Goodwill Message at the National SDGs Stakeholders’ Retreat Presented on Behalf of the Civil Society Community by – Hamzat Lawal, Chief Executive, Connected Development [CODE]

Hamzat Lawal August 30, 2016 0

On behalf of the participating CSOs at this very important retreat, we wish to acknowledge and respectfully appreciate the invitation of the CSOs to be part of this very important retreat on SDGs as it is coming at a no better time than now in line with the spirit of goal 17 on “Partnerships” and in the inclusivity of “Leave No One behind”.

Your Excellences, the Civil Society in Nigeria had been active players in the formulation and designing of the SDGs right from Rio +20 to the Open Working Groups (OWG) and have held key positions why playing very important and sensitive roles all through the negotiations leading to the adoption and signing of the SDGs.

Just as this promising African nation called Nigeria is clothed in rich historical apparel, signifying the process through which it evolved its democratic experience, the stellar role played by civil society in guiding both the needle and the fabric cannot be overemphasized.

The Third Sector, as some would like to call the Civil Society, is a potent molding tool with which Nigeria nurtures its conscience at every given moment.

As a testimony to the central role played by this sector in birthing a new Nigeria, it is instructive to note that some of our present leaders like Mrs. Amina. J. Mohammed, (Minister of Environment and former SA to the President on the MDGs) and Dr. Kayode Fayemi, (former Governor of Ekiti State, and present Minister of Mines and Solid Minerals), are products of the country’s vibrant civil society community.

At the dawn of the twenty first century, our dear country was privileged to receive the cooperation it needed in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). While we met few, we backslide on some and many were unmet.  However, the lessons learnt are useful as we set out our implementation of the SDGs.

Therefore, as a sector we are convinced that today, and specifically, this distinguished forum, presents a great opportunity for the CSO community to candidly communicate our expectations, share our experience and hear fromgovernment and other critical stakeholders, on how we can jointly lay out the needed robust implementation plan forattaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Nigeria.

As we all know, following the progress made under the MDGs which drove global development efforts from 2000 to 2015, the world determined that the SDGs for the period 2016 to 2030 would continue to fight against extreme poverty,achieve gender equality and empower all women and girlswould add the challenges of ensuring more equitable development and environment sustainability.

Hence, we must emphasize the need for Nigeria to follow the global trend by upscaling its capacity and sharpening its strategies for international best practices and norms. This basically means that we deploy lessons learnt from the MDGs for the implementation of the SDGs. But more importantly, it recommends a new paradigm shift in the partnership between CSOs, private sector and the government.

Civil society plays a fundamental role at the national and sub-national domestication and implementation of all international protocols and conventions. The trainings, outreaches, data mining, and various interventions of the civil society have helped immensely in ensuring that both national and international agendas are brought closer to the ordinary Nigerians. And in this way, we as a sector along with our stakeholders, the international community and our development partners are able to monitor the impacts of our interventions.

With the SDGs, there is a new, exciting challenge before us all. With our capacity as a sector and using our networks of citizens and citizen organizations, we have started popularizing the SDGs, 17 goals and 169 targets. And, of course, it is our duty to reticulate their impacts. It is also collective responsibility as participants at this forum to ensure that transparency and accountability remain the key words for all SDGs actors, the more reason why we ‘Follow TheMoney’.

The Nigerian civil society has already made some remarkable achievements right from the process of designing the SDGs. For instance, we were part of several consultations that led to the development of the SDGs from 2012 to 2015. We consulted with citizens all over the world through the ‘’my world survey’’ and brought citizens voices to bear on the design and negotiations that led to the development and adoption of the SGDs. We were well represented as active stakeholder’s at all high level events and intergovernmental processes including leading the African Women Major Groups at the UN processes and at the African Regional Consultative Meeting on the SDGs. It might also interest you to know that one of the outcomes of that forum, which was to vigorously utilize data collection, is already being implemented in Nigeria.

We were present as a sector in September 2015 in New York when world leaders including our President Muhammadu Buhari made history by adopting the 2030 agenda. The SDGs, it was agreed, presents a “key window of opportunity to improve the existing, haphazard approach to data collection and reporting”. It was also decided that civil society, private sector and citizens should collaborate with the government to evolve better strategies for strengthening statistical systems that can measure and incentivize progress across the goals.

We are glad to announce to you that Nigerian CSOs are already implementing this strategy in conjunction with the government, as agreed by the international community (Women Environmental Programme in conjunction with the National Bureau of Statistics just finished the first phase of their data collectors training for Nigerian youths).

However, we strongly believe that there are many more things to do for effective implementation of the SDGs, and many other strategies to adopt in order to ensure Nigeria performs better than it did under the MDGs.

Excellences,

Firstly, the government needs to exhibit more willingness to cross the line from average to perfection by creating the enabling environment for optimal multi-stakeholder participation in the framing, development and implementation of national, state and local government plans of action on the attainment of the SDGs. We anticipate a domestication of the SDGs within our national and states development plan.

We recommend seamless coordination between local, states and the federal government; and also between the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) including synergies with the private sector and civil society sector which of course includes the media and the academia.

Secondly, we recommend a planned upgrade of institutional capacity in order to ensure service delivery and effective project implementation.

Thirdly, a coherent national data management system would be effective in mainstreaming the efforts and interventions of civil society, private sector and development partners while enabling all actors within the development space to carry out their task unencumbered. Strategically, capacity building on the Open Data concept targeted at those who will be implementing the SDGs is a major first step in realizing that at the review and progress of the implementation of the SDGs can only be measured through presentation of data.

We are confident that if collectively we remain positive, focused and determined, our country can achieve the SDGs goals before 2030 and other developmental aspirations we have.

On behalf of the CSOs, I urge our government to see us as allies and partners to achieving the Nigeria we want, with the SDGs, particularly around data at the grassroots to inform policy and decision making, leveraging on innovative technologies.

Thank you for listening and for this opportunity!!! God Bless You All and God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

CODE :The Future We See through Follow The Money Newsroom.

Hamzat Lawal July 19, 2016 2

A non-governmental organisation Follow The Money, an initiative of Connected Development (CODE)Connected Development (CODE) is set to launch “Virtual Newsroom.

The products from the Virtual Newsroom is set to further engage and empower more marginalized people in rural communities to enhance their livelihoods.

DOTUNSpeaking at an In-house training organised by CODE, the monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Oludotun Babayemi said Follow The Money is planning  a virtual newsroom that will run 24 hours – several times in a month with the objective of strengthening the voice of 95 million Nigerians leaving in rural communities in Nigeria, while increasing their participation in governance.

He said it’s important to have a participatory kind of discussion on how the newsroom is meant to look like, who’s doing what and create a larger workflow other than the one we have been using.

“We are talking about a newsroom that has over 60 reporters reporting into it from remote places. This means we need a robust, scalable and efficient framework other than the one we were using before. We thought it will be good to have a meeting to deliberate, discuss, make comments and suggestions about how the newsroom is meant to look like and also decide on the future of Follow The money,”he said.

The Monitoring and Evaluation officer, said Follow the Money is always motivated by stories from rural communities, which never gets into the mainstream media, adding that  every time there is a visit , they hear about new stories, not just for the success alone but of  failures of communities that are still ailing other than the ones that  are focused on.

He added that it is always motivating  that the group  can do more and  can have more people to do more.

“We are looking at the massive strength in the young people that we have, we can engage more of them and we can also have more communities that will be proactively vigilant in ensuring transparency and accountability of funds meant for their communities as well. These are the motivation for Follow The Money,” he said.

Speaking on the challenges, Babayemi said the challenges the movement  might face is keeping that of  retaining human resources and availability of financial resources
GROUP 3

“Some people might leave at some point  because  we can’t bring in 60-75 people and expect them to only be focused on our mission and goal. Some people would think of something else such as thinking of another movement from there. Both are the critical challenges we are looking forward to as we move on.,”he said

He further called on the general public to be on the lookout for new radio programs that will come up especially Follow the Money radio, adding that radio is what people in the rural communities rely on to get information.

Mr. Babayemi explained that Follow the Money radio will be used in increasing rural community participation on governance as it concerns implementation of funds meant for capital projects in their communities l.

“ They should look out for some of our bulletins and prints that we would want to share with them on the money we are following and money for the community and also on what the government is saying about such money should be something interesting the communities should be looking forward to,”he said.

Well in the next 15  years, the vision will be to see the present 95 million Nigerians living in rural communities listening and engaging their leaders through the Follow the Money Radio, likewise, seeing 50%  of that population sending in feedback to Follow the Money via SMS and our various online portal. Mr Babayemi noted

He said these target audience  could also be able to read about  Follow the Money In  online and offline bulletins or magazines.

“In essence, seeing  Follow the Money as a community mechanism where they can also read about their own community, and get their voices amplified is the future we see through Follow the Money and I hope that we will be able to achieve that,” he said.

 

    

 

Group seeks partnership with CODE on Stop don’t Drop campaign.

Hamzat Lawal June 28, 2016 2

The Stop Don’t Drop group in collaboration with Chanja Datti seeks partnership with Connected Development (CODE) in creating awareness on Environment sustainability and anti-littering stance.

Speaking at an interactive section held at CODE office in Abuja, the convener/Initiator of “Stop Don’t Drop”, Adiza Ujo said a research was conducted shortly after the fuel scarcity hit Nigeria.

She said the outcome of the research showed that many car owners who queued to buy fuel ended up buying eatables after which they littered the environment with wraps of whatever was bought.

“We found out the long queues at the filling Station led to more dirty in our environment, because while they wait for their turns to buy fuel the just buy “Gala and Lacaserra” drinks after which they just throw on the floor,”she said.

Ms Ujo noted that it is therefore necessary to enlighten the public on the use of waste bin or trash bags to deposit waste.

She further added that aside from depositing refuse dumps, such waste could be recycled into other products.

Also speaking,the Managing Director of Chanjia Datti, Ms Funto Boroffice said its not just about throwing dirty into trash bags, adding that when a trash  bag  could be returned back to the company for recycling.

She said it’s a way of also keeping the environment clean and to also create avenues for cab drivers to earn more income regardless of how little it may be

“Our focus are cab drivers and Keke riders, we intend to give them bag so that there passengers can throw their dirty in it,

“Once this is done the cab drivers are meant to bring back the bags to us with the dirty in it, after which they could either get recharge cards or a liter of fuel”, she said.

IMG-20160628-WA004She said that about 50,000 or more stickers will also be launched, adding that the stickers will be at the bumper of every cabs and keke in Abuja environs.

“The essence of this stickers is to help car owners stop littering the road with dirty, by throwing it out the window while driving,

“I am certain that when the car behind the one that  has a sticker that says “Stop don’t Drop” , he or she will think twice and not throw the dirty outside the window, “she said.

The Chief Executive of CODE, Hamzat Lawal, commended the group for this initiative, adding that CODE will assist in any possible way it can.

“I think it’s important that it is also treated at the senate level, whereby a bill is passed on that effect alongside policies,”he said.

He added that CODE will ensure the media helps broadcasts this initiative so that the information can get to the public as wide and fast as possible

“ We would try and engage  BBC Hausa to help amplifier alongside Wazobia fm, we could also make any of the Host on Wazobia fm an ambassador,”he said.

The monitoring and Evaluation manager of CODE, Oladotun Babayemi, suggested that everybody not just car owners or Keke riders should also engage themselves in recycling.

” i would advice you start publicity through congregation, it would help a lot in sending the message across,”he said.

Chanja Datti is committed to transforming waste to value with an increasing demand to rid the environment of non-biodegradable waste materials.

Stop don’t Drop seeks a green trash free environment.

 

 

Sustainaware: CODE, YEN Synergise to promote Project #SwitchBags in Zambia and Subsaharan Africa

Hamzat Lawal June 4, 2016 2

Leading Youth Organisations in Africa such as Connected Development (CODE) in Nigeria, Youth Environment Network (YEN) in Zambia as well as other youth organisation in Malawi, Zero Waste Centre for Africa and No Excuse in Slovenia have agreed to synergise in the fight to save our planet earth by signing up to promote ‘Project #SwitchBags’, a campaign on the ban on single-use of plastic bags in Zambia and Sub-Saharan Africa. The urge to synergise in saving our planet earth became imperative at the last Sustainaware Regional Partners Meetings (RPM-Africa) in Lusaka, Zambia. The meeting which was scheduled to be a two-day roundtable meeting on Global Partnership towards attaining speedy implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at various countries of Africa and other Europe, Asia and across the globe, which is part of the objectives Sustainaware seeks to achieve, gave African youths opportunity for dialogue on the action plan towards addressing myriad of challenges confronting the continent.

Project Coordinator for #SwitchBags, Luwi Nguluka while speaking during her presentation at the meeting said the campaign also seeks to educate people across the globe on the hazardous impacts of plastics waste (non bio degradable) to our immediate environment, with the intention to ultimately cause reduction in the use of plastics bags that are non-bio-degradable and encourage the use of biodegradable bags.

Tomaz Gorenc, Sustainaware Coordinator and Team Lead for No Excuse, a youth campaign organisation based in Slovenia, who applauded this initiative coming from young people in Africa said “the impacts of young people would never be felt until platforms and opportunities for global partnership such as Sustainaware are being made available to them”. He added that the Sustainaware project having being funded by the European Union (EU) has, in the last five years focused on how young people across the globe can be the agents of change within their various continents by providing solutions to emerging challenges in the 21st Century.

Hamzat Lawal during his presentation on SDGs

Hamzat Lawal during his presentation on SDGs

Billy Lombe, Founder and CEO of YEN said, YEN has since its inception single-handedly led several campaigns on environmental sustainability, Gender Equality and Human Rights issues in Zambia. “YEN has a mandate to mainstream Gender Equality and women empowerment in all programmes and projects”. He alluded further that YEN workds to uphold this mandate: facilitating inclusive development, catalysing the achievements of the SDGs.

Chief Executive, CODE, Hamzat Lawal who made an excellent presentation on SDGs highlighted the roles of the youths towards actualising each goal. He said the role of young people cannnot be overemphasised in the implementation of SDGs whether in Africa or Europe.  “ it is our future and until we realize the need to work in partnership, we may never be able to achieve much” citing several impacts of Follow The Money and other CODE’s projects in Nigeria as major contributions any youth organisation could offer its country.

Ten Nigerians to Attend 2016 Sustainaware African Regional Conference in Zambia

Hamzat Lawal May 28, 2016 0

 

Ten Nigerians have been confirmed to participate in the 2016 Sustainaware, a regional partnership conference taking place between 30th and 31st May, 2016 in Lusaka, capital of Zambia.

The participants constituting journalists, environmental rights campaigners as well as sustainable development advocates are expected to join other partners to share knowledge, solve complex challenges bedevilling environmental safeguards and proffer possible solutions on how to accelerate sustainable growth in Africa.

Initiated by Connected Development [CODE] in 2014 in collaboration with the European Union (EU), the key objective of the project is to improve knowledge and inspire young people to take leadership roles in environmental health, green economy and social-entrepreneurship.

It has since inception being implemented in eight countries namely – Nigeria, USA, Argentina, Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary, Liechtenstein and India. Somalia and Zambia have been included as participating countries in the 2016 edition to signify progress and success in execution of work plan.  The scope of work in 2016 is targeted at mobilising more spirited volunteers to join the network and champion its gospel across the continent. 

We at CODE, access to food, medicine, portable water, education and effects of climate change on environmental conservation as well as livelihood sources are some of the priority advocacy issues in our pursuit for transparency and accountability in public service.

We are committed to our promise and mission – improving of access to information and empowering local communities in Africa.

Our enthusiasm in ensuring that Nigeria is part of this epic event reveal our internal strategy towards strengthening and building a network of advocates to help mobilise the required grassroots  support to achieve our mandate.

 

Breaking The Corruption Chain

Hamzat Lawal December 15, 2015 0

SDG Goal 1 - No Poverty

SDG Goal 1 – No Poverty

The 9th of December of every year since 2005 is set aside by the United Nations [UN] as the “International Anti-Corruption” day as adopted by the United Nations Office on Drugs & Crime [UNODC].

This year’s theme is ‘Break The Corruption Chain’ already being popularised on social media using the campaign #breakthechain. The aim of this campaign is to show the cross-cutting and impact corruption has on all aspects of human endeavour and sustainable development for the planet.

Official Logo for #breakthechain Campaign

Official Logo for #breakthechain Campaign

Secretary-General of the UN, Ban Ki-moon in his message said that the 2030 agenda for sustainable development looking at GOAL 16, recognizes the need to fight corruption in all its aspects and calls for significant reductions in illicit financial flows as well as for recovery of stolen assets.

Back home, in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, Connected Development joined fellow CSOs, key government stakeholders and the international community to mark the Anti-Corruption Day by being part of an anti-corruption seminar convened by Centre for Social Justice with Stop Impunity Nigeria, Say No Campaign, Transparency Nigeria and Zero Corruption Coalition in close cooperation with the Presidential Advisory Committee [PAC] on Anti-Corruption and funded by the European Union under the ‘Project on Support to Anti-Corruption in Nigeria’.

In his welcome address, Myani Bukar, representing Professor Bolaji Owasanoye of the PAC explained the mandate and role of the PAC while encouraging the continuous participation of CSOs in the fight against corruption’; meanwhile the rep for the Country Director of the United Nations Development Program [UNDP], Pa Lamin Beyai, noted that the adopted Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs] which were crafted in far more consultative manner that the Millennium Development Goals [MDGs], has shown the importance of good governance and accountability as enshrined in GOALS 7- 11.

Corruption in Nigera is a story that needs no introduction, the current administration of President Buhari defines corruption as the greatest form of human right injustice. Many people believe that oil boom and the dismal dispensation of duties administration by public officers has supported the rise of corruption. Other factors such as greed, nepotism and an ostentatious lifestyle have also supported corruption.

One of the highlights of the seminar was the presentation of a ‘vox populi’ video which touched on key topics surrounding corruption. Panels were held as well on corruption practices in Nigeria and how CSOs, Faith-based organisations and other associations to share insights on fighting the scourge of corrupt practices and fortifying anti-corruption chains through cooperation.

Some of the recommendations offered the CSO reps included increasing capacity building for CSOs on understanding the instruments that support enabling acts such as the FOI act, building better knowledge bases for affairs on key MDAs that some CSOs have their work centered around, in addition, CSO workers should be courageous in speaking up on matters beyond the National level and look at both State and Local levels. Finally, Citizens were encouraged to see governance as their responsibility, given that it was in pursuance of their civic rights that our leaders are now in power.

CODE, through its Follow The Money initiative breaks the corruption chain by ensuring transparency and accountability in the implementation of funds [international aid or government spending] intended for local communities.