By Chimaobi Nwaiwu, NNEWI
Country Director, Christian Aid Nigeria, Mr Charles Usie, the Anambra State Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mr Mark Okoye, and the Senior Project Coordinator, in Anambra State for Evidence and Collaboration for Inclusive Development, ECID, Mrs. Uzo Uzoma, have harped on the importance of for financial management and developmental planning.
The trio spoke during the Evidence and Collaborative Inclusive Development, ECID Project Close-Out and Unavailing of the Data Management System, DMS, Anambra and Kaduna States in Awka, Anambra State.
ECID, is a multi-country programme funded by UKAid from United Kingdom, which aims to build the effectiveness of civil society in accessing, gathering, and presenting data and improving the use of evidence by the government.
Christian Aid led the consortium for the implementation of the programme in three countries namely Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Myanmar, and in Nigeria, only Kaduna and Anambra State, were picked as beneficiary states.
Other collaborators with ECID are Aid Foundation, Hope for Communities and Children Initiative, Legal Awareness for Nigeria Women, Civil Rights Concern, Hope Givers Initiative and Justice Development and Peace Commission, JDPC, Onitsha, among others.
Speaking during the programme, Mr. Usie, said that if anyone wants to move above present position, seeking information and keeping data is very imperative.
He added that data processing and keeping helped them in partnership with Anambra State government, because without data, planning for the communities welfare and developmental activities would have been difficult for the state.
He said that Christian Aid will continue to partner with the state whether or not the project closes out, noting that they recorded successful mile stone in planning for health, education, agriculture and infrastructure for the rural communities in the state.
On his part, Mr Okoye, who is the Anamhra State Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, said the state will obviously do better if it has all the data it need to work for the people.
He added that the short partnership between the state, Christian Aids and ECID program has greatly assisted in planning for the welfare of the people in the state.
“Data collection and keeping is one of the biggest benefits the state has gained in Christian Aid and ECID partnership, they have help in giving the state some of the data it need to work with, particularly in the rural communities which is their major focal area.
“The act of not using data in planning is not only the Anambra or Nigerian problem, but a global problem that the state is working very hard to overcome and with Christian Aid and ECID partnership, we have gone a long way in overcoming it.
“Getting data is quite expensive, Anambra State will continue to support any organization that is assisting in the state in getting data, especially for financial management and developmental purposes.”
Mrs. Uzoma, who is the State Senior Project Coordinator for ECID programme, while summarising their activities in the state said that what they did was work with their target groups and also improved on their processes and also learn to use data and evidence for inclusion, just as in data management system.
“There is no way you can do tangible planning in the state without data because it actually helps to facilitate planning, it also helps in budgeting and informs government decisions and planning in providing service to the people, especially for the marginalized people.
“We used evidence on data we gathered in engaging the government for the people. Our learning on the VP2 Project informed the ECID program.
“It was during the VP2 Project that we discovered that we have a lot of gaps around data and ECID intervened in bridging the gaps.”