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Let’s Talk Participatory Budgeting and Planning for a Better OGP-Local!”

DEAN Initiative hosted a one-day Citizens’ Open Dialogue session to promote Participatory Budgeting and Planning (PBP) and reinforce the core co-creation principles of the Open Government Partnership (OGP). The event was attended by representatives from various organizations and Steering Committee members from Kwali, AMAC, and Gwagwalada Area Councils. The participants engaged in meaningful discussions on community participation and the implementation of PBP. The dialogue was well received and garnered positive feedback from the participants.

L-R: Mr. Semiye Michael, Hon. Candido (Outgone Chairman AMAC Area Council), Hajiya Suwaiba (Country director, ActionAid)

Challenges identified during the dialogue emphasize that the transfer of power between governments often interrupts the budgeting process, which impairs long-term planning and implementation. In addition, there are often disagreements between civil servants responsible for budget formulation and political leaders over the methodologies and priorities to be pursued, causing inefficiencies and delays. Limited financial and human resources pose significant barriers to implementing robust participatory budgeting and planning processes, particularly at the local level. Some stakeholders believe that budgeting is a sensitive process that should not be subject to public scrutiny. They advocate for limited transparency and minimal public input. There is also a highlight of resistance to change as civil servants are accustomed to the old methods of budget planning and prefer the status quo.

Opportunities noted were that Participatory Budgeting and Planning (PBP) encourages citizens to come up with proposals for public projects, which are then evaluated by a committee. PBP promotes transparency and accountability in government spending, builds trust between the government and its citizens, and empowers citizens to have a direct impact on the development of their communities. Experts suggest that PBP should be adopted by governments at all levels as a powerful tool for promoting democracy and civic engagement.

The thrust of the initiative is hailed as a transformative approach to democratization, the PBP Initiative holds promise for empowering citizens through meaningful participation and ensuring resources are allocated based on community needs. However, its success hinges on both strong political will to drive adoption and implementation, and a commitment to a people-centric approach that prioritizes grassroots engagement and community-led initiatives in shaping policy and decision-making processes.

Overall, Participatory Budgeting and Planning is a crucial concept that deserves widespread attention and support. By involving citizens in the decision-making process, we can create more inclusive and equitable societies, where everyone has a voice and a stake in the future.

Hon. Muhammed Saba (Council Secretary Gwagwalada Area Council) in an appreciative hug with Mr. Semiye Michael (ED DEAN)

At the Citizens’ Open Dialogue, stakeholders exchanged views on Participatory Budgeting and Planning. PBP has the potential to promote inclusive and accountable governance at the local level. However, continuous efforts are needed to overcome challenges and maximize opportunities for effective implementation. Participants acknowledged the value of the event and agreed on the need for consistent and sustained efforts to achieve success.

DEAN Initiative Enhances Teaching Skills in Kwara State: Teacher Transforming Education Workshop.

The workshop served as a catalyst for fundamental lessons poised to reshape the educational landscape. It heralded a call for a significant departure towards skill-centric education, emphasising the potency of practical, applicable skills over traditional rote learning. At its core, critical thinking emerged as the guiding principle, stressing the necessity for an environment that fosters questioning, analysis, and synthesis. Moreover, problem-solving assumed a central role, highlighting its pivotal contribution to fostering resilience and adaptability.

Transforming Education Workshop 6

In collaboration with UNESCO ASPnet, DEAN embarked on a noteworthy initiative to enhance the teaching prowess of Kwara State educators. The impactful two-day Transforming Education Workshop for Teachers,” focusing on the imperative shift from knowledge-based to skill-based learning” held at the Wingate Exotic Hotel in Tanke Ilorin, marked a pivotal juncture in the pursuit of educational excellence.

The call to action resonated strongly, urging the implementation of transformative lessons in classrooms to create environments where students actively engage. Throughout the training, 100 Kwara teachers were equipped with essential teaching skills, a commendable effort acknowledged by Semiye Michael, the Executive Director of DEAN Initiative. His presentation on understanding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their alignment with education (SDG Goal 4) served as a guiding compass for teachers.

The opening ceremony featured Mr. Taye Odedeji representing Hajia Sa’adatu Modibbo Kawu, the Hon. Commissioner for Education, and Hajia Jubril representing the Chairman of the Kwara State Teaching Service Commission. Noteworthy attendees included experienced administrator Pastor Alabi, Professor Adebayo Lawal from the University of Ilorin, Jamiu Aliyu from the British Council, and Tessy Amayo, National Coordinator of UNESCO ASPnet, represented by Amina Babatunde.

Transforming Education Workshop 5

Divided into three sessions with facilitators such as Bayere Ayodeji, Jamiu Aliyu from the British Council, and Semiye Michael, the workshop aimed to motivate participants by providing valuable insights into critical design thinking, problem-solving, and aligning education with Sustainable Development Goal 4.

A ripple of enthusiasm has permeated the educational community, promising a brighter future. The seeds of transformation have been planted, and the fertile ground of Kwara State eagerly awaits the harvest of a revitalized, skill-centric education system.

DEAN’s “Teachers’ Transforming Education” workshop transcended being a mere event; it marked the commencement of a narrative of educational renaissance, with each chapter unfolding the promise of a brighter, more dynamic future.

Transforming Education Workshop 1

Felele: DEAN Initiative Orchestrates CTAP Focus Group Discussion with Community Citizens

In a lively part of Ibadan, called Felele, Over 50 People came together through the COVID-19 Transparency and Accountability Project (CTAP), powered by the DEAN Initiative, to talk about their experiences. This wasn’t just a chat – it was like a community song, with everyone sharing their stories. In this gathering, the real heroes were the community health workers supported by DEAN Initiative’s team. They played a big part in telling everyone why getting the COVID-19 vaccine was important. Their hard work, backed by the DEAN Initiative, became like a strong shield for Felele against COVID-19.

What made Felele strong wasn’t just the number of people but the different kinds of people living there. Some shared good stories about getting free vaccines and meeting friendly healthcare workers, to DEAN Initiative. These stories connected with others who faced similar challenges in a nearby place called Aganni. It was like a shared commitment to keeping everyone healthy, with the DEAN Initiative adding a powerful beat to the rhythm of community health.

The main tune in Felele was getting people who had not received the vaccine to do, with DEAN Initiative making sure the process was smooth. This shared promise wasn’t just a smart thing to do; it showed a deep care for each other. Thanks to the CTAP project backed by DEAN Initiative, the community stood together, creating a positive vibe about getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

Felele’s story isn’t just a tale; it’s like a simple song, a clear example of how we can work together with community. It shows that when people unite, they become strong, and when everyone takes responsibility together, they become tough against tough times, especially with initiatives like DEAN backing them up.

CTAP FGD in Rigasa Community of Kaduna State.

Moving to Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State, the Rigasa community welcomed DEAN Initiative on the 11th of October, 2023, with open arms and open minds. The FDG held at Asibitin Yara Hayin Mallam Bello Community’s Vocational Training Centre brought together over 50 participants, fostering an environment of trust and unity.

The Officer in Charge of the PHC reiterated the community’s need to utilise the local healthcare facility, emphasising its accessibility and tailored services. Participants, predominantly youths, expressed reservations based on negative narratives surrounding COVID-19 vaccinations.

However, DEAN Initiative state coordinator’s adept clarification of vaccine myths paved the way for transformative change.

The impact resonated far beyond the venue, with over 50 individuals leaving with not only a better understanding of COVID-19 vaccines but also a commitment to complete their vaccination process. DEAN Initiative’s distribution of educational materials further solidified a collective resolve to build a healthier, more informed community.

Blossoming Health: DEAN Initiative’s Impact in Badari, Ilorin West

In the scenic landscapes of Ilorin West, the community of Badari recently witnessed a blossoming of health awareness and community well-being. On the 14th of October, 2023, DEAN Initiative, in collaboration with CTAP, conducted a transformative Focus Group Discussion (FGD) at the Badari Maternity Clinic. Over 50 eager participants gathered, eager to contribute to the dialogue on vaccine equity and health sector accountability.

Badari’s FGD echoed the sentiments of other communities, celebrating positive experiences such as the proximity of the Badari Maternity Clinic, free vaccinations, and the kindness of healthcare workers. Simultaneously, concerns about vaccine unavailability and occasional payment hurdles were shared. DEAN Initiative’s impact extended beyond discussions, with the distribution of 50 info-graphics, bags, notebooks, t-shirts, and calendars.

Badari Community

Badari now stands as a symbol of a community united in its commitment to health and well-being. The call for government support resonated strongly, emphasizing the need to fortify Primary Healthcare Centers (PHCs) by addressing staff shortages, extending operating hours, and improving staff salaries. DEAN Initiative’s role in nurturing a culture of health and community well-being in Badari is a testament to the organization’s dedication to building resilient and empowered communities.

Empowering Communities: CTAP and DEAN Initiative’s Success in Olorisaoko and Oguntula’s COVID-19 Vaccination Journey

The COVID-19 Transparency and Accountability Project (CTAP), in collaboration with the DEAN Initiative, orchestrated impactful Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) in the idyllic villages of Olorisaoko and Oguntula within the Akinyele Local Government Area. These FGDs not only fostered a positive and energetic atmosphere but also shed light on the transformative power of community engagement in the fight against COVID-19.

A standout feature in the residents’ narratives was the close proximity and easy accessibility of the Primary Healthcare Center (PHC) in the area. The well-equipped PHC near Olorisaoko and Oguntula emerged as a beacon of hope for the community. Participants shared their positive experiences, highlighting the free immunization services and the welcoming nature of the medical staff, who played a pivotal role in dispelling concerns and doubts related to COVID-19 vaccinations.

This FGD not only affirmed the success of the CTAP and DEAN Initiative collaboration in these communities but also showcased the pivotal role of accessible healthcare services in fostering positive attitudes toward vaccination. The experiences shared by residents underscored the significance of well-equipped and accessible PHCs in advancing vaccine equity. Olorisaoko and Oguntula’s success story serves as inspiration for other communities, emphasizing the joint impact of CTAP and DEAN Initiative in promoting community engagement, education, and positive health outcomes.

Transforming Borikiri’s Attitude Towards Government Approved Vaccines: A Community’s Journey Towards Vaccine Equity and Health Accountability

In the Borikiri community of Phalga Local Government Area, Rivers State, a remarkable transformation in perspectives regarding COVID-19 vaccination took place on October 16, 2023. This remarkable shift was instigated through a community-level focused group discussion hosted by the DEAN Initiative, with support from CODE, BudgIT, and Global Integrity as part of the COVID-19 Transparency and Accountability Project (CTAP). The Focus Group Discussion unfolded at the Government Comprehensive Secondary School.

Approximately 50 eager community citizen congregated to discuss their experiences with COVID-19 vaccination and their concerns. Local healthcare workers also participated, shedding light on the importance of vaccines and the role of Primary Healthcare Centers (PHCs) in the healthcare system.

Community members shared their personal vaccination journeys, with some initially uncertain but eventually choosing to get vaccinated. Their experiences not only affirmed the value of vaccination but also underscored the need for increased government support in the healthcare sector.

During the discussion, they also addressed the prevailing myths and misconceptions surrounding COVID-19. With the guidance of healthcare experts, participants left with a clearer understanding of the virus.

By the end of this discussion, the Borikiri community had undergone a significant change in their perspective on COVID-19 vaccines. This transformation demonstrates the power of community collaboration in sharing information and dispelling doubts. Borikiri is now on a promising path towards COVID-19 vaccination and improved health.

Revolutionizing COVID-19 Vaccination: DEAN Initiative’s Impact in Igwuruta Community.

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In the vibrant community of Igwuruta in Ikwere Local Government Area of Rivers State, a significant transformation in attitudes toward COVID-19 vaccination was witnessed. The scene was set on the 11th of October, 2023, when DEAN Initiative, in collaboration with the COVID-19 Transparency and Accountability Project (CTAP), organized a pivotal community-level Focus Group Discussion (FGD) at the Model Primary Healthcare Centre, Igwuruta.

At this FGD, community members, local healthcare workers, and 50 enthusiastic participants engaged in open and candid conversations about their journeys and concerns regarding COVID-19 vaccination. The healthcare workers provided invaluable insights into the importance of vaccines and the wide range of services available at Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs), shedding light on the significance of vaccination in safeguarding community health.

The heart of the discussion was the personal narratives shared by the community members. Many revealed their initial hesitations but eventually opted to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Their courage in sharing experiences, combined with the mild side effects encountered, transformed them into vocal proponents for vaccination and champions for increased government funding in the health sector.

This FGD also served as a platform to dispel common myths and misconceptions about COVID-19. The presence of healthcare representatives who provided well-informed responses played a crucial role in nurturing a better understanding among the participants.

By the end of this transformative discussion, the change in attitude towards COVID-19 vaccination was noticeable. Many who had harbored initial doubts exhibited a newfound willingness to receive the vaccine. Their shift in perspective stands as a testament to the remarkable impact of information dissemination and community engagement in steering Igwuruta towards a healthier and better-informed path. DEAN Initiative’s efforts have not just dispelled fears and uncertainties but have set the community on a course toward improved health and well-being through vaccination.

Empowering Obio Akpor LGA: A Journey from Hesitancy to Hope in COVID-19 Vaccination Awareness

In the heart of Rivers State, Obio Akpor Local Government Area (LGA) recently witnessed a transformative event that unfolded on the 11th of October, 2023. DEAN Initiative, in collaboration with the COVID-19 Transparency and Accountability Project (CTAP), orchestrated a Focus Group Discussion (FGD) at the Community Secondary School in Rupukwo.

Obio Akpor Community

This gathering, a crucial component of CTAP’s mission to strengthen Vaccine Equity and Health Sector Accountability, became a pivotal moment for the community. The State Coordinator, in collaboration with health workers and community members, facilitated an open dialogue that addressed concerns surrounding COVID-19 vaccination.

Participants, numbering over 50, were not mere spectators; they actively engaged in discussions, sharing personal stories and experiences related to their COVID-19 vaccination journey. Some expressed initial hesitancy rooted in myths and misconceptions surrounding the vaccine. The presence of health representatives provided a platform for debunking these myths, fostering a clearer understanding of the virus and the vaccination process.

The event, held at the Community Secondary School, was not just an information session but a community-building exercise. The diverse group of attendees, including more than 10 health workers, created an environment conducive to open dialogue, trust-building, and the exchange of valuable insights.

As the discussions unfolded, a remarkable transformation occurred. Those who had harboured reservations about COVID-19 vaccination expressed a newfound willingness to get vaccinated. This shift in perspective showcased the triumph of accurate information over misinformation and highlighted the power of community engagement.

Obio Akpor LGA now stands as a beacon of progress, where knowledge became the catalyst for positive change. The success of the FGD in Rupukwo is not only a local achievement but a contribution to CTAP’s broader mission of enhancing Vaccine Equity and Health Sector Accountability across Nigeria. The ripple effect of this transformation is expected to extend beyond Rupukwo, influencing neighbouring communities and fostering a sense of hope in the fight against COVID-19. The journey from hesitancy to hope in Obio Akpor serves as a testament to the transformative power of community engagement and education in the face of a global health crisis.

CTAP Focus Group discussion in Kakuri Community.

In the heart of Kaduna South, the Kakuri community became a focal point for DEAN Initiative’s mission to enhance vaccine equity and health sector accountability. On the 7th of October, 2023, our team engaged in a vibrant Focus Group Discussion (FDG) at CGA beside Asibitin Yara, bringing together over 50 eager participants. The atmosphere was charged with curiosity and concerns about COVID-19 vaccinations.

Kakuri Community
Kakuri Community Citizens

Amidst insightful discussions, the Officer in Charge of the Primary Healthcare Center (PHC) emphasized the importance of utilizing the community PHC, urging residents to embrace local healthcare resources. Participants openly shared their vaccination journeys, recounting diverse experiences, from side effects to renewed energy post-vaccination. The state coordinator, adeptly debunking myths, inspired confidence in those hesitant to take the vaccine.

The impact surpassed the numbers, with over 50 individuals expressing newfound willingness to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. DEAN Initiative’s distribution of educational materials, including infographics, bags, notebooks, t-shirts, and calendars, left a lasting imprint, fostering a sense of community resilience and shared responsibility.

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