Sola Ojo, Kaduna
A Non-Governmental Organization working to ensure transparency and accountability, Connected Development (CODE) has helped the Federal Government saved N569million while tracking Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) projects in four local government areas in Kaduna State.
CODE through one of its initiatives, Follow The Money (FTM), in 2017, sought to ensure transparency and accountability in capital projects expenditure in marginalized communities, hence, began tracking of UBE spending in Jema’a, Zangon Kataf, Kudan and Kajuru Local Government Areas of Kaduna State with support from John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
Executive Director of CODE, Hamzat Lawal, who spoke through the Programme Director, Mrs. Lucy Abaji during the presentation of a three-year project impact report on UBE spending in Kaduna State, said, need assessment was carried out on over 600 schools.
According to him, quality education was a major concern for his organization because that was what would bring the learning outcome they were advocating for, leveraging on community champions and other stakeholders.
Speaking on the success of the tracking, he said, “School-Based Management Committees (SBMCs), as well as citizens, are more aware and take collective action to demand transparency and accountability in UBEC/Kad SUBEB spending as a result of various capacity building sessions like monitoring and evaluation, community engagement, human management among others.
“Change in policy or project plan by the Kaduna SUBEB owing to our annual reports feature key policy recommendations as a result of channelled project implementation findings (three reports) to the state SUBEB for redress and conducted needs assessment across 609 schools in the four LGAs for evidence-based UBE action planning in the state and presented its report to the Governor of Kaduna State.
“N569 million (USD 1.5 million) was tracked across 23 projects, in 20 communities, across Jema’a, Kudan, Kajuru, and Zangon Kataf LGA). SBMCs became an integral part of UBEC/SUBEB yearly budgeting and implementation cycle through the adoption of a project nomination and monitoring tool.
“The tool was developed in collaboration with the KAD-SUBEB, SBMCs, education secretaries, and LGA council chairmen in the spirit of co-creation, a tenet of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in Kaduna State government,’’ added.
Speaking earlier, Executive Chairman of Kaduna State Universal Basic Education, Tijjani Abdullahi, expressed the agency’s commitment to continue to work with CODE in its involvement to education in the state.
He appealed to CODE, to find a way in supporting the agency in her drive to come up with an application for classrooms to enhance the standard of basic education in state.
“I want CODE, to help us in terms of software for classrooms, not just for materials, I think the next phase will be to help us better manage our human resources; the teachers, to developing them and training them. I know you have access to resources. I want you to come up with something we can work within the next three years,” Abdullahi added.