3 years of MacArthur Foundation’s intervention projects, UBEC Kaduna, how far so far
It was time to review three years intervention projects by MacArthur Foundation under Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) in Kaduna State and everyone in the picture have to gathered from the three local government areas of Kaduna State to discuss their findings aiming at understanding what has worked and what has not and possible the way forward.
At the centre of this two-day review meeting, held at a hotel in Kaduna, Northwest Nigeria, between Tuesday, August 2 2018 to Wednesday, August 8, 2018, were an international non-governmental organisation, Legal Awareness for Nigerian Women Women LANW/LEADS – Nigeria in partnership with MacArthur Foundation, designed to strengthening accountability and transparency in Nigeria education sector (STATNES)
There had been appropriation by MacArthur Foundation to carry out renovation and construction works in selected primary schools in Kaura, Soba and Chikun local government areas of Kaduna, while LEADS is billed to monitor those project for the purpose of accountability.
Based on the dissemination of findings after tracking these projects, it was discovered that, they are at different levels of completion; some are completed, some are ongoing and some are just starting. For some of those completed, there are issues with windows, doors, roof and furniture like desks and teachers wooden, the Executive Director, LEADS – Nigeria, Barrister Rebecca Sako-John has said.
She continued, “our findings revealed that, some of the laboratories are yet to have their fittings. For example, there was a particular laboratory which has been completed six months ago but those things to make it functional are not there.
“Some of the contractors have agreed to come and effect the repairs while some of them are nowhere to be found. Some of the contractors are very aggressive. When the people who suppose to be the beneficiaries of these project call these aggressive ones, they told them they don’t have business with the community but with government who gave them the contract.
“Some of these people still have the stereotypes mentality. The projects are meant to be used by the same people you are saying do not have the right to ask you questions about the contract awarded to you”, she stressed.
But, this particular project under review had achieved a milestone in raising awareness of people in project monitoring and feedback to the government. More people are now monitoring projects and getting to the contractors.
Another important milestone the project had achieved is that, it is making government operators accountable and help making value for money they have released to the contractors.
It is also making the contractors to sit up when the beneficiaries call on them. They know they have responsibility to the people which is already changing the perspective. Citizens now see need for them to constructively engage their policymakers and implementers who are working towards same objective which is better service delivery.
Corroborating these understandings, Secretary, School Base Management Committee (SBMC), Shehu Lawal, who monitored LEA Primary School in Soba local government area of the State confirmed the completion of the project by the contractor, using standard materials contained in the bill of quantity.
According to him, a block of nine classroom with store and office which was needed, was built in his community saying, the quality of materials used was good as agreed by the financiers and implementers.
Also sharing his experience, Audu Avong, who monitored a block of four classrooms project built at Biniki Bongong ward in Kaura local government area of the State said, the project was also completed.
He expressed appreciation to the leadership of State Universal Basic Education (SUBEB) for being there throughout the construction period to ensure the standard was not compromised by the handler.
But he had complaint about a window that was not properly fixed thereby giving room to unauthorised persons to have undue access to one of the classrooms.
“But I have communicated this to the SUBEB and I have been asked to write. The contractor handling the project has also promised to come and fix it and that is where we are. We are grateful to LEADS too because they have open our eyes to a lot of things we don’t hitherto know about projects”, he said.
On her own part, Mrs Lydia Filibus, who monitored LGEA Primary School, Tsaunin Kura in Chikun local government area of the State where some classrooms were renovated and a block of three new ones with four toilet facility and perimeter fence were built though completed, but there are issues with windows and doors.
According to her, the windows and doors are not good. “We just discovered that some of the doors and windows are not good and we are about writing the contractor to that effect.
“Already, some useless persons have been deficating in these classrooms and we are not happy about that. We want the contractor to return to the structure and do the needful in good time.”.
But apart from these testimonies, there were also instances where contractors abandoned the task given to them. But the good thing is that, the tracking mechanism adopted by LEADS – Nigeria is giving the natives that opportunity to know which project suppose to be in their community, the cost and also details of contractors handling them so they can follow up where necessary.