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How CODE impacts 4m lives across 300 communities in 10 years -Director

The Connected Development (CODE) through its social accountability movement affiliate, Follow The Money (FTM) have impacted over four million lives and empowered 300 communities across…

The Connected Development (CODE) through its social accountability movement affiliate, Follow The Money (FTM) have impacted over four million lives and empowered 300 communities across Africa in the last 1o years.

The Director of Programmes Connected Development (CODE), Ms. Lucy James Abagi, said this on Wednesday in Abuja at the unveiling of new logos and presentation of the journey and achievements of the organizations as part of activities marking a decade of its founding and operations.

According to her, the organisation achieved this through various projects, campaigns and community outreaches in education, basic health and water sanitation.

She said that the CODE through the FTM initiative had also successfully impacted millions of lives across Africa directly, enabling citizens to demand better from their government and directly influencing government policy to ensure public funds work for public good.

“We have been working as an organisation to strengthen local communities by creating platforms for dialogue, enabling informed debate, and building capacities of marginalized communities, thereby bringing about more transparency and accountability in government spending.

“We are celebrating CODE at 10; it was established in 2012 and this youth-led organisation is now in 10 African countries working to empower marginalized communities, impacting over four million lives.

“And building the highest standards of accountability and transparency at all levels of governance across Africa. FTM is working to empower young people, women and girls to hold their government accountable by ensuring that people everywhere have the right information, data and evidences needed to ensure change, transparency and accountability in their own local communities.

“This was made possible through CODE’s chains of products tracking budgets like the COVID-19 Transparency and Accountability Project (CTAP), Project Sabi, WASH, Open Parley among others with the support of our donors,” Abagi said.

She also said that although the organisation was able to make progress, however, access to information and funding for more works had remained part of the major challenge in the course of its work.

She said, “Access to information is a problem for us at CODE because our work is driven by data and evidence and we do verification and validation before we come out with any information to ensure that we give the public the right data.

“Access to information is a problem because governments in some states at some level have refused to ensure that the information that citizens need to hold them accountable are in public space.

“So, if we want this work to keep moving forward, the government needs to open up more by ensuring their budget, implementation plans, monetary allocations to budget are in the open space so that citizens and CSOs like CODE can use that information to hold them to account.”

On his part, the CODE’s Community Engagement Director, Mr. Busayo Morakinyo, while speaking on CODE’s Strategic Plans and the impact of FTM said that the organisation was working to see how communities and individuals would be engaged.

“FTM is a silver bullet that seeks to hold governments critically to account using project data, using budget data to drive the conversation in the last 10 years. Starting from 2012, we have been able to move to well over 300 projects and we are going to be unveiling that subsequently.

“For us, 10 years is a milestone that we want to celebrate and we are deliberate about that; we want to celebrate communities that have partnered with us and donors but much more than that, we are celebrating the resilience of citizens who have decided to learn using the FTM methodology to hold their government to account.

“That is what we are celebrating and much more than that, we are looking into the next 10 years because we want to see how communities and individuals to work with FTM because until citizens are able to do that, we are still scratching the surface,” Morakinyo said.

He also said that said that the group had lined up of events to celebrate its 10 years, adding that youths would also be carried along encouraged to participate in politics and make their voices count in the electoral process.

Also speaking the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of CODE, Ms. Ijeoma Oforka, said that the group had a new 10-year strategic plan and activities that would to youth empowerment and engagement in elections, budget tracking and accountability.

She said that CODE is having about 10 products spreading across 10 African countries including Nigeria to ensure meaningful impact is made in advocacy and campaign.

Oforka said, “We have been able to track about N2billion projects; we won awards and made impact across communities in advocacy.

“It has not really been easy, we have gone through a lot of challenges and we are able to overcome and we have been able to actually access funds to ensure that more lives are being touched and we are not going to stop there.”

Also, the organization’s Communications Manager, Stephen Akinfela, who spoke on the new logos, said that CODE’s new logo, which is red, is the organization’s theme color which was explained in a puzzle of what CODE stood for.

He said that these are transparency, freedom of information, open government and accountability.

The Chief Executive of Connected Development (CODE), Malam Hamzat Bala Lawal is a co-founder of Follow The Money.

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