Category: News

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

Communications June 11, 2022 56

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.


– 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.


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

Communications June 10, 2022 156

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.


The COVID 19 Transparency and Accountability Project –  Platform

Lucy Abagi June 9, 2022 6

In a bid to provide African citizens with access to evidence on COVID-19 resources, leading social accountability initiatives, Follow The Money and BudgIT, with learning partners Global Integrity, launched a comprehensive user-friendly COVID-19 Fund Africa website as part of the COVID-19 Transparency & Accountability Project (CTAP).

The COVID Africa Tracking website has flexible navigation and functionality that allows visitors to access all data on COVID in Africa, including intervention resources, funds allocations, palliative distributions, accurate number of cases, data on COVID funds, vaccine management and government’s responsiveness.

The COVID tracking site also featured COVID analysis and research resources for seven focus countries: Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Cameroon and Nigeria. It highlights COVID status in these countries and also features knowledge centers on human angle stories curated from citizens across the countries. Built with a focus on user’s experience, the one-stop website ( has some of these attributes;

  • Live Updates on COVID data on a daily basis from all over Africa: 
  • Data Display to provide face-level information on the total number of COVID fund allocation to Africa and COVID cases.
  • Resource Filters which allows citizens to easily narrow down to the country or specific resource portfolio by clicking the African country they would like data on.
  • Research and Papers on COVID tracking and government’s responsiveness in Africa.
  • Rapid Response Functionality allowing the site to be compatible with all browsers and mobile devices.

All of these have allowed us a window of opportunity to engage with governments from all our focus countries, as this gives us opportunity to make informed decisions and ask the right questions from the concerned government officials across board. We believe we have led the way, we expect more citizens to take action with the information they now have access to. harnesses all data gathered from our work across Africa. The process that went into this included all partners submitting relevant data sets from in country, most especially our focus country, this was because, we understood some of these donations will not be on the world wide web because they were private donations, for example, Nigeria was able to raise over N20bn from private individuals across the country when COVID-19 hit the country, it was important to capture data sets like this, as this allowed us to know the full story concerning both cash and material donations. CTAP project leads in Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Cameroon were able to provide data sets of private donors from the country. 

All the gathered data needs to tell stories that can be related to by individuals and stakeholders across Africa. We also wanted the policy makers and leaders across all our focus countries to understand that we are aware and we are mapping out and implementing informed strategies to aid the reduction of corruption in the system of administering the funds received by individual countries. 

The platform does not only tell stories of data gathered, it’s also a repository of knowledge gathered across our focus countries, this includes, the research documents, human angle stories across Africa, Infographics, efforts to track in real time COVID-19 cases across africa and also tell stories as to how our focus countries are mitigating the effects of the pandemic in their respective countries. The platform has also allowed people to tell their stories and share challenges which they ordinarily will be afraid of sharing due to the consequences that follow such actions. 

In the past year, the website has had over 5,000,000 unique visits across the globe, this indicates that we are doing something right and we have also got some feedback to help improve the platform to better serve the needs of Africans and provide the best accountability platform everyone can trust. Our hope is that this platform actually gives every African the opportunity to hold their leaders accountable and give the insight to ask the right questions that will spur actions. 

The CTAP project needed to not only speak about the funds and donations coming into all African countries, we also wanted a platform where everyone who wants information concerning these funds can log into and get information. The success recorded by CTAP in all our focus countries largely sits on the back of the data we were able to collect from all open source platforms available to us. Bilateral, multilateral and private donors were the largest contributors to these funds across all African countries, we made sure not to only put our focus on Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Kenya and Malawi, we also spread our lens across all African countries. We know combing the internet for information is quite a task, however, we seek to make that easy by putting all verified information into the platform we have developed.

COVID 19 Transparency and Accountability Projects – The Challenges and Way Forward.

Lucy Abagi June 9, 2022 299

The COVID-19 Transparency and Accountability Project (CTAP) is an innovation implemented by Connected Development, BudgIT and Global Integrity with support from the Skoll and Conrad Hilton Foundation with a commitment to track all resources from public sector, private, multilateral and bilateral donors committed to COVID-19 pandemic. 

Phase one of the first year was implemented in seven countries – Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana, Malawi, Cameroon & Kenya with massive results and impact. 

Amidst all the success stories recorded, The CTAP project across focal countries encountered diverse challenges ranging from restricted public gatherings due to the pandemic and the shrinking civic space with accompanying media clampdown; as seen with the ban of Twitter in Nigeria.

Busayo Morakinyo CE Director Anchoring a panel discussion with CSO partners in Nigeria

Access to information, low political will accompanied by insecurity and uprising posed a challenge for the campaign team in ensuring smooth data collection, verification and dissemination. Notwithstanding, our multidimensional and citizen-driven strategy was utilized in ensuring the achievement of the project goals. 

The robustness of evidence was hampered by difficulties in accessing government records, Incident Action plans, audit reports and performance reports, etc., relating to the disbursement of COVID-19 funds and management. The broad unwillingness of officials to speak on the fiscal responsibility of states was frustrating and inhibitory. 

Our “carrot” approach was initially incorporated to ensure effective dialogue with government agencies on our research and tracking findings but this did not yield expected results. To mitigate this, our research and findings were cross-promoted via online and offline platforms resulting in massive outcomes and adoption of our recommendation by concerned government institutions. 

We activated civil society interest recorded during the coalition meetings but encountered stalled momentum in activating the aggregated actions due to funding constraints. The language barrier and financial constraint in publishing campaign materials in local country dialects and audiotapes for persons with disabilities hampered the dissemination of findings to grassroots communities. 

This also had some challenges for our human angle stories. Survivors of COVID-19 were not very open to telling their stories due to the accompanying stigma. We needed this to intensify the fight against misinformation, disinformation and fake news to fight these stigmatization. 

Our plan to work with the coalition was also initially challenged in some of the countries due to inadequate capacity of local CSOs to track government activities. However, we took time to train some of these partners and supported their project implementation process. We have also seen the need to advocate for the FOI (Freedom of Information Act) in these countries to make it easier to access government information and to demand transparency and accountability Specifically in; 


Language barrier during the dissemination of findings to grassroots communities was a roadblock. Transfer of functions of Government in Nairobi County to a new entity hampered access to information. Cessation of movement as a Government directive to control the spread of the pandemic restricted public gatherings hence affected FTM-Kenya meetings. Bureaucracy by Government officials hampered access to information. Finally, early campaigns and electioneering period led to limited civic engagement spaces which hampered transparency.


Across the focal regions, the robustness of evidence was hampered by difficulties in accessing government records, Incident Action plans, audit reports and performance reports, etc., relating to the disbursement of COVID-19 funds and management. The broad unwillingness of officials to speak on the fiscal responsibility of states was frustrating and inhibitory. The efforts of the researchers to access key documents from relevant offices and senior officials in the regions were stunted by time constraints imposed by the study duration (period) and the unfavorable attitudes of officials.

Insecurity in Bamenda and Mora hampered the tracking of PHC in the region. The security of the team was of paramount importance and could not be jeopardized. Throughout the implementation of the project in the crisis zones, the CTAP team respected  ‘’ghost town’’, during “ghost town” our champions did not go on the field to collect data.


Malawi invited government officials and representatives to be part of the coalition but none of them came through.  In addition,  we had set up numerous meetings with government representatives to present our research findings and recommendations on how covid 19 funds should be handled (transparency and accountability) but to no avail.   Only when we published our research in the local media platforms and sent the research findings to our individual connections is when we yielded results and our recommendations got to the President.  

In addition,  after we held our two coalition-building workshops, we had a lot of interest from like-minded organizations to be part of the CTAP project and track how the government is spending COVID-19 funds.  However, when it came to implementing the action plans, most of the organizations in the Coalition had to be pushed.  They also looked up to us to provide funds for the Coalition to carry out their activities.   The Whatsapp group that we created was vibrant at first but the engagement on the platform started hitting a dead end when we couldn’t provide financial support for the activities.  


The PHC campaign encountered other roadblocks, for example, meeting with the Executive Secretary of State Primary Health Care Development Agency (SPHCDA) in some States was next to impossible, insecurity in Kebbi and Imo States affected the campaign activities. In Kebbi State, the campaign was truncated. In Imo State, the campaign was completed after the safety of the FTM team was assured and the monopoly of mainstream media by the government hindered reportage of findings and outcomes in Ebonyi state.

Across the focal states, the robustness of evidence was hampered by difficulties in accessing government records, Incident Action plans, audit reports and performance reports, etc., relating to the disbursement of COVID-19 funds and management.  The broad unwillingness of officials to speak on the fiscal response of states was frustrating and inhibitory. The efforts of the researchers to access key documents from relevant offices and senior officials in the states were stunted by time constraints imposed by the study duration (period) and the unfavorable attitudes of officials. Specifically, the insistence of officials that such records can only be authorized by Executive Governors (Incident Commanders) implicates the strength and autonomy of public institutions and pervasive cultures of secrecy in the civil service. Due to malfunctional government websites, information was not easily accessible. To inhibit these, we hope to build stronger collaborations with the government, creating conducive platforms that would enhance political will for more openness with information sharing. We would request for ample time for project execution especially when  research is involved.

Insecurity in Kebbi and Imo States hampered the tracking of PHC in the region. The security of the team is of paramount importance and could not be jeopardized. 

In addition to the tracking of PHCs, the team was also very pertinent in telling the stories of Nigerians and how the pandemic affected their lives, sources of livelihood and the ability to scale through the economic hardship that came with the pandemic. To gather these stories, we tried to link the acclaimed government support most especially with the palliatives and the support funds that came in different forms and amounts to over N23tn. Our findings showed that the middle men looted most of these materials and funds. 

Notwithstanding all these challenges, we advocated and collaborated with governments in focus countries to provide and institute proper accountability along with procurement measures for all financial cum material donations received. Specifically

In Kenya, the CTAP team advocated and influenced policy by contributing to legislative amendments related to COVID-19 as follows:

  1. Public Finance Management Act (Emergency response fund) regulations 2020 policy was developed.
  2. Senate Adhoc Committee on COVID-19 situation committee requested the controller of budget and the Office of the Auditor-General to conduct a special audit report 
  3. Submitted a memorandum on the public procurement and asset disposal (amendment) bill to the National Assembly. 

In Cameroon, we influenced institutional audit processes across the ministry of public health and ministry of Justice on the use of funds intended for the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic at a time when persistent information indicates “serious” financial embezzlement.

In Nigeria, our advocacy influenced documentation of COVID 19 fund disbursement by the Ministry of State, Budget and National Planning, providing the public with the breakdown of COVID-19 funds expenditure and the process of distribution

In Malawi, we collaborated with the Center For Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) to track a Covid-19 school expansion project in Salima District. Government officials were engaged and all relevant stakeholders mobilized to track down and prosecute the defaulting contractor. 

In Ghana, our advocacy, augmented through our partnerships with other CSOs and activists, resulted in the formulation of a parliamentary committee to review covid spending. Senior members of the Ghana Audit Service have also indicated in meetings their acquiescence to undertaking a forensic audit of covid spending in the coming months. 

In Sierra Leone, our advocacy with other civil society groups and the media prompted law enforcement agencies (the Anti-Corruption Commission) to investigate and prosecute erring officials involved in corruption cases related to covid-19 funds.

In Liberia, our advocacy with other civil society organizations and media institutions led to the national government accounting for covid-19 funds. It strengthened existing partnerships with antigraph institutions, making covid-19 public financial data accessible to citizens.

Our result has been due to our multi-dimensional project approach that is flexible and all encompassing to accommodate new challenges and trends in solving social issues and with more resources the CTAP has proven that it has the capacity to scale and deliver results even in challenging and high-risk countries.

Nigeria’s Health System In the COVID 19 Era 

Lucy Abagi June 9, 2022 2

As the world woke up to the news of a novel virus, and the World Health Organization classifying it a pandemic, the Africa continent was projected to be the most hit due to the poor state of our health centers coupled with systemic corruption and increasing migration of health personnels in search of better and sustainable remuneration in developed countries. 

In Nigeria, the state of health centers are lagging, as recent data shows Nigeria as one of the worst places for a woman to birth a child. In fact, a new study by the Economist Intelligence Unit, EIU, ranked Nigeria the least (80th out of the 80 countries considered) with the study with a score of 4.74 out of 10.

In the early days of the pandemic, most organizations folded up and retrenched staff due to lack of funding as most donor agencies withdrew their resources in order to adequately prepare for the unknown and unanticipated impact of the pandemic.

Lucy Making A Presentation on Project designs and Ideation

As an activist with multidimensional skills in turning complex problems into fundable projects, I remember the ideation process that led to the creation of the COVID Transparency and Accountability Project- brand. Instead of resorting to fate and hoping that the mandatory COVID 19 lock down order be removed by the federal government, CODE’s CEO Hamzat Lawal, challenged us to either “innovate or die ” and shared some strategies around tracking COVID 19 funds.

At the aim of CODE’s operations in Abuja Nigeria,  HQ staff dribbled in some ideas and so did our Follow the money International chapters. In less than twenty hours, we had two ideas and Immediately, I reviewed the available ideas and confirmed they were novel, fundable and scalable. So I reviewed and a full concept note and innovation was birthed and shared with partners and prospective donors.

CODE & BudgIT Launch the CTAP in Abuja

Then, an opportunity appeared for a partnership with BudgIT, one of our strong allies in the sector and I quickly finalized on the concept note and shared with BudgIT team for inputs and after series of donor meetings and pitch sessions, we were able to access $500,000 from the Skoll and Conrad Hilton Foundation for the launch of the CTAP project in 7 African Countries (Nigeria, Kenya, Cameroun, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Malawi and Ghana). 

In Nigeria, the CTAP Project under CODE’s deliverables had diverse components including “Tracking the state of Primary Health Care (PHCs) and Vaccine distribution in Nigeria” in order to monitor the state of and vaccine storage in 15 States namely Cross River, Yobe, Bauchi, Gombe, Taraba, Abia, Anambra, Imo, Ebonyi, Benue, Kogi, Nasarawa, Plateau, Kebbi, Osun States across the 6 geopolitical zones of Nigeria, and monitor and advocate for a transparent and inclusive approach on the distribution of COVID-19 Vaccines in Nigeria. The PHC tracking component was crafted to increase citizens participation in advocating for transparency and accountability in the health care sector by monitoring and reporting the state of PHCs across Nigeria.  

Follow The Money team members across the 15 states conducted intense tracking and data gathering using our designed toolkit on the kobotool box. The result of this intense research revealed that only about 20% of PHCs meet the required standards for infrastructure, personnel, service delivery, vaccine storage and vaccine administration. From this analysis, it could be inferred that only two (2) out of every ten (10) PHCs in Nigeria are up to standard. Further discoveries show that 30% of PHCs do not have access to clean and safe water, as some facilities use wells as their source of water and 7% use rain water. However, maternity and ante-natal service showed up as the most readily available and accessed service across Nigeria.

The follow the money team (FTM) teams in each of the 15 States soon after data collection on PHCs commenced Community outreach (CO) in May, 2021. They engaged with community stakeholders such as community head/chiefs, women leaders, men leaders, youth leaders. This activity was targeted at compiling evidence to advocate for the improvement of PHCs by engaging community gatekeepers in garnering community support for the tracking of COVID-19 vaccines, create awareness for the importance of the vaccines, and identify the level of knowledge about services the PHCs render. This activity revealed the disproportionate ratio of PHC to the size of each community and community leaders testified that vaccines were hoarded in some communities by health workers.

The final activity in CTAP tracking was the town hall meeting which held across all project States, it served as a rendezvous for health workers, representatives of local governments area councils, the Executive Secretaries of various States Primary Health Care Development Agency (SPHCDA), traditional heads, community chiefs, women leaders and men leader, to have a dialogue and map out an action plan for the standardization of PHCs to efficiently service the communities that host them as well as foster their preparedness for future COVID-19 vaccine administration. 

To further intensify the campaign and present our findings across these states for policy changes and institutional restructuring across PHC, our team states have further engaged with key stakeholders and partnered with frontline media agencies in amplifying the findings in their states.

The representative of Gombe SPHCDA showing evidence of Kumbiya-Kumbiya PHC

We reviewed seven cases of COVID-19 related corruption, contacted witnesses, and gathered evidence. We also forwarded petitions to relevant prosecutory bodies. Six petitions were sent to ICPC(Independent Corrupt Practices Commission). ICPC reached out and has opened investigations into some of the cases upon receipt of our petitions. Our team is helping them with relevant facts/evidence in the cases.  

During the course of tracking the state of Primary Healthcare Centers (PHCs), the campaign garnered public and media attention in Osun State, South-West Nigeria, as conversations around the use of torch lights and candles to take delivery of babies in PHCs gathered momentum. According to public sources, the Osun State Government in 2019 received $20.5million from WHO as a grant to revitalize 332 PHCs. Less than two (2) years later, the revitalized PHCs are only visible with painted buildings but not in amenities.

Relying on findings during CTAP, the team influenced Rave 91.7 FM, a radio station with about 5.1 million listenership in Osun State, to carry-out more investigation on two (2) out of the six (6) PHCs we assessed. Find the story here

Two weeks after the findings were published, those two PHCs received brand new generators. The reporter who conducted the investigations, Emmanuel Ujiagughele, received the Best Reporter Award during the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) event in the State. Follow-up investigations were conducted by HumAngle, a notable reporting media in the State. The HumAngle publication of investigations made reference to FollowTheMoney/CTAP investigations uncovering gaps as well as the unresponsiveness of the State Government in being transparent and accountable for COVID-19 funds.

Another outstanding unanticipated success was entering into a formalized partnership with the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), a parastatal under Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Health responsible for the development of the primary health care delivery system, storage and distribution of vaccines in Nigeria. This partnership grants FollowTheMoney/CTAP access to all of the Agency’s data necessary for social accountability in the health sector as well as unfettered access to PHCs for joint monitoring and evaluation of health services, COVID-19 vaccine exercises and health intervention programmes across the Federation.

My Documentary Experience in Kano State

Communications June 9, 2022 2

By Ruth Okafor

In the first month of  2022, I was tasked with a different level of challenge when I was assigned project manager for the Galvanizing Mass Action Against Gender-Based Violence in Kano state (GMAA-K) project. The major objective of the project was to ensure that the masses join their voices to demand the passage of the Child Protection Act and Harmonized Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act (VAPP) Bill in Kano State. The adoption of the Child Protection bill and VAPP bill into law will increase protection for children and women against rights violations.

Our immediate approach was to document and amplify the stories of girls and women who have suffered varying degrees of Sexual and Gender-based Violence (SGBV). With this objective in mind, I and a small team traveled to the ancient city of Kano with nothing but recording equipment and hope that by telling these stories we influence an attitudinal change in the society.  

We visited the only Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) in the State and found reasons to further advocate for support, especially for survivors who were bold enough to tell their stories and seek help.

As far as telling stories go, this was one of the hardest documentaries I have had to work on. It was simply an eye opener as I was opportuned to speak with victims, understand their plight, and even share in their pain. 

Traveling down memory lane, I had just arrived in Kano State when the Attorney General of the State, Bar. Musa Abdullahi Lawan called to mention that he would only be available that day. That immediately put a strain on our plans as the documentary team was flying in and time was of the essence. As fate would have it, he eventually came around and we got the opportunity to talk at length about the status of the VAPP Act and Child Rights Act in the State House of Assembly. He assured us that the Bills would make it to passage before his tenure elapses.

Though he convinced us that the laws would be passed, I wanted to dig deeper and find out what the delay was and so when I asked about the hindrances and challenges delaying the passage of the Bill, he made it clear that the State operated and maintained a Penal Code, emphasizing that the existing penal code speaks to some aspects of GBV, hence the need for harmonizing the VAPP Act into the Penal Code as opposed to adopting an entirely new legal framework.

The Penal Code is a code of laws concerning crimes and offenses and their punishment. The penal code is similar to the criminal code that functions in the southern part of Nigeria. The penal code is prevalent in the northern part of Nigeria. 

But beyond laws and policies, there’s a bigger existential threat to victims who are denied justice after experiencing an attack or abuse. Speaking on this, he mentioned that most victims hesitate to pursue justice, especially parents, who are more worried about discrimination. This, as well as cultural and religious factors, make it hard for justice to be served and more often than not, cases are settled out of court and perpetrators walk free.

After the interview, a question kept burning in my mind: If the goal is to ensure justice,why aren’t  cases taken up as crimes against the State?

While I got no response to the question drilling hard in my mind, the happenings of the next couple of hours transported me to another disturbing state of mind. It was 10am the next day and we had set out to the Kaura Mata community to interview some survivors. We arrived a little past 11am, and were informed that the girls and young women who wanted to share their stories would have to wait for their husbands to set out on their daily activities before coming out. By 12pm some of them had started arriving.

We began setting up for the documentary at the home of the woman leader as that was the only place the young girls felt safe enough to share their stories and get support in the community. When we interviewed the woman leader, she stated that she had gone through a similar challenge as a young girl.

Ruth (Program Manager GMAA-K and some Kano state legislators

Besides the story of the woman leader, two compelling stories stayed with me even after I left Kano. 

The first is a story of Salihu (not real name), a 20-year-old lady who is a mother of four. She mentioned that at the age of 10 her parents wanted her to get married but she refused. This led them to send her to a food vendor in another community, where she got raped by one of the customers and fell pregnant. She got sent off by the food vendor and all her parents decided to marry her off to her abuser. Life for Salihu and her four kids got worse after her husband abandoned them.

For Zainab (not real name) a 17-year-old girl with a vesicovaginal fistula (VVF), life has been unfair. At age 14, she was married off to a 70-year-old man. She took in but lost her child due to the fact that he was born prematurely. In fact, between the ages of 14 and 17, she has lost several pregnancies. She also stated that her husband is currently bedridden and she has to cater for herself, her surviving twin, and the husband. 

The chill from the stories shared will forever be a memory which is part of the reasons I decided to pen them down. You can read through PART 2 of my experience documenting the stories of victims in Kano state.

Call for Proposals for Upscaling of iFollowTheMoney Platform

Communications June 3, 2022 15

Proposal Timeline 

Proposal Review: 

Project Start Date: Qualified proposals will include a timeline with the project start date as stated in the Scope of Work document within five (5) days of selection.

Organizational Background 

Launched in 2012, Connected Development (CODE), Nigeria’s leading civil society organization, has worked to improve public governance in Nigeria and across Africa by empowering marginalized communities to demand high levels of accountability and transparency from the government. 

To promote transparency and accountability as well as provide a platform for active participation of citizens in governance, we kickstarted the largest social accountability movement in Africa called “FollowTheMoney” (FTM) on in 2012. 

This platform enables citizens to source data, conduct both online and offline advocacy and amplify the voices of marginalized communities. It provides unique value to citizens by fostering social inclusion, quality service delivery, and social justice through tracking budgetary allocations and funds expended to provide quality education, healthcare facilities, and infrastructure for water and sanitation.

Our “iFollowTheMoney” web-based and mobile App-found on both Google Playstore and Apple Store- is a citizen-driven digital solution active in 300 communities with the ability to scale to 53 other African countries. For example, we reached over 1,800,000 people  on COVID 19 fund utilization advocacy in Nigeria in 2020 alone. FTM also leverages digital marketing, including social media, content marketing, and email marketing.

The “iFollowTheMoney platform” with over 8000 users will provide an effective civic engagement opportunity that fosters: participation in public space and public discourse, facilitates responsive, transparent, and accountable governance, and human, economic and sustainable development, which are some of the priorities of this fund.

Headquartered in Nigeria, FTM has footprints in The Gambia, Kenya, Liberia, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Malawi, Cape Verde, South Sudan, and Ethiopia CODE has reached 3 million rural people across 373 communities, through 247 campaigns. 

Our product is centered around the acceleration of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Our Vision

We envision a world where all people – even in the most remote areas of the globe – can hold their government accountable.

Our Mission

Empower marginalized communities in Africa.

Our Objectives

  1. Increase people’s access to information through whatever technological means they choose.
  2. Increase and share innovative approaches to information exchange through experimentation, research, and technology.
  3. Develop innovative platforms for coverage of social, environmental, and governance issues.
  4. Increase the adoption and implementation of international development laws and policies.

Our goals and objectives for upscaling the platform

  1. To build and empower an online community of passionate young people who are actively participating and holding their government accountable in order to increase citizens’ demand for effective governance and quality service delivery in Africa.
  2. Design a user-friendly application.
  3. To rebrand the platform 
  4. Clearly articulate who we are, what we do, and how we do it.
  5. To add functionalities and features to our platform..
  6. To enhance the user experience and design to ease users navigation.
  7. To make features on the Platform work properly.

Scope of the project

We intend to upscale and adapt the existing “ifollowthemoney” platform, which is currently up and running on the Google Playstore and Apple Store for Android and Apple users respectively with over 7000 users, to the contextual needs of more African countries ensuring more geographical spread. 

The platform will host courses that will empower citizens with the knowledge of budget tracking, citizen engagement, policy formulation, advocacy, and execution in their local dialect. We intend to adapt and upscale the following features below:

1. User interface and experience designs.

2. API development and documentation.

3. Web app.

  • Dashboard: with access levels, uploads, and user management.
  • Dashboard for all the platform members, data Search & filter features.

4. Android apps.

Download the complete call document here

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.

The 2022 African Women Summit is a timely initiative towards developing Africa – by Lucy Abagi

Lucy Abagi May 30, 2022 1

You can find women at the center of every social development initiative in Africa, having been grossly marginalized and left behind by their male counterparts. As the African continent evolves, its Agenda 2063 commits to improving women’s political participation through a more inclusive process for good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law. 

It is a fact that no nation can develop without a thriving woman population and so the Africa we want and will be proud of  is one where women have equal opportunities and platforms to participate, engage and influence policies at all levels without intimidation, hindrance, fear, but with full support.

Cross-section of some participants at the Annual Women Summit 2022, Kigali.

According to Africa’s Barometer 2021, African countries are still far from achieving women’s equal and effective participation in political decision-making. Latest reports state that women constitute only 24 percent of the 12,113 parliamentarians in Africa, 25 per cent in the lower houses, and 20 per cent in the upper houses of parliament. While local government is often hailed as a training ground for women in politics, women constitute a mere 21 percent of councilors in 19 of the countries for which complete data could be obtained.

Despite the widespread adoption of and progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals, Africa continues to lag behind most of the world when it comes to socioeconomic development. In fact, a recent report by the Sustainable Development Goals Center for Africa — Africa 2030: Sustainable Development Goals Three-Year Reality Check”—reveals that minimal progress has been made and, in some instances, there is complete stagnation. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has further amplified pre-existing inequalities creating new constraints to women’s participation in decision-making. 

As of 1 February 2021, over 3,5 million cases of COVID-19 had been recorded in Africa with 88,993 deaths. This accounts for approximately 3% of identified cases and 4% of deaths globally. There is limited sex disaggregated data available on cases and deaths due to COVID-19, as some countries disaggregate data, while others do not. 

It is therefore pertinent to prioritize and promote initiatives that are systematically designed to promote and stimulate meaningful collaborations, coalitions and networks for improved women participation geared towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa and strategically close up the existing inequality gaps at all levels.

Ambassador Meshack Hart, Executive Director, EEEI and Convener COWAP

Based on the aforementioned, Engage, Educate and Empower Initiative (EEEI) through the Coalition of Women in Africa for Peace and Development (COWAP) launched an Annual African Women Summit aimed at harnessing the enormous capacity and goodwill of Women in Africa by bringing them under a coalition towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) centered around four thematic areas: Peace and justice, girl child education, ending hunger and ending poverty. COWAP seeks to localize the SDGs by illustratively understanding, elaborating, amplifying and establishing linkages and promoting partnerships and networks for women and girls to strive in the 21st Century at all levels in Africa. 

Connected Development (CODE) has over the years supported COWAP in amplifying their work and providing institutional support for the smooth implementation of diverse initiatives launched by EEEI including the AWS.

Rwanda Cultural Troop-Inyamibwa

Kigali Rwanda (The Land of Thousand Hills) hosted the 3rd edition of the African Women Summit at Marriott Hotel Kigali from the 12th to 14th May 2022 with over three hundred (300) delegates from eighteen (18) African countries (Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Benin Republic, Cameroon, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, South Africa, The Gambia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Canada, Namibia, Uganda, and Rwanda).

Lucy Abagi Moderating the Youth Panel during the AWS 2022. 

The event brought together dignitaries such as the First Lady of Nigeria; Her Excellency Aisha Buhari who was ably represented by Amb. Aishatu Aliyu Musa the Nigerian Ambassador to Rwanda, The Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the National Revenue Authority Sierra Leone; Dr. Mrs. Tuma Adama Gento-Kamara, The First Lady of Benue State; H.E Dr. Eunice Ortom Samuel, First lady of Bauchi State; H.E Hajiya Dr. Aisha Bala Mohammed, The Manager of Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) at African Development Bank; Marieme Esther Dassanou, Former African Union Youth Envoy; Aya Chebbi and members of the international community.

To provide programmatic support and project visibility support for the third edition held in Kigali, Rwanda from the 11th – 15th of May 2022, CODE sponsored me to represent the Chief Executive, Hamzat Lawal. Key outcomes from the third edition was the inauguration of a Technical Working Committee  made up of (​​Mrs. Maneng Sunday Patricia- Founder, Girls Empowerment Leadership Association, Thea Weeks- Guest- Lecturer, Facilitator, Motivational Speaker, Dr Antonel Olckers- CEO of DNAbiotec (Pty) Ltd, Dr Louisa Akaiso- Founder WWWA- Women Who Win Africa, Dr.Mrs. Tuma Adama Gento-Kamara- Chairperson of the Board of Directors, Dr. Mrs Tonyo Michael-Olomu- Lecturer, Federal University Otuoke, Bayelsa, Aya Chebbi- Former African Union Youth Envoy, Founder & Chair of Nala Feminist, Emmaline Datey- Public Speaker, Entrepreneur, Business Coach, Corporate Trainer, Marieme Esther Dassanou- Manger, Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa(AFAWA), African Development Bank Group and Pharmacist Isaac Onoja- CEO of Minds and Emotions Center) to coordinate and plan towards the AWS 2023 edition. Key results emanating from the summit are strong collaborations and partnerships by women groups towards influencing diverse social actions and making their voices count.

Inauguration of Technical Working Committee – AWS 2023

Personal learnings from this trip for me was the revolution of Rwanda from the genocide that plagued their land with over 1,000,000million lives sacrificed for the peaceful revolution they now embrace. The story of Rwanda is for every African and their leaders to emulate and take queue from, especially as it pertains to development, reforms, peace and security. Wars and conflicts have their fair cost, and the price of peace is unquantifiable. Rwanda is a living chronicle of a reinvented system that rests on the shoulders of Peace and Unity. 

As we plan ahead for the Annual Women Summit 2023, we anticipate that the initiative will garner public and donor support to provide the platform for more women to inspire, collaborate and network towards changing the narrative for improved women participation geared towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa.

Lucy James Abagi is a passionate and result-oriented Fundraiser, Development Programmer and Innovator. Over the last five years, she has gathered vast layers of experience in managing diverse development programs, bid writing, responding to diverse solicitations by international donor agencies and writing winning proposals.

Twitter- @lucydavis2021

Instagram- @LucyJamesAbagi


Facebook – @LucyJamesAbagi

Gender-Based Violence: Are we ever going to get the desired change? – By Hyeladzira James Mshelia (Programs Associate)

“Madam if you like dey under this sun dey do training from morning till night if na rape issue, I go rape, my wife. Her body na my own”

I was utterly dump-founded, livid and startled. I was not sure if I heard right or if my mind was playing a fast one on me. Perhaps from the fatigue of trying to get a suitable motor Park in Enugu State to carry out our Project SABI motor park town-hall. 

I thought to myself that this man had some nerve to spew such distasteful words. How dare you openly admit that it is ok to forcefully have carnal knowledge of someone else. More so, your wife!
Statements like these, draw you into the reality of the appalling state of Gender-Based Violence in Nigeria and how these cases keep increasing in Nigeria despite all efforts to stem the tide. Violence against women – particularly intimate partner violence and sexual violence – is a major public health problem and a violation of women’s human rights, the World Health Organisation has stated.   Estimates by WHO indicates that globally about 1 in 3 (30 per cent) of women worldwide have been subjected to either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime. Recently, the United Nations declared Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) as a ‘shadow pandemic’ while calling for urgent, comprehensive, and effective actions by duty-bearers to curb the menace.

What CODE and BQA are doing with support from OXFAM Voice to change the status quo 

Hyeladzira Mshelia CODEs Programme Associate giving a presentation on project SABI

To address these issues, Connected Development (CODE) and Boys Quarters Africa (BQA) with support from OXFAM Voice began a grass-root engagement approach with Men & Boys, on the “Project SABI” to directly impact and empower victims, and especially young people across FCT, Lagos and Enugu, with necessary information on their roles as responders using diverse reporting channels to mobilise mass voices. This project is aimed at seeking new approaches to tackle Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV).
I bet you are asking why men and boys right? Men and boys are key to promoting gender equality. The focus of this project is on engaging Nigerian men and boys as gender allies in their households and communities. We hope to bring together men and boys to challenge existing gender norms and plant new seeds of thought about the role of women in Nigerian society. Men and boys can shift existing gender norms by engaging with and understanding their privilege.

A driver lending his voice during our motor park town hall in Enugu State

Over the years CODE has led strategic campaigns that address issues affecting women and girls including gender-responsive budgeting, girl-child education campaigns and campaigns to eliminate all forms of violence targeted toward women and girls. I have been privileged to spearhead most of these gender campaigns but for obvious reasons, project SABI stands out.  This specific campaign is urging me to be even more relentless in my fight against Gender-Based Violence, more so, in an insane country like my dearly beloved. Nigeria has sworn to remain a truly complex nation whose growth is double-edged. As we grow in age and population so have we grown in all facets of crime and injustice. I am saddened by the trajectory of this nation and the lack of justice for almost everything and everyone. 

Remember how ​​Blessing Otunla’s unclad body was found in a brackish ditch in Iddo village, Abuja, Nigeria’s capital? How about the Nigerian gospel singer Osinachi Nwachukwu?  Was it not recently that a 22-year-old Oluwabamise Ayanwola, a promising fashion designer’s body was found after she went missing on February 26, 2022? Let us not forget that it has been almost two years since Uwa Omozuwa, a 22-year-old 100 level student of the University of Benin, was raped and killed inside a Redeemed Christian Church of God parish on May 27, 2020. 

You see, these barbaric acts have gone on for so long and I ask myself, Are we ever going to get the desired change? I have sisters and adorable nieces that I will detest if they made the headlines for the wrong reasons. Permit me to say ‘my tired is indeed tired’ 

However, It is time to take greater action therefore, I call on the Nigerian government and relevant stakeholders to accelerate efforts to curb Sexual and Gender-Based violence in Nigeria. There is so much work to be done. A holistic and intentional approach by you and I will go a long way in mitigating this menace. Tell the person sitting next to you that it is never alright to rape/ molest anyone and of recent anything. Oops! I said it.