Connected Development Initiative (CODE)

Mobilising citizens for improved public service delivery in Africa

Community improvement

The project aims to mobilise and empower citizens to hold government accountable for the provision of quality education, health care and WASH services

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Lead Organization

Connected Development Initiative (CODE)

Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria

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To learn more about – or provide significant funding to – this project, please contact Lever for Change.

Project Summary

Poor accountability and transparency, information gap, high-handedness, bottlenecks, weak social contracts; technology illiteracy; citizenry apathy and trust-deficit in government, are entrenched governance challenges, enabling pervasive corruption, misappropriation and misallocation of public funds in Nigeria. The inability to assess government activities as a way to curtail excesses, has led to billions of public funds being siphoned, thereby increasing poor public service delivery like healthcare, education, water; fostering extreme poverty and widening the inequality gap.Follow The Money Model (FTM), is mobilizing thousands of citizens (even in remote grassroots regions) to engage with government, demand accountability from their elected representatives and track disbursed funds to accelerate the delivery of development projects. By changing the way citizens engage with government, Follow The Money is improving transparency and accountability, reducing corruption, making public funds work for the people, shrinking the widening inequality gap and ultimately lifting millions of people out of poverty.

Problem Statement

The picture of basic public services for the average Nigerian is bleak. This year, 87,000 children under five will die from water-borne diseases and preventable sanitation-related illnesses. 93,000 children will join the current 10 million out-of-school children in Nigeria because of the deplorable school conditions—dilapidated structures, no libraries, congested classrooms with poor ventilation, no furniture, few teachers, and long distances to the nearest school. These children are in danger of being trafficked, violated, kidnapped, exploited and recruited into terrorism. Women and girls are at risk of being raped or killed for defecating in the open, because there are no safe toilets closeby. Over a million pregnant women may die, have still-births or babies with deformities because of poor healthcare centres, low staffing capacity and inability to access safe drugs. These are the daily realities of over 50 million households in Nigeria, a problem further exacerbated for women and children, especially in grassroots communities. Many Nigerian citizens experience low productivity, loss of earning opportunities and are unable to achieve their full potential because of these challenges. Citizens have the power to petition government to implement development projects and deliver improved public services. Until Nigerians begin to make their collective voices heard, ask the right questions, demand for transparency and accountability to curb corruption and call out corrupt government officials, public funds will continue to be syphoned, drenching many more households into poverty and widening the inequality gap and, the gains of good governance and democracy will be out-of-reach.

Solution Overview

Our solution is bridging the information gap between the people and the government, tackling mismanagement and financial leakages and bringing governance closer to the people at the grassroots. The initiative empowers citizens with the knowledge, skills and capacity to demand for the provision of quality public services in their communities. Since 2012, CODE, through Follow The Money, has built the capacity of over 5,000 volunteers who engage with governments at the sub-national and national level, to provide water, education, infrastructures and healthcare facilities in their constituencies.Consequently, essential public projects, previously abandoned or which otherwise would not have been implemented, are being restarted and completed, due to the tracking and monitoring of grassroots projects by these volunteers, facilitating social development in these regions, fighting inequality, poverty and advocating inclusive development. The success of the initiative is measured when communities begin to track government spending and demand better service, when funds that ordinarily would have been siphoned begin to work for public service delivery and ultimately when government policies are reviewed because of our influence.The idea is simple, mobilise citizens to hold their governments and elected representatives to account to reduce possibilities of corruption and bring quality public services to even the most remote of communities across Africa.Our work has directly impacted over 2 million lives across 176 grassroots communities, tracking USD 3.6 million. We project that by 2025, Follow The Money would have fast-tracked development projects in 321 communities, reaching over 15 million Africans by 2025.

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Project Funders

  • MacArthur Foundation Nigeria 2017 - 2020
  • Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) 2017 - 2019
  • Lumiate Group 2017 - 2021

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