With support from the Agents for Citizen-driven Transformation (ACT) Programme, the Centre for Human Rights, Health, Ethnic Harmony, and Livelihood Development (CHHELD) - also known as Harmony Centre - is implementing a project to promote participatory governance at the local government level. Citizens are being equipped with the knowledge to engage in planning, executing, and monitoring a coherent governance plan based on the interests and priorities of citizens.
The local government was created to bring the government closer to the people at the grassroots level. Numerous studies have revealed the difficulties facing the Nigerian local government system, including citizens' lack of participation in governance, human capital scarcity, corruption, poor service delivery, etc. In this regard, the CHHELD project sought to create an inclusive framework or model that local government administrators in Nigeria could adopt to ensure greater citizen participation in decisions that affect them.
To achieve the project's goals, Harmony Centre secured the support of community leaders of four communities in the target local government of Degema and Asari-Toru, Ipokuma, Sama, Obuama, and Ido. It established a thirty-two-member team named: Advocates for Local Government Accountability and Transparency (ALAT).
The ALAT team was trained to be familiar with local government administration, the Freedom of Information Act, and budgetary processes to drive accountability, transparency, and participatory governance at the local government level and attract development to their communities.
A community-based needs assessment was conducted by the ALAT team in their various communities using the participatory vulnerability analysis (PVA) tool to engage the local government authorities.
The outcome of the assessment was used to draft a formal demand letter issued to their respective local government chairs. The demands were adopted, and the chairs promised to incorporate them into the 2023 Appropriation Bill of the local government.
“We will support the ALAT team to succeed and achieve their aim and goal in the Obuama Community.’’
Benjamin, CDC Member, Obuama