In global development governance and the development sector more specifically, the question of sustainability has always recurred. Ideally, if a sustainable structure is put in place, projects and programs will still continue to run, long after the initial efforts are not there anymore. In our work through which we use a knowledge-based scientific process to visualize, track and monitor funds spent for development in rural communities by the government and other development partners and ensure such funds are spent for the reason they are budgeted for, we have always thought of sustainability. One of the ways to achieve this is by letting communities own Follow The Money (FTM) process. It was based on this that we have started identifying community activists, who have been working on FTM activities four years ago.with young people, which reside in rural communities and tracks the funds themselves while we provide technical assistance.
As part of our sustainability plan, we initiated the ifollowthemoney.org, a platform that already hosts over 500 people. Furthermore, we developed the idea of creating chapters. A Follow The Money chapter can be made up of individuals, an already existing association, or a non-government organization that carries out Follow The Money activities. We are officially piloting with 4 chapters in Nigeria, which will be led by Ali Isa in Kano State; Muazu Modu in Yobe State; Erdoo Anongo of Kwasi Foundation in Benue State; and these leads, having been completely empowered to follow the money themselves, will lead in following the money in their states, mobilize more community members in the process while the core team in Abuja provides technical support. They are responsible to formalize their chapters for better governance which includes having four principal officers like the lead, a treasurer, community outreach officer, public relations officer
Starting with these pilot chapters, the core team organized an internal 2-day training for these State Chapter Leads from 29th to 30th of June, 2017 at the Ventures Platform in Abuja. The training started by reiterating and broadening some of the things they already know and work with, from Getting Data of Money to Follow, Leveraging and Drafting of Freedom of Information requests, Mapping of Stakeholders (Government Agencies, Media House, Other NGOs), Drafting Short Write-ups on Campaigns, Organizing Community Outreaches/Preparing Questionnaires, Organizing Town Hall Meetings, as well as new trainings on Mobile Journalism, Hostile Environment Reportage, Preparing Budget and Financial Reporting, Making Use of Social Media for Engagement, ifollowthemoney Platform, Management, Theory of Change, Deliverables for Local Chapters etc. These sessions were facilitated by relevant CODE personnel.
In the meantime, we want to support more chapters, and not to forget that there are already intending chapters in Gambia, Kenya, Mozambique and Togo. Yes, we say they are intending as for CODE to support an intending chapter, or to recognize it as a chapter, there must be a leader, and the lead must have independently carried out Follow The Money activities within one year, with the assistance of the core team. Anyone can Follow The Money using our methodologies, we only provide guidance to the use of Follow The Money activities, with the hope that the vision of making everyone in every community in Africa to be empowered to engage their various government on funds meant for them. So, if you want to start a chapter, why not join us at http://ifollowthemoney.org and kickstart your activities, and in one year, you become eligible to run a chapter!