Abuja- Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the education sector on Thursday urged government at all levels to involve them in the $20 million Safe School Initiative to ensure accountability.
Mr Hamzat Lawal, the Chief Executive Officer, Connected Development (CODE), an Abuja-based NGO, made the call in Abuja on Thursday at a stakeholders meeting organised to assess the progress of the Safe School Initiative and to explore ways of engaging NGOs.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting was organised by CODE in collaboration with the Development Research and Project Centre (DRPC), Kano.
“We all know that there is crisis in the North and this crisis has affected our schools not to talk of our missing children.
“But if we are able to show progress report and show impact on the ground then we will be able to build confidence to access more funding.
“So, overtime what we hope is for government to adequately engage civil society, get information and of course bridge the gap between the people and the government because we are on ground.
“We are close to the people and we are the voices of the people; so we can provide government with the statistics or data and work together as partners.
“We are calling for inclusion, accessibility, accountability, and transparency from government so that civil society can tell the story of how impactful these funds are, can drive the process and advise government on where to channel these funds and needed resources,“ he said.
According to Lawal, the organisation has an education budget tracker which will be used to monitor the disbursement of funds.
In his remarks, Mr Daniel Meindous, Monitoring and Evaluation officer DPRC said the involvement of CSOs in the initiative would foster its effective implementation.
Meindous added that the inclusion of CSOs in the national budget would add value to the execution of its policies as they were closer to the grassroots.
He said, “We want NGOs to take part in the accountability mechanism and hold government accountable in the implementation of the safe school initiative making the administration responsible.“
The CSOs also called on religious leaders to preach peace to their congregation, urging government to include security and safety tips in school curriculum to control impact of crisis.
The Safe School Initiative was launched on May 7, at the World Economic Forum on Africa held in Abuja, Nigeria.
During the summit, the former British Prime Minister, Mr Gordon Brown, led the Nigerian business community to donate $10 million to the initiative, while the Federal Government contributed $10 million.
CODE seeks to improve access to information and empower local communities in Africa to bring about social and economic progress within the communities and promote transparency and accountability.
Other NGOs present were: Society for Promotion of Education and Development (SPED); Civil Society Action Coalition on Education For All (CSACEFA); Value Reorientation and Developmental AFRICA (VARD Africa) among others. (NAN)