Bauchi — The Community and Social Development Agency (CSDA) came into existence after the expiration of the Local Empowerment and Environmental Management Project (LEEMP). The agency is a new intervention that is building on established community development structures to target social and environmental infrastructure at the community level, as well as improve local government service delivery. The programme, which has kicked off in Bauchi, involves collaboration between the Bauchi State government and the World Bank.
According to the General Manager of CSDA in Bauchi State, Mallam Abubakar Mohammed, the aims and objectives of the project include empowering communities to plan, part-finance, implement, monitor and maintain sustainable and socially inclusive micro-projects. Others include to facilitate and increase community-local government partnership on human development related projects, increase the capacity of local government, state and federal agencies to implement and monitor community development policies and interventions and leverage federal, state and local government resources for more community development interventions.
Mohammed said the condition for participation requires payment of requisite N100 million yearly by the state government to the agency, adding that Bauchi State Community and Social Development Project became effective on July 1, 2009 and implementation started in September 2010.
Enumerating the commitment of Governor Isa Yuguda to the project, he said the present administration has paid a government contribution of N200 million as well as sponsored a bill to the state House of Assembly that was passed into law for the establishment of the agency, noting that the bill was assented by Yuguda on 25 March, 2009.
Other contributions include recruitment of staff of the agency from the state civil service, provision office accommodation in accordance with the World Bank guidelines and execution of a subsidiary credit agreement with the Federal Ministry of Finance for financing the project in the state to the tune of $5 million for the period of five years.
Speaking further, Mohammed said local government areas were sensitised on the need to set up Local Government Review Committees (LGRCs) as a condition for participating in the project, adding that desk offices were established in each of the 20 local government areas. He stated that" "a memorandum of understanding was signed between the project and the local governments to fund the activities of the desk office and the LGRC, as well as provide staffing for completed micro projects.
"The project being demand-driven, sensitisation was embarked by the local governments areas for interested communities to express their interest to the state agency in writing. Based on the number of requests submitted by interested communities, the agency embarks on screening and selection of the communities based on World Bank guidelines. After selecting the communities, operation officers from the agency are posted to the communities for facilitation of the selected communities to produce community development plan (CDP). The state government approved the sum of N400 million as counterpart fund for the second phase of the project in the state according to state Commissioner for Religious Affairs and Community Development, Alhaji Salisu Ahmad Barau."
The Commissioner said three communities selected from each of the 20 local government areas of the state have benefited from project executed during the first phase of the programme.
He pointed out that so far the ministry of Social Development has received about 400 applications from various communities for the second phase of the programme to be executed within three years. Salisu Barau assured that government would continue to support initiatives that would improve the life of people, especially at the grassroots.
On Education intervention by the Bauchi State government, the general manager said they embarked on the construction and rehabilitation of classrooms/offices/stores as well as provision of chairs and desks for teachers and pupils, examination halls and staff quarters, adding that this has translated in increased school enrolment from 509 to 2,088 pupils.
On other sectors, Mohammed said, "there was construction and rehabilitation of health clinics, dispensaries, maternities, staff quarters and supply of hospital equipment, extension of electricity, provision and installation of transformers, drilling/rehabilitation of hand pump boreholes, motorised boreholes, digging of concrete wells, de-silting of mini-earth dams. He added that others included the construction/rehabilitation of feeder roads, construction and rehabilitation of market stalls; lock up shops and provision of canoes, onstruction of mini bridge/culverts, drainages, toilets, incinerators and planting of trees and construction of skill acquisition centers and equipment. He added that N715,626,365.45 has been spent on the projects so far.
On the outcome of the projects on rural populace, he said, "Average distance to health centers has been reduced from two kilommetres to about 0.25 kilommetres; attendance for ante/post natal clinic has increased from 105 to 3,781 women, as well as increase in access to immunisation from 1,050 to 4,491 children and those that were attending the clinics for treatment/counseling increased from 3,769 to 19,990 patients.
"Also the number of people with access to potable drinking water has increased from 3,762 to 174,266 with 90 per cent reduction in water borne diseases. Average distance to water source has been reduced from two kilommetres to about 0.25 kilommetres while there is a reduction of 75 per cent in the cost of water. Average number of vehicles plying the roads increased from 30 to 150 per week, while travel time reduced by 75 per cent. Average cost of transportation was also reduced by 50 per cent.
"The number of households connected to electricity increased from 0 to 973, while the number of small scale businesses established increased from 8 to 43. Also the number of vulnerable children enrolled/attending school increased from 53 to 163, while there is an increase in the number of vulnerable /poor attending the health centers from 157 to 621 and those that are undergoing training at skill acquisition centers are 69".
On challenges faced by CSDA, he said, "we received high number of letters of expression of interest from communities seeking for intervention; also low level of literacy in some communities hinders proper record keeping and documentation."
He commended Isa Yuguda for supporting the project, saying, "the achievements recorded above by the project could not have been attained without the support of Governor Isah Yuguda, whose initiative gave birth to the project and his financial and moral support sustained it through the years,".