By Funmi Ajumobi
Human Development Initiative, HDI with the support of MacArthur Foundation held a day sensitization programme on Monday for Community Stakeholders in Kosofe Local government on Universal Basic Education Intervention Projects in Lagos State.
The sensitization programme according to the HDI programme Officer, Mr Johnson Ibidapo was to expose the participants to their roles as major stakeholders in ensuring the successful implementation of Universal Basic education activities in their communities, saying that many of them were not aware of the UBE Act of 2004, the provisions of the Act and their roles which he said was the reason majority of government programmes are failing.
Ibidapo said the over 13.2Million children out of school children in Nigeria pitching Nigeria as number one in the world with such figure, could only be reduced drastically if stakeholders will work together with the government to ensure every child in their community is in school. He added that the UBE Act provides free and compulsory universal basic education for every Nigeria child of school age group and it is an offense for a parent who fails to enroll his or her child or guardian who fails to enroll his or her ward to school which such parent is liable under the UBE Act for a jail term of not more than one month with an option of fine, upon subsequent conviction, the jail term increases so as well as the fine.
On the intervention projects, Ibidapo encouraged the stakeholders to own every intervention project that has been allocated to the schools in their communities and stop seeing them as government projects, adding that they should monitor the projects for the purpose of accountability and also report any observation to the appropriate authority.
“Basically, we want them to be empowered enough, even if tomorrow HDI does not get involved in doing this type of job, we want them to be able to monitor basic education projects and be ensure this project is not just delivered in the adequate quality but even the quantity. In a school where you allocated 90 pieces of furniture, let the school get 90. We want them to be able to hold duty bearers to account, ask questions about what is going wrong”. Ibidapo added.
One of the participants, Alhaji Awofeso, representing the interest of the Civil Society Organisation in the Local Government said HDI was trying to bridge the gap between the community and the government policy, saying that their intervention is more or less an investigative job. It is an empowerment for people to check if those projects are there and to also check the standard form for the project. If they are not there.
“We have been empowered by exposing us to the content of the Lagos SUBEB 2018 Action Plan which is currently being implemented and we will now go to our various communities to take ownership of the existing projects and the one that has been approved and are not there because we are now aware that we are stakeholders to the progress of our children and our communities”. Said Awofeso
Stakeholders represented at the sensitisation programme include NGOs, Civil Society Organisations(CSOs), Community Based Organisations (CBOs), Faith-Based Organisation (FBOs), School-Based Management Committees (SBMC), Parents Forum, CDC, CDAs, Youth Leaders, and the Media.