Where the Dry Crops Won’t Grow: A Too – Familiar Story of #Bachaka

codepress November 18, 2015 0

In Kebbi State, nothing must have mattered to them , other than their dry season crop planting, but there is a community that is doubting how much they can make, off the planting season – Bachaka, with an estimated population of 5,000 with 1 health center, a primary and secondary school, and the community thrives on four water hand pumps.

The FTM Team engages the Deputy Head of Community at Bachaka on prospects and challenges of the GGW

The FTM Team engages the Deputy Head of Community at Bachaka on prospects and challenges of the GGW

 

In November 2014, Bachaka became the first of 200 communities that would benefit from the Great Green Wall (GGW) project. A project that hopes to provide 1,500km of shelter belt from Kebbi to Borno State; provide water and social projects in 200 beneficiary communities. Lurked away from the city center of Kebbi, Birnin Kebbi, and just 40km away from the Republic of Niger in Arewa Local Government Area, there seems to have been an appreciable progress in Bachaka , since the inception of the GGW, a year ago.

 

“We have two representatives from our community that was sent on trainings and site visits to Zinder, Niger; there has been several awareness programmes as well, especially in making an income from planting economic trees, likewise there is a Ministry of Environment representative who visit here monthly” highlighted Abubakar Maiyaki (Mai Yakin Bachaka), Deputy Head of Community in Bachaka

 

The 1km shelterbelt in Bachaka is thriving, and has had its forest guards and security guards in place watching over it, but there are challenges as well. “Since we started about 4 months ago, we have not been paid our salaries and that has been frustrating for us and our families, as such we urge the government to come to our plight.” complained one of the security guards.

In the background is the spoilt solar and wind powered water tank

                                                  In the background is the spoilt solar and wind powered water tank

 

Shelter belts projects cannot survive without the provision of orchards and nurseries, so that other trees can be planted by the community, but their is a setback for this in Bachaka.” We have written the Federal Ministry of Environment times without number, to come and fix the solar wind powered tank since it stopped working , as all the nurseries and orchards are getting dried up.

 

In Bachaka, two solar powered tanks were installed: One that provides water source to the shelter belt, and another one that provide water for the orchard and nursery.The latter was at first a wind powered water tank which broke down some days after it was installed, it was then replaced by a solar source which also stopped working just 3 months ago, because the pump for the water was stolen! “Farmers that rely on the broken down water source cannot plant this dry season, as their crops get dried up, just like the orchards are already drying up, the tank should be fixed as soon as possible” said Ashiru Mohammed, one of the security men in charge of the orchards.

The nursery for the Acacia, Doum Palm and the Date Palm already drying up in Bachaka

                                    The nursery for the Acacia, Doum Palm and the Date Palm already drying up in Bachaka

 

Ashiru Mohammed was not only the security in charge of the orchards, surprisingly, he doubled as the owner of the land, and pleaded with the government to pay him is compensation for acquiring his land. Ashiru made us understand that he was only looking after the place because of the passion after one of the sensitization programme in Bachaka. Umar Musa, the Director of forestry at the Kebbi State Government affirmed some of the plights of other shelter belts in Kebbi, and was really skeptical about the success of the GGW, if their is not a new direction for the laudable project.
So why, who and how was the pump for the solar powered tank stolen, perhaps there was no guard for the orchard before now, and many times we get cases of stolen pumps when solar powered tanks are installed in rural communities, Bachaka isn’t the first and might not be the last. Despite the progress since the GGW was flagged off in Bachaka, there are too many challenges of consolidating gains with local stakeholders, thus posing a challenge to the sustainability of the GGW in Kebbi State as a whole.In the next coming months, we will be catching up on stories from Bachaka, and how the water issues will be solved to allow farmers continue their dry crop farming.

Aftermath Poor Implementation of #WomenCookstoves Project: Stakeholders Urge New Minister of Environment to Support Local Markets for Alternative Energies

codepress November 17, 2015 0

Connected Development’s [CODE]  Follow The Money project, held its’ fifth stakeholders meeting on the 9.2 billion Naira allocated for the procurement of 750,000 Clean cookstoves and 18,000 wonderbags on 12th November, 2015 . The forum was strategized to share insights and knowledge gaps as the billion naira project did not get to the rural women it was meant for.

The event which took place at Reiz Continental Hotel Abuja, had in attendance, representatives of the Ministry of Finance and Ecological Fund Office, journalists and the civil society. Sharing the findings of its Follow The Money team, Monitoring and Evaluation expert, Oludotun Babayemi, said that the initiative found out that clean cookstoves that was exhibited by the former Ministry of Environment was not newly purchased, and that from findings, these were clean cookstoves that was meant for a project initiated two years ago.   

CODE M & E expert,Oludotun Babayemi, discussing findings of Follow The Money initiative

He further hinted the stakeholders that the contractor – Integra Renewable Energy cannot be reached as they have vacated the building used as their office. Likewise, stating that after several meetings with the Ecological Fund Office officials, it could not be ascertained if the 4 billion remaining in the Ecological Funds for this project still remains in their coffers “It’s like a tracking platform where we track funds when they are being released to when it gets to the community itself” said Babayemi, as he further explained the involvement of Follow The Money in the allocated 9.2 billion Naira Clean cookstoves project.

The representative from the Ministry of Finance, Mrs. Yusuf, Kemi Ahmed, though unaware of the complete situation concerning the stoves said that options such as subsidizing the cost for local manufacturers would have been a better solution as it all boiled down to affordability and that the federal government should have gone for greater advocacy to sensitize rural women on the benefit of the clean cookstoves as they are main users of firewood.

Mr. Uwem Ujeh, from the Ecological Fund Office [EFO] also expressed his lack of thorough knowledge on the clean cookstoves project and said that the EFO does not initiate projects but rather projects are initiated by communities in need, civil society organisations or other ministries. He added that there was always an implementing agency in case of all projects funded by the office, and in the case of clean cookstoves, it was the ministry of environment, as such, projects are not necessarily funded by the EFO but money released by the ministry of finance into the ecological fund office’s account was used to fund projects.

Mr. Eluma, a deputy director from the Ecological Fund Office expressed dismay at the absence of any representative from the ministry of environment to further explain what went wrong or what progress was being made as regards the project.

While commenting on the issue, Mrs. Onuvae Precious, from Nigerian Alliance for Clean cookstoves noted that a one-page fact sheet stating an alternative use of the funds would be a better option than procuring and distributing the stoves for free which would undermine the market development goal of the Nigerian Alliance of Clean Cookstoves.

Mr. Tunde Salman, from the Good Governance Monitoring Group, noted the scarcity of resources in the country and that the government shouldn’t involved itself with buying stoves as this would support rent seeking and collection and at the end of the day the product would not reach the beneficiaries.

In his final address, Mr. Babayemi, noted that the next stakeholders meeting would be focusing on the great green wall project, which is a planned project to plant a wall of trees across Africa at the southern edge of the Sahara desert as a means to prevent desertification and to track funds that have been released by the Nigerian government.

CODE’S Follow The Money Receives Grant from Omidyar Network

codepress October 16, 2015 0

Follow The Money, a nonprofit initiative of Connected Development [CODE] has been awarded a one-year grant of US$100,000  ( NGN19, 894, 994 million) by Omidyar Network, mainly towards the cost of their projects in local communities which includes stakeholders meetings, focus group discussions, travel support, and visualization.

Founded in 2012 by Hamzat Lawal & Oludotun Babayemi, Follow The Money uses traditional offline engagement methods and technology tools to track government and aid spending at the local level. In 2012, the initiative was able to save the lives of about 1,500 children in Bagega, Zamfara state who needed  urgent medical attention for lead poisoning.   And after the 2012 flooding in Nigeria, the group was able to track 17 Billion NGN allocated for intervention and document the impact on affected rural communities. In 2015, the group’s activities convinced the federal government of Nigeria to change its controversial US$49.8 million (NGN 9.2 billion) clean cookstoves plan.

“Foreign aid and government spending should be grounded in in how spending affects local community realities.  Government programmes that track the impact of funds in local contexts are still remarkably rare,” said Hamzat Lawal, the chief executive of Connected Development.

Omidyar Network’s grant comes through the philanthropic investment firm’s Governance & Citizen Engagement initiative, which works to build stronger and more open societies by increasing government responsiveness and citizen participation.

In the past, Follow The Money had received grants from The Indigo Trust, Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), Heinrich Boell Foundation, and Open Knowledge Foundation and The European Union.

 

****** END******

[In Abuja – Nigeria, for Connected Development/Follow The Money , Oludotun Babayemi +234 09 291 7545 0r/and oludotun@connecteddevelopment.org]

 

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

For more information about Omidyar Network , please visit https://omidyar.com

 

Editor’s Note:

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

 

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

[PRESS RELEASE] Why Buhari Should Probe the NGN 9.2 billion Clean Cookstove Scheme

codepress October 16, 2015 0

(28 September 2015), After over six months of frequent engagement with stakeholders both in private and public sector on the implementation of the N9.2 Billion National Clean Cookstove Scheme (NCCS), we are today calling on the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to probe the disagreement between the Federal Ministry of Environment and Integra Renewable Energy Services Limited, the official contractor handling the project in order to reinforce the objective of the scheme.  

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) in November, 2014 under the reign of former President Goodluck Jonathan approved the above sum of (N9.2B) as an intervention fund to procure 750,000 clean cookstoves and 18,000 Wonderbags to mitigate the environmental as well as health hazards caused by the use of wood to generate energy for cooking food which according to World Health Organization accounts for the death of over 95,000 women annually in Nigeria. This is the third highest killer after Malaria and HIV.

The Chief Executive of CODE, Hamzat Lawal stated that ‘Our latest assessment report on the execution of the exercise titled – “When State Agents Becomes Kleptocratic Women Are Deprived of Alternatives!,” vehemently oppose the intrigues that led to the contractor institutionalising a court case against the ministry to protest plots to terminate the contract’.      

The 15 page document urges President Buhari to find out exactly where the money is, and how it was spent.  

“It’s already over 256 days since this announcement, and 120 days after some of the funds were released to the Federal Ministry of Environment, the fate of 750,000 rural households that were supposed to enjoy from the benefit of this project still remains hanging,” our report revealed, Lawal Stressed.    

Lawal who is also the Co-Founder of Follow The Money noted that the Ministry of Environment confirmed receiving the sum of N5 billion after series of campaigns on the importance of the scheme in curbing the incessant felling of trees to generate fire for cooking and also reduce the quantity of smoke that poisons food as well as pollutes the atmosphere.     

‘While responding to our Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) letter, the contractor confirmed that it received 1.2 billion Naira from the Ministry of Environment to procure clean cookstoves, although the clean cookstoves exhibited were not newly procured from our findings, 3.7 billion Naira was confirmed by the Permanent Secretary, Fatima Mede to be in the account of the Ministry of Environment, while we could not ascertain how the  Ecological Funds Office has utilized the remaining 4 billion Naira’.

It is noteworthy to state at this point that the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), Nigeria’s agent of horizontal accountability has been an ally since we started monitoring the execution of this programme, and they have every bit of information concerning it.

While kicking the status quo from its point of equilibrium using various strategies to ensure that this initiative doesn’t toe the part of others, we are still hoping that the ICPC will take pro-active steps after being part of the processes we have initiated to address the uncertainties beclouding the successful implementation of this exercise.    

*******END********

For more information or any clarification, kindly contact:

In Abuja, for CODE, Oludotun Babayemi (English)  or oludotun@followthemoneyng.org

In Abuja, for CODE, Ojonwa Miachi (English)  ojonwa@followthemoneyng.org

or Call – +234-09-291-7545

Editor’s Note:

 

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

 

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

When Agents of State become Kleptocratic, Women are denied of Alternatives!

codepress September 18, 2015 0

An extract from the foreward of our new Follow The Money report on the activation – #WomenCookstoves

“Even the most well intended and well thought out policies may not have an impact if they are not implemented properly. Unfortunately, the gap between intention and implementation can be quite wide. The many failings of government are often given as the reason good policies cannot really be made to work” as suggested by Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo in Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of Way to Fight Global Poverty.

In the same vein, we quite agree that government inadequacy is greatly affecting the impact of foreign aid in a developing country like Nigeria. In November 26, 2014, the federal government of Nigeria announced the approval of NGN 9.2 Billion Naira (NGN 9,287,250,000) for the procurement and distribution of 750,000 clean cookstoves and 18,000 Wonderbags, as part of the National Clean Cooking Scheme (NCCS) to rural women in order to reduce deaths emanating from indoor air pollution, reduce tree felling, and desertification. One would have thought this is a right step, in the right direction, and at the right time when the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, is strengthening key stakeholders in providing alternative energies for their countries.

Follow The Money #WomenCookstoves

It’s already 256 days after this announcement, and 120 days after some of the funds were released to the Federal Ministry of Environment [MOE] of Nigeria, the fate of the 750,000 rural households or women that were suppose to enjoy from the benefit of this project still remains hanging, with lots of controversy around the number of clean cookstoves that the contractor has already “brought” into the country, the court case filed by the contractor against the Ministry of Environment, and most importantly where did all the money go? or where is the money?

It is easy to get depressed by such findings like “the milk has been skimmed somewhere and somehow” 5 billion Naira finally got to the Ministry of Environment account, and 1.2 Billion Naira (NGN 1,253,778,750) out of it went to the contractor, although the MOE in a response to our FOIA letter confirmed NGN 1,393,087,000 is the total sum of the contract, while the remaining 4.2 Billion Naira (4, 287,250,000) is nowhere to be found, and we keep been asked on why we do what we do: “Why bother?” These are the “small” questions in that if perhaps, no one, decided to keep the story alive – with several request for information letters (using the FOIA), monthly stakeholders meetings, tweet – a – thons, and traditional media engagements – this would not have been in the front burner, as it has always been.

In this campaign, the agents of “horizontal accountability” in Nigeria – the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) have been an ally since we started tracking, and they had every bit of information around this activation. As pointed out in Andreas Schedler’s Restraining the State: Conflicts and Agents of Accountability that agencies of accountability do not develop as the result of solo brilliant performances but need requisite coalitions to come together, in this case we had to kick the status quo from its point of equilibrium, while still hoping that the ICPC will sprung into action after been part of the processes we have initiated.

Follow The Money is an initiative of Connected Development [CODE] that advocates, visualizes and tracks funds (government spending or international aid spending] that are meant for local communities, and this report is an output from our #WomenCookstoves activation in December 2014.

We Will Like to Follow your Money but…

codepress September 1, 2015 0

This might be a good read for you, if you are planning to “activate” or partner with  us!

In the last three years, since Follow The Money  (FTM) started, we have had questions around what kind of money do we “follow” or track, and how can we approach your team to initiate a campaign (We refer to this as activation, and some of the questions are – how can we partner with Follow The Money; You Follow The Money people will you follow the 500 million Naira grant just approved by the World Bank; Follow The Money, you should track the billions going to SURE – P; Follow The Money, there is a new government, please follow every dime going to government officials.

 

There is a simple answer to this: Connected Development’s [CODE] Follow The Money tracks funds that are meant for infrastructures or inputs in rural communities eg health, education, and other social incentives (In essence, capital projects which includes provision of drugs, health facilities, environmental inputs such as water boreholes, incineration equipment, education incentives such as libraries, books etc. We are sorry to conclude that FTM does not track funds that are concerned with staff salaries, employee or employer’s benefits etc.

The Kinds of funds we are interested in tracking

The kinds of funds we are interested in tracking at Follow The Money Nigeria

However, it should be noted that while the list above remains of top priority, there are other secondary considerations and priorities. The funds that FTM track must be in the area of Health, Education and Environment (HEE). At times, we can be interested in cross – cutting issues that emanated from any of these three. These three are most important for rural communities to exist and live sustainably.

 

Although, Follow The Money is a model of investigative journalism, it is not involved in funds that have already been disbursed, or should have worked in communities it was meant for. An example is a NGN 200 million that was announced by the government of Nigeria in 2013 to provide 10 boreholes in Adavi Local Government Area. Just because Two years has passed on that issue, FTM will not be interested in such, as it is already two years.Because, we hope to prevent corruption, we are interested in fresh fund releases, not more than one year from funds approval or release by either government or the aid agency.

 

When you have taught this through, you, your organization, your group can then send a mail to activations@followthemoneng.org; call our hotline at 09- 291-7545 or fill our activation form online at http://followthemoneyng.org/activations.html. We will notify you for further action after we have received your request for activation. It is not necessary that you should be able to provide resources for the project, but at times we have been activated by groups that are willing to provide resources, especially as in – kind contributions during the activation lifetime.

 

It’s then Way to Go! did you just read that some funds got approved to providing infrastructures or inputs in your rural community? reach out to us now, and we can quickly follow up! It might just be the little you can do for your local community. It might also interest you to know that the team are always involved in researching funds that have just been approved to local communities, as such we can dive into activation using our primary desk research and data mining results.

 

Connected Development [CODE] is Hiring!

codepress July 22, 2015 0

IMAG0507

 

NOTE: These positions are no more available

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

CODE is looking for  committed, motivated and dynamic persons to join the team to contribute and enhance their activities in a professional, efficient and effective manner.

Applications are hereby invited from suitable qualified persons to fill the three full term positions below:

  1. Administrative and Finance Officer
  2. Digital Marketing and Communications Officer
  3. Programme Officer

 

Administrative and Finance Officer

Under the supervision of The Chief Executive, the Administrative and Finance officer will be the overall responsible for running the administrative, finance and logistics functions of Connected Development. The Administrative and Finance officer will work closely with The Chief Executive to ensure smooth day-to-day operations as well as overall office management. The Officer will also work with our various donor agencies, clients, beneficiaries and service providers.

Work Hours (8am – 5pm) from Monday – Friday except during public holidays and sometimes might need to be present at our events during the weekend

Gender: Female only

Job Purpose:

This position will perform scheduling, meeting logistics, guest receiving, and general administrative assistance for multiple experts and team as a shared resource. This role takes an administrative to juggle priorities, understand requests and needs and deliver clear and professional communications and support. This role will participate on administrative projects, deliver and track proposals, and will partner with all levels of staff, experts and the full administration team.

Responsibilities Include

Support and coordinate schedules and administrative requests for multiple CODE projects.

Anticipate and respond with quality, professional administrative support

Prepare expense reconciliations for team and volunteers

Prepare budget plans in line with work plans and financial rules and regulations and ensure that costs are reasonably estimated. Prepare budget plan revisions as required

Support implementation of activities in accordance with the budget plans and available funds

Shepherd contract or proposal process, orientation schedule, onboarding and offboarding when requested

Monitor expenditures against financial authorizations;

Prepare financial reports and updates for donors in consultation with the management.

Work well with all levels of the organization; editors, volunteers, staff, technical staff, contractors, Experts etc.

Provide administrative solutions and quality support at all times.

Hold confidentiality and ability to work with sensitive matters and information.

Ability to work with colleagues who do not have English as primary language.

Special projects as assigned including working on small to large events with other team members

Required Qualifications

A year of administrative and financial support in a medium organization/ voluntary organization/ academic institution.

Bachelor’s degree in Accounting/Finance or Administrative courses.

Demonstrated technical aptitude and savvy, ability to adjust, learn and use new and different open source s/w.

Excellent calendar management and meeting preparation skills

Excellent accounting and financial planning skills

Setting up Teleconference and video conferencing meetings

Comfortable and experienced with technology, various a/v equipment, and s/w.

Excellent writing and communication skills.

Expert in the use of Microsoft Office Suites especially Excel

Expert in the use of QuickBooks

Excellent organization and planning skills

Superior attention to detail and ability to anticipate needs and provide solutions

Excellent ability work with all levels of staff including a wide range of diversity of staff

Ability to learn, adapt and thrive in changing technical environment

Must enjoy supportive, service oriented administrative work within a team of professionals

 

Additional Desired Qualifications include

Experience in event planning, local or international travel and speaking additional languages (Hausa is a priority)

Open Source knowledge and strong desire to learn and be part of free access and open source movement

Working with Spreadsheets as a Travel and Expense system

International time zone and virtual community experience

Working with virtual communities

Experience with editing on Wikipedia, Google Documents or other wiki projects

 

Digital Marketing and Communications Officer

Under the supervision of The Chief Executive, The Digital Marketing and Communications Officer will maintain our blog, twitter handles, Facebook pages and other social media platform for several of our project. The officer will make our online platforms function as a way for us to show how our ideology to contributing to change in our small world. In doing this, he/she will actively seek out stories from our community engagement, capacity building, meetings, courtesy visits, data literacy sessions to highlight the human side of our projects and document more fully the effect that these projects have on the real world.

Work Hours (8am – 5pm) from Monday – Friday except during public holidays and sometimes might need to be present at our events during the weekend.

We are seeking a writer, transcriber, creative artist and researcher who can assist with various storytelling-related tasks to bring these stories to life.

Gender: Female applicants will be given priority for this position

Responsibilities include

Working with the Communications team to research potential stories.

Authoring of captivating Press Releases

Prepare reports in form of blogs, and stories for other traditional media

Frequent posting of relevant messages on our various Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin Pages

Management of the online platform that CODE develops in managing its project and programmes

Lead and advise on all Knowledge Management sharing tools at CODE

Online, Offline and telephone interviewing.

Transcribing audio or video interviews.

Writing and formatting unedited interviews and stories into publishable content via new media – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn.

Required Qualifications

A minimum of Bachelor’s Degree in the Arts, Social Sciences or Humanities or other relevant field

Ability to understand and translate languages.

Photography, graphic arts or video production skills.

Great understanding of using blogs as reports

Excellent use of Twitter and Facebook as a social media tool for social change

High energy for and commitment to the CODE’s open knowledge and empowerment mission.

Ability to turnaround content on a tight schedule.

Exceptional verbal and written communication skills and interpersonal skills.

The ability to excel in a fast-paced, multitasking environment that demands fast turn-around.

Intellectual curiosity and flexibility that makes you enjoy tackling difficult and ambiguous problems in creative ways.

The ability to flourish in a highly transparent and collaborative environment and work on a team with diverse demographic and cultural characteristics.

Must have access to a personal computer and internet connection outside the office space.

+1 Ability to speak and understand Hausa Language and experience in planning stakeholders meetings, rural community outreaches, local or international travel and speaking additional languages

+1 Knowledge or involvement in the Connected Development [CODE] community

Programme Officer

CODE’s Strategic Plan has sets out some ambitious new directions for its work. In particular, there is an emphasis on scaling our work around Follow The Money. A key role of the Programme Officer is to spearhead and support the implementation of various components of these programmes in the northern region across the network of journalists, and activist embedded in other NGOs. In this context, the Programme officer will implement programmes and multi-national projects which we refer to as “activations” in several states in the northern region and in some case the west African region.

Work Hours (8am – 5pm) from Monday – Friday except during public holidays and sometimes might need to be present at our events during the weekend

Gender: Female applicants are encouraged to apply for this position

Responsibilities include:

The main function of the programme officer will be coordination of projects in Northern Nigeria, any part of the country and West African region.

Specifically, the Programme Officer will:

Lead community outreaches, stakeholder meetings, and other events as it relates to projects executed by CODE.

Ensure the timely and cost-effective execution of project activities, including the coordination and supervision of sub-grants and contracts with local partners and external service providers.

Strive for high-quality outputs and the greatest possible impact of project activities in order to advance the transparency and accountability agenda in the states.

Ensure that all donor contractual obligations (financial management, fund transfer requests, procurement regulations, financial and narrative reporting, etc.) for the project are met in a professional, transparent and timely manner

Work in close collaboration and ensure ongoing communication with project partners

Coordinate and monitor the implementation of project-wide work plans, budgets, reporting cycles and information systems across CODE

Work in close collaboration with the CODE team members, volunteers, consultant, and contract staffs in particular, the relevant stakeholders in each target state.

Any other tasks identified by the line manager necessary to ensure that CODE’s projects are implemented successfully.

 

Required Qualifications

A minimum of university degree or professional qualification in business administration, management, finance, social science, public administration, economics, or another relevant field

1/2+ years of project management experience with an NGO or International Organisation, with demonstrated in-depth knowledge on project management best practice

Knowledge of, or considerable interest in, the work of CODE and the field of anti-corruption; solid understanding of and experience in the area of corruption in the public sector and/or of political realities in Nigeria are a distinct advantage

Experience with the implementation of advocacy activities and/or advocacy training

Fluency in English; knowledge of Hausa Language would be an advantage

Highly developed teamwork and intercultural communication skills

Willingness to travel to any part of Nigeria (most especially Northern Nigeria)

Other Information about the positions and the location

CODE offer an inspiring work environment with real learning opportunities and support and all position will be based at our office in the Central Area District of Abuja

To apply:

If you will like to join our team of dedicated professionals, working in a dynamic and international environment, and you meet up with the above requirement for any of the 3 positions,

kindly send an email to apply@connecteddevelopment.org with the attachment of the following document (in Word Document format or PDF) on or before August 7, 2015.

 

  • your cover letter (why you think we should hire you), in not more than 1 page
  • your CV or resume in not more than 3 pages

 

Please include the role you are applying for in the subject of the email e.g Digital Marketing and Communications Officer.

All qualified applicants will be contacted on or before August 12, 2015 , as such if you do not hear from us, please consider that we cannot admit you into our team this time, nevertheless we will add you to the list of our prospective team member.

Following The Money: How not to invest USD 49.8 million in Clean Technologies

codepress June 2, 2015 0

Caveat: This is not a research work, but an “activation” (for a duration of 6 months) for the Follow The Money team of CODE to help track and build knowledge around how USD 49.8 million will be used to procure and distribute 750,000 cookstoves and 18,000 Wonderbags to help reduce the 98,000 deaths that happen yearly from indoor cooking – largely affecting women and children in Nigeria.

It has been 185 days since the Federal Executive Council approved the the 9.2 billion Naira (USD 49.8 million) for the procurement and distribution of 750,000 clean cookstoves and 18,000 wonderbags to rural women, less than 50,000 clean cookstoves are available at the warehouse (the velodrome of the National Stadium), and just NGN 5 billion has been released to the Ministry of Environment from the Ecological Fund Office. Furthermore, only  NGN 1,253,778,750 ( USD 6.2 million) has been released from the Ministry of Environment to the contractor, Integra Renewable Energy, but the clean technologies are yet to reach the women they are meant for.

“But in January, we heard in the radio that these wonder stoves will help us stop felling trees indiscriminately, and also reduce heart problems contracted by our mothers while cooking with firewoods, but why have they not started distributing it to our rural women” Halima Andanu asked during one of our media engagements on a radio station two weeks ago. On the memo that was approved by the government, it should have taken the contractor 12 weeks (90 days) to deliver the clean alternatives. “We have to wait for [the] government’s waiver at the port to clear some of these goods through customs, and this can cause a delay. Likewise  the 15% that was given to our organization to start bringing in the stoves was agreed on after about 95 days since approval” said the representative of Integra Renewable Energy, the contractor that was procuring the clean energies at the 3rd stakeholders meeting on #WomenCookstoves.

 

On Tuesday, May 26, the Federal Government of Nigeria held a grand commissioning of the project that has not gotten to the hands of the beneficiaries. While the attention of most attendants at the event was drawn to the fact that the government has purchased the clean cookstoves, the fact still remains that less than 50,000 of the clean cookstoves are available, and no one knows when they will be distributed. Since January 14, 2015, the FTM team had requested for work plans, costed work plans, and the proposed beneficiaries of this intervention, but we are yet to get a response from the office of the Minister for Environment.

On May 29, 2015 this dispensation will end its tenure, and another Minister for Environment will inherit these conversations around this particular intervention – please be prepared. “We still have NGN 3.7 billion with us at the Ministry that we have not given to the contractor” affirmed Laurentian Mallam, the Minister for Environment. Furthermore, what has happened to the remaining NGN 4,287,250, 000 (USD 21.5 million) is still unknown. “I am just resuming into my office, and our office got the invitation to attend this stakeholders meeting two days ago” said the representative of the Ecological Fund Office (the office that was responsible for the disbursement of the NGN 9.2 billion) at the 3rd stakeholders meeting held on May 16, 2015.

As global investment in clean energy heightens at US$310 billion, this outgoing government intervention will add to this new energy finance as it expects to expand rapidly, especially as the country looks to reduce its reliance on greenhouse-gas emitting fossil fuels and adjust to the impact of climate change. “NGN 9.2 Billion will build a clean cookstove factory in the six geopolitical zones of the country, including the Federal Capital Territory, and engage thousands of vulnerable women and young men with meaningful employment” a clean energy expert ascertained.

Furthermore, even if the latter was an alternative,  it is still the amount of the funds we’ll see on papers and on the headlines in the news, the beneficiaries are yet known, and when the other stoves will arrive still puts us in the dark on how the NGN 9.2 billion will affect the lives of our rural women. Perhaps, it would have been better if the government had been transparent on this initiative (meaning letting everyone know their work plan), and added to a repository of knowledge around clean energy funding. We are still optimistic as we hope the project implementers will become responsive. As promised “at the next stakeholders meeting on June 9, 2015, we would have been prepared to give information and updates on work plans, and beneficiaries of this project” insisted representative of the Ministry of Environment at the last stakeholders meeting on May 22, 2015.

Data Revolution in Africa: A Key to Africa’s Progress

codepress May 10, 2015 0

The High Level Conference on Data Revolution held from March 27 to March 30, 2015 at the UN Conference Centre in Addis Ababa. It was hosted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. The main reason why I attended this programme was to participate in the side event on rebooting open data in Africa.

Connected Development attends High Level conference on Open Data

Participants at the high level conference of Data Revolution in Africa

After hours on deliberation, the key action areas identified by the open data community for the input to the African data consensus were- Geospatial data/geo-referencing of data, use of satellite data (agriculture, climate change ­ increase capacity of countries to use this data & open this up ­ most of these data is available (sold) outside the continent),  Open budget data,  identification of how municipalities can be given opportunity to analyse & collect data ­ local urban governance, giving power to NGOs in addition to building their capacity on Open Data,  Starting with the champions within governments, Respecting privacy & sensitive datasets, Knowledge and awareness around licensing, Working with research institutes on what data can be given to the public, Working on and making “operational data” open e.g. how many nurses per hospital,  Licensing of public data ­ needs to be “Open” by law.

On the role of data communities it was noted that data communities should work more with governments, private sector and research institutes, ensuring more communication and coordination between all data communities, work with the “excluded”, have a more integrated approach with other data communities, e.g. extractives, agriculture, not silos, work with governments to offer our expertise on open data ­ an opportunity such as this to feed to the HLC is critical, understanding and facilitating between different types of government data (e.g. government ministries, departments and agencies), driving the demand for data which should create ownership, use, add value to data, involve the

media who will communicate to citizenry, champion capacity building, work with community radio stations which will be good tools for grassroots awareness & advocacy as well as other actors/hybrid methods for disseminating, work with technocrats in governments, contributing to international data communities, champion governments on timeliness of data released: “Data delayed is data denied”.

At the local level, NGOs in developing countries like Nigeria, citing Connected Development  [CODE] have taken advantage of legalized opportunities available to promote the knowledge and use of Open Data in Nigeria. Through the Follow The Money platform, CODE has utilized the Freedon of Information Act to request information meant for public knowledge from private and government organizations to ensure accountability in the use of public funds. The most recent campaign of Follow The Money is the #WomenCookStoves campaign which tracks the 9.2

Billion NGN (US$49.8 million) released b the Nigerian Government for 750,000 clean cookstoves and 18,000 wonderbags for rural women.

The benefits of open data are numerous of which one of them is promoting accountability and transparency which end up boosting the development of countries in Africa. To achieve a world where data is open, it is important to build partnerships both locally and globally. As the post 2015 development agenda is being deliberated on, it is important to put open data at the forefront of the table to ensure that it is prioritized.

A big THANK YOU to the World Wide Web Foundation for sponsoring my trip to the HLC on Data Revolution. More information about the conference can be found Here

#WomenCookstoves :Tracking the 9.2 Billion Naira meant for Clean Cookstoves in Nigeria

codepress April 8, 2015 0

It is now 135 days since the government of Nigeria approved 9.2 billion Naira ($49.8 million) for the purchase and distribution of 750,000 clean cookstoves and 18,000 wonderbags, and yet beneficiaries who are rural women are still waiting to get hold of the new clean energy for cooking in their various homes. In Nigeria, on the book it has always been a laudable idea, but in the real sense of it, it is not new that some of the interventions coming from government promises, like the matter at hand, do not reach communities or people it was meant for.

But wouldn’t it have been interesting looking back at what has transpired in the last five months: Such as the Ministry of Environment [MOE] not responding to a request for information on work plans for the procurement and distribution since January 2015; even when the Minister, Madam Laurentia Mallam, decided to respond to it at a national conference, she couldn’t state the accurate funds that was approved and reiterated that the distribution of the clean cook stoves will be done through wives of state governors.

Likewise, it is a fact that the National Renewable Energy Programme of the MOE, which claimed to help in making the procurement and distribution transparent had several times held stakeholders meetings (referred to as an implementation committee) with only 10 participants on deliberating on how to make the project a success, while the office seeks help from partners it had decided to shut doors to, on communications and monitoring and evaluation.

At times one would ask, if this ministry, department or agencies would want to uphold fundamentals and international policies that guides the usage of alternative energies (although the Minister promised it would bring more carbon credits to the country), or is it that they are only interested in using it to foster political campaigns or gains.

Truth be told, the clean cookstoves might be expensive for the target audience (the rural women) it was meant for, but there is an underlying question of whether if it is given out for free, as the government as stated, will it be used by the women, and how are we sure there will be proper documentation of the change in behaviour by the women it was given to. The answer is farfetched, looking at the enormous resources that will be put into this, and that is even if there is a will.

Fortunately, the will is here! Not on the part of the government, but on the part of NGOs that faulted the distribution mechanism proposed by the government. On March 5, the government released 15% of the 9.2 billion to the contractor that was meant to assemble the clean cookstoves, and it was clearly stated that distribution mechanism have been reversed from using state governors wives to using local women – led NGOs and religious institutions.

From all indications, stakeholders were not consulted widely during project planning; and approval of the funds was done without due diligence. If the clean cookstoves were all to be imported into the country (as stated in the project memo), it thus defeat the fact that the government wants to encourage local manufacturing of clean cookstoves.

On the Long term implications of initiating incautious projects like this, the gains of alternative energy evangelism in the country will be reversed, as the prevailing market becomes consumed by the political gamble of government on clean technologies. Nevertheless, the global clean cook stove alliance should guard up their loins, as it might not be an easy task to revive the alternative energy economies in the country, perhaps, maybe another target audience such as people living in urban centres might be encouraged.

To follow stories of the tracking of the implementation of this project, feel free to visit http://followthemoneyng.org/womencookstoves.html