By Abdulmumin Murtala, Kano
Recent activities of Non-Governmental Organizations NGOs in Kano state have raised the conscience of the Community Based Organizations CBOs who are enlightened and empowered to track government projects meant for their communities.
These include community leaders, youth organizations, traders and associations like the Parent Teachers Associations PTA of community schools.
The NGOs involved basically engage the CBOs in technical facilitation on the protocols involved and the methodology of getting services from government. They are given a voice to engage the government constructively.
It is cooperation between the NGOs, the Ministry of Planning and the state SERVICOM that ensures effective service delivery where CBOs are sensitized on community projects, what they are entitled to and how to get it.
In Kano, the government introduced what it called the Community Based Projects CBP as an innovation to reach out to the grassroots in the provision of infrastructure.
The state government provides funds for these projects in the annual budget to the tune of N4.2b with each of the 448 political wards in the state entitled to N10m each. The CBOs are expected to access such funds for better service delivery in their communities.
All these were achieved as a result of efforts of the NGOs and community groups that put pressure on the government before this was provided.
This being available, the NGOs continued to see to the implementation of projects by sensitizing the CBOs to still play their roles actively.
Prominent among these NGOs promoting the project was the one sponsored by DFID (Department For International Development UK) called the PERL (Partnership to Enlighten Reform and Train) which has reached out to a lot of CBOs and enlighten them on their community responsibilities.
They provided the necessary awareness to the CBOs and also enhanced good relationship with government at both local and state government levels.
The State Partnership Facilitator of PERL Unusa Hamza, explained that they were complementing the efforts of government and not antagonizing it. He said “We want to see a situation whereby there is a level play ground among government, CBOs and CSOs towards making services available to the people”
Mostly, the implementation of such CBPs lies with the government while the CBOs access them and see to their proper implementation while the NGOs enlighten the CBOs on how to achieve all that.
The citizens groups as major stakeholders are trained to ensure that they exploit the available opportunities for the good of their communities. It is more like a budget tracking activity to ensure that communities benefit from government directly.
Through this activity, several projects including community clinics in the health sector, feeder roads, culverts, renovation of classrooms and the provision of some basic infrastructure have all been achieved in several communities in Kano.