Follow The Money Wins Council of Europe’s Democracy Innovation Award!

Communications 13 November 2019 0

The Secretary General, Council of Europe,
Marija Pejčinović Burić, and CODE’s Communications Lead, Kevwe Oghide at the Council’s Hemicycle

Africa’s leading anti-corruption and social accountability initiative, Follow The Money, has emerged winner of the 2019 Council of Europe’s Democracy Innovation Award.

The award which recognizes Follow The Money as one of the leading ground-breaking initiatives in the world, that are promoting democratic principles, was received by the Initiative’s Chief Communications Officer, Kevwe Oghide at the closing plenary of the Council of Europe’s World Forum for Democracy 2019, recently concluded in Strasbourg, France.

Expressing delight about the recognition, Founder of Follow The Money, Hamzat Lawal, says this award comes with the responsibility to intensify our commitment to promote transparency and accountability in governance and to amplify the voices of the marginalised as a way to accelerate social change.

Lawal who also doubles as the Chief Executive of Connected Development [CODE] stressed the need for more African countries to adopt Follow The Money as a tool to build stronger institutions. This would place African countries on the pathway to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and the Afrucan Union Agenda 2063. He thanked the donors- Luminate, John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Open Society Initiative for West Africa, Oxfam and Actionaid- who have  supported the movement and helped us reach more grassroots communities.

The Democracy Innovation Award comes at a time when Follow The Money is celebrating 7 years of leading citizens campaigns at the grassroots and have successfully tracked over $10 million and directly impacted over 4 million lives with over 6,000 dedicated volunteers using technology tools to bring voices to the front burner. 

Ms Oghide, who presented the initiative alongside over 27 brilliant initiatives from across the world, stated that, “it is incredible that we won knowing that Nigeria is not even a member state of the Council of Europe. Nigeria, Poland and France emerged finalists, yet delegates at the Council’s Hemicycle voted for Follow The Money to win the Democratic Innovation award. This evidently shows democracy at work.”

The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić, in her remark, noted that Follow The Money has shown exemplary leadership in advancing democratic governance. She added that the internet, social media and Artificial Intelligence have all democratized access to information and given millions of people their voice. The challenge is to ensure that information contributes to democracy, which Follow The Money is doing.

The World Forum for Democracy is a platform for dialogue and democratic participation which brings new ideas into the work of the Council of Europe and promotes its principles across the world. The forum is placed under the high patronage of Emmanuel MACRON, President of the French Republic and will hold between the 5th and 8th of November 2019.

But Who are You? The Global Media Forum in 2017 focusing on Identity and Diversity

Oludotun Babayemi 18 June 2017 3

Put seven people from the different continent in a room, and let them share experiences of how growing – up looks like in their various continent. You will get different perspectives. Ask same people, how they think their growing up could have been made smarter, I am sure they will not give you the same answer. So, do we think we have general solutions to today’s world problems? Are we living some people behind, especially in the post-cold war era? Whether it’s populism, liberalism, or extremism – it seems there is a new world order, and marginalized communities are starting to feel they have a voice, and they really want to leverage on this voice to make a certain statement!

“It is not really about liberal democracy, it is about identifying what works for your community, for your people, and what makes you tick as a nation” a resolution from a heated debate that ensued between myself, a Chinese, a Cameroonian, and an Ethiopian while passing through the border control at Frankfurt, Germany. It’s another edition of the Global Media Forum in Bonn, and I will be attending the Forum again for the second year in a row – this time to join in the discussion about Identity and Diversity. The Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum is an international congress that provides a platform for more than 2,000 media representatives, and experts from the fields of politics, culture, business, development and science.

At the end of my Junior High in 1993, Samuel Huntington published an article in the Foreign Affairs on The clash of civilizations and he reiterated his hypothesis that people’s cultural and religious identities will be the primary source of conflict in the post-Cold War world. Fast forward to 2017, the world is facing the challenge of democracy decline in developing countries, alignment between groups that find common goods amongst themselves – Qatar, Iran, Syria, China and Russia; the new revolution in France – Le Marche, which is either Left or Right; the Isolated North Korea; the British exit from the European Union; and not to forget the emergence of the blockchain technology that breaks the monopoly of powerful central banks and government agencies in maintaining single entities.

As a matter of fact, the media is not immune to this change in world order. It is becoming difficult for the media to decipher fact from lies! Cultures can decide to have their own media and share with the world, for some people – Twitter and Facebook have become their media, and as the world evolves from the 24-hour news stream, it is becoming more challenging for the media to communicate solutions. For the next three days (June 19 – 21), I look forward to engaging with delegates at the Global Media Forum to designing interdisciplinary approaches for meeting the challenges of the new world era, and explore how the media can play a central role in this post – factual time.

To follow the conversation at the 2017 Global Media Forum 2017 in Bonn, Follow The Official event Twitter handle – @DW_GMF; Official Event Hashtag #dw_gmf; and also our Twitter handle @connected_dev 

Oludotun Babayemi is the co -founder of Connected Development [CODE] popularly known for its Follow The Money Project in Nigeria, and now in other countries in Africa. You can schedule a meeting with him by commenting on this blog post, and via his Twitter handle – @dotunbabayemi