The Federal Government and Save the Children International, a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enhance Monitoring, Evaluation and accountability in the implementation of National Social Investment Programmes (NSIP).
Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, at the signing in Abuja said it was a worthy partnership.
According to Farouq, the ministry has been working with Save the Children International even before now.
“This is to solidify our engagement and partnership with you. You may recall that the NSIP which we are about to sign an MoU with you was created by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2016.
“The mandate is to lift citizens out of poverty, and this is to be done with social intervention programmes which include N-Power, Conditional Cash Transfer, National Home Grown School Feeding Programme and Government Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Programme.
“I am sure that we all realise the need for effective monitoring and evaluation (M and E) of these investments.
“The M and E in the implementation of of the NSIP cannot be over-emphasised; that is the primary reason the ministry deliberately inaugurated a strategy on M and E sometime ago at many levels.
“We have about 7, 500 Independent Monitors that are under our payroll and spread across the states. They are currently in the field monitoring the NSIP, and every month we get about 250,000 reports submitted to the ministry,” Farouq said.
She further said that to foster accountability, transparency and effectiveness via M and E Strategy, she directed the involvement of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) as an additional layer of close monitoring.
“However, after vigorous engagements with NGOs, we have come to the conclusion that we are going to partner with Save the Children International.
“This partnership will also engage services of many other CSOs to provide the third party monitoring of the programmes and these CSOs will also provide independent reports on the NSIP in the states they deliver their support.
“Furthermore, they will also provide capacity building to the Independent Monitors that are already in the field and carry out on the spot checks of the NSIP implementations.
“Today, we conclude a very long process of vigorous review of this partnership and engagement and finalisation of the MoU which was reviewed and harmonised by the legal team of both parties,” she said.
The minister, who expressed delight iver the development, said that without an effective M and E system in place, the programme may not realise its objectives.
She appealed to CSOs in the programme to play their roles in a patriotic manner as their own contributions to nations building to achieve Buhari’s vision of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by the year 2030.
Also speaking, Mr Famari Barro, the Country Director of Save the Children International Nigeria said the organisation had been working in Nigeria since 2001.
Barron said his Organisation protect children from all forms of violence, especially girls, orphans, vulnerable children and children affected by conflict.
“Our programmes work from the community to the national level to promote children’s rights and protection.
“While there is an incredible amount of progress that has been achieved, we believe there is a long way to go and a number of high-priority development issues.
“Global best practices in implementing social interventions describe a process for mainstreaming Social Accountability (SA) through a step-by-step process that builds on communications and awareness activities, empowering beneficiaries.
“We are therefore happy to be part of history – a team that coordinates the delivery of SA mechanisms in the National Social Investment Programme.
“It is believed that this will encourage transparency and accountable behaviour from service providers, as well as be a mechanism through which beneficiaries and their communities can gain confidence in their ability to effect positive change.
“An effective SA mechanism will also help in improving service levels to the citizens, thereby ensuring that government gets a better return on investment,” Barro said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Barro was represented by Mr Amanuel Mamo, the Director of Advocacy, Campaigns, Communication and Media of Save the Children International.
The National Coordinator of the NSIP, Dr Umar Bindir says, the programme is contributing to enhance livelihood which is lifting millions of Nigerians out of poverty.
“It is important that these investments needs to be followed, evaluated and monitored to ensure that it achieves its goals and objectives”.
High point of the event was the signing of the MoU by representatives of the Ministry led by the Farouq and the organisation led by Mamo. (NAN)