PERL calls for a sustainable relationship between CSOs, Govt, and donors
By: Our Correspondent
Ashiru Sani, the State Facilitation Manager of Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL), a Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO) UK-supported governance program, has said that Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) play multiple roles and are important sources of information for both citizens and government. He mentioned that CSOs monitor government policies and actions and hold the government accountable; hence, they are partners in progress with the government and donors.
He asserted this during a Two-Day Technical Session on the Development of an Advocacy Brief and Strategy to Increase Community Development Charter (CDC) Influence and Performance in the 23 Local Government 2024 Budgets.
According to him, CSOs in Kaduna State, like any other, engage in advocacy and offer alternative policies for the government, the private sector, and other institutions. He added that they also help in delivering services, especially to the poor and underserved. “They defend citizen rights and work to change and uphold social norms and behaviors.”
Ashiru, therefore, called for a sustainable relationship between the government, CSOs, and donors to ensure that the interest of the citizens is protected.
He stressed that this is more important at this point when the country is witnessing a transition at all tiers of government.
Ashiru stressed that a sustainable relationship is very important to ensure that all gains and reforms that the stakeholders fight for are sustained.
He opined that the CSOs in Kaduna state must consolidate on the gains of the past and engage the new administration to work with the directions, especially the Community Development Charter (CDC).
Speaking on “Understanding the Community Development Charter and Preparation for 2024 Budget Process,” Mr. Yusuf Goje harped on the need for sustained advocacy on citizen’s budgets leveraging on Community Development Charter (CDC).
He explained that CDC is a written document containing the development needs of a community listed in the order of communal priority, as drawn up by all groups within the community.
Goje added that it’s a tool for citizens-state engagement and participation as it contains the representational needs of the community, gathered and compiled in an inclusive and participatory manner, to aid the budgeting process, ensuring that the budgeting process speaks to the community needs.
He defined Participatory budgeting as a form of citizen participation in which citizens are involved in the process of deciding how public money is spent. Local people are often given a role in the scrutiny and monitoring of the process following the allocation of budgets and enshrined in 1999 Constitution and social accountability.
In his remarks, the Director of Planning in Kaduna State Planning and Budget Commission, Mr. Badamasi Musa, said the Commission will ensure that the Action Plan for 2021 to 2023 with five thematic areas addresses the open budget, ensuring that the budget speaks to people’s needs, that the budget is transparent, and it addresses community needs, which is the yardstick for the CDC.
In his presentation, titled “The Journey so Far,” Mr. Luke Seth said the PERL/FCDO supported a visit to Anambra State with Civil Society Organizations on CDC, and coming back, the model was adopted, as well as to support the training of CDC Champions from the 23 LGAs, stressing that CSOs were brought together to harmonize the template and develop the draft.
He said CDC is a key milestone in the ended OGP State Action Plan I (2018-2020), and the CDC protocol has been accepted by the state Executive, including Town hall meetings across the 23 LGAs.
“LFTAS grants to the 23 LGA.
In 2022, a digital hub in collaboration with civil society organizations developed a web platform for the submission of citizen’s needs: citizensdemand.org.
Seth explained that the web platform has made the CDC process easier, faster, cost-effective, transparent, and accountable.
The web platform, according to him, has also been accepted by PBC as the means of citizen need submission.
“PERL has supported the capacity building of LGA CDC champions on submission of citizens’ needs in the web platform.
“PERL supported CDC champions on local government budget performance. 2021-2023
With the development of the web platform, 23 LGAs were able to submit their CDC needs in 2022.”
Seth gave some of the success stories of the CDC, which includes:
Construction of a road from Idon to Iri in Idon ward, Kajuru LGA, done by the local government council.
Construction of a block of two classrooms for the primary school in Jampan ward, Jangagari community in Ikara LGA.
Construction of police out force to address insecurity in Kufaina ward, Zaria LGA.
Renovation of a block of two classrooms in LEA primary Mahuta community in Igabi LGA, which was burnt.
Construction of Dogo Daji bridge in Fadan Karshi ward, Sanga LGA. He concluded.