LEAD empowers Rivers communities on operational accountability
The Leadership Empowerment Advocacy and Development (LEAD), has empowered some local communities in Rivers State, to deepen accountability of their operations in rural development initiative.
The Chief of Party of Research Triangle Institute (RTI), LEAD, Tijjani Muhammad, said the group worked on three objectives of strengthening the capacities of local governments and increasing transparency in their operations; increasing the capacity of local civil society organisation and improving services delivery and support local economic development.
He added: “Our partnerships have created a ‘LEAD community’ that has facilitated a process of interactive learning, innovations and adaptations that have successfully built trust and improved relations between citizens, communities, LGAs and state institutions that have built capacities of services managers, policy and decision makers.”
He said the project had also promoted better practice of public financial management, including budgeting, internally-generated revenue mobilisation and management, and enhanced internal control and audits as well as improve the delivery of water and sanitation services, and promoted entrepreneurship and livelihood opportunities.
The state Programme Manager of LEAD, BorvePaago-Inieber, said six local government areas of Rivers State were chosen for the pilot scheme after the state met and surpassed the set criteria, adding that the benefit of the project had permeated all facets of the state.The Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND), also commended the leadership of LEAD for strengthening governance in the Niger Delta region.
The Executive Director of PIND, Sam Daibo, represented by the PIND Programmes Director, Dr. DaraAkala, said at the end of project, documentation, sharing and learning forum of LEAD’s three-year plan in Port Harcourt, the group has through its programmes brought governance closer to the people.
Daibo said: “For United States Agency for International Development (USAID), PIND, and Research Triangle Institute (RTI), we are delighted to say that the concept of LEAD has been proven to be a successful model for local governance strengthening in Niger Delta. For us, a very clear learning from LEAD is that we all have a role to play individually and collectively, either as citizens in demanding for good and responsive governance or as public officials in providing effective people-centred services to the communities.
“Another learning is that the presence of democratic structure is a necessary feature and motivation for development partners to support governance at the local level.”
He noted that since the project took off in Rivers State in 2013, it had built partnerships with state institutions, interacted with citizens and communities and created a range of platforms for dialogue.
“It has facilitated inclusive processes in governance enabling communities to be part of making decisions that affect them,” he said.He also said the LEAD project had improved internal processes of local government areas, inter-governmental relations, government and community relations.
“It has mainstreamed peace building and promoted local economic development particularly for young men and women,” he added.Daibo expressed optimism that lessons shared from the project would assist other CSOs to, “commit to improving on areas of weak achievements and to sustain, scale up, and build upon areas in which the project recorded good success.”