4 Takeaways from the Global Media Forum in Bonn Germany

4 Takeaways from the Global Media Forum in Bonn Germany

[As a preface, you can read about my expectations before the event here – But Who Are You? The Global Media Forum in 2017 focusing on Identity and Diversity ]

There are 7,000 languages all over the world, with 7,000 cultures and diversities according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Africa has 2,138 living languages with Nigeria hosting a quarter of those. In these diversity lies hope, peace and harmony in which everyone on planet earth yearns for, and it is this hope that spurred me to attend the Global Media Forum in Bonn, Germany, the second time in a roll. This time the discussion hinged on Identity and diversity. Do I have an identity? Is where I live my home presently, or where my fore fathers claim they reside? Am I a product of globalization, or am only privileged? So many debates, sessions, workshops and also drinks trailed the GMF, and I was able to capture the following assertions.

1. Technology
Is radio or TV technology? Yes. So when the screen appeared in the 1920s, it became a tool to shape public debate. In the 1940s, radio became a powerful medium for people to get information. Since the rise of the internet and mobile phones in the 1990s, the networked world population has grown from millions to billions. In the same vein, social media has become ubiquitous, and the world has never seen such a companion in its lifetime.This new technology has become a way of life, giving the opportunity to create new networks, giving voices to the voiceless, and ultimately making the world to understand that globalization has left billions of people behind, and as such there must be a rethink of who gets what, and how resources cross borders.

Level of Adoption of Technologies

2. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
The clock to 2030 is fast ticking for us to achieve the SDGs. As we would not want to leave more billions behind this time, it is imperative for all 165 countries that signed to the SDGs to tackle corruption. We should not be giving people’s tax money to presidents that are buying jets and investing in castles and mansions all around the world. As a matter of fact, the billions that are left behind do not understand the SDGs, as such, it is pertinent that the elites that are benefiting from globalization should invest most of their time in educating their local people on what these goals mean to them, and their next generation. We cannot achieve SGDs if we cannot reduce corruption in Africa!

3. Media and Ethics
The Fourth Estate – media organizations, must uphold its objective of checking, double checking, and presenting the truth from the voice of the voiceless. As new technologies have turned everyone into a journalist, what must differentiate originality from pedestrian information carriers, must be the enforcement in ethics, and speaking truth to power. Don’t change your practice. Instruct the public about the freedom of speech. Don’t allow yourself to be divided. Strive for yourself to be good – stand together!. Make pressures transparent – let people know if you are threatened. Make yourself invaluable. Admit mistakes; everyone does that. Don’t be resentful – focus on content. Don’t Exaggerate and Never give up.

4.The Power of Face to Face Conferences
I have spent the first part of the year organizing meeting with leaders of CODE’s Follow The Money Chapters and intending chapters. In my travels, I met with our teams on the ground, asked questions, and listened to their concerns. These face-to-face interactions built trust, understanding, and a real sense of a shared mission, and this has made all the difference in the world. One must not underestimate the power of human interaction and face to face communication, because if the essence of starting a movement, or an organization is about meeting deadlines, scheduling tasks, then an email might be enough.But we are about leadership, and that’s why we take cognizance of face to face meetings, and also because we are diverse, it is important always to share, learn about our differences, so we can accommodate ourselves and make peace.

You cannot leave the Global Media Forum (GMF) without memories of the cruise boat on the Rhine, and this time I had the chance of riding a bike by the Rhine. Also meeting new friends from India and Romania. What more do you want from a forum – but am still wondering why there were just five people at the Digital Security session, I felt that should have been of keen interest to journalists. Anyways, some things are made for those that have the mind, and I think you are one of them.

How Radio is fostering Citizen Participation and Government Accountability

How Radio is fostering Citizen Participation and Government Accountability

[ All 13 episodes of the Follow The Money Radio Program can be listened to at https://soundcloud.com/follow-the-money-129876762/sets/followthemoney-radio-editions ]

“Follow The Money, I have a health facility in Imesi Ile, in Osun State, which has been turned into a warehouse, can you please activate your campaign in this rural community because the facility should have catered for so many people.”

“I will like to inform you that the reconstruction of the primary school at Tongo in Gombe as commenced, we thank the Follow The Money people in our community and also you for mentioning it on the radio.”

Those were some comments from listeners of the 13 episode Follow The Money Radio program, aired on Wazobia FM 95.1 Abuja during the second quarter of 2017 (April to June 2017). In 2015, snap poll results released by NOIPolls Limited revealed that 62 percent of Nigerians surveyed get their daily information via Radio, as such we introduced Follow The Money Radio at a radio station that allows local language – Pidgin. The pidgin language is widely understood and spoken by Nigerians, as such we decided to partner with the popular Wazobia FM in Abuja, which has a reach covering millions of Nigerians. Just to note, that there are other citizen engagement radio program in Nigeria as well, such as the popular office of the citizen by Enough is Enough Nigeria Coalition and Budeshi by procurement monitor that airs every Friday morning on Nigeria Info FM Abuja

But how do you complement a movement like this on the radio? Last year, Connected Development experimented its advocacy strategies with the School of Data Radio, allowing it to garner 1,005 followers on Twitter, and three callers that turned into data evangelist. Even though, the SCODA Radio had bits of drawbacks because there were no directors and a permanent presenter. The drawbacks were useful lessons, for us to initiate the Follow The Money radio. We had to employ the knowledge of Uche Idu, a media for development expert to produce the program. We leveraged on our 2016 Community Media Champion – Big Mo to lead the presenters of the show. Every episode of the radio program was captured on Facebook Live as well, thus making it available to our community on Facebook

Follow The Money Radio

I remembered how much we discussed who the co-presenters will be. After three episodes, we concluded that it is important to use CODE’s staff working on Follow The Money, as they are in-tune with happenings within the community. With learnings from the School of Data radio, I had to start a documentation for the program which became a living document for Follow The Money Radio with presenters, the producers, the social media crew amplifying what happens during the radio program.

Many thanks to Cele Nwa Baby (Operations Manager at CODE) and Baba Bee (Programs Manager at CODE) who took out time to compliment Big Mo on making stories of communities engaging their sub-national government to air on radio, and making sure responses were gotten on such stories. In one of the episodes, the presenters instructed: “honourable Yaya Bauchi from Gombe, we are calling on you to commence the rehabilitation of the primary school at Tongo 2, we already know it’s a constituency project”. Two weeks later, the headmaster of the school joined the radio program to affirm that the rehabilitation of the school as actually commenced. Honourable Yaya Bauchi is the present house of representative member representing Tongo in the National Assembly, and it was confirmed that the renovation of the school was included in a constituency project proposed by him. Another intriguing story was that of the Primary school in Gengle, Adamawa state where hundreds of children learn under a dilapidated building. Three weeks after it aired on the radio program, the communities in Gengle joined the show to inform that the government visited their school, and they offered to start rehabilitation.

From Left – Baba Bee, Olusegun (Handling Facebook Live),Cele Nwa Baby, Oludotun, Uche Idu. From Back Left Olusegun, Bluetooth and Big Mo

So, what next for Follow The Money Radio? “You have all done well in bringing this to the radio; I think you should take this program to the state as well” advised one of our listeners during the last episode. As parts of messages gotten during the program, we have received emails from two other radio stations, who wanted to rebroadcast the show. Unfortunately, they are all in Abuja. Going forward, we are planning to initiate Follow The Money radio in the states, as such if you are a running a radio station in the state, or you are an OAP passionate about good governance, let’s get more voice amplified on your radio station, and feel free to contact us by joining our largest community on governance in Africa at http://ifollowthemoney.org or via info@connecteddevelopment.org. In the meantime, the Follow The Money Radio will be coming to you in the next quarter, join us at http://ifollowthemoney.org to get information on where it will be airing. Please stay tuned!

THE PLACE OF MONITORING AND EVALUATION SYSTEM IN DEVELOPMENT GOVERNANCE

THE PLACE OF MONITORING AND EVALUATION SYSTEM IN DEVELOPMENT GOVERNANCE

Last week was one of my best and a good one for democracy as I had the opportunity of participating in a Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) training organized by Cloneshouse Nigeria. Pre this training, I had a contracted knowledge of the M&E process (also referred in this piece as The Process) albeit I was quite aware that its skills are amongst the most requested of, in the non-profit development space. The only thing I could remember on M&E was one of my International Economics professor’s comments that inadequate M&E frameworks are one of the problems facing governance in Africa. As someone passionate about knowledge, outstandingly so when it concerns development, my interest and expectations from the training were hyper-raised.

What I did immediately was to seek permission from my boss to attend the training and scan through most of my Masters’ education briefs in International Economic Policy Analysis to probably get a deeper insight into what The Process was all about. I also went online, trying to have a briefing about the theme. Summary of what I picked was that The Process is a key component of policy processes and comes timely in improving and assessing performance of programs, projects, institutions and policies.

The first day of the 8-day training proved to me that I was in the right place. It was held at the Boardroom, on Ganges Street, Maitama, Abuja, and in participation were 9 colleagues in the development space from the British Council’s Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Programme and PACT Nigeria. The training started by introducing The Process and accentuating its very importance in the implementation of projects. ‘The essence of M&E is to achieve results in programs implementation and for measuring the extent and impacts of  open government, open governance etc. in project implementation,’ said Oludotun Babayemi, one of the facilitators. So, The Process is for enhancing topical and future management of outputs, outcomes and impact of a program. The monitoring component of The Process helps in tracking the program activities so as to adjust deficiencies, while the evaluation component helps to assess the program’s performance after 2 – 5 years of its implementation.

From these were further lectures on the 12 components of an M&E system. According to Oludotun, ‘this is the engine of The process.’ The components encompasses organizational structure for M&E system, human capacity building of M&E staffers, carrying all relevant stakeholder partnerships necessary, communicating processes and performance of the program to relevant stakeholders, M&E plan, costed work plan, routine monitoring to improve performance, periodic surveys, data auditing, database system, evaluation and research, and using information to improve results.

What caught my attention was the configuration of an M&E plan which has the logical framework, data source matrix, budget, information product matrix, information dissemination matrix, managing partnerships between stakeholders and when the M&E system and plan will be reviewed. The logical framework, which remains one of the most important component of the M&E plan and process interested me the most, as it contains the result chain [inputs, activities, outputs (routine monitoring), outcomes and impact (evaluation)]. All of the result chain elements have indicators for measuring them. These indicators have baseline (situation before program implementation accessed during baseline assessment) and targets (quantifiable goals of the different components of the result chain – what the program intends to achieve at each stage).

The evaluation component of The Process was unpacked highlighting the core focus of such, such as efficiency, effectiveness, relevance, sustainability and impact. The evaluation report is prepared through the segmentation and population of the themes and so wise the preparation of data collection tools. According to one of the facilitators, ‘Before you design an evaluation plan, you must study the program framework very intensively to understand roles and partnerships. In addition, collecting data for evaluation report should be from the implementing agency and beneficiaries, and within the themes of Evaluation.’

Data collection for periodic monitoring, surveys and evaluation are exceedingly vital in The Process as it presents the sources of data, publication dates, who does what, budget for the data collection or access and methodology of data collection etc. In addition were exposures to monitoring information system, logical framework, checklist for evaluation planning etc. From this were lectures on the data collection and analysis component of evaluation in M&E – how programs are evaluated. Google forms were used to simplify the preparation of data collection tools, electronic data collection, and it automatically gathers data and input in a database (Google Spreadsheet). The Spreadsheet was so handy for data analysis. We were also exposed to the Kobo tool box for mobile data collection. Microsoft Excel was also used for data analysis. Altogether, as someone that has been battling with using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences for elementary data analysis, the applications/software helped to demystify data analysis.

At the end of the training, I presented an M&E plan for a pseudo program. The plan was for an international nonprofit 2 year program which intends to improve literacy rate in a certain Shikira community from 25% in 2017 to 35% in 2019 through improving primary school enrollment in the community and improving teachers knowledge and teaching skills. The community, with a population of 1,000 with 60% being under 14 children has one of the poorest literacy rates in a State with poor primary school enrollment rate, inadequate number of classrooms and teaching equipment, and lack of skilled teachers. Please find the M&E plan/assignment here. The plan was supposed to make sure the results and objectives of the program were achieved.

This was a phenomenal training and wonderful exposure to M&E for me. Having stated that I started the training with no single knowledge of The Process, I am still surprised about how fast I learnt and how meaningful and interesting the training was. Perhaps, the expansive knowledge of the facilitators, their quality teaching skills and the various M&E System templates used and shared guaranteed this. This was so beautiful to me and I look forward to having the knowledge gained become relevant as I move forward career wise and academically. As someone passionate about economic development and interested in the development sector, I was really impressed. This was beautiful. This was SUPER. M&E really interests me and remains one of the best initiatives or processes in the development sector.

I think M&E training is necessary for everyone in the development space, both in public and nonprofit organizations. Organizations also have to send their staffers for such training. The dynamics of the training are expansive and cuts across the normative operations of organizations. For human capacity building, monitoring and evaluating performance and achieving results in programs and projects, as well as for enhanced organizational productivity, such training is exceedingly important.
Chambers Umezulike is a Programme Manager at Connected Development and a Development Expert. He spends most of his time writing and choreographing researches on good and economic governance. He tweets via @Prof_Umezulike.

Addressing Citizenry Extensive Concerns on the 2017 Budget Proposal

Addressing Citizenry Extensive Concerns on the 2017 Budget Proposal

On 23 February 2017, the Director-General (DG) of the Budget Office of the Federation choreographed a media briefing on several issues surrounding the 2017 Budget Proposal. The DG also used the briefing to make certain clarifications on public outcries over several budget items on the proposal. Most of these outcries were on many frivolous items (especially on electricity and utility bills of MDAs; several humongous expenses on the state house budget on utensils and feeding, electricity bills, travel expenses etc.); repetitions of budget items; budget cycle crisis; the budget preparation expenses; lack of details on some of the items; budget padding etc.

In attendance at the briefing were the media and Civil Society Organizations (CSO). In responding to some of these concerns, the DG took his time to counter some of the claims:

1). He stated that there was no sort of budget padding on the 2017 budget proposal.

2). That there were no frivolous items. That most of the extensive increments such as state house proposed expenditure on utensils and utility bills; electricity bills, security and cleaning services payments in MDAs etc. were either as a result of arrears of such bills/expenses or because funds were not later provided for them on the 2016 budget (meaning they were not implemented.)

3). He stated that there were no repetitions on the proposal, unless the repetitions being referred to were budget items on the 2016 one that re-reflected on the 2017 proposal, which was as a result of the fact that funds were not provided for such items on the former.

4). He reassured the audience of his liaison with the National Assembly to ensure that budget cycle would be from January – December of every year, which was clearly stated on the constitution, as against the culture of having a previous budget being implemented in another fiscal year.

5). He also explained that the details-deficit on some of the budget items were as a result of the perspective to keep the budget simple, for public consumption. That however that his agency would ensure further details on budget items when preparing subsequent budgets.

Representing Connected Development (CODE) at the event, I further engaged the DG and raised concerns over the NGN305/$ calculation on the budget proposal (while $1 is valued at NGN 520 at the contemporaneous market); if there are extensive plans for enhanced transparency and accountability in the 2017 budget implementation; our expectancy to lay hands on the 3rd and 4th quarters’ reports of 2016 budget implementation; his plans to ensure that revenue realization deficit would not frustrate the 2017 budget implementation drawing on the country’s experience with the 2016 one; and getting access to an extensive version of the budget that had further details on some of the line items. For the latter, I mentioned the ‘Talking Sanitation’, as well as ‘Afforestation’ and ‘Tree Planting’ budget items on the proposal, under the Ministry of Environment, which all lacked details such as where and how. Lack of such specific details has frustrated the works of CSOs that are into governmental capital expenditure tracking.

In addressing my concerns, the DG made commitments that were all in line with Nigeria’s commitments on the Open Government Partnership. He stated that the 3rd quarter 2016 budget implementation report would soon be in public domain while the 4th quarter’s would soon be out too. He further stated that there would be increased transparency, accountability and citizen engagement in the 2017 budget implementation. On this, he cited plans to have a digital platform for 24/7 citizen engagement on the budget. He also mentioned that there would be a breakdown on project basis subsequently when funds are released to MDAs. In addition, he promised a quarterly media briefing on the 2017 budget implementation. These were all good news and great outcomes for nonprofits that are into Open Governance advocacy. He mentioned categorically that the revenue realization plan on the proposal is quite realizable and that the FOREX regime crisis would not affect the budget implementation.

This media engagement is a step in the right direction as bringing all stakeholders involved and addressing public concerns on the budget proposal have boosted citizen participation in governance and also provided a platform for clarifications on several portions of the budget, as well as for stakeholders to make suggestions. It is hoped that the Director keeps to all the new commitments he made at the briefing and ensuring extensive open financial governance in the budget implementation. From our part, we are sending an FOI request for an extensive version of the budget, which he promised CODE would be provided with. And before I forget, he commented that he likes our name, ‘Follow The Money.’

 

Chambers Umezulike is a Program Officer at Connected Development and a Development Expert. He spends most of his time writing and choreographing researches on good and economic governance. He tweets via @Prof_Umezulike.

This Week – We Invite you to Join us at the #Opendata Olympics in Madrid!

This Week – We Invite you to Join us at the #Opendata Olympics in Madrid!

On the week of October 3 – 7, 2016, thousands of data and governance enthusiasts, from over 40 countries will be heading to Madrid, to discuss strategies and tools to accelerate the government – citizen engagement; and the future of open data as a tool for empowering local communities. Many call it the Olympics of open data!

It’s quite exciting to see how these movement has grown – from the open government data camp in the UK in 2010 ; the open government data camp in 2011; the Open Knowledge Festival in Helsinki in 2012; the Open Knowledge Conference in Geneva in 2013; the OKFestival in Berlin 2014; In 2015, it then became the International Open Data Conference that was held in Ottawa You might want to ask, how conversations in these conferences have impacted local communities like ours, I tell you – Connected Development [CODE] and its activities is a product of some of the conversations, and we look forward to some provoking thoughts out of the 2016 edition in Madrid.

In Madrid, we will be learning new tools, and sharing lessons learnt with colleagues from other 22 countries around the world at the Omidyar Network Governance and Citizen Engagement Forum from October 3-4 at the Impact Hub; the Journocoders event with School of Data and Open Knowledge Spain on October 4 talking data journalism at Medialab – Prado; and on October 5, we will be speaking at the Indigenous Open Data Summit and also attend the Follow The Money IODC Pre – event at RED.ES  on October 6 – 7 we will be joining the conversation on Open Data, while we will be joining the panel on data + accountability on October 6

If you will want to meet with us at these events, feel free to email – info@connecteddevelopment.org, and also we will be live tweeting and blogging some of the great events lined up for us, so subscribe to our blog here and on Twitter @connected_dev Hala Madrid!

 

 

The Social Change Summit in Lagos: Attracting Resources to Address Nigeria Social Challenges

The Social Change Summit in Lagos: Attracting Resources to Address Nigeria Social Challenges

For some of you that are familiar with the Lagos mainland, when you say you are going to Yaba, it means you are going shopping just by the railway. In the 19th century, Yaba was known as the host of a railway garage market where Lagosians buy “second – hand clothings”. Digitalization in the 21st century has rewritten the narrative of the town to the technology hub of Nigeria.” We now have 60 technology companies in and around Yaba, this is something fascinating for us, as it was only us and the University of Lagos. When we moved here in 2012” Bosun Tijani, the CEO of Co – Creation Hub affirmed in his opening remarks for the 2016 Social Change Summit.

Amidst several tensions in the country, on June 23, 2016 about 80 participants gathered around the popular Herbert Macaulay space of Co – Creation Hub to discuss how to attract talent, resources and creativity to address Nigeria’s most pressing social challenges. I might not be right, but it seems the event greatly focused on Media and Digital Innovations. And why not? Every conference now have that word – innovation! Whenever you are in Lagos, you must innovate to get to events early, exactly what I did, by flagging a motorbike rider, to get me to the event, all the way from Ikeja! Please don’t inform Ambode, I only wanted to avoid the painstaking Lagos traffic, and remember, I came from Abuja.

The hall was enlivened by the keynote speech of Ibukun Awosika, the Chairman First Bank Group, who to me appeal more to the female gender, as I observe closely all the female entrepreneurs, in the room, nodding to every of her lines. Maybe, I am the one that is not a female activist, but the good news was that her thoughts on rethinking a was quite electric. “When they ask you for your state of origin, erase it, and add your state of residence, likewise we should start thinking of how we have our talents come together to start up innovative solutions to our growing problems” Awosika mentioned. But is Nigeria really taken apart by the about three hundred and sixty something tribes in the country. She further said “There are three hundred and something tribes in Nigeria, so can you create three hundred and seventy something nation’s, leave out Yoruba, Igbo,Hausa, and all & become a true Nigeria, infact the things we do now cannot take us to where we are going as a Nation, we must change the status quo”.

The second keynote, which was on independent media as a catalyst for social change, was given by Stephen King and Ory Okolloh of Omidyar Network. Imagine, this is the third event in 2 weeks that I will be attending, in which the media is been referred to as the pillar of social change. Shouldn’t this be a concern for media organizations in the country? I am still watching and waiting for new innovative TV channels that can stand and surpass Channels TV. However, let it not sound like I am a TV fan, I do YouTube more than TV, and also a radio fan, especially at peak hours. “Independent media should leverage on opportunities embedded in the use of local languages, and content that citizens can easily relate with, an example is Wazobia FM and Urban FM” Ory Okolloh asserts. Truthfully, I am in love with the way Wazobia FM relates with its audience, a real game changer in the broadcast industry in Nigeria, but I am an advocate of market competition, as such we will need more of Wazobia FM’s.

Inasmuch as we welcome this burgeoning outfits, challenges in sustaining the opportunities that are available in this space remain enormous. One would not easily forget the reputable NEXT Newspaper which started in 2008 and ceased publication in September 2011 owing to advert shortage due to government influence on advertisement space in its print. Afterwards NEXT, was Premium Times, a leading online news, and investigative journalism platform, created 2011 in Nigeria.In order for investors and media practitioners to understand key constraints and opportunities that drive this media innovation,Omidyar Network and Reboot published a report on accelerating development & good governance in the new media landscape which highlighted opportunities in the independent media. You should read this if you are interested in starting or strengthening your independent media

No doubt, talents are scarce, and entrepreneurs are finding it difficult to recruit talent as reported in the  Global Entrepreneurship Research 2016 Watch out for my reaction to the report in my next post.With several panel discussions during the Social Change Summit, it was resolved that entrepreneurs should not recruit based on only compensation, but should think on making talents climb the ladder as a leader, after all talent is one thing, and leadership is another. “Sometimes what you need is knowledge,and not more finance” suggests Paul Okeogo, the Chief Operating Officer at Chocolate City. Many times you need knowledge on managing a team, and growing your startup to scale, most of which you can leverage from your peers, funders and prospective funders. To become sustainable as well, you will need knowledge on monetizing your ventures by creating content that your audience can relate with. “You don’t just think you have an idea, and you can throw it to the market, you must know who are your audience by segmenting your market” advised Abiola Alabi, owner of Biola Alabi Media, and former Managing Director at M-NET Africa.

Forget it, the Lagos market is huge, and that’s why it houses 20 million Nigerians, but for some of us, that grew up in the city, it can be tiring at times, and now that we do not leave in the city anymore, it’s difficult for us to wait till conferences or summit like this finishes. Before 5pm, my motor bike man came calling “oga it’s 5 pm we should enter the road now, you know say hold up go don dey build up” when you are in Lagos you know what that means. Four days in Lagos looks like it was 1 month, but really it was worth the time!