HACKATHON FOR NIGER DELTA YOUTHS BY THE GIFT NIGERIA PROJECT

Hackathon L’ACEs (Active Citizens Engaging Legislatives) – ACEs for short.
Pose after Hackathon Cohort in PH

By Smith Nwokocha

The Objectives of the Hackathon, which gathered youths from the Niger Delta region is as follows:

  • To crowd-source ideas on how to disrupt lax projects delivery and encourage satisfactory performance
  • To introduce the ConsTrack and RemTrack civic tech tools to young persons and energize their participation in the GIFT project.

During The Hackathon Activities Proper:

The report here summarizes the activities of the Hackathon that took place in Rivers State for youths and youth groups in the Niger Delta Region. The event started at about 1:30pm with an introduction and recognition of participants. This was followed by a brief presentation given by Mr. Oke, to set the tone on the programme objective. He shared a few slides on Remfact findings to stimulate better understanding of the issues on ground.
This was subsequently followed by a breakout session where participants were divided into six (6) teams made up of 5 members each. The 3 topics of ideation were shared among the groups with 2 groups handling one topic each. The topics bordered on;

  • Follow the trust (in view of the composition and incorporation of the Host Community Development Trust Fund) as well as tracking the set up.
  • Tracking remittances from the petroleum extractive sector
  • Monitoring and evaluation of funds in capital project implementation vis a vis public service delivery.
    The groups worked on their assigned topics for a period of about 30 minutes after which representatives from each group were given the opportunity to speak on what they had come up with.

The first group spoke on tracking remittances while sharing some initial steps to take for effective results. The first of these steps was to do stakeholders mapping, drft letters requesting information from the identified stakeholders based on remittances they received while requesting clarification on data provided which requires clarity. They were however unclear in their presentation on how data can be verified as a solution to tracking remittances.

The second group also made a presentation on tracking remittances. Their solution considered having a transparency plan where the agencies in charge of tracking remittances are first identified alongside the measures they have in place for this purpose. They also identified grassroot tracking as well as checks and balances with full involvement of the media. they again incorporated the use of a tracking software controlled by an independent tracking unit. At the end of their presentation, a recommendation was given for the technology to be carefully considered to avoid creating another bureaucratic system in addition to the already overburdened platforms available.

The third presentation was on Monitoring and Evaluation. Their idea was for the NGOs and CBOs operational in communities to be involved in the implementation of projects designed for those communities. Their solution was to also leverage on google map to determine service area codes of project communities. They also recommended that a Board of Trustee made up of non partisan bodies that will monitor the funds that come into the Trust.

The fourth group spoke on the composition of the HCDTF and how to track the funds. Their recommendation was for the right people to make the board composition with emphasis on inclusivity and proper orientation of these stakeholders. On their technology solution, they proffered the development of a software designed to cover tracking by host communities and operators. It would also have a feature that outlines projects, the funds allocated to these projects and the expenditure incurred. Recommendation was given for their solution to set clarity on how tracking the enactment of the Trust can be made possible and made a public data.
The fifth group in their presentation, spoke on the need to have a composition of the Trust Fund as this would foster ease in tracking the development fund. They highlighted a list of groups that could make up this composition from the community level to the federal level. They also suggested that in tracking the set up, a corporate account be opened with 3 signatories, there should be regular auditing and a monitoring system to track the projects.

Group brainstorming session

The final presentation was on Monitoring and Evaluation of capital projects. They started by giving a run down of problems that have militated against capital projects such as; personal interests, greed and avarice, lack of access to implementation documents, duplication of projects to mention a few. Their solution was streamlined to involve a strategy they called “Name-shaming”, using radio call-ins where individuals guilty of misappropriating funds for capital projects face being name shamed. They also proposed to use the print media for publishing back-up facts that reflect the origin and status of these projects. Their final solution was to promote civic advocacy and engagement on accountability with backing from the provisions of the FRA. In conclusion, they set perspective on already existing technological solutions to project M&E such as the BudgIT app as well as the Constrack and Remtrack apps by Orderpaper, while also recommending the use of USSD as a tracking measure for communities with little or no technology access.

Mr. Oke wrapped up the session by introducing participants to Orderpaper’s Constrack and Remtrack civic tech tools, while encouraging that the ideas and solutions shared, be taken beyond the organizations represented and into the grassroot communities. he gave the vote of thanks at about 5:20pm, group photographs were taken and the session was officially brought to a close.

From left: Amaka Elekwechi Rep Centre for Transparency Advocacy; Edna Ulaeto, OrderPaper, at centre Lady Ejiro Umukoro (Programme Manager GIFT NIG PROJECT) at far right (Temidayo Taiwo-Sidiq) Orderpaper

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