Budget Analysis: Save the Children Train Stakeholders in Kaduna on Tracking Nutrition Spendings

By Alex Uangbaoje, Kaduna

As part of efforts aimed at creating advocacy for increasing budgetary allocations and improving the quality of public spending on Nutrition, in Kaduna State, Save the Children International (SCI), under her Gates Advocacy Project, on Monday commenced a 3-day capacity building of stakeholders on budget analysis.

The training which is being carried out in partnership with the state Planning and Budget Commission, with participants drawn from media, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Ward Development Committees is expected to strengthen them in influencing future fiscal policies and Government Budgets. And also increase their capacity in Budgeting process, on public spending on Nutrition.

Speaking at the opening of the workshop, the Project Manager, Mrs. Oluseyi Abejide explained that the training is met to empower participants with the knowledge of how to gather evidence through budget tracking which they can use for claiming accountability and seeking positive developmental agenda, and change for the visibility of nutrition among the state and LGAs programmes priority areas of financial investment.

“Participants will also be introduced to the importance of nutrition budget advocacy, with more technical training on how to undertake sound analyses – starting from ensuring that nutrition plans are linked to situational analyses and well costed, that budgets respond to costed plans and tracking expenditure and guidance for strategic engagement so that the findings inform progressive policy change.” She added.

She said the Gates Nutrition Advocacy became imperative because, “despite evidence on the impact of nutrition programmes, current investment both in allocation and expenditure remains very low in many states of Nigeria including Kaduna state where three of ten under-5 children are severely stunted, and 47.0% are moderately stunted.

“The permanent elimination of stunting will therefore require changes on the part of many actors and institutions. Each of these actors and institutions controls or influences decisions and actions that can have a positive or negative influence on the nutrition situation of a state.

“Thus, each has particular role(s) to play in reducing or eliminating stunting.
It is pertinent to note that nutrition planning and budgeting are critical components of improving nutrition status of children and women including adolescents, and also facilitate in increasing accountability between citizens and decision makers.

“Therefore, analyzing nutrition budgets in relation to costed plans and expenditures enables a range of stakeholders – including civil society, and the media – to hold policy makers to account for commitments made at various levels.”

Mrs. Abejide, said another reason why the training become so important is because data on nutrition expenditures are often hard to find, and stakeholders are often without the capacity to engage in budget processes.

Therefore, in order to realize the full potential of state and local governments level accountability platforms, SCI planned to build the capacity building with a view to establish a vibrant platform of those who are able to understand and utilize the data to influence appropriate policy change.

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