By Uangbaoje Alex, Kaduna
Following the mobilization of citizens in Kaduna State by Partnership to Engage Reform and Learn (PERL), a UK Government’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), project in Nigeria to engage government in having a say in policies formulation and service delivery since 2016, stakeholders says government policies have largely been influenced by citizens.
The stakeholders who were largely drown from Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Ward Development Committees (WDCs), Schools Based Management Committee (SBMC), Traditional and Religious Leaders, Government Actors the Media etc, reached the conclusion at a Constituency Influence Assessment (CIA), meeting in Kaduna.
The CIA is a quantitative index-based assessment to estimate the level of influence by constituencies on service delivery and policy changes to which PERL or partners have contributed to or aware of. This implies that, it captures other partners’ efforts that PERL may have not contributed to directly. The CIA covers three main domains in both the education and Health sectors, namely: Engagement of the Citizens, Representation of the Citizens and Inclusion of the Citizens.
According to them, the existence of accountability mechanisms that engages budget and service delivery processes in the two sectors that provides citizens the opportunity to participate in the entire processes is a clear evidence of their engagement with policy formulation and service delivery.
They further said findings from the quarterly spot checks and schools tracking exercises being carried out by the mechanisms have also put government to her toes that have led to the improvements in the education and healthcare facilities in the state.
They added that citizens engagement also created platforms for inclusion whereby citizens representatives are now being appointed as members of some state agencies. And inputs of citizens into the budget during public hearing at the state Assembly are now being effected in the budget.
They therefore pledged to strengthen more advocacies especially for malaria and other killer diseases like cholera and issues around environment and Early Child Development Education (ECD), Security, Procurement, Monitoring, Fiscal Transparency for education and improved alignment in terms of plans and budget.