[PRESS RELEASE] CODE Launch Tracking Tool during First Stakeholders Roundtable on the Implementation of Great Green Wall to Foster Accountability

The Follow The Money team intends to use the tool to inform policy decisions while capturing voices from the beneficiaries in rural communities in 11 northern states

[Abuja, 22 March 2016] – At the first ever stakeholders meeting on the implementation of the Great Green Wall project, CODE launched a geo-reference tracking system to foster the completion and sustainability of the Great Green Wall project in Nigeria.

Unveiling the tracking tool, CODEs M&E expert, Oludotun Babyemi expressed that the platform was a work in progress to be fully operational at the end of the month.

“The platform is real-time and accessible to everyone. It allows stakeholders to access information on the implementation of facilities for the Great Green Wall projects across the 11 frontier states” Babayemi stressed.

 Oludotun Babyemi unveils Great Green Wall TrackerCODE’s M&E Expert Oludotun Babyemi launches Great Green Wall Project Tracker

The discussion was strategized to share insights and proposed solutions around sustainability of the billion naira project which is aimed at combating desertification in Northern Nigeria as well as providing income for over 200 communities to be affected by it.

GGW 1Cross Section of attendants at CODE’s Stakeholders Roundtable on Great Green Wall Project

In his opening remark, Ahmed Goni, the Director General of the National Agency of the Great Green Wall emphasized working with NGOs and understanding the work of NGOs in nation building as he thanked the leadership of Connected Development.

“The Great Green Wall came as a result of African Union, who understand the dangers of desertification in the environment which is the most serious environmental impact affecting Africa”. He added that 11 African countries are involved which include Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Sudan and Chad with a Pan-African Agency of the Great Green Wall (PAGGW) headquarters in Mauritania.

Bringing the policy back home, the DG said Nigeria initiated the program and had 11 frontline states involved– Kebbi, Zamfara, Gombe, Yobe, Jigawa, Adamawa, Bauchi, Katsina, Borno, Sokoto and Kano. He noted these areas constitute about 43% of Nigeria’s land mass as these areas are also where most of Nigeria’s feed produce comes from. Adding that 43 million Nigerians are directly affected by the GGW.

Goni commented that his agency would provide solar-powered water sources at Bachaka, Jeke and Kadandani communities visited during community outreach activities carried out by the Follow The Money team, as it’s now on their workplan and activities for 2016.

Hamzat Lawal, The Chief Executive of CODE in his opening remark, appreciatedthe presence of the DG the National Agency of the Great Green Wall, noting the importance of the project because it affects up to 200 communities in Nigeria. He added that such initiatives exist to improve communities but how do MDAs access funds, use this funds how is the impact measured.

Presentations by the National Agency for Great Wall highlighted some achievements and activities of the agency from 2013 till date include the establishment of corridor mapping, promotion of alternative livelihoods and establishments of 138ha of vegetable gardens. In 2016, the agency proposes some activities such as establishment of 280km shelterbelts, establishment of 282ha community woodlot, establishment of 22 No. Artesian wells for 22 communities in the 11 frontier states and establishment of 312ha of community orchard. The agency also made note of some challenges affecting the proper implementation of the project which include vandalisation, insurgency and difficulty in accessing some states.

In Follow The Money presentation on findings on the ground visiting rural communities, Babayemi highlighted the community outreaches made by the team to communities in Kano, Kebbi and Jigawa states touching on successes and shortcomings so far of the Green Wall Agency in implementation of the project. Major challenges was access to water in the communities.

The representative of the Chief of Defence Staff, Brigadier General A. A. Taiwo identified the importance of the Great Green Project in eradicating poverty and combating desertification and asked how the agency had been able to address the issue of insurgency in affected states.

A major highlight of the stakeholders’ roundtable was the unveiling of a Monitoring and Evaluation Platform developed by Follow The Money called the Great Green Wall Tracker [www.followthemoneyng.org/ggw] which is aimed at monitoring accountable flow of funds for the project while providing real-time information provided by Follow The Monet State reporters. Some categories are woodcots and boreholes provided in communities.

Mr. S.M. Babarinde, representing the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, commended the efforts of the Follow The Money team and expressed commitment of the ministry to using the tool for information sharing as well as inducting the tool into their subsequent work plans as it provides information on water access in rural communities.

Hamzat Lawal, while ending the event expressed excitement and the commitment of Follow The Money to ensuring that funds released were tracked in an accountable manner.

“In the following months, we will be taking our stakeholders and town hall meetings to Jigawa, Kano and Kebbi states to further engage the state governments and the locals directly affected by the implementation of the Great Green Wall project”. He further added that stakeholders present should take ownership of the tracking tool provided and asked that more debates be made on ensuring that the Ecological Fund Office releases 15% of it funds as stipulated to the Great Green Wall.

The implementation of the Great Green Wall project is essential to Nigeria’s commitment to combating desertification in the Sahel and Sahara region as the projects goes beyond reforestation, but providing lost biodiversity in the region and providing a means of economic livelihood for affected communities on the African continent

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[In Abuja – Nigeria, for Connected Development/Follow The Money, Oludotun Babayemi +234 09 291 7545 or/and oludotun@connecteddevelopment.org]

[In Abuja – Nigeria, for Connected Development/Follow The Money, Abdulmalik Fahd, +2349052546234 or/and abdulmalik@connecteddevelopment.org]

For more information about Follow The Money, please visit http://followthemoneyng.org

Editor’s Note:

Follow The Money is an initiative of Connected Development [CODE] that advocates, tracks, and visualize funds meant for local communities. The Team is made up of Researchers, Data Analysts, Activists, Campaigners, Journalists, Legal Practitioners, Activists, Information Managers, Students, and Academia & Development Consultants.

Connected Development [CODE] is a non-government organization whose mission is to improve access to information and empower local communities in Africa. We strengthen local communities by creating platforms for dialogue, enabling informed debate, and building capacities of marginalized communities which ensure social and economic progress while promoting transparency and accountability.