The Social accountability initiative, Follow The Money, has emerged winner of the 2019 Council of Europe’s Democracy Innovation Award.
The award which recognizes Follow The Money as one of the leading ground-breaking initiatives in the world, that are promoting democratic principles, was received by the Initiative’s Chief Communications Officer, Kevwe Oghide at the closing plenary of the Council of Europe’s World Forum for Democracy 2019, recently concluded in Strasbourg, France.
Expressing delight about the recognition, The Founder of Follow The Money, Hamzat Lawal, dedicated the award to rural grassroots communities across Africa and to the CODE team for their resilience in promoting the Follow The Money mission even in the face of insurmountable pressure.
Lawal who also doubles as the Chief Executive of Connected Development [CODE] stressed the need for more African countries to adopt Follow The Money as a means to build a stronger institution. This would place African countries on the pathway to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union Agenda 2063.
He thanked the donors- Luminate, John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Open Society Initiative for West Africa, Oxfam and Actionaid- who have supported the movement and helped us reach more grassroots communities.
The award is coming at a time when Follow The Money is celebrating 7 years of leading citizens campaigns at the grassroots and have successfully tracked over $10 million and directly impacted over 4 million lives with over 6,000 dedicated volunteers using technology tools to bring voices to the front burner.
Ms Oghide, who presented the initiative alongside over 27 brilliant initiatives from across the world, stated that, “It is incredible that we won, knowing that Nigeria is not even a member state of the Council of Europe. Nigeria, Poland and France emerged finalists, yet delegates at the Council’s Hemicycle voted for Follow The Money to win the Democratic Innovation award. This evidently shows democracy at work.”
The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić, in her remark, noted that Follow The Money has shown exemplary leadership in advancing democratic governance.
She added that the internet, social media and Artificial Intelligence have all democratized access to information and given millions of people their voice, and the challenge is to ensure that information contributes to democracy, which Follow The Money is doing.
The World Forum for Democracy is a platform for dialogue and democratic participation which brings new ideas into the work of the Council of Europe and promotes its principles across the world.
The forum is placed under the high patronage of Emmanuel MACRON, President of the French Republic and will hold between the 5th and 8th of November 2019.