By Lawrence Nwimo
An advocacy group, Hope Givers Initiative, HOG-I, has renewed call for an improved grassroot project participation and monitoring across communities in Anambra state.
The data-based project partners for Evidence and Collaboration for Inclusive Development (ECID) project, Anambra state, want community members in the state to follow-up projects in their locality to arrest issues of underdevelopment of rural communities in the state.
The programme, supported by Christian Aid and funded by the government of United Kingdom (UK Aid featured issues relating to inclusive participation in government and oversight project monitoring across the state.
Speaking at the one day interactive program, Executive Director of the group, Mrs Onyeka Okey-Udegbunam said the programme would enhance collaboration between communities and the government in making governance better. She attributed data as a vital tool for collaboration which she said, enhances performance of state governments.
She said the workshop is to educate people on their roles in the development of their communities stressing that the group has no business with politics or religion but concerned with the development of the communities.
She also noted that the project is working to reduce poverty and improve wellbeing of the vulnerable and the marginalized group in the society through evidence – based decision making and effective collaboration. “What we have come here to do is to rob minds with our leaders on the challenges facing our communities. When we do this, it lifts consciousness of the people and raises performance of our leaders.
Speaking at the workshop, the Director of Works, Awka North local government, Engr Augustine Emeka decried that people often lack the spirit of ownership of projects in their communities. He urged people to develop interest in the project monitoring and work as a team with the president general of their communities to save their locality from experiencing abandoned projects.
He attributed setbacks in grassroot monitoring to people’s penchant for personal gains than communal gain citing that most people look at what should be given to them in return for service than doing the needful to help their community grow.
Also, Member representing Anambra West Constituency, Hon Patrick Udoba urged the people to take care of the projects in their communities adding that they are the landlord of any project cited in their area.
He informed that the House of Assembly recently passed a bill on Riverine Development Commission. A bill he said, is awaiting governor’s assent and when signed into law, the riverine communities in the state will be major beneficiaries of the commission.
Director of Civil Rights Concern, (CRC) Okey Onyeka called for collaboration between governments and the communities to ensure sustainability of projects carried out by donor agencies and the likes. “They must inform the state about their plan so that the state will put it into their recurrent expenditure.
He enjoined lawmakers and donor agencies who attract projects to liaise with government to add the new projects to the state budget noting that there has to be harmony and this project will address it.
The president general, Isuaniocha Development Union, Ambassador Frank Oforbuike Mkpume remarked that communal conflicts has been a setback to the progress of most communities stressing that only teamwork and synergy between communities and their representatives will bring the needed development.
A community woman leader from Ebenebe, Lady favour Nworah said that the workshop has empowered her to monitor projects in her community. She called on other participants to be steadfast in reporting happenings around them as well as bribery and favouritism in the process.
Inaugurating 15 man community monitoring team, a representative from Christian Aid, Uzoma Uzor enjoined participants to dutifully report happenings and challenges in their communities to the group.
She urged Ward Development Committee (WDC) and School Based Development Committee of the body to up their game and ensure projects in the communities are monitored and reported.