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Stakeholders pledge commitment to ProjectTrust in Anambra



By Praise Chinecherem

Members of the Community of Practice (CoP) and community stakeholders in Anambra State have resolved to work assiduously together for the success of ProjectTrust, (a project being implemented by Connected Development, CODE) in the area.

They gave the assurance in Awka during a one-day step-down training for the CoP members and some selected community stakeholders.

The stakeholders, including Prof. Charles Nwadigwe, Deputy National President, Anambra State Association of Town Unions, (ASATU), and Mrs Clara Ndupu from Ozubulu, expressed satisfaction with objectives of ProjectTrust which focus on critical sectors such as health, education as well as Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, WASH.

They were upbeat that the project would achieve its lofty goals if CoP members, community stakeholders work in partnership with relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the State government.

Giving an overview of the project, the State Support Officer, Uju Ananwude, explained that it was borne out of the urgent need to restore confidence and trust in the relationship between the government and the citizens.

“Anambra State represents South East in ProjectTrust, which is designed to increase the trust between the citizens and the government. This was informed by trust deficit which had characterized the relationship between the government and the people for several decades”.

Ananwude argued that people will have trust in their leaders when the system of governance becomes open, transparent and participatory. “Government gains a lot when they make governance open to the citizens. Then, citizens can monitor and track government projects to ensure value for money. I call on the state government to embrace this project as we all are committed to the good and progress of Anambra State”.

“On their part, the citizens also must get interested in monitoring progress of work on projects being executed by the government. We as members of community of practice are expected to work towards ensuring that people get value for the money the state government is spending on their behalf particularly on health, education and WASH projects”.

In a presentation on engaging Government Stakeholders, one of the CoP members and Executive Director, Social and Integral Development Centre, (SIDEC), Ugochi Ehiahuruike, explained that regular engagements with government help towards effective implementation of policies, programmes and projects.

“However, we must be able to understand the direction the government is going. We enjoy their buy-in when we develop projects that align with their interest. I’m optimistic about ProjectTrust in Anambra because it covers areas of interest of Prof. Soludo-led administration”.

Ehiahuruike also stressed the need to discover the best approach to engage government as this increases the likelihood of success. “There are multi-sectoral approaches in engaging government involving stakeholders from diverse backgrounds to achieve social change. Also, we must understand the best approach to engaging them depending on issues and what we aim to achieve. Above all, I think that every government appreciates anything that will help them to succeed.

Another CoP member, Onyekachi Ololo, in his presentation on “Follow the money” described project tracking as one of the ways to make government work for the people. “When citizens follow the money being spent by their government, we get public sponsored projects to give value to the citizens”. At any time government says it is executing a particular project, our responsibility is to follow the utilization of the money earmarked for the project”.

“One of the benefits of following the money is that it addresses corruption, trust deficit, public record inaccessibility and other challenges in our system today while it equally empowers marginalized communities and citizens”.

Ololo also maintained that successful tracking of government projects demands the deployment of relevant facts, data, and proofs. “When you present the outcome of your tracking with data and facts, government takes you seriously. So, this is critical for us. any time we track any project, we must have evidences to back the outcome up. It makes us credible to the government and they will work with us”.

Follow the money process include: project monitoring and evaluation, promoting access to information, participatory budget process, capacity building, promoting transparency, and citizens engagement.

For his part, a media professional and members of the CoP, Alfred Ajayi, tasked participants to master the art of good report writing, which is critical to the success of every project especially when such is donor-sponsored.

“You have gone to the communities and carried out your project successfully, congratulations. However, if you cannot present your report properly, the persons reading it will not appreciate the impacts and successes you claim to have recorded. This is why it is critical that we all understand how to write a good report.

“In your report, make use charts, graphs, maps, tables, images, videos, dashboards, hyperlinks, etc. to display your data and information in a clear and attractive way. plan your report ahead of time, defining your objective, audience, and scope; conduct research and analysis; create an outline.

While writing use a clear and concise language, as well as a formal and professional tone. Above all, do not forget to proofread and edit checking the content, structure, and style of your report as well as your grammar, spelling, and punctuation,” Ajayi concluded.

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