Does the non-representation of women in the Kano State Assembly play a role in delaying the passage of the VAPP and Child Protection Bill? 

Communications August 1, 2022 0

By Ruth Okafor

As a good governance and gender advocate, I wonder why a state as large as Kano with a huge population lacks a single female representation in her state assembly. An assembly that carves policies for the betterment of the people and represents various constituencies. It strikes me that a state with a population of over 13 million persons with about 40% of the population being women has no woman present to decide on key challenges facing them as a society. 

It goes to show that for years specific demography may have been relegated to the background, or not considered relevant to hold such positions. It is in line with this that the Ministry of Justice under the leadership of Bar. Lawan Abdullahi Musa is currently pushing for the passage of the harmonized VAPP and Child Protection Bill. These bills provide a legal framework that protects women and children in the society. The Child Protection Bill has been signed by the Executive arm since February 2021 but is yet to be assented by the Legislative arm of the government. 

The Stories surrounding the delay in the passage of these bills have been linked to culture and religion, despite the fact that some Islamic clerics were among those who reviewed and vetted the bills.  It was to this end that some CSOs, in collaboration with the FIDA Kano state chapter, organized a peaceful demonstration calling for the passage of the Child Protection Bill following the death of Hafsat by her schoolteacher, but these efforts were futile.

Connected Development has worked with various stakeholders since 2021 through gender advocates, trained to advocate for the passage of both bills as part of the Canadian High Commission-funded Galvanizing Mass Action Against Gender-Based Violence project in Kano State. Since our first meeting with members of the executive branch and a few legislators, we’ve made significant progress. 

Hence, my detour on why there is a delay in assenting to these bills as it stands to benefit the lovely people of Kano state. For a society to progress,  members of the society must be duly represented on the decision table, this will enable everyone to get perspective and clarity on every matter before a vote is taken. As much as women are not represented on the legislative council of Kano state, we hope that the decisions taken on these bills and others will be holistic, considering every member of society.

According to Vanguard, no fewer than 62 female candidates sought various elective positions in Kano state during the 2019 general elections. This means that women of Kano state are active in politics but what is the hindrance? According to a paper titled “Challenges and Prospects of Women Political Participation in Nigeria” Women’s participation in the electoral process in Nigeria has been constrained by multiple factors including culture, religion, psychology, and of late, social lynching. 

The paper also restated the claim that Islam does not entirely restrict women from aspiring for public roles. Women can seek to serve society in any role they desire except the leadership of prayer and command of the military. If this is so, then women cannot aspire to or contest the office of the President of the Federal Republic as that office comes with the responsibility of the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, thus the Muslim woman cannot run for it. However, women can still contest for other positions that do not require military leadership, such as legislative and even state governorships. despite this, women have anyway become leaders in certain Muslim countries: PMs Benezir Bhutto (Pakistan), Sheikha Hasina (Bangladesh), Tansu Ciller (Turkey), and President Atifete Jahjaga (Kosovo).

For societies to embrace change and the needs of all its members, particularly marginalized communities, we must be able to make them part of the decision-making bodies in the governance structures. In conclusion, we must embrace the education of the masses, especially the girl-child and women at large.

The PIA, Nigeria’s loss of Over 2 Billion USD to Dwindling oil production in June 2022 and the Power of Voices Partnership (PVP) solution

Communications July 17, 2022 0

By Kingsley Agu (Programs Manager, CODE)

It is no longer news that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is now transiting into a private company now known as Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd). NNPC Ltd is to be regulated in line with the provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) and the title of the former Group Managing Director (GMD) of the NNPC would now become Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of the new NNPC Ltd (which means the GCEO has the powers to make decisions for its subsidiaries and holding company unlike before that it had to be via the Federal Executive Council). The new look NNPC Ltd is all as a result of the Section 53(1) of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021 which mandated the Minister of Petroleum to incorporate NNPC Ltd within 6 months of the signing of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021 into law. The PIA 2021 was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari on the 16th of August 2021 upon passage by the National Assembly in July 2021. 

The NNPC Limited is currently the company with the highest share capital in Nigeria with 200 Billion Naira initial capital. The incorporation of the NNPC Ltd by Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) was concluded within 1 month and 5 days from the date the President signed the PIA 2021 into law as this was completed on the 21st of September 2021 by CAC. NNPC Limited is expected to be unveiled by President Muhammadu Buhari on 19th July, 2022.

Despite the current efforts at making NNPC to function optimally in line with the PIA 2021, crude oil production has been on a steady decline year-on-year from 2020 to 2022 half year. Available data from the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) a subsidiary of the new CAMA incorporated NNPC Limited shows this worrying trend. 

The data analysis above of Nigerian crude oil production for January to June 2020 to 2022 shows a consistent and worrying decline in oil production. In January 2022, the data shows a 11,795,487 Million Barrel drop in oil production of 43,353,723 Million Barrels in January 2022 when compared to January 2020 which was 55,149,210 Million Barrels. In February 2022, the data shows a 16,963,273.53 Million Barrel drop in oil production of 35,217,997.47 Million Barrels in January 2022 when compared to January 2020 which was 52,181,271 Million Barrels. This downward trend is visible across January to June as seen in the graphical representation of the analysis above.

The 2022 first half crude oil production performance shows a decline of 11.8% when compared to June of 2021 production. In June 2021, Nigeria produced 39,401,749 Million Barrels of crude oil while in June 2022, the production was pegged at 34,748,214. The graph below shows data visualization of the downward trend of oil production in 2022 when compared year on year with 2021. Though the data also shows an improvement in crude oil production in June 2022 when compared to the previous month of May 2022. 

This is amidst dwindling foreign reserves and revenue shortfall in the country. This worrying trend has to be addressed else Nigeria might be in a more serious revenue crisis which might affect the functioning of the Nigerian government as crude oil still remains the major source of foreign exchange in the country. To visualize the extent of the revenue crisis due to oil production decline, out of the 1.772 Million Barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil production allocated to Nigeria by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting  Countries (OPEC) in June 2022, Nigeria was only able to produce 1,158,273.80 Million bpd leaving a shortfall of 613,726.2 bpd which if calculated based on the $110 per barrel oil was sold for in June 2022, amounts to 67,509,882 Million US$ loss per day and as much as 2,025,296,460 Billion US$ loss in the whole of June 2022.

The decline in oil production is largely attributed to oil bunkering activities in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, oil theft as well as decaying oil infrastructure. The oil bunkering activities in the Niger Delta is fueled by degraded environment due to crude oil activities thereby destroying the livelihood of community members in oil-producing communities who are predominantly crop farmers and fishermen/women as well as long years of neglect by successive governments which is evidenced by poor social infrastructures such as roads, schools, WASH and healthcare facilities despite the 13% oil derivative given to oil producing states by the Federal government of Nigeria. 

To address this social misnomer across oil producing communities, Connected Development (CODE), Africa’s leading civil society organization, through its Power of Voice Partnership (PVP) Fair for All Campaign has via its collaborative intervention and advocacy worked with other CSOs including government agencies, resulting in the passage of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) with support from OXFAM.

The Act has well spelt out provisions for the establishment of the Host Community Development Trust to provide organized funding for development of oil producing communities and mitigate the risk of high conflict and restiveness in the areas and #RevampNigerDelta. Our specific engagements built the capacity of CSOs, community leaders and young people to be able to engage the private sector, oil and gas companies and the government and demand a participatory open budget and contracting system.

In the second phase of the PVP campaign, CODE will continue this engagement by giving attention to the implementation of the provisions of the newly enacted regulatory framework in the petroleum industry (Petroleum Industry Act). CODE will ensure that the government sustains the already created “Commission” and the “Authority” via the transition of NNPC to become a commercial entity with no regulatory powers as NNPC Limited. At the Community level, we will strive to track and monitor the implementation of the Host Community Development Trust. To address the gap in access to information by citizens in states where the Freedom of Information Act has not been domesticated, we will carry out advocacy drives to stimulate citizens to push for the domestication of the Act at the focal states of Delta, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Imo, Rivers and FCT Abuja. For sustainability, we will also improve the capacity of CSOs to conduct evidence-based tracking and advocacy using the FollowTheMoney model to ensure effective utilization of resources in oil-producing states in Nigeria.

Navigating the world of development communication: Tale of a newbie

Communications July 12, 2022 0

By Joan Ayuba

Representing the Chief Executive of Connected Development (CODE) – Hamzat Lawal – at a recent event in Lagos tops the list of pleasant adventures I have embarked on since I transitioned into practicing development communications and started working with CODE.

My immediate thought was to ask colleagues for tips that would help me carry out the assignment I had been trusted with. I also knew that fitting into the CEOs shoes would require some padding, so I did the necessary research.

My flight from Abuja was delayed, so I arrived in Lagos in a panic, recalling people’s stories of missing events due to Lagos traffic. Lagos isn’t the best place to be, especially for someone used to the serenity of Abuja, but we stayed in one of the best hotels on the island, so it was well worth it.

On the day of the event, Partnership to Engage, Reform, and Learn (PERL) hosted a new media actors’ brainstorming session on governance, with a focus on pushing for local government autonomy, and many key actors across various sectors gathered to interact. From actors to civil society leaders, government officials, and so on.

I was initially intimidated by the speakers when the brainstorming session began and had internal debates about what my boss would have said in that situation. When a question about how to get Gen Z involved in governance was posed, I mustered the courage to speak up. That struck a chord, and when I asked for the microphone, the words flowed like a spring. It was fascinating to speak about what Connected Development is doing in various sectors as a new media actor. I managed to paint a clear picture of how CODE, through the leadership of Hamzat Lawal, was at the forefront of youth mobilization and by the time I was done talking, almost everyone wanted to know more.
People approached me to inquire about CODE, and in the process, we instantly secured a media collaboration, which you will hear about soon.

By the end of the session, I knew CODE was the place for me.

Some of the lessons from the session were that fighting corruption will be futile if the political process is plagued by fraud and corruption. As a result, there is a need to take advocacy to the State House of Assembly and persuade them to allow grassroots participation in the democratic process; alternatively, the masses could simply use already existing platforms. To be honest I felt proud because CODE was already doing most of the things they were talking about with Follow the Money and Open Parly and my thought was how to get citizens to take ownership of the call for accountability and in a way get the attention of relevant authorities.

People must be able to persuade the government to respond to their needs, but they must also understand their responsibilities as citizens, the division of powers within other branches of government, and who to hold accountable.

My big break was the opportunity. Prior to this, I had never worked in an environment that provided so many opportunities to anyone.

The room at CODE is large enough to hold everyone, and there is a seat for everyone, but to whom much is given?… Did I mention how Coworkers are always willing to jump in and lend a helping hand?

For the time being, I’m still trying to find my place. I’m also attempting to get inside everyone’s heads. I am a slow starter, and it usually takes me a while to adjust, but I no longer feel like a newbie. This ship has sailed, and I will keep you updated as I progress.

Federal Ministry of Agriculture leads MDAs to implement 2022 Zonal Intervention Projects across Nigeria

Communications July 9, 2022 4

By Kingsley Agu (Programs Manager, CODE)

The Zonal Intervention Projects (ZIP) are projects nominated by the 469 Members (109 Senators and 360 House of Representatives) of the National Assembly from the 36 states + the FCT worth 100 Billion Naira annually. ZIPs are popularly called Constituency Projects and as the name implies, they are to be executed in the constituency of each of the members in the National Assembly to ensure that development and government presence trickle down to all the Federal Constituencies in Nigeria annually. This 100 Billion Naira ZIP Budget allocation is shared in a 40:60 sharing formula for the Senate and House of Representatives members representatives. This means 40 Billion Naira goes to the 109 Senators while 60 Billion Naira goes to the 360 House of Representatives members to fund their constituency projects.

According to the Premium Times, there is equal distribution of the allocation to the 6 geopolitical zones. This arrangement means lawmakers from regions with more states have less funds on constituency projects. For example, lawmakers from the South-East zone with just 5 states have more funds for constituency projects than lawmakers from zones like the North-West with 7 states. 

In Deepening the interest of citizens’ in government’s spendings and addressing accompanying corrupt practices (DeSPAAC) project in Kaduna State with support from the MacArthur Foundation, Connected Development has discovered that House of Representatives members representing Kaduna State in National Assembly each gets just 65 Million Naira allocation annually for ZIPs due to that sharing formula. Hence, there’s a need for more equitable redistribution of the 100 Billion Naira ZIPs allocation across members of the National Assembly.

A deep dive into the 2022 ZIP Budget shows that 1710 Projects amounting to 100 Billion Naira have been budgeted to be executed under the 2022 Zonal Intervention projects (ZIP) across the 36 states of Nigeria + the FCT.  Data Analysis of the 2022 ZIP budget shows that members allocated the largest amount to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to implement their ZIPs as 28.7% of the budget (28.69 Billion Naira) was allocated to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development, this is followed by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) with 14% (13.69 Billion Naira) allocation, Federal Ministry of Science & Technology with 10.94%, Federal Ministry of Labour & Employment With 10.11%, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment with 6.08%, and Federal Ministry of Water Resources with 6.05% allocations respectively.

The Federal Ministry of Education, Federal Ministry of Health, and Federal Ministry of Women Affairs were allocated 5.4, 2.1% and 1.2% respectively. The pie chart below shows the distribution of the 2022 ZIPs among MDAs.

.

The 28.69 Billion Naira worth of projects allocated to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development are for 372 projects of which 29% (which is 107) of those projects are for Empowerment and Training. The SGF is to implement 257 projects while the Federal Ministry of Labour & Employment is to implement 213 projects in the 2022 ZIP (constituency project) Budget. The table 1.0 below shows the breakdown of the amount and percentage of allocation to each MDAs in the 2022 ZIP Budget

MDABudgeted% of Budgeted to Total
Federal Ministry Of Agriculture28,693,967,40628.69%
Ministry Of Communication Technology199,000,0000.20%
Federal Ministry Of Defence339,000,0000.34%
Federal Ministry Of Education5,393,972,0005.39%
Federal Ministry Of Environment1,155,222,0001.16%
Federal Capital Territory Administration50,000,0000.05%
Finance, Bud. & Nat. Plan1,153,000,0001.15%
Federal Ministry Of Foreign Affairs713,000,0000.71%
Head Of Service214,000,0000.21%
Federal Ministry Of Health2,117,145,1902.12%
Ministry Of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management AndSocial Development2,675,038,6662.68%
Federal Ministry Of Information & Culture3,218,124,3803.22%
Federal Ministry Of Justice685,666,0000.69%
Federal Ministry Of Labour And Employment10,109,271,04610.11%
Ministry Of Mines And Steel Development409,666,0000.41%
National Agency For Science And EngineeringInfrastructure (Naseni)903,000,0000.90%
National Assembly230,000,0000.23%
Federal Ministry Of Power560,599,0000.56%
Presidency240,000,0000.24%
Public Complaints Commission697,000,0000.70%
Federal Ministry Of Science And Technology10,940,945,53210.94%
Office Of The Secretary To The Government Of The Federation13,988,713,76013.99%
Federal Ministry Of Special Duties & Inter – GovernmentalAffairs1,571,000,0001.57%
Federal Ministry Of Youth & Sports Development30,000,0000.03%
Federal Ministry Of Industry, Trade And Investment6,083,184,3806.08%
Federal Ministry Of Transportation240,000,0000.24%
Federal Ministry Of Water Resources6,053,100,3006.05%
Federal Ministry Of Women Affairs1,203,384,3401.20%
Federal Ministry Of Works & Housing133,000,0000.13%
TOTAL100,000,000,000100.00%
Table 1.0: Breakdown of the amount and percentage of allocation to each MDAs in the 2022 ZIP Budget

Now that the details of the 2022 Zonal Intervention Projects (ZIP) Budget are now known, it is over to the citizens to #FollowTheMoney to ensure its effective utilisation to the betterment of communities across Nigeria.

Data shows Katsina State government is neglecting education in the State

Communications July 9, 2022 0

By Agu Kingsley (Programs Manager, CODE)

There is a worrying trend of declined education funding in Katsina State by the State government. Data made available from the Annual School Census report of the State government published on the Katsina State government website, reveals that from 2016 to 2019, there has been a constant decline in the percentage budget allocated to the Education sector in the State. This is evidenced by the allocation of 30.66% in 2016, 21.55% in 2017, 17.88% in 2018 and 15.75% in 2019 to the Education sector in Katsina State. The graph below shows the downward trend of the Education funding in Katsina state from 2016 to 2019

It is important to note that in 2019, Katsina State recorded the second highest number of out of school children in Nigeria with 781,500 children out of school after Bauchi State with 1.1 million children out of school (out of the 10.5 million out of school children in Nigeria). Though this figure has since dropped for Katsina State to 775,000 according to the aforementioned report and now 536,132 in 2022 according to UNICEF in a recent report published on This Day News.


Talking about the budget performance, data made available on the Katsina State government website shows the downward trend of the capital budget performance for Education in the State from 2020 to 2021. Only 35.4% (5.5 Billion Naira out of the budgeted 15.4 Billion Naira) of the budgeted amount for Education was spent in 2020 while 20.59% (4.1 Billion Naira out of the budgeted 19.7 Billion Naira) was spent in 2021. You can see the downward trend in the graphics below

It is paramount for the State government to address this downward trend in Education financing to consolidate on the successes recorded in the reduction of the number of out of school children in Katsina State.

The journey towards #Hamzy@35

Communications July 5, 2022 1

By Hassana Dy

When Hamzat Lawal was called on stage, I had no idea who he was. But by the time he was off the stage, he had painted a vivid picture of how he had started Africa’s largest social accountability movement, FollowTheMoney. The story of Bagega community in Zamafara State left me emotional.

I remember immediately recognising how inspirational he was. His speech had sparked a light in me and so by the time he was off the stage, I was grateful for the encounter and mustered up strength to thank him for his brilliant speech.

I was later opportuned to perform a poetry piece on the same stage Hamzat had given his speech. In short, I realized I had big shoes to fill. After my performance, my new source of inspiration; Hamzat Lawal, informed me how amazing my performance was and asked that I perform at his birthday symposium in March at Abuja. Without giving it a second thought, I accepted the invitation.

Preparing for the performance was like walking through unknown terrain. This is where the real work is.

Days were drawing nearer but I was yet to write something for the event. Remember that duckling in Tom and Jerry cartoon who was like… “I tried and tried and tried but I cannot swim! And it almost ended up in Tom’s boiling soup??” That was me.

The boiling soup was that of my manager who kept asking “Have you written anything?” And I’ll be like “I still have time. Don’t worry” and he’ll say “I trust you” and I’ll say “Don’t trust me please.”

At first, I wasn’t worrying. I had other background crises to worry about. But then I was worrying and panicking when I’ll spend the whole day trying to jot something down but nothing would come up.

One afternoon, after spending hours cracking my brain yet it wasn’t cooperating, I just went to my manager’s whatsApp page and released my bottled screams.

Usually, I write from my emotions and this helps me flow in whatever direction but this is a writing that has a theme; a constriction. So it was like I had to write within a designated cage.

Days later when we talked with Hamzat Lawal over the phone, he said he’d like me to do what I did at TedxShehuri -Alhamdulillah- and another piece of like three mins about his vision and mission.

That call served as all the motivation I needed until I took my pen, opened my book, tried to write and my brain went blank. I can tell how great of a man Hamzy is, from his TedxShehuri speech to the phone call we had, but I was finding it difficult to write. I had never felt more betrayed.

I was counting down the days, as the birthday symposium drew closer and looking forward to the piece I eventually came up with.

The first original stanza of the piece was…

‘This is for the girl who wakes up crying at night
Alone
Praying for all the pain to go away
Wanting to move on but not knowing how
Clutching her heart that’s shrieking with pain
Wanting to know what she did wrong
Where she failed
Building brick by brick every day
To protect herself from being broken again’

…That at the last minute had to be scraped out. First Five stanzas had to be scrapped out Including
‘This is for those listening
Wanting to be heard
For those laughing
Creating a sound to indicate happiness
That didn’t make it to their hearts
Coz all they do is drip tears from within
This is for the confused and lost
Seeking for a sign
Praying for ease
Searching for a way’

But I knew it had to go because I had written from a place of pain and heartache.

I was working on the piece as much as I was working on myself (which wasn’t working). I was asking for opinions from non-poets (my brother and sister), and consulting my poetic friends for corrections. I knew something was wrong somewhere but I couldn’t locate or fix it.

At last, two days before the symposium, I just gave up and decided to do it MY WAY. I wrote in my notebook, “Okay Janaan, this is what we will do. At such a short notice, you can’t make it ‘better’ you’ll only confuse yourself and have it all wrong. So what we will do is, you’ll just go, do what you do and let’s see how it works. Panicking, worrying and whatever won’t help. Do your best and let’s just see, okay?”

And yes! I always talk to myself.

On 10th March, after I waved goodbye to my family, I went and bought this legendary hat at a price I wouldn’t ordinarily have bought. My nerves were in full control but I knew I needed it for solace more than to shield me against the sun.

On 11th March, the dress I was planning to wear on stage was brought. For the first time, my tailor didn’t get it. I gave him a sample of Annah Hariri’s dress but he didn’t get the proportions right.

Our flight was delayed due to the weather. I had so many reels I’d wanted to create but part of our deal with my brother was he’ll accompany me there only if I don’t bombard him with snapping pics and videos and writing stories on them. I could only break the deal when I knew we’d left Maiduguri.

By 9pm, we had arrived at the nation’s capital and we met with the manager of Hamzy. Part of the highlight of the trip for me was that my brother and I were assigned two bodyguards I was also given a tag to grant me access to three of the platforms at the event venue plus some other VIP treatments. Man! The way I later laughed while narrating it to my manager? I was just imagining me fighting for Napep in Maiduguri yet here are Abuja people treating me like an asset. It felt nice.

I was informed that I would be the one to welcome Hamzat Lawal to the stage and I panicked but thought it was a great way to end my piece.

The day of the event finally came and the opening statement was rendered by Amina J Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations.

“Together, let’s build a world where everyone can live in dignity, prosperity and peace on a safe and happy planet,” she ended her speech with words I resonated with.

I particularly enjoyed the keynote speech delivered by Governor of Ekiti state, Dr Kayode Fayemi

One thing he said stood out for me: “Leaders are made from the principle of experience, of passion, and the readiness to sacrifice. Doors will not be opened for you. You’ve got to keep knocking and possibly break down those doors, “ the governor remarked.

After a series of presentations and more speeches, I was invited upstage for my performance. and told me I had only three minutes. I felt the wall caving it but I knew I had to deliver. It wasn’t as perfect as I’d wanted it to be. Several people in the room were telling me how incredible it was but all I could hear was “You made mistakes. It wasn’t as flawless as it should have been. It wasn’t perfect” And I was still shaking while Hamzy was on stage.

I don’t even know whether it was imposter syndrome, the voices in my head or the high expectations I have for myself but it took me at-least 12hours later, to convince myself that it was perfect.

The rest of the event moved on fast and I would never forget the amazing experience of being part of such an important occasion. I will call it a privilege and a great opportunity because I believe poetry is a divine language.

Overcoming obstacles, discovering new horizons; My four weeks as an intern at CODE

Communications June 27, 2022 8

By Stephanie Iwunze

As a third year student of Public Health, a 6 month work experience with a public health or public health related organisation forms a compulsory component of my bachelors degree program. I looked forward to this experience from my first year in Baze because I just wanted an escape from writing tests and examinations. 

The days leading to my first day at Connected Development (CODE) were a bit difficult for me to process. I was no longer enthusiastic about skipping tests and exams, instead I was wondering if I was ready after all. 

I joined the team on a Tuesday in the middle of May. As an intern, the idea is to amass as much knowledge and experience as I can by working with all the departments in CODE. The programs department was the first department I worked with. Ruth Okafor, a programs officer was directly responsible for assigning tasks to me and the first task was to take notes for a meeting’s report. 

Turns out this meeting was a weeklong workshop to review all the projects CODE is currently working on. At first I had no idea what was going on until I barely managed to make sense of the abstract words and acronyms I heard. Eventually, there was something I could fully comprehend without opening my dictionary or losing my train of thoughts; Project Sabi, a project aimed at tackling Gender-based Violence supported by Oxfam Voice. 

Another project that resonated with me was EMOC (Empowering Oil Rich Communities) supported by the FORD foundation. The aim of the project is simply to amplify the demands of citizens in oil-rich communities. The strategy employed for this project which involves citizen participation is something I find interesting especially because progress has been recorded around government waste management in the focal state; Rivers State.

The “Girl Child Education” project in partnership with Malala Fund which seeks to address the current  state of our educational sector is one other project I quickly picked interest in. My interest in this project is simply because it aims at  ensuring  the provision of 12 year free and compulsory education with no hidden charges. I am really looking forward to the education summit in Adamawa during  the last week of July. During the summit, all the North-East governors will pledge their support towards improving girl child education in their states. 

Thankfully, the workshop acted as a crash course on CODE’s activities for me.I also got to meet other staff members including the Chief Executive, Hamzat Lawal. His humility and ability to cordially relate with everyone inspired me. I watched him motivate CODErs to think outside the box and acknowledge the little success stories they get. I was encouraged to put in my best while having confidence in my abilities no matter how small.  

I was still trying to fully settle into the system when I was asked to join a team to draft a grant proposal for conducting a research on Violence Against Women and Children (VAW/VAC)  from the Sexual Violence Research Initiative (SVRI). This formed part of my onboarding process alongside other relatively new staff members. It was a huge challenge because I had struggled overtime with working in teams and I had no idea what a proposal was supposed to look like. Overtime, I enjoyed working with my team. We went back and forth on different concepts, raised constructive criticism and learnt from each other before we finally sent in a concept note on our proposed research topic for approval.

My third week kicked off with a motor park town hall meeting for Project Sabi which is focused on stimulating a movement aimed at ending all forms of violence against Women and Girls with men as the advocates in the participating states; Lagos, Abuja and Enugu.

Apart from the fact that I could easily relate to the project, it was a big learning experience for me. I observed the project officers come up with ways to manage whatever situation was thrown at us within seconds. Some key stakeholders of the project like the NURTW, NAPTIP, NOA and MoWA were in attendance. They made their contributions to the meeting after which plans for signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) commenced.

I was assigned to the Human Resource department in my fourth week and I worked directly under our HR manager, Nene Ibeku. We were working on hiring a few support staff members for a project running in seven states so I assisted with drafting the terms of reference (TORs)  for the different roles we were hiring. So far, this has been one of the most challenging tasks I have worked on but with Nene’s support and encouragement, I was able to put something meaningful together.

My time at CODE has been somewhat challenging but intriguing and I look forward to working with the several departments and doing even more challenging work before the end of my internship here at CODE.

Stephanie Iwunze is a third year student of Public Health at Baze University, Abuja. She hopes to use her experience at CODE as a stepping stone into an impactful Public Health career.

How One School Network is Helping Revive Post-COVID Education in Kenya

Communications June 26, 2022 1

For over a decade, Connected Development has worked hard to empower marginalised communities. In particular, its social accountability initiative, Follow the Money helps these communities hold their governments accountable. This project has become even more important due to COVID-19.

In its Kenya, Malawi, and Cameroon COVID Funds Report, CODE found that due to the lack of financial information it was difficult to track where resources were allocated in Kenya alone. This poses a further challenge for communities rebuilding in the post-COVID era.

In these circumstances, private or non-government-affiliated organisations play a significant role by providing resources where they’re most needed. One standout case in the field of education is Bridge International Academies, an Africa-wide school network that is helping revive post-COVID education in Kenya.

What is Bridge?

This school network spans African countries Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda, as well as the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Like its counterparts, Bridge Kenya offers low-cost yet high-quality education to the country’s communities. Its teachers are given data-driven, standardised teaching guides. They are designed to create a dynamic learning environment that gives pupils the opportunity to practice a core set of skills.

Amid COVID-19, Bridge Kenya instituted its ‘@Home’ programme. This provided pupils and their families with the parent-friendly learning guides, self-study activity packs, digital storybooks, and WhatsApp-accessible quizzes needed to continue learning throughout the pandemic.

Currently Bridge provides its education to communities hit hardest by the pandemic as they strive to rehabilitate. The network’s structured teaching system is also helping the pupils close any learning gaps that may have been caused by COVID-19.

The Bridge Effect

Although the structure of learning in a Bridge classroom may seem rigid, the teacher guides that nurture it are just guides. They allow teachers to merge their creativity and innovation with the speed and effectiveness that they deliver their lessons.

2019 Nobel Prize winner Michael Kremer even found that pupils at the pre-primary and primary school levels learn 53% more at Bridge Kenya. In other words, pupils could learn enough in two years’ time that would usually take other schools three and a half years to teach.

This makes a strong case for standardised education, especially today. With pupils going back to school after at-home learning and even younger pupils enrolling for the first time, the low-cost effective lesson plans Bridge provides proves that their method of teaching can quickly help Kenyan education get back on its feet.

Lessons to Share

In reviving post-COVID Kenyan education, we can learn from the challenges that the school network overcame to reach success. One was how to recruit and train teachers best suited to Kenya’s communities. This was solved through the Bridge Teacher Training programme – a rigorous selection process that recruits experienced teachers from their local communities.

Despite being a private institution, Bridge has also gained government support by sharing its “school-in-a-box” methods. This was evident from the launch of the EkoEXCEL programme in Nigeria in 2019 — a programme that’s seen similar results to the findings in Kremer’s study.

Finally, Bridge is taking steps to tackle gender inequality by changing pupils’ perspectives on gender roles while they’re young. All its textbooks, workbooks, and digital storybooks portray male and female characters in equal fashion and represent the latter in empowering and unconventional roles.

When it comes to bolstering Kenyan education post-COVID, Bridge International Academies in Kenya has a lot to offer. Its methods for training teachers, fostering learning, and tackling societal inequalities are definitely something to consider as possible solutions elsewhere in the country.

Article was written for https://www.connecteddevelopment.org/ by Allie Cooper

Allie Cooper is a mother-of-two writer who loves to cover how COVID-19 has impacted different spheres of everyday life – and how we can recover and thrive in the wake of the pandemic. In her free time, she loves reading, baking, and doing crossword puzzles.

Call for Third-Party Monitoring State Civil Engineer, for The Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment( AGILE)

Communications June 11, 2022 2

DEADLINE: 13th June 2022

Job Description
State Civil Engineer

Locations: Borno, Ekiti, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Plateau States.

Reports to: Project Lead

Organizational Background

Connected Development [CODE] is a non-government organization [NGO] whose mission is to empower marginalized communities in Africa.

We strengthen local communities by creating platforms for dialogue, enabling informed debate, and building capacities of citizens on how to hold their government accountable through Follow The Money.  CODE provides marginalized and vulnerable communities with resources to amplify their voices with independence and integrity while providing the communities with information that ushers social and economic progress.

To enhance effective democratic governance and accountability, CODE creates platforms [mobile and web technologies] that close the feedback loop between citizens and the government. With global expertise and reach, we focus on community outreach, influencing policies, practices, and knowledge mobilization.

One of the projects to be implemented to achieve this goal is the AGILE (Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment) project. The Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment (AGILE) Project was developed by the Federal Ministry of Education in collaboration with the World Bank as part of the Government’s long-term education reform agenda, to adequately address the identified constraints of accessing and completing secondary education facing adolescent girls in Nigeria.

AGILE consists of three distinct but complementary components. These are:

(1) Creating Safe and accessible learning spaces
(2) Fostering an enabling environment for girls) and
(3) Project management and system strengthening components.

CODE is calling for a civil engineer for the AGILE Project who will join the team to carry out the following responsibilities:

–   Measure outputs and outcomes using available data and by undertaking interviews and field assessments where necessary;

– Support the Project lead to prepare/update their system of tracking and reporting against their agreed performance indicators;

– Support AGILE to implement agreed institutional strengthening and personnel capacity building projects related to performance monitoring;

– Work closely with the engineers supporting capacity development of AGILE team .

– Track progress of AGILE project interventions and report in progress monthly;

– Collect data, analyze, and present data on outputs, outcomes, and impact of AGILE project in all localities;

– Support the project manager on project compliance, monitoring and reporting.

– Support the development of a monitoring plan

– Assist in providing training and technology transfer to national personnel

– Represent CODE in project implementation activities in the State, as directed by the Project Manager and the Senior Engineer to ensure that AGILE procedures and the standards adhere to all project implementation activities.

–   Ensure regular supervision of the monitoring plan progress and quality for on time delivery

– Provide data and information about project to the PM for reporting purposes.

Requirement

– Degree in Civil Engineering or related disciplines.
– Minimum 2 years’ experience
– Previous experience in monitoring project performance would be preferred.
– Experience in preparing reports on project progress is desirable.
– Strong in communication skill and speaks the local language fluently.
– A team player.

Method of Application:

Interested candidates should fill the form provided below. Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Women are strongly advised to apply.

APPLY HERE

Call for Third-Party Monitoring M&E Support Officer, for The Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment( AGILE).

Communications June 10, 2022 43

DEADLINE: 13th June 2022

Job Description
Monitoring and Evaluation Support Officer

Locations: Borno, Ekiti, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Plateau States.

Reports to: Project Lead

Organizational Background

Connected Development [CODE] is a non-government organization [NGO] whose mission is to empower marginalized communities in Africa.

We strengthen local communities by creating platforms for dialogue, enabling informed debate, and building capacities of citizens on how to hold their government accountable through Follow The Money.  CODE provides marginalized and vulnerable communities with resources to amplify their voices with independence and integrity while providing the communities with information that ushers social and economic progress.

To enhance effective democratic governance and accountability, CODE creates platforms [mobile and web technologies] that close the feedback loop between citizens and the government. With global expertise and reach, we focus on community outreach, influencing policies, practices, and knowledge mobilization.

One of the projects to be implemented to achieve this goal is the Third Party Monitoring of Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment (AGILE) project across seven states. The AGILE Project was developed by the Federal Ministry of Education in collaboration with the World Bank as part of the Government’s long-term education reform agenda, to adequately address the identified constraints of accessing and completing secondary education facing adolescent girls in Nigeria.

CODE is calling for a State M&E Support Officer for the AGILE Project who will join the team to carry out the following responsibilities:
He/ She will be responsible in assisting the Project team to design, coordinate and implement the monitoring and evaluation, research, and learning framework of the Project. He/she will assist to develop a systematic monitoring framework to improve the qualitative and quantitative evidence gathered by the Project.

Specific duties;

  • Collect data on a regular basis to measure achievement against the performance indicators.
  • Check data quality with partners
  • Maintain and administer the M&E database; analyse and aggregate findings.
  • Support project progress reporting, project mid-term review and final evaluation.
  • Provide advice to the supervisor on improving project performance using M&E findings.
  • Produce reports on M&E findings and prepare presentations based on M&E data as required.
  • Provide the Project Manager with management information she/he may require.
  • Check that monitoring data are discussed in appropriate forum and in a timely fashion in terms of implications for future action. If necessary, create such discussions to fill any gap.
  • Perform other duties as may be assigned by the Project Manager

Skills & Qualities  

  • Minimum of three (3) years of professional experience in an M&E position responsible for implementing M&E activities of international development projects.
  • Experience in designing, implementing, and operating project M&E systems from project initiation to closeout stages.
  • Experience in designing and managing beneficiary monitoring and database systems.
  • Proven experience in community projects.
  • Experience in Advocacy.
  • Excellent writing skills in English.
  • Outstanding communication skills (both written and verbal).
  • An ego-free attitude when it comes to taking constructive feedback and running with it.
  • Ability to work methodically and meet deadlines.
  • Positive, flexible, solution-oriented, and excited to work with a diverse team of professionals working toward a common goal.
  • Mature, coachable, and happy doing high-level projects.
  • BSc degree.

Method of Application:

Interested candidates should fill the form provided in the link below. Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Women are strongly advised to apply.

APPLY HERE