Connected Development (CODE), a Civil Society Organisation (CSO) in collaboration with its partner, ActionAid Nigeria (AAN), has trained 40 youths on budget monitoring and tracking in Akwa Ibom.
Mr Mukhtar Modugbo, Community Engagement Officer, CODE, said this at a 2-Day Capacity Workshop in Uyo on Sunday.
Modugbo said the training was part of efforts in building youth capacity for development and effective participation in the democratic process.
According to him, the event aims at empowering citizens on participatory governance and effective engagement of key stakeholders and policy makers is a ”Follow the Money Initiative of CODE.”
Modugbo said the training was timely considering that Nigeria’s democracy was ageing.
He added that there was need for young people in the state to shift from being normal citizens to active citizens for development to happen in communities.
“The Idea behind this is that we get young people to begin to talk about governance. See governance as something they should engage in.
”We know democracy is demand and supply, question and answer,” he said.
Modugbo said various areas covered by the training included advocacy skills, community outreach and effective ways to engage government using the ‘Follow the Money Model.’
Other skills offered to the participants included data mining, Stakeholders mapping, Use social media for advocacy, community outreach reporting and Freedom of Information Act among others.
“At some point on this project, we started with budget analysis. We analysed the budget and itemised problems affecting young people in Akwa Ibom.
“We further equipped them with skills to track the budget and the implementation project in the state,” he said.
Also speaking, Mrs Unyime Ekpoudia, the State Coordinator of Activista and Youth Organising Leadership (YOL), project of Action Aid Nigeria, said tracking budgeted funds would mitigate corruption and promote transparent and accountable democracy.
“Young people must be involved in the process of decision making on issues affecting them. They must ask questions and demand answers from elected representatives.
“We need development in our communities. We need a gender responsive public service in Akwa Ibom, hence, this partnership with CODE to empower youths with the relevant advocacy skills to take the lead,” she said.
Mr Ubong Ukpe, beneficiary of the training commended the organisers of the even, adding that the training was remarkable and expository.
Ukpe said that the skill learnt would help to engage the stakeholders to monitor and track budgets alloted to their area.
“The skills I have learnt will help me engage with community stakeholders to track projects alloted to their area.
“I will also be able to engage the state actors in demanding for information on public funds budgeted for public project for the common good of the people,” he said.
Another beneficiary, Miss Edidiong Enang, said she was informed on how to engage key stakeholders and demanded accountability for the development of her community.
“I can now support community people to take ownership of projects coming to their communities for effective development,” she said.
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