Influencing Public Policies, Expenditure: ActionAid Mobilizes Young People in Kaduna

By Uangbaoje Alex, Kaduna

As part of measures to ensure young people in Nigeria takes their place in influencing public policies and expenditure, ActionAid Nigeria, has commenced mobilisation of youths in Kaduna State, through the Youth Organization and Leadership (YOL), project.

ActionAid is an anti-poverty agency that prioritises its work around women, poor and excluded in the society and sometimes focuses on the young people, by promoting values and commitment in civil society, institutions and Governments with the aim of achieving structural changes in order to eradicate injustices and poverty in the society.

The YOL, project, currently being implemented in five states; of Akwa-Ibom, Borno, Enugu, Kaduna and Lagos and also the Federal Capital Territory, is funded by Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), to mobilise Young People and their organizations for progressive social change.

The project according to ActionAid Nigeria, Program Officer, Governance Blessing Ifemenam, is aimed at enhancing young people’s power to influence public expenditure towards gender responsive service delivery through progressive taxation.

Blessing, who said this in Kaduna on Wednesday at a two-day Youth Mobilization meeting on Tax, Public Finance and Gender Responsive Public Service (GRPS) explained that the objective of the meeting was to strengthen the capacity of young people on public finance, GRPS and it’s linkages.

She added that the meeting which also signifies the commencement of the project implementation in Kaduna, was also met to provide a platform to build consensus of issues of public service delivery for young people in the state.

A resource person at the meeting, Mr. Kingsley Agu, who made a presentation on GPRS, noted that GRPS should seek to address both practical and strategic needs. And to achieve this it has to be; publicly funded, publicly delivered and universal gender equitable and inclusive focused on quality, in line with human rights frameworks.

According to him, “a gender-responsive public service identifies that males and females often have different practical and strategic needs and priorities for what services are provided, how they are financed and how they are provided.

“And that where public services are not gender-responsive the burden of existence is increased, inequality exacerbated and poor and excluded face a major barrier to enjoying their rights. Public services have the potential to create more equal societies, countering social and economic inequalities.”

Mr. Agu, said, “public services should be delivered by the State, not privatised, and they should be available to all, equally. The State is the prime duty bearer for delivering on human rights, and play the central role in the universal provision of quality public services and infrastructure.

“This role and associated responsibilities are laid out clearly in a number of international human rights covenants and treaties, ratified by most countries and reinforced in many cases by national constitutions.”

He added that, gender responsive public services focuses on women and girls, and takes an intersectional approach recognising the multiple dimensions of discrimination and exclusion that interweave in practice. This means that, as well as gender, we look at how inclusive and responsive services are for people with disabilities, in remote areas or from minority communities or those affected by conflict.

“This means looking at who has access, and checking that public service delivery systems do not discriminate, taking positive steps to reach the most marginalised. And that quality, gender-responsive public services are relevant, non-discriminatory and culturally appropriate. Adaptability is founded on the commitment of governments to provide the public with services that meet their needs.”

About 60 young persons from over twelve youth organizations and the media are currently participating in the capacity building meeting in Kaduna State.

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