Mrs Olufunso Owasanoye, the Executive Director, HDI-Nigeria, made the call at a two-day training programme to strengthen the existing structures in the sector.
Owasanoye said, “Basic education will only thrive when members of the school Board Management Committees, Parents’ Forum and stakeholders groups are involved and committed to tracking basic education project and service delivery.
“Together, let’s plug the hole of corruption.’’
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the training programme tagged: “Training of Community-Based Monitors on Tracking UBE Projects’’ in Lagos was supported by MacArthur Foundation.
According to Owasanoye, the training is also to build the capacity of the community monitoring teams so that they could do better.
“Those that have been doing it before or those that are just joining, we don’t just want activities again, we want result.
“It is not like before, there are new strategies coming up and you are Monitoring and Evaluating (M and E) agents and M and E will be done on you.
“It is going to be like proper office work, you will go by 9.00a.m and return 5.00p.m, you will have schedule, you have duty and responsibility.
“You will be given us report because from this date, you don’t know the greater heights you are going to,” she said.
The executive director urged any of the local monitoring teams, who was not interested in the new innovation, to leave the training, adding that it was no longer business as usual.
Also, Mr James Fadokun, a trainer from the National Institute for Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA), urged the M and E agents not to accept gratification from contractors handling UBE projects in Lagos.
Fadokun said that accepting gratification from the contractors would not allow them to give a factual report about the UBE projects in the local areas.
He said that some members of agents that were collecting gratification from contractors had been expelled when the NGO found out that they were not sincere with their monitoring.
Fadokun said that the community-based monitoring teams would achieve their aims through factual, teamwork, investigative journalism and professionalism.
In his remarks, Mr Tayo Adelana, a staff of the HDI, urged the M and E agent to be objective, accountable and transparent in their monitoring.
Adelana also said that they should be social auditors in supervising projects in their local area.
“When supervising a building projects, no special favour should be given or solicited and no politicisation of the monitoring process must be allowed,” he said.
Edited & Vetted By: Olagoke Olatoye
UN commends FG on improvement of humanitarian access in North-East
The United Nations has commended the Federal Government’s efforts at improving humanitarian support in the North-East region of the country, saying the Buhari Administration “has taken important steps to improve access to people in need.”
A statement in Abuja on Tuesday by Mr Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, said the commendation came amidst international concerns on the activities of terrorists and violent extreme groups in the region.
Lately, some international humanitarian Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) have expressed worry on their inability to operate effectively and distribute relief materials in parts of the North-East because of security concerns, especially in some remote areas of Borno.
“In a bid to reverse the trend and ensure effective access to vital food supplies, the Humanitarian Affairs Minister, the National Security Adviser and members of the National Humanitarian Coordination Committee, escalated the matter to the Presidency.
“The President then mandated the Vice President to work with the Committee, Governors in the region and relevant MDAs, including service chiefs to resolve the matter in conjunction with international NGOs and multilateral agencies operating in the region.
“The Vice President then held series of meetings, bringing together the governors, all the relevant government agencies and representatives of international agencies and INGOs.
“This intervention by the Presidency has led to a renewed and coordinated effort of providing a new template that supports the activities of the INGOs and offers a more secured access to the areas in question,’’ the presidential aide maintained.
In reaction to this intervention and new arrangement, Adesina quoted the United Nations Secretariat in a briefing last week by the Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock to the UN Security Council to have said:
“I am pleased to report we have had constructive engagements in recent days with the Nigerian authorities, and the Government has taken important steps to improve access to people in need, which we look forward to building on further.”
Lowcock had indicated earlier that “In North-East Nigeria, as we told you…violence by extremist non-state armed groups is largely responsible for driving up humanitarian need.”
Edited By: Wale Ojetimi
NGO advocates for roles for women, girls in peace building
The Executive Director of the foundation, Mr Emmanuel Bonet made the call in a statement in Kaduna on Tuesday, to commemorate the 2020 International Peace Day.
Bonet said that such roles would enable women and young girls to bring in their unique wealth of experience, knowledge and perspective to the peace building processes across the globe.
“It is no longer news that communities consciously and unconsciously neglect to identify or consider women’s views in issues that relate to conflict or peace building.
“This is why we dedicated the 2020 International Peace Day to women across the globe who are more affected by violence and conflicts that disrupts peace.
“This was to provide them with a platform to air their views on how and what they think communities, government, religious institutions among others should do to bring about sustainable peace in our world,’’ he said.
Bonet added that AID Foundation, with support from PLAN International, commemorated the International Peace Day along with Kaduna State Youth Peace Academy (KSYPA) in Kasuwan Magani, Birnin Gwari and Kajuru simultaneously.
“In Kasuwan Magani, the KSYPA comprised of Christian and Muslim youths of Adara, Fulani and Hausa extraction who performed storm theatres within their communities.
“They highlighted the consequences of spreading rumours and brought people together to shun it.
“They also conducted a rally to increase awareness about what they are jointly doing towards religious tolerance and promoting peaceful co-existence,’’ he said.
Bonet added that in Birnin Gwari, the KSYPA mobilised Christian and Muslim youths to cleaned up the heart of the town.
This, he said, symbolised that peace has diverse approaches when people are determined to work together for a common good.
“In Kajuru, the KSYPA, like their counterpart in Kasuwan Magani also performed storm theatres for selected groups, demonstrating how dangerous it is to engage in rumour peddling.
“They ended the day with a peace rally to mobilize citizens to embrace peace,’’ he said.
The director-general called on the media to provide platforms for more women to air their views and contribute towards sustainable peace in the world.
He equally called on the media to sensitise traditional and religious leaders to consciously incorporate women in their peace building architecture and mechanisms.
“The government should equally include more women in peace building and reconciliations committees and always seek their views on issues that concern peace.
“As for the AID Foundation, we will continue to promote fairness in peace building processes,” he said.
Edited By: Kabir Muhammad/Sadiya Hamza
World Peace Day: NGO organises arts exhibition to promote peace, peaceful co-existence
DREP Programme Manager, Mr Chris Ogbonna, said at the event that the initiative was to promote peace and peaceful coexistence in communities in a unique way.
“We want to see how we can use art to promote peace by deviating from regular meetings and dialogue sessions.
“The idea is to use people with different skills such as arts to engage communities with their works.
“We are using the World Peace Day to unveil these kinds of arts exhibition and promote peace,” Ogbonna said.
He said that the arts exhibitions would take place in six communities in Plateau in the next six days.
He also stated that the idea of the exhibition was to see how to impart artistic knowledge into young people.
According to the programme manager, if the youths channel their energies into gainful ventures, they will have less time for vices.
He said the group had been giving grant to artists every year to encourage them in telling the story of peace.
Dr Jacob Onoja, a lecturer with the Department of Fine and Applied Arts, University of Jos, one of the exhibitors, said that he engaged in arts that dealt with peace in communities.
Onoja said that going into the area of peace, conflict and dialogue he had seen the devastation in communities and that the devastated family members had suffered as a result of crises.
“The best way I can express it is that, in the quietness of the studio, tell the story by inscripting words in symbolic forms.
“When people relate with works of arts, you see the reactions it will elicit.
“The stories that are crafted into my works are stories of peace which if every community imbibes, they will help to propagate peace,” he said.
Mrs Becky Soemlat of Plateau Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Hospitality, lauded DREP’s initiative of promoting peace through arts.
Soemlat described the exhibition as a welcome development that would tell the story of how peace would be achieved.
She said that the ministry had been partnering with artists to see how they could project the peace in the state.
Alhaji Salisu Hassan, Nasarawa Filin Ball Community leader, where the exhibition was held, urged DREP and the exhibitors to mentor youths in arts.
Edited By: Abdullahi Yusuf
NAS celebrates 2020 reading session with orphans, donates items
The National Association of Seadogs (NAS) on Monday celebrated its 2020 reading session with children from the Karu Orphanage, Abuja, to promote reading culture.
The association, otherwise known as Pyrates Confraternity, donated educational materials, food items and others to the children in commemoration of the 2020 World Literacy Day, which was marked on Sept. 8.
Items donated to the children were text books, note books, pens, pencils, crayons, erasers, sharpeners, toiletries such as detergent, diapers, children playing items and clothes.
The food items were cartons of noodles, cartons of biscuit, cartons of juice drinks, beverages and others.
Speaking at the event, Mr Victor Ofili, NAS Capoon Sahara Deck, Abuja Central, added that the idea of reading with the orphans by the association was aimed at making them take their book seriously while in the orphanage.
He said that the idea was also geared toward making sure the children focused on their future endeavours and to become what they intended to be.
“They must take their books seriously to achieve those targets they have set for themselves in life; you can see that one of them said he wants to be the president of Nigeria, while others said different things.
“Without being grounded in education, they cannot achieve their dreams and that is why we are here, one of our cardinal principles is for humanistic development, it is part of what we call operation 347, it is part of our guiding principles.
“We are here to show them love and to let them know that, they also have a family in us, incidentally, we have adopted this orphanage since 2013, when Abuja Sahara Deck was set up.
“We have been doing our part to the orphans since we adopted them,’’ he said.
Similarly, Mr Michael Ihunde, the second Vice President of the association, said that NAS was only trying to encourage the children for them to take their literary studies serious.
Ihunde said that the association had spent close to half a million naira to procure the items donated to the children as part of its social responsibility.
According to him, the association is committed to supporting the children yearly and to always put smiles in their faces.
Mr Frank Okafor, a former National Vice President of the association, encouraged the children to discover and develop their talents for them to be reckoned with in the society.
According to Okafor, God blesses one according to what ruminate in the mind, and that there are a lot of things embedded in reading if the children can commit to that.
“You gain more knowledge when you read. You discover a lot of things when you read. Maximise whatever talents God has given you.
“For you to be educationally smart, you must do the right thing at the right time, focus on your desire, your setback as an orphanage will surely result to a better thing at the end,’’ Okafor stressed.
Responding on behalf of the management, the orphanage accountant, Mr Felix Inaede, appreciated the donation, particularly during the period of global pandemic, as things were hard for most people.
Inaede said that the gifts from NAS had been a yearly thing, adding that the association had been so passionate about the development of the children.
“NAS has been a mentor to these children to ensure that they are better citizens in the country. These children will remember when they grow that there was a home they lived where donation was always given to them.
Inaede also appreciated the Federal Government and NGO, noting that they had been all proactive in responding to the needs of the children, particularly during the global pandemic.
Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Grace Yussuf