The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on Tuesday in Abuja launched a new activity that promises to enhance the ability of Nigeria’s civil society and business membership organisations (CSOs and BMOs) to influence policies and reforms across the most critical service sectors.
Speaking at the launch attended by a variety of governmental and private sector advocates for good governance, the USAID Acting Mission Director, Katie Donohoe, said that the five-year, $32.9m Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement (SCALE) activity was to strengthen the financial, management, and advocacy capacity of CSOs and BMOs to create a more accountable and democratic Nigeria with more efficient public service delivery.
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According to her, the Nigerian civil society has the potential to support transformational change in Nigeria.
“This investment underscores the depth of the U.S. commitment to strengthen CSO advocacy in Nigeria.
“Civic action has achieved significant global impacts in recent years.
“People here and around the world are expressing their wish for a stronger, better functioning democracy,” Donohoe said.
She added that building on the framework of the earlier USAID Strengthening Advocacy and Civic Engagement (SACE) activity, Palladium Group serves as the implementer for SCALE in partnership with strong local organisations such as the Policy and Legislative Advocacy Center (PLAC), Center for Leadership, Strategy and Development (CLSD), and Nigeria Network of Non-Governmental Organisations.
Also speaking at the event, the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, who pledged the government’s support for the activity, said: “This activity aligns with the government’s commitment for a more accountable and responsive government to the citizens of our great nation, Nigeria.
“SCALE could not have come at a better time, when citizens are looking to us to consolidate on the change we promised.”
The SCALE also helps CSOs and BMOs exercise their rights to advocate for economic opportunities that lead to better lives by influencing policy reform in critical sectors like health, education, water and sanitation, governance, agriculture, and extractive industries.
The project said special attention will be paid to the prevention of child marriage, trafficking in persons, and gender-based violence.
It added that by improving the civil policy and regulatory environment at the local level, SCALE enhances collaborative advocacy in areas that will improve quality of life for Nigerians, especially women, youth, people living with disabilities (PLWDs), and other vulnerable populations.