. Create synergy between communities and government MDA’s/legislators for gender-responsive service delivery on constituency projects’ implementation.
3. Enhance the prosecutory capacity of anti-corruption agencies through collaborations and information sharing.
4. Increase a level of community awareness of the OGP via advocacy for operationalization at the community levels.
In the first year of the Project, CODE through the trained Community Monitoring Team (CMTs) was able to track 23 projects in 6 LGAs across the three (3) senatorial districts in Kaduna amounting to 1.1 billion nairas from the 2020/2021 constituency projects which are spread across education, health, and WASH sectors. During the first phase, 11 tracked projects were completed, 10 ongoing and, 2 abandoned. We also had community members revolt within them to eject poorly constructed infrastructures being hand-over to the community leaders. As a result of the series of advocacies and community outreaches, we had state and federal legislators commit to town hall meetings to inform them of their constituency needs and resolve challenges of allocation of projects in communities. Community members were also enlightened on the OGP processes and constituency projects conducted within their community. Platforms such as town hall meetings and community outreaches were utilized to air the voices of community members.
The second phase of this project commenced with a series of activities geared toward increasing citizens’ interest in government spending and training of CMTs to spearhead activities such as community outreaches, town hall meetings, FOI writing, and FTM radio engagement. We are also branching to include legislative aides as they play pivotal roles in the constituency project nomination. This is due to our learning from the first year, enhancing we will build their capacity, to ensure that projects are selected based on the needs of the community members.