Connected Development (CODE) has launched its 2018 Annual Report that highlights the impact of its social accountability initiative, Follow The Money, in tracking an estimate of N1,289,579,737 ($3.6 million) budgeted for projects in 69 grassroots communities across water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), primary healthcare and education sectors, in the year 2018.
In the report, CODE emphasised its effort to spur stronger and inclusive growth for grassroots communities in Africa by providing them with the resources to amplify their voices; creating platforms for dialogue, enabling informed debate, and building the capacity of citizens on how to hold their elected representatives accountable through the Follow The Money initiative.
“It was a year of resilience and remarkable achievement,” said CODE’s Chief Executive, Hamzat Lawal, in his introduction speech at the launch of the 2018 Annual Report themed “Amplifying Voices from the Grassroots”.
Lawal stated: “Our priority in 2018 was to track subnational budgets and ensure that Federal allocations to States and Local Governments reached grassroots communities for socio-economic development.
“CODE activated Follow The Money for nine local government projects and 41 state government projects championing five advocacy campaigns for improved first-mile health infrastructure and services, 60 advocacy campaigns for improved education infrastructures for children to learn in schools, and 6 advocacy campaigns for communities to access safe, clean water and we impacted 1,292,848 grassroots people in 21 states of Nigeria.”
The report also featured CODE’s tracking of spending in the extractive sector through its Conflict and Fragility Campaign, aimed at mitigating human rights and conflicts issues to improve the livelihoods of grassroots communities in the Niger-Delta region. CODE engaged policy makers, stakeholders and beneficiaries, on the effects of artisanal mining activities in Nigeria, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. It also features Follow The Money’s expansion to other African Countries in Kenya, Liberia, Cameroon and The Gambia.
During the year, CODE said it faced key challenges including threats for exposing misappropriation of funds, poor access to data to enable tracking of government funds, security issues in Northeast of Nigeria, and limited funds in reaching more grassroots communities, according to CODE’s Chief Operating Officer, Ojonwa Miachi.
CODE’s 2018 Report was launched alongside the presentation of Follow The Money’s award as the 2019 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Mobiliser of the year. The presentation was supported by John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, OSIWA, Oxfam Nigeria, Luminate and Indigo Trust.
Lawal, dedicated the award to rural grassroots communities across Africa, the CODE team for their resilience in promoting the Follow The Money mission even in the face of insurmountable pressure; and to the donor agencies who believed CODE’s vision and contributed to actualising its mission.