Social Protection: SCI Builds CSOs Capacity On Budget, Expenditure Tracking In Four States

Team Kaduna during a breakout session during the training – Photo by Sola Ojo/::/

We’ll Step Down The Training – Participants

Save the Children International (SCI) under the Foreign Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO)-funded Child Development Grant Programme (CDGP), has successfully built the capacity of civil society groups working around social protection in four Northern States of Kaduna, Kano, Jigawa and Zamfara.

The training, which centred on how to track social protection budget and expenditure in ministries, department and agencies of government took place between Monday, April 12-14 at a hotel in Kano.

Save the Children International is currently implementing the phase II of CDGP which focused on system strengthening as a strategic plan to lift more poor and vulnerable homes and individuals from poverty by way of supporting the government to have a policy in place and civil society group to make government accountable to the people.

Already, Kaduna, Kano and the Zamfara States have developed social protection policies while Jigawa State is about to put its policy in place – as celebrate efforts to reduce the number of poor Nigerians currently put at about 65 percent of the total population.

Participants during cross-learning session (fish bowl) – Photo by Sola Ojo

Apart from the provision of soft loans, conditional cash transfer, palliative care, the social protection promoters also noted that human capital development (HCD) is very important as a natural way of dealing with poverty which is the number one in 2030 target of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Taking the participants through the training in Kano, Advocacy, Campaign and Policy Manager, Save the Children International, Ifedilichukwu Ekene-Innocent, hinted that building the capacity of CSOs became necessary as they continue tracking social protection intervention even when the programme winds up.

Participants Key Take Home And Commitment

Chairman, Kaduna Social Protection Accountability Coalition (KADSPAC), Jessica Bartholomew described the training as timely considering the enormous tracking responsibility before her coalition.

“This budget and expenditure tracking on social protection training will help KADSPAC in tracking social protection programmes in Kaduna State.

“In making government accountable to the people as a civil society coalition, we need to be well abreast of generating an evidence-based report for advocacy so we can make quality tracking of social protection interventions in the state.

“To get things done well, we need to understand terms like actual budget amount, per capita (how much spent per person base on our population) expenditure for social protection interventions. We need to study the impact of these interventions on poor and vulnerable individuals and households.

“So, this training has built our capacity to analyse budget and expenditure especially towards removing the poorest of the poor and vulnerable households out of poverty. For KADSPAC, this training is timely in our quest to strengthen accountability in governance in Kaduna State.

To Salisu Yusuf, Chairman, Kano State Social Protection Platform, the three days were eventful and impactful.

To him, “these three days had acquainted us with a lot of knowledge. We have learnt that we have so much to do and that means all hands must be on deck.

“We are going to step down this training for our colleagues who are not here. Kano is a very big state that has 44 local government areas with a population of approximately 20 million. This means a few of us that are here cannot do the work, hence, our resolve to step down the training across the three senatorial zones that we have so that the poor and vulnerable people among us can benefit from social protection.

“Thank God that our Governor has approved the social protection policy and we hope things will begin to get better when the policy is fully implemented”.

Member, Jigawa Social Protection Platform, Lawan Bako Ahmed said, experience sharing with CSOs from other States had exposed him to other areas of improvement in what he does.

He promised that “we are going to step this training down to colleagues at the platform and my organisational levels so that we are all in the picture of using our tongue to count out teeth in the interest of a poor and vulnerable group of people and households in Jigawa State.

“I thought I knew a lot about budget tracking before coming for this training but, I have now learnt new things from other participating states which I will use to update my constituents when I return home”.

Chairman, Zamfara Social Protection Platform, Nasiru Usman Biabeki, the training has provided him with the opportunity to learn, unlearn and learn again to be abreast of social protection happenings in Zamfara State.

Participants at the training – Photo by Sola Ojo/://

“Of course, this training on budget and expenditure tracking was very important to my team especially as third party monitoring trained personnel in my state.

“It has improved my capacity on how to track pocket of resources allocated specifically for social protection in Zamfara state.

“I have learnt that holding government accountable to citizens is key because without monitoring and evaluating the performance of resources allocated for a specific project, the story will be different.

“So we are now equipped on the best way to track the government’s spending, especially about social protection.

“I have observed that we cannot do this alone and that is why we are going to gather other civil society, community-based organisations and media professionals and step down this training to make the tracking of social protection campaign a common knowledge”, he promised.

Sola Ojo Sent In This Report

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