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The Impact of International Organizations in Promoting Local Governance in Nigeria: A View of UKAID/DFID-Supported Mobilising for Development Project in Kaduna State from 2013 to 2018

Abstract: Mobilizing for Development (M4D) is a UKAID/DFID-supported governance project aimed at supporting states to deliver services at the local level. It is an innovative programme aimed to strengthen systems and improve inclusive service delivery and social accountability in the areas of health, education, water and sanitation and livelihoods. M4D worked in nine local governments in Jigawa, Kano and Kaduna states (three local governments in each state). In Kaduna, the project worked in Kachia, Igabi and Kudan local governments areas. The overall outcome of M4D is to see policy makers and service providers being more responsive and accountable to citizens’ entitlements and better articulated demands, especially those of marginalised groups especially adolescent girls and People with Disabilities. This is achieved through building capacity of the demand and supply-side actors at local government level to engage and aid response to demand for better service delivery and accountability. This paper discussed the impact of the M4D project in promoting participatory and inclusive governance in the three focal local government areas of Kachia, Igabi and Kudan in particular and Kaduna state in general. It also touched the legacies and sustainability strategies left by the programme.

The Impact of International Organizations in Promoting Local Governance in Nigeria: A View of UKAID/DFID-Supported Mobilising for Development Project in Kaduna State from 2013 to 2018

Abdullahi Mujaheed
Department of Nigerian Languages and Linguistics,
Kaduna State University, Kaduna
Mobile: +2348069299109, +2348156747550

1.0  Introduction
The success of democratic practices at grass root level is a fundamental requirement for enduring integration and effective participation of local citizens without which the challenges of development cannot be addressed meaningfully. Government at different levels have over the years been accused of poor governance- lack of accountability and transparency, sectionalism and marginalization of certain groups(girls, women, persons with disability and other minority groups) in the democratic process leading to frustration and involuntary withdrawal from the democratic process by individuals and communities (itself a problem). If Nigeria is to progress, we must address the twin challenge of increasing government accountability and responsiveness while nurturing greater community participation.(Alkali, 2014:10)
A significant problem in most communities in Northern Nigeria is over-centralization of decision making and the lack of stakeholders’ involvement that permit patronage of powerful special interests and high-levels of corruption and lack of stakeholders’ buy-in which subvert the policy process, decreases efficiency and this in-turn affects human development in general. This is where local civil society can play a major role by contributing to greater transparency, accountability and good governance to ensure that political, social and economic priorities are based on broad consensus in society and that the voices of the poorest and the most vulnerable are heard in decision making over the allocation of development resources. This is a key outcome that M4D strived toward.
M4D philosophy as a model for improving governance at grassroots is to ensure that sustainable development is premised on strong institutions, which will constitute the mechanism for sound policies and programs delivery. The underlying principle here is to ensure that policies and programs are implemented without hiccups and with huge direct and spill-over benefits on the people. Local government as a catalyst for change and delivery mechanism to the poor is expected to serve as a form of political and administrative structure that can facilitate decentralization, integration, efficiency in governance, promote and ensure a sense of belonging at grass root level. There is no gainsaying that the M4D program has impacted on the governance process at local level in the areas it intervened in Kaduna state especially inculcating the culture of inclusiveness, demand creation and response, participation and feedback among others as discussed underneath.
2.0  Local Governance System in Kaduna State: The Situation Before in Kudan, Kachia and Igabi LGAs
Before M4D intervention in these 3 LGAs, a number of factors conspire against improved service delivery and better accountable governance at the local level, thus;
-          Communities failing to speak with one voice- demands put before local and political leaders are often of personal nature, without consideration for community-wide demands that will benefit all.
-          Policy makers and service providers not working in sync with communities, especially with regards to service provision. Service providers often fail to consult with communities when providing services, resulting in failure to meet community priority demands in the face of limited budgets.
-          Lack of trust around policy makers and service providers political will to address service issues. Communities often view policy makers and service providers as uncaring of their needs, while policy makers and service providers often view communities as not showing enough understanding of the constraints they face in delivering basic services(M4D Approach Paper I: Ward and CBO Selection)
3.0  The M4D Strategies and the Impact
Funded by DFID, Mobilising for Development (M4D) is a pioneer local governance programme in Northern Nigeria being implemented by Palladium and partners, and supporting improved equitable access to improved basic services and accountability in Local Government Areas. M4D works in three (3) LGAs each of Jigawa, Kaduna and Kano states. The basic services targeted by the project are: education, health, water and sanitation, and livelihoods. In addition to less-served communities, M4D is reaching out to girls in the age group of 13-17 years and persons with disabilities.
The core of M4D’s approach centered on facilitating relationships between communities and their Policy Makers (PMs) and service providers (SPs) to improve basic services delivery and quality response to citizens’ demands; to ensure inclusive access to services; and to make policy makers and service providers more accountable and transparent. Part of the M4D project is dedicated to assisting local stakeholders to identify solutions, innovations and better-fit approaches to improved basic service delivery and accountability.(Catalyst: A Newsletter of Mobilising for Development, Issue 2, July-Sept, 2015:03.)
The programme worked in 5 wards in each of the 3 LGAs. The selection of the wards and CBOs was based on population data, level of existing basic services, and number and capability of CBOs in each ward. This is to understand where development is most needed and where an enabling environment exists for the programme’s interventions to thrive, potentially.(M4D Approach Paper I: Ward and CBO Selection).
As a result of the M4D intervention, the 3 LGAs of Kachia, Kudan and Igabi of Kaduna State have achieved demonstrable improvements in citizens' access to, use of and satisfaction with improved basic services, particularly for marginalized groups (adolescent girls and people with disabilities). The strategies that led to this impact focused on the following:
3.1 Strengthening CBOs’ capacity
CBO is an acronym for Community-Based Organizations). M4D’s capacity building support targeted representatives of selected CBOs. It involved formal workshop sessions; handholding, mentoring; cross learning visits as well as routine supportive supervision. After every capacity building session, CBO participants are encouraged to cascade the knowledge and skills learned to more CBO members. This usually happened during routine meetings.
Other community members received information/knowledge about the capacity building activities through general meetings or town hall meetings where CBO leaders share new and better practices that have been learned and adopted. These processes helped in ensuring that a majority of community members benefit from enhanced ability of CBOs to channel community expectations to influence PMs/SPs on their behalf and to see these translate development outcome. The local government level CBOs also stepped-down knowledge and skills received to its members in all the wards it covered giving considerable attention in reaching out to non-M4D wards in the LGA.
3.2 Promoting Inclusion and Participation of Marginalised groups
M4D strategies recognized the existence of gender and other social imbalances as a result of prevailing factors of culture and religion. Hence, CBOs are encouraged and supported to strengthen work with their respective women wings and to ensure effective gender inclusion in their internal organization and community activities. For every significant activity conducted by respective CBOs- ranging from trainings and community engagement meetings- the respective women wings are also supported to replicate. In a two-way learning and feedback flow, the women wings in turn target women and also bring feedback to input to the general plans of the main CBO.
Moreover, the programme strengthened the participation of adolescent girls in local governance through Life Skills Clubs for girls between the ages of 13 and 17. The girls acquired a core set of life skills and competencies. Members of the clubs select girls from the clubs to serve as peer champions, who engaged with government decision makers and community leaders to represent the views and concerns of girls. However, with the understanding that before girls can have a voice in government, the challenges they face every day need to be addressed; the peer champions were supported and formed the Girls Platform at the local government level which increased the participation of girls in local governance. Twice a year, the Girls Platform held bi-annual ‘girls only’ town hall meetings in each of the LGA. It is worthy to note here that, over 137 clubs, 3 platforms of girls were formed and over 3,425 girls were reached through the M4D programme in the 3 LGAs.  
In a nutshell, providing with relevant life skills to girls and people with disabilities has enhanced their confidence, which enabled girls to identify and articulate their demands to parents and decision makers, bringing about inclusive governance.
3.3 Strengthening Engagement and Collaboration
Mobilising for Development (M4D) believes that by working together, policy makers, service providers and communities can bring about improved governance that delivers quality services in the area of health, education, livelihood, water and sanitation. By collaborating with Community Based Organizations, policy makers and service providers, this becomes reality through the introduction of innovative approaches that helped in ensuring communities and marginalized groups have access to improved services and livelihoods that contributed to improving citizens’ overall life quality.
The work with Community Based Organizations in Kachia, Kudan and Igabi Local governments has led to the identification of a number of priority needs in service delivery by communities. The response by service providers to their identified needs has brought about positive engagement with communities. The continued engagement however, brought about improved understanding of local government interventions, leading to better outcomes for all stakeholders. Community Based Organizations also provide representation to marginalized groups like girls and people with disabilities which provided them with platform to reach decision makers, identify their priority needs and provide them with livelihoods that will protect their dignity and take them away from street begging.
3.4 Innovations and Better-Fit Approaches
Innovations like Participatory Community Service Management System (PCSMS) brought into education sector in Igabi LGA; health, education, water and sanitation in Kudan LGA has made it easy for communities in the two LGAs to channel their complaints for improved services and has in turn enabled service providers to respond promptly, leading to increased satisfaction with service delivery.
Moreover, innovations in education have improved interest in learning, where second chance education for girls in Garu Community of Kudan LGA has won the support of teachers and parents. The Garu story indicates that embedding girls’ participation in governance processes, within a broader citizen participation portfolio, improves development outcomes for girls, and strengthens relationship between girls, CBOs, traditional leaders and local government.(M4D Success Story).
Other better fit approaches tested was the Local Emergency Transport (LETS) where motorbikes were designed to transport patients needing the emergency medical care to the nearest Health Facility at any point in time especially at night. Additionally, in an attempt to reduce the number of toilet related cases at various health facilities in Kachia LGA, simple model toilets were designed and showcased to communities in the LGA and encourage its adoption with in turn brought both supply and demand side actors towards working together to solve common problems and encouraged better service delivery. The Model Toilet better fit approach has enabled the LGA to deliver effective services to communities. Likewise, the communities’ attitudes towards their own hygiene have improved.
3.5 Cross-Learning Events
Cross learning is an integral part of M4D program hence, provides cross-learning between partners (CBOs, PWDs and Policy Makers) from M4D focal LGAs of Kaduna, Jigawa and Kano States. The partners across the M4D LGAs and states display varying capabilities and innovative ways of working as such this was an opportunity for them to learn from one another practices that would improve their way of working, interaction and engagement with other community members, policy makers and service providers and even among themselves. Key learning events were held between PWDs CBOs in Kachia, Kudan and Igabi and that of Jigawa State focal LGAs in Malam Madori; 3 girls platforms from the 3 LGAs at Igabi; Jigawa State Policy makers learning visit to Kudan LGA and also Kano and Kaduna CBOs  at Kachia LGA.
3.6 Capacity Assessment
In its’ lifespan, M4D conducted annual capacity assessment of the community-based organizations as well as the policy makers and service providers of the LGAs it’s working with. This is done using the M4D Capacity Scorecards. The results of the assessment confirmed capacity strengthening received from M4D and also helped in identifying capacity gaps and determining how best to support CBOs, PWDs, Girls Platform, policy makers and service providers in terms of what kind of capacity building they need to be able to deliver on accountability and good governance. 
4.0  Legacies and Sustainability Strategies Left by the M4D Project in Kaduna State
A number of practices and policies were left as legacies of M4D as well as sustainability strategies of the practices. Some of these legacies and sustainability strategies are itemized below:
4.1 Gender and Social Inclusion Guideline for CBOs and PMs/SPs at Local Government Level
The Gender and Social Inclusion Guideline is a document developed by the M4D which is in line with the Kaduna State Gender Policy. It serves as a guide for community based organizations to ensure that marginalized groups especially women, girls and people with disabilities are not left out, prior to carrying out an intervention. However, another guideline was also developed for policy makers and service providers at the local government level to ensure that marginalized groups especially women, girls and people with disabilities are not left out prior to carrying out an intervention. This is in cognizant that in any society, marginalized groups are at risk of not experiencing development.
4.2 Integrated LGA Development Plan
M4D supported the 3 local governments of Kachia, Kudan and Igabi to develop Integrated LGA Development Plan in consultation with stakeholders at community level of each of the LGA. It is intended to enable service providers to prioritize work that would enable them meet the demands of their people. The LGA planning framework has been developed and capacity of service providers built to roll out LGA development planning. After the success of the planning in the 3 LGAs, the Kaduna State Ministry for Local Government ordered all the 20 local governments of the state to develop same as the 3 LGAs. Therefore all the 23 LGAs in Kaduna State now have Development Plan for 2018 to 2022. This is indeed a greater impact in the state.
4.3 Kaduna State Gender, Equity and Social Inclusion (GESI) Policy
The vision of the Kaduna State Gender, Equity and Social Inclusion (GESI) Policy is of a Kaduna Sate where women, children, young people and persons with disabilities and all socially excluded groups enjoy equitable opportunities and are protected from violence. Its mission is to mainstream gender and social inclusion into governance and society. (Kaduna Sate Gender, Equity and Social Inclusion Policy, 2017: XII).
This policy was crafted with the support of the Mobilising for Development project which ensured representation of various communities of citizens drawn from across disability, women, adolescent girls and the elderly and the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development staff. This gave a good mix of government and non-government resource persons in the design of the policy.
5.0  Conclusion
Realizing that its support is a temporary intervention meant to provide a push towards sustained local empowerment that will encourage demand from communities for improved services and accountability by Service Providers (SPs) and Policy Makers (PM), M4D focused on engagement between CBOs and PMs/SPs that is sustainable and has the potential for the replication of ideas and innovations that work. That means understanding the nature of local communities and how governance can be delivered in a way that best meets the aspiration of local communities. The programme also worked on the supply side to improve the responsiveness of PMs/SPs, to respond to demands through various Better Fit Approaches (BFA), that is aimed at trying out solutions that have been proven to work and are sustainable. This paper highlighted some of the achievements, strategies, areas of impact and sustainability strategies left by the M4D programme in Kachia, Kudan and Igabi local governments of Kaduna State, which clearly portrayed the impact of international organizations on improving local governance in Nigeria. It is gathered that during the lifespan of the M4D programme, its’ approach has enabled Community based organisations to be better organized and has expanded their reach, making them more influential and enhancing their capability to act as representatives of their communities before various levels of decision makers.
6.0 Bibliography
Alkali, Abdulrazaq. “Empowering the Grassroots, A Must Win Battle for our Democracy.”
       Catalyst: A Newsletter of Moblising for Development, Issue 2, January, 2014.

Kaduna State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development. Kaduna Sate Gender, Equity and Social Inclusion (GESI) Policy 2017. T90’s Publicity & Richvalues Ltd.

M4D Approach Paper I: Ward and CBO Selection.  (No Date)

M4D. Catalyst: A Newsletter of Moblising for Development, Issue 2, July-Sept, 2015:03.

M4D. Catalyst: A Newsletter of Moblising for Development, Issue 3, March, 2016.

M4D. Capacity Building for Local Government Authorities Jigawa, Kaduna and Kano States: A Study Guide (September, 2017)

M4D. Capacity Building for Community Based Organisations in Kano, Kaduna and Jigawa States: Training Manual (September, 2017)

M4D Kaduna State Brief. October, 2015.

M4D. Mapping Power in Northern Nigeria: Towards a Locally-led Approach to Political Economy Analysis. M4D Approach Paper Series. (No Date)

M4D. Sulhu Committees: An Approach to Ensuring the Rights of Women and Girls are Respected. M4D Learning Brief Series. (No Date).

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