The Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in Niger Delta (PIND) has said its partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for the Strengthening Advocacy and Civic Engagement (SACE) has developed tools to promote transparency and accountability of Niger Delta Institutions for inclusive economic growth in the region.
PIND's Capacity Building Programme Manager, Ms Bose Eitokpah, made this known at SACE Niger Delta Institutions (NDIs) Learning Event titled: 'Participatory and responsive governance for sustainable development in the Niger Delta' in Benin City, Edo State last week.
She said the two tools; Niger Delta Institutions Transparency and Accountability Index (NDITI) and Citizens Report Card (CRC) were used to monitor performance of NDIs were presented during the event.
Eitokpah who informed the guests that PIND was established in 2010 with funds from Chevron said two mid-term evaluations of the SACE project in 2016 and 2017 reported progress in engagements between civil society organizations and NDIs.
"Achievements included involvement of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in joint monitoring of projects implemented by NDIs, adoption of open government practices, introduction of transparency and accountability tools and frameworks and increased collaboration among CSOs to engage with NDIs," She said.
The Edo State Deputy Governor, Mr. Phillip Shaibu, who was represented by the Chairman, House Committee for Budget and Cooperation, Hon. Lawani Damian commended ANEEJ and LITE-Africa for introducing the NDITI and CRC to NDIs.
He called on CSOs and the public to engage with such reports and hold government accountable as such actions will improve development in the region.
The Chief of Party of the SACE project, Mr. Charles Abani said the partnership between USAID and PIND has succeeded in strengthening civil society abilities to improve transparency and accountability and good governance in the Niger Delta region.
"We have been involved in the kind of collaboration that improve citizen participation. In Ondo state, for instance, we are at advanced stage of drafting agriculture policies that will impact women in the value chain working with the Ministry of Agriculture and Budget office in the state" Abani said.
Also speaking at the event, the Executive Director of Life and Peace Development Organization, Mr. Franklin Olaniju said he was excited that with the support of USAID and PIND the policy environment in the Niger Delta is improving and increasing support for women.
According to him, USAID and PIND support created a platform for the voice of the women to be heard, a cooperation which has led the Ministry of Agriculture to provide finance and budget plan to be dedicated to women.
Participants included representatives from the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Niger Delta Development Commission, Oil Producing Area Development Commission from Abia, Imo, Ondo and Edo State; members of the NDIs Project Independent CSO Monitoring Group which has monitored over 200 projects; the media; Communities and community-based groups; CSOs and the public.
The project which was implemented by Chemonics International and convened by SACE Project partners, African Network for Environmental and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) and LITE-Africa