Educating the girl child: Whose duty?

Communications May 31, 2022 0

By Joan Ayuba

Many girls today are not educated beyond a certain age. According to UNICEF, 129 million girls are out of school; 32 of primary school age and 97 million of secondary school age. The constitution of Nigeria states that every child, boy or girl, has the right to an education. The Child’s Rights Act (2003). The constitution even mandates free and compulsory education for children aged 6 to 15. (Compulsory, Free Universal Basic Education Act, 2004).

However, many girls drop out of school after the junior secondary level because this stipulation does not extend to the senior secondary class and their parents are unable to pay for them to continue. These girls end up on the streets or in husbands’ houses, shortening the value they would have brought to the community.

Education is regarded as the foundation of every community because it is one of the quickest and most efficient ways of promoting economic growth. Women and girls account for half of the world’s population and thus half of its potential.

The extent and quality of a woman’s participation in society are heavily influenced by her educational level. Education enables her to carry out her family, political, and other citizenship responsibilities, as well as exercise her other rights. Since everyone benefits from the result of the woman’s education, whose duty is it to train her? Investing in a girl’s education changes her community, country, and world. Girls who attend school are less likely to marry young and are more likely to live healthy, productive lives. To their families, it enables them to earn income, and participate in decision-making. and build better futures for themselves.

To their society, education strengthens their ability to contribute to the economies, participate in decision making and reduce inequality. They also contribute to a more stable, resilient society that gives all individuals a chance to fulfill their potential.

Politically, it paves the way for political participation and empowers them with the necessary knowledge to actively and effectively oppose oppressive norms and contribute to the development of a nation. 

So, once again, who is responsible for training the girl child? Because investing in girls’ secondary education is one of the most transformative development strategies, it is critical to prioritize efforts that enable all girls to complete secondary school and develop the knowledge and skills they need for life and work. As individuals and organizations, we owe it to the girl-child to help her reach her full potential by empowering and advocating for her in any way we can.

Connected Development (CODE) has continued to advocate for girl child education in Nigeria through the Malala Fund. We are advocating for free education not only for the first nine years (junior secondary schools) but also for a twelve-year period (senior secondary schools).

Education is about girls feeling safe in the classrooms and supported in the careers they choose to pursue, including those in which they are frequently underrepresented. Education is a fundamental right that we should be naturally entitled to. Therefore, to answer the earlier question, since the girl contributes invariably to her family, society, and nation when trained, everyone has to train and support her.

Education serves as an avenue of exposure to cultural alternatives and offers an opportunity of being valued members of the society, every generation has a duty to reciprocate by educating the generation that comes after it.

CODE’s Pearl Utuk Emerges Mandela Washington Fellow out of 9,000 applicants

Communications May 17, 2022 3

Pearl Utuk leads and supports a range of CODE’s thematic focus in the grassroots communities.

For a decade, Africa’s leading civil society organization Connected Development (CODE) has invested not just on the empowerment of marginalized grassroots communities, but also, in the personal and professional growth of its young, talented and vibrant workforce.

Out of 9,000 applicants, Pearl Utuk who works as a Programme Officer with CODE emerged as one of the 56 carefully selected winners of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for the 2022 cohort.

“Since joining CODE, Utuk has led several projects and campaigns for FollowTheMoney, the social accountability initiative of CODE. She is presently supporting the implementation of COVID-19 Transparency and Accountability Project (CTAP) which is designed as an intervention to tackle COVID-19 vaccine distribution equity and health sector accountability in 9 African countries”.

“Utuk also leads several projects in the education space targeted at improving both literacy and access to quality and timely education for children from low-income earning families, especially girls’. Her experience with CODE will enable her to maximize the opportunity afforded by the fellowship”

The program which will officially kick off in June 2022 will allow the Fellows travel to the United States of America to participate in six-week Leadership Institutes studying Business, Civic Engagement, or Public Management at U.S. colleges and universities.  At the conclusion of the Leadership Institutes, the Fellows will attend the annual Mandela Washington Fellowship Summit, where Fellows, U.S. government officials, and representatives from businesses and organizations with interest in Africa engage in high-level sessions and workshops.

Commenting on the significance of the Fellowship, Ambassador Leonard stated, “The United States is dedicated to investing in the next generation of young Nigerian leaders reinforcing the strong partnership between both nations.  The vision, courage, and drive to innovate of Mandela Washington Fellows will help shape the future of Nigeria for many generations to come.”

Launched in 2014, the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is the flagship exchange program of the U.S. government-sponsored Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) created to further the United States’ commitment to investing in the future of Africa.  Each year, U.S. Missions across Sub-Saharan Africa select accomplished leaders, who have established records of promoting innovation and positive impact in their countries. 

Since 2014, over 5,000 young leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa have participated in the MWF with 456 Fellows hailing from Nigeria.

Signed:

Hamzat Lawal

Founder/Chief Executive, Connected Development [CODE]

Media Info: Seun Durojaiye Contact: O8178121247 or seun@connecteddevelopment.org

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS FOR CSOs WITH INTEREST & CAPACITY TO CONDUCT GRASSROOTS GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY CAMPAIGNS

Communications April 27, 2022 2

Deadline: 31st May 2022.

Washington, D.C.-based Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) is offering two small grants, each up to $4500, to local civil society partners with interest and capacity to conduct grassroots government accountability campaigns.

Recipients of grants will receive support, training, and mentoring from CIPE and its Nigeria-based partner Connected Development (CODE), together with its associated media program, Follow The Money (FTM).

Amount: $4,500

Donor: The Center for International Private Enterprise

Partner: Connected Development / FollowTheMoney

Overview:

CIPE seeks to support local anti-corruption partners in two countries to conduct high-impact grassroots social media campaigns to combat corruption and increase government accountability. CODE/FTM’s modern advocacy approach is organised around the theme of investigating government funds set aside to benefit the public. The approach builds on traditional grassroots organising and leverages technology, social media, and freedom of information laws. CODE/FTM’s work has shown that even a single activist can swiftly shine a light on government inaction and be amplified by hundreds of supportive followers.

CIPE and CODE are looking for partners with experience or interest in using national freedom of information laws to obtain information about specific projects and then using that information to carry out grassroots awareness-raising campaigns. Applicants should have some background in grassroots mobilisation and social media campaigning.

Grant recipients will receive financial support, virtual and — travel restrictions allowing — in-person training from CODE and CIPE experts as they learn, apply, and execute an FTM grassroots campaign. Grant recipients will also have the opportunity to participate in an end-of-project event to review the results of the completed campaigns.

Scoring criteria:

– Quality of issue area

– Feasibility

– Capacity

– Quality of experience

APPLY HERE

Deadline: 31st May 2022.

LETTER TO A MALE CHAMPION ON INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

Communications March 21, 2022 0

Dear Friends,

In 2017, I challenged myself and other sisters to do two things on every International Women’s Day (IWD): celebrate a sister whose strength has borne you through the years, and write an open letter of affirmation to one male champion who has been a firm handhold and foothold in this journey through life. In the year that he will celebrate his 60th birthday, (born on 18 December 1962), I am celebrating Salihu Mohammed Lukman (SML), my husband, and a role-model life partner for a feminist like me. I wish him happiness on this IWD.

Where have the years gone? I know: they went into the making of us. SML and I have known each other forever 30 years, 26 of which we have been married. Over the years, we have encouraged each other to be better versions of ourselves. We have argued, debated, and disagreed, too. How boring would life be without the spats! But weal was resolved, in the end, to solve our issues by ourselves.

SML has taught me that there is no easy way to be a good man. It takes effort and the consciousness of what is the better road to travel. It also takes acknowledgment of one’s mistakes and keeping one’s pledges to do better.

We have matured together from our ‘okada’ riding days. Our many milestones include our first homes, our first child, and our first degrees. Through it, all, our friendship and common values have grown stronger. SML is a stellar feminist spouse.

They ask what do feminists want in a marital relationship? Well, not too much. Feminists treasure husbands and partners who let us be us. We want our spouses to toughen us and help us negotiate better and walk in our own paths. So doing, they enable us to conquer obstacles and discover new horizons and achieve beyond what we had imagined.

Feminists love spouses that do not feel threatened by our success. When sometimes they tell us maybe you should not do that, we do anyway. Sometimes we are right and at some other times, they are right. Regardless of who is right, our mutual respect endures.

We love spouses who seethe gem in us and don’t allow religion, ethnicity, race, or age to be a barrier to the expression of our love. Such spouses listen to our advocacy; they understand that what we want is a better society and a better world–not only for ourselves but also for our children and generations unborn.

Our husbands are our most important partners. While much of society, including some of those elected to protect women, still struggle to grapple with apparent or nuanced gendered relationships, our husbands love and respect us, appreciate our openness, and want us to succeed. They demonstrate their support in the place that matters most: our home–where they don’t see it as odd to cook for us, bath the children, and change a diaper as occasions demand.

In the spirit of this partnership, feminist wives know it is alright to spend our income on the family. It is no business of outsiders how we make ends meet at home. Who buys the bread and who pays the rent are unimportant to the partnership. What are important are equity, fairness, friendship, and solidarity?

If you are male and wondering how to be a happy man, know that masculinity can also oppress you. In moments when you need to let out the emotions and cry, society may prevent you from enjoying the health derivable from doing so because you are a man. Sometimes your humanity may be at stake when you need to pick up your own plate, lay your bed, cook for your own family, but you don’t because you don’t want to be called a woman wrapper. ‘But it is alright for a man to cry, care for his family, and share in the household chores. In any case, when you were born, you were wrapped in a woman’s wrapper as your mother cuddled you and gave you your first experience of life’s nurture

In closing, I would like to speak to when a feminist is married to an activist I am. SML speaks truth to power. Through his many open letters, he gives power to truth. I may sometimes worry about the letters and quibble over their timing, but I always understand the principle and the logic being expressed without trepidation. Through their thoughts, our teachers and mentors had raised us on their shoulders to have a clear view of the world; they prepared us to navigate the labyrinth that is life. Whether working from within or from without, we are change-makers. SML and I will always strive to positively impact our world.

I would like to affirm my husband for embodying these values and to say, with love, Happy 60th Year, in advance. Allah ya ja kwana. (I pray that his life is long) and continues to be a beacon of hope and courage and a powerful symbol of possibility for the many watching, including our children. Happy International Women’s Day 2022 to you all.

Amina Salihu

08 March 2022

Gender Equality Today For A Sustainable Tomorrow
#BreakTheBias

CODE Gender Policy

Communications March 17, 2022 1

The Gender Policy represents CODE’s commitment towards gender equality. The Gender Policy provides guidance on how Connected Development (CODE) intends to mainstream gender equality, equity, and social justice in organizational practices, policy formation, campaigns, project development and implementation, monitoring, and evaluation. The policy is based on the human rights-based approach that seeks to improve the rights of children, women, and men to ensure full participation and equal benefits from democratic processes. The human rights-based approach focuses on those who are marginalized, excluded, or discriminated against. Read More

Fourth Quarter 2021 CODE/FTM report 

Communications March 1, 2022 0

The last quarter of the year 2021 was indeed a rollercoaster. With project managers putting in extra hours to ensure that project deliverables were met in accordance with both internal and external protocol. 

An outstanding loss for the team was the demise of our friend and colleague Alfred Anichi Oji, who until his death was CODE’s Digital Media Officer. Alfred was respected and admired for his enduring commitment and outstanding contributions to the development space and to CODE.

READ FULL REPORT HERE

Third Quarter 2021 CODE/FTM report 

Communications March 1, 2022 0

The third quarter of 2021 was in furtherance of CODEs strategic plan. On the journey towards taking hold of governance processes and seeking more accountable systems, we made advancement in education, health, energy, governance sectors through various projects championed by vibrant youths who believe in an inclusive Nigeria for all by creating feedback loops between the people and the government and strengthening systems and communities along the way.

READ FULL REPORT HERE

Second Quarter 2021 Follow The Money Report

Communications March 1, 2022 0

In the first half, We recorded significant results from hosting an audacious COVID Transparency and Accountability Conference to kicking off the tracking of N1.1Bn Kaduna Constituency Projects, to advocating better living standards for residents in Oil-producing states, and working with State Governments to demand an end to GBV. We began this second half of the year on the bedrock of enhancing citizens’ engagement, building partnerships and collaborating with institutions who share in our vision to accelerate timely intervention for marginalised groups.

READ FULL REPORT HERE

 First Quarter 2021 Follow The Money Report

Communications March 1, 2022 1

We kick started the year ready to evolve and expand our work across more African countries, reaching more marginalized communities with the message of Follow The Money. To officially launch the programs and campaigns for the year, we engaged our HQ staff as it is the norm in a 3 days strategic and planning meeting in order to reinforce the organisational goals, build synergy across departments and map out deliverables and engagement strategies for our cohort of volunteers and champions.

READ FULL REPORT HERE

CODE signs MOU with NPHCDA to strengthen health sector accountability

Communications March 1, 2022 0

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and Nigeria’s leading civil society organization, Connected Development (CODE) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to strengthen and foster health sector accountability in Nigeria. 

The MOU is a vital step towards enabling CODE to further expands its tracking and evaluation of Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) across the country, to inform its advocacy in canvassing for improved primary healthcare infrastructure and service delivery.

READ FULL DOCUMENT