Alarmed by the increasing number of out-of-school children in the country, and poor citizen participation in government spending, Follow The Money,a social accountability initiative, recently completed the first 2 years of its 3-year project, Tracking Universal Basic Education(UBE) spending in Kaduna State.
In the two years, the initiative tracked 569 million Naira Universal Basic Education funds earmarked for the construction and rehabilitation of facilities in 23 basic schools in Kaduna State, and enhanced open government in basic education spending.
The project which was supported by the John D and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation under its ON Nigeria project, monitored the implementation of school projects in Kudan, Kajuru, Zangon Kataf and Jema’a Local Government Areas (LGA) of the State, and strengthened the capacity of School Monitoring Teams (SMTs) to effectively provide oversight on basic education spending in the state.
Through this, the project impacted over 200,000 rural lives, and significantly reduced the number of out-of-school children in the focal LGAs.
As part of the project, Follow The Money, an initiative of Connected Development [CODE], also released its needs assessment report conducted on 609 schools for evidence-based UBE action planning in the State.
The report showed that a considerable increase in the enrolment of children in schools, was as a result of the School Feeding Programme, however, 563 schools of the 609 do not have access to ICT materials or computers in accordance with basic education curriculum.
Speaking about the policy implications of the project, Founder of Follow The Money, Hamzat Lawal, commended the State for its open government policy and for allocating 27.15% of its budget to developing education.
Lawal, added that the State Universal Basic Education Board (Kad-SUBEB) has committed to develop a framework that allows the School Based Management Committees (SBMCs) to make inputs into the Kad-SUBEB’s annual actual plans and grant them access to the list of school projects that are to be implemented for effective service delivery monitoring.
Follow The Money Project Lead in Kaduna, Zaliha Abdulhamid, noted that in an effort to foster a mutual relationship with the stakeholders, Follow The Money built the capacity of the Kad-SUBEB on data analysis, monitoring and evaluation, and also trained community citizens on how to track government projects and advocate for transparency and accountability in UBEC/Kad-SUBEB Spending.
The initiative urged the State to provide ICT materials and computers to schools, provide potable drinking water for the majority of schools that lack these facilities, and ultimately ensure that adequate WASH facilities are in school to encourage girl-child educational enrolment.
The project sought to identify and highlight key issues of lack across schools in the LGAs especially in the areas of water, sanitation and hygiene, infrastructure and learning aids, ratio of teachers to pupils and the safety of the learning spaces for the children.