NGO trains community monitoring teams to track constituency projects

 Connected Development (CODE), an NGO, on Friday trained community members as Community Monitoring Teams (CMTs), to constituency projects in Kaduna State.

The Project Manager, Kingsley Agu, said at the opening the training in Kaduna, the effort was to equip the CMTs needed skills and information to effectively the projects.

Agu said the constituency projects would be tracked under a three-year MacArthur Foundation supported “Deepening Citizens’ in Government Spending and Addressing Accompanying Corrupt Practices (DeSPAAC)” project.

He explained the CMTs consisted community structures and existing “Follow the Champions’’ equitable representation women and men in the state.

He identified some of the community structures as Community-Based Organisations, Community-Based Associations, religious and traditional leaders, as well as women and youths’ .

“The CMTs will be empowered to develop mechanisms to ensure that budgeted constituency projects reflect their needs, access data about projects appropriated for, and provide effective oversight on the implementation of such projects in their communities.

“After the training, the CMTs will organise community outreaches and engage duty bearers, via town hall meetings, and strategic advocacy visits on community needs and government appropriations.

“They will be expected to step down the skills acquired to community members, and integrate local communications systems and available media platforms,” he said.

The project manager also said that the CMTs would work in investigative journalists and Independence Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

According to him, CODE is currently working on partnering with the ICPC to enable community members to report and escalate shoddy projects for appropriate actions.

He said that N6.4 billion was earmarked for constituency projects in Kaduna State by the Federal Government, N3.5 billion in 2020 and N2.9 billion in 2021.

The project manager said that the NGO had secured commitment from the Kaduna State Planning and Budget Commission to include federal and state constituency projects in the state project monitoring App.

“This will enable the CMTs to locate the projects easily and obtain relevant information needed to effectively monitor and report contractual abuse and corrupt practices in the delivery of projects,” he said.

Also speaking, Mr Onochie Mokwunye, CODE’s Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist, said that most of the constituency projects were planned and sited without input from the communities, a situation that often led to duplication and wastage.

According to Mokwunye, the DeSPAAC will help ensure that constituency projects speak to the needs of the people, and also ensure quality and timely implementation of such projects. (NAN)