Government Spending VS Service Delivery

Communications May 16, 2024 0

Nigeria’s education, healthcare, and WASH sectors are deficient, creating inequalities at all levels. In 2018, UNICEF reported one in five out-of-school children in Nigeria. The challenges facing education have created a poor and unconducive learning and teaching environment, affecting enrollment, retention, and completion rates, especially for girls. Primary healthcare is almost co- matose, putting pressure on secondary and tertiary facilities that are also understaffed. UNICEF reports that only 26.5 percent of Nigerians use improved drinking water and sanitation facilities. SEE THE FULL REPORT HERE

From Virtual Internship to Real-world Impact: Our CODE Story

Communications May 13, 2024 0

By Alice, Noor and Rabiee

In a world increasingly reliant on technology, harnessing its power for social good has become paramount. Our enriching experience collaborating with Connected Development (CODE), has had a transformative impact on our journey and we’ve tried our best to capture the moments here. 

For us, CODE transcends the traditional notion of a workplace; it functions as a diverse community that nurtures individual development, enhances staff skills, and places a high value on the well-being of its employees. Through our three months of research, we got the chance to explore topics such as Nigeria’s climate finance plans, artificial intelligence, and education. Members of the CODE team have guided us with warmth, support, and endless kindness, helping us to develop relevant ideas that could benefit people at the grassroots. This has, in turn, allowed us to grow as individuals, academics, and budding researchers. 

We were drawn to CODE’s innovative approach, utilising platforms like social media and mobile technology to engage citizens and catalyse grassroots movements. One of the most rewarding aspects of working with CODE is witnessing the tangible impact of their initiatives in empowering marginalized communities. Through projects like FollowTheMoney, we’ve seen firsthand how communities are mobilised to demand transparency and accountability from policymakers. Furthermore, CODE’s commitment to inclusivity and collaboration has been inspirational. We have rarely witnessed such a thriving office culture with employees at all levels speaking their minds and being listened to by the rest of the team. It was refreshing for us to see. 

Alice:

“I have enjoyed my experience at CODE so much and value the three months I have spent working with Dr. Augustine and the rest of the team. I initially had some reservations about working remotely from London and how this would impact my interactions with the team but, with the wonderful support that Noor, Rabiee, and I have received from CODE, it has often felt like we were in Abuja with the rest of the office. It is rare to encounter a workplace whose values of community and empowerment translate throughout the organisation and I want to thank the team for this excellent opportunity.”

Alice Allfrey

Noor:

“My time at CODE has been enriching in more ways than I could have imagined. Through weekly meetings with Dr. Augustine, workshops with Mustafa, and frequent contact with the rest of the team, I have truly felt a sense of belonging. Although my work has been online with my co-researchers, Alice and Rabiee, the team at CODE never let me feel the distance. I have grown both professionally and personally, and I am truly grateful to have gotten the chance to work at CODE.”

Noor Dhingra

Rabiee:

“From the very start, CODE welcomed us with open arms. Despite the virtual nature of our placement, the team’s warmth and inclusivity made us feel like valued members from day one. Their dedication to fostering a collaborative community shines through in every aspect of their work.  I’ve been consistently impressed by the open communication, support, and genuine care they show for each team member’s development. This placement has deepened my research skills and ignited a passion for using data and technology as tools for positive social change. Working alongside my colleagues, Noor and Alice, has been an absolute highlight – their insights, dedication, and collaborative spirit have enriched the experience immensely. I’m especially grateful for Dr. Augustine’s guidance and mentorship; his commitment and CODE’s supportive environment have created a truly empowering learning experience.”

Rabiee Ibrahim

Our journey with CODE has been nothing short of transformative. To see how highly CODE values community activism and empowerment gives us great hope for the future, particularly in a world that faces more and more complex obstacles to reaching a more equitable society.

We look forward to doing more.

365 DAYS OF BLISS AT CODE

Communications April 2, 2024 0

By Ifunanya Okeke

As I reach my one-year milestone at Connected Development (CODE), I cast my mind back to that special day when I first joined the team. I remember waking up that morning with a mix of happiness, nervousness, and a strong sense of determination to give my all. When I received the email congratulating me on getting the job a week earlier, I was overwhelmed with shock as I couldn’t believe I got the job.

I stepped into the office on that Monday morning, March 6th, 2023, trying to hide my nervousness by constantly adjusting the corporate black-flowered dress that I had finally settled for the previous night, as per the lawyer that I am. I looked around and noticed that others weren’t as formal as I was. They looked smart but relaxed, which made me feel more at ease. It was nice to see that the environment was friendly and welcoming.

We had a Teams Meeting that morning –  as is the culture – and the energy was something else. I was introduced to the team.

Ever pictured an environment that brings your ideas to life? Or a group of youthful enthusiastic and vibrant individuals that bring to life all your imaginations? Or a small community of diverse tongues (what many would call the WAZOBIA community), yet connected in one spirit towards a common goal? Ever imagined change-makers, creators of societies that to some might just be a mirage? If you connect with any of these questions, then welcome to Connected Development (CODE).

The moment I settled in, work kicked off swiftly. I was handed numerous tasks with tight deadlines; there was no time to spare! I was then entrusted with the role of Project Manager for an 8-month project; Open Parly Nigeria. Initially, doubts crept into my mind about my ability to excel in this position, but I drew strength from my foundation in human rights, gender, children, and access to justice, having traversed the development sector before joining the esteemed team at Connected Development (CODE). I embraced the opportunity and was eager to learn from anyone who could contribute to ensuring the project’s success. 

The Open Parly Nigeria project aimed to bridge the gap between government and citizens by enhancing awareness of the legislative process in three states (Kwara, Oyo, and Yobe). Through interactive platforms, we endeavored to demystify legislative processes and empower communities to hold their elected representatives accountable. Witnessing the project’s impact on deepening citizens’ engagement in democracy has been immensely rewarding and fulfilling.

Co-managing the Digital Mobilization Lab has also been a highlight of my journey at CODE. This initiative harnesses the energy and passion of young leaders from diverse regions of Nigeria, equipping them with the tools and knowledge to drive positive change in their communities. Through comprehensive training on governance fundamentals and digital advocacy tools, participants have emerged as champions for social change, leading campaigns that amplify citizen voices and garner public support.

Over the past twelve months, I’ve been privileged to contribute my part to the progress of several transformative projects aimed at empowering marginalised communities and fostering accountability in governance across Africa. From drafting Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) and Freedom of Information letters to crafting position papers, proposals, concept notes, attending meetings, and travelling to implement projects in different states, the achievements recorded so far from these projects give me satisfaction and tell me I’m in the right place.

Looking ahead, I’m excited about the opportunities that await and committed to continuing the vital work of empowering marginalised communities and fostering accountability in governance. As I embark on the next chapter of my journey at CODE, I extend my deepest gratitude to the organisation for the invaluable exposure, experiences, and lessons learned during my first year. Together, we form a family where the true spirit of teamwork thrives. Moving forward, we will continue striving towards a future where every voice is heard, and every community is empowered to shape its destiny.

Gracias!!!

Empowering Delta State: Unlocking the Potential of the FOI Act

Communications February 8, 2024 0

Have you ever been so excited about an opportunity that you could hardly contain your enthusiasm? That’s precisely how I felt when I was given the chance to coordinate the Freedom of Information (FOI) Workshop in Delta State. 

Not only was it my first visit to Delta State,  it was going to be my first time discussing and raising awareness about the FOI law, which had been adopted in the state. As a Delta state indigene, I was more excited to embrace this new challenge and fully prepared to tackle anything that came my way. 

I am sure you’re wondering what an FOI Act is. It is a law that grants citizens the legal right to request and access information held by public authorities. The Act is designed to promote transparency and accountability in government activities, allowing citizens to obtain information about government operations and policies, thereby holding the government accountable. This Act is an essential tool for enhancing democracy in Nigeria.   

The workshop had six commissioners from various Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) in attendance, along with representatives from Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), and the media. 

I was honored to take on the role of coordinating the event and leading a session on the Power of Voice Partnership (PVP) project. During my session, I provided an overview of the work we had accomplished over the past two years, including our involvement with integrity clubs, the Host Community Development Trust Fund, and advocacy efforts related to the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA). These projects are also focused on advocating for the adoption of the FOI Act. One of the most eye-opening aspects of the workshop was the revelation that a staggering 99.8% of the participants had little to no knowledge about the FOI Act! 

This highlighted the urgent need for advocacy and education about the Act in Delta State. I urged participants to take the knowledge they gained from the workshop and spread awareness about the FOI Act, alongside its significance. A highlight of the event was the Head of FOI from the Ministry of Justice in Abuja, Godwin Garuba, conducting the session on “Unlocking the Power of the Freedom of Information Act: Understanding its Significance and Enhancing Government Responsiveness.” 

From this session, I gained several key takeaways: 

1. The FOI Act allows illiterate or disabled individuals to apply for information through a third party if they are unable to make a personal application. 

2. Applicants are not required to demonstrate a specific interest in the requested information but must prove their Nigerian citizenship, age of 18 or above, and tax compliance for the past three years. 

3. Public institutions must organize and manage information in a way that facilitates public access. 

4. If access to information is denied, the applicant has the right to challenge the decision and have it reviewed by a court, with specific grounds for refusal provided by the institution. 

5. Public institutions have 90 working days to respond to FOI requests, with the option to extend this period for an additional 90 days if necessary. 

6. FOI requests should be addressed officially to the Ministry, distinguishing them from general correspondence. 

Kingsley Agu, the Community Engagement Director of CODE, provided a detailed breakdown of how to write a FOIA letter, ensuring that all participants left the workshop well-informed about the FOI Act, and equipped to write their own FOI requests.

The workshop in Delta State was a remarkable experience for me. Participants left with a better understanding of the FOI Act, ready to use this knowledge to promote transparency and accountability in our great state. This event marked a significant step towards a more informed and engaged Delta State, embracing the power of the Freedom of Information Act to drive positive change in their communities.

State of Basic Education in North-East Nigeria

Communications January 14, 2024 0

Nigeria currently has 18.5 million out-of-school children, the highest in the world. Most of these children between the ages of 5-14 are found in the northern region, especially the northeastern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa where insurgency and counter-insurgency operations have exacerbated other pre-existing economic and socio-cultural factors that hinder children’s education. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic when schools were completely shut down (as part of the government’s preventive measures), only 61% of 6–11 year-olds regularly attend primary school. During the six-month COVID19 lockdown, 4.2 million most vulnerable students in these states were further negatively impacted by the suspension of learning activities. READ FULL REPORT

My Success Story at CODE

Communications January 12, 2024 0

Chinedu Emmanuel Odah

To me, Connected Development (CODE) is more than just a workplace; it is a multifaceted community that fosters personal growth, staff capacity building, and prioritizes employee wellness. In this success story, I will share my transformative journey from an office chauffeur to a finance staff member at CODE, highlighting the support from the team, the opportunities I had, and the nurturing environment that enabled my professional evolution.

From the moment I joined CODE, I was met with a unique atmosphere of camaraderie and empowerment. The organization’s commitment to staff welfare and growth was evident in various ways, especially the regular team-building activities that encouraged personal and professional development.

I am an accounting graduate with much passion for my profession, however, I hadn’t gotten the opportunity to practice in the field before joining CODE. I joined CODE on 31st May 2023, as a Chauffeur/ Logistics Officer while still having my ambition in mind.  I soon learned that CODE embraced an inclusive culture where employees were encouraged to pursue their dreams, regardless of their starting roles. This realization inspired me to embark on a journey of self-improvement and career transition.

With the encouragement of my colleagues, I took advantage of the numerous staff capacity-building opportunities provided by CODE, which equipped me with the skills necessary to start and thrive in a finance role. As I embarked on this transition, I found invaluable support through mentorship at CODE. The organization’s commitment to nurturing talent meant that experienced professionals were readily available to guide me as I worked.

One of the exceptional aspects of CODE is its commitment to internal mobility and growth. As I made this resolve to grow, CODE recognized my dedication, work ethic, and the potential I exhibited, and I was offered the chance to serve in the Finance department from November 2023. Transitioning into a finance role presented new challenges because I  was a fresher in the field ( I had the educational qualifications but lacked the work exposure and experience). However, the team was more than happy to train me from scratch. Looking back, I can confidently say that  CODERS leave no one behind, regardless of culture, tribe or religion. The harmony in our diversity drives the heart of the organization.  Thus, I fully embraced my responsibilities, demonstrating meticulous attention to detail, accuracy, and a strong work ethic, while continuously refining my skills, and leveraging the resources available within the organization to excel in my new position.

To say the least, CODE’s commitment to staff wellness and capacity building has created an environment where growth is not limited to a single achievement. I remain committed to ensuring  I remain at the forefront of organization trends and best practices.

I am deeply grateful for the opportunities and experiences that have shaped my success story at CODE. This has truly forged a new path for me in 2024, a path of responsibility, professionalism and value for money.

Thank you for reading

Chinedu Emmanuel Odah

Outcome Assessment and Impact Report Analysis

Communications November 10, 2023 0

The challenges associated with infrastructure deficits in oil-producing communities can be linked to a general problem of communities in Nigeria holding leaders accountable and demanding transparency from the implementing agencies of education, health, and WASH in already budgeted social infrastructure projects. It is therefore ironic that these communities, which contribute significantly to Nigeria’s revenue, still lack basic infrastructure while existing ones deteriorate further.

READ FULL REPORT

Nigeria Decides: 2023 Citizen-Led Election Report

Communications August 17, 2023 0

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 Kano State House of Assembly on the Passage of Child Protection Bill

Communications May 25, 2023 0

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.