BudgIT with support from the United Nation Democracy Funds held a two-day capacity building workshop in Kaduna on April 12 and 13, 2017 with community-based organisations (CBOs) from 20 states across the country and members of the press. The goal of the workshop is to empower the community officers to successfully engage citizens at the grassroots to actively participate and monitor the implementation of constituency projects in their communities using BudgIT’s Tracka, a platform where people irrespective of their location can collaborate, track and give feedback on public projects around them.
Tracka has monitored over 5,000 capital projects from 2014 till date and provided citizens access to constituency project provisions in their area over the years. The event was held at Top Galaxy Hotel Kaduna with 30 participants from across the country where BudgIT revealed it was expanding Tracka, its project tracking tool to 4 new States in addition to the existing 16 states.Speaking at the event, Tracka Lead, Abiola Sosami informed that the goal of Tracka is to drive value out of the annual budgets to ensure that allocations transform to real development in Nigerian communities. She stated the necessary measures to be undertaken by the officers before tracking constituency projects in their various communities, how to engage residents on the allocated projects and the actions to be taken to ensure projects implementation.
According to her, zonal intervention projects were created to ensure Federal Government’s presence is felt in all the constituencies by having some grassroots projects sited within their communities during the budgeting process. Abiola said, “The concept of constituency project is to provide public goods for a greater number of people through good governance, to ensure equitable distribution of infrastructure and to guarantee every part of the country has a proper representative.”
BudgIT Tech. Lead, Dele Bakare, introduced the new 2.0 Tracka website to the participants. He gave a detailed explanation on how to use the platform to report projects and provide updates on existing projects on the platform. The new website allows community feedback on each project, personal notifications on interested projects, enables a geotag feature for every project on the platform and a chat room where active citizens can discuss on projects.
Atiku Samuel, BudgIT research team lead, also shared key points to understand the Nigerian budget cycle, from its review, formulation, implementation to the monitoring and control of the line items in the budget.
Tracka Project Officer, Uadamen Ilevbaoje engaged the participants asking them to demonstrate how to conduct a community engagement meeting at the grassroots. The exercise ended with typical challenges encountered on the field and how to mitigate them.
To conclude the two-day event, BudgIT lead Partner, Oluseun Onigbinde, shared his thoughts on scaling Tracka’s engagement and telling better stories. He emphasised on the processes involved in tracking constituency projects which are budget access, community involvement for project implementation and government accountability.