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Connected  Development (CODE) Trains Facilitators on Follow The Money, Tracking Govt Spending

By Ahmed Abu, The Nigerian Voice, Maiduguri

Connected Development (CODE) (a Non Governmental Organization) organised a one day training workshop for Borno State Chapter Champions with the support of Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) on Thursday to strengthen the capacity of the participants on Follow The Money/Tracking Governennt Spending on projects as provided in the budgets for the grassroots communities.

The workshop "Strengthening Capacity for Follow The Money Training for Borno Champions 2019" to build and develop HITECH capacity building for the state champions as well as familiarise them with the achievements and operations of the organisation.

One of the Resource Persons at the training workshop, Abubakar Sadiq Muazu said the training was also organised to specifically exposed the champions to the techniques and principles of the Follow The Money programme, governennt budgets, sources of finance, usher implementation and how the government spending can be tracked down in communities by individuals or group of individuals or communities themselves .

According to him, tracking of governennt spending in the democratic setting helps in sustainability of the project and brings development to the affaceted communities apart from improving quality and benefits of the projects as well as responses of governennt to provision of basic infrastructure in communities.

Another Resource Person, Zaliha A. Lawal said one of the essence of organising the workshop for the state chapter champions was to empower them at the rural areas, particularly, those communities that are marginalised with data and vital information under the Sustainability Development Goals (SSGs) as a result of the Millennium Development Goals(MDGs).

The Follow The Money she said can't wait to see what can be shared and what can be gained from its network at fast participation in monitoring and evaluation of any government project which is ideal and necessary to enhance community development and growth apart from checks and balances of government projects and budgeting.

Zaliha noted that there was also the need for the participants to monitor and evaluate budgets of governennt to ensure that the money disbursed is utilized for the purpose it was meant for.

She added that Follow The Money will further promote access to information for the communities (FOI) and encourage participation in budget processes to ensure participatory budgeting towards promoting transparency and accountability.

According to her, Follow The Money is purposely aimed at reducing corruption, transparency deficit, accountability deficit, poor citizenship participation in governennt and public records inaccessibility.

She further said that the Follow The Money required technology, social and traditional media, access in information law, monitoring and evaluation tools like the experts or professionals in the community project resources like the community leaders, youths and women leaders involvement and interactions among others.

Zaliha explained that with the Follow The Money, governennt will become responsive, have open policies and programmes, improved service delivery and development while there will be improved responses to community demands or needs (basic amenities and facilities) and available platform for citizens to dialogue with the governennt.

Some participants at the workshop , Abba Musa and Aisha Mohammed expressed their satisfaction with the conduct of the training and understanding of the technologies involved in the tracking of governennt spending with a view to mobilize other youths at the garassroots to organise themselves for the follow the money programme on certain projects in their communities such as water supply, schools, hospitals, roads, etc.

Follow The Money is a network for grassroots citizens who are dedicated to track government and International aid and its mission is to empower marginalized grassroots communities.