A non-governmental group (NGO) called Connected Development (CODE) stated it tracked 193 billion naira spent on government projects across the country in 2020 to ensure accountability.
This was said by Mr Hamzat Lawal, CEO of CODE and Founder of Follow The Money, during the introduction of the group’s annual report, Empowering Communities in the Event of a Pandemic, on Friday in Abuja.
CODE has also used its social responsibility tool “Follow The Money” to track roughly N96 billion in COVID-19 funds at the state and federal levels in Nigeria, according to Lawal.
“When CODE was launched in 2012, its sole purpose was to bridge the information gap between marginalized communities and their government, so that community members can access basic human needs that will improve their standard of living,” did he declare.
He stated that for every dollar spent on a project, communities should enjoy a high level of living and the benefits of democracy.
“Each year at CODE, we take a moment to reflect on our work and review the lessons learned from our engagement with marginalized communities, our learning and our accomplishments.
“The year 2020 has been a pivotal year where we have seen the impact of our work tested in many ways.
“Since our inception in 2012, we have relied on our ability to challenge the status quo and hold government to account to foster social change in the communities where we work.
“Many of them have accelerated the timely intervention in health, water and sanitation, education, environment and structural development services in hundreds of low-income communities in Nigeria and in six other African countries, ”he said.
CODE’s efforts to eliminate systemic corruption in government, as well as a lack of openness and accountability, has become increasingly important, according to Lawal, as a result of rising levels of poverty, inequality, and despair brought on by the COVID pandemic.
CODE has also lobbied for updating national emergency procurement criteria and prioritizing the country’s deteriorating health facilities, according to him.
He went on to say that the organization was keeping an eye on the distribution of COVID palliatives in 232 villages.
CODE’s mission to empower Africa, one community at a time, he added, required courage, dedication, and endurance from activists who wanted to see an Africa free of injustices, inequalities, and greed; a continent where people could achieve their full potential.
CODE launched a COVID-19 Campaign for Transparency and Accountability in Africa (CTAP) during the COVID-19 lockdown, according to Lawal, which allowed CODE to share its knowledge with six other countries. Africans.
Following CODE’s intervention in Malawi, the President of Malawi fired the Minister of Labor for misappropriating COVID-19 funds for personal advantage, according to him.
He said that citizens in Kenya were able to reject the government’s request for new IMF and World Bank loans because information received through Follow the Money revealed that all prior loans collected by the government could not be tallied.
CODE was rallying young people, transferring knowledge, and, most significantly, creating crucial policies and decisions around gender sensitivity that the government lacked, according to Lawal, with the help of ActionAid.
CODE has increased the capacity of grassroots community organizers and campaigners in six states, he said, and governments were responding more quickly to challenges affecting girls and women.
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, ActionAid Nigeria, Heinrich Bolch Stifund, OXFAM Nigeria, OXFAM NOVIB, Christian Aid, Ford Foundation, and USAID E-WASH, according to Lawal, funded the majority of the effort.
CODE has campaigned to demand the adoption of the Prohibition of Assault Against Persons Act (VAPP) following an uptick in sexual violence and sexist behavior during the COVID-19 lockdown, according to Ms Lucy James, Senior Program Officer.
CODE has also worked to encourage female participation in all aspects of society, particularly in leadership and governance, according to James, and for the first time, the women of Obodo-Ugwa in the Delta attended community development committee meetings for the first time.
“With an objective of building strong institutions, CODE has devoted its resources and efforts to rebuilding the weaknesses of Nigerian society, the year 2020 was no different.
“Despite the challenges of COVID-19, our determination for a more gender inclusive society, a higher level of accountability and transparency in governance and improving the state of education and health care does not has never wavered, “he said.