Local Government is the third tier of government in Nigeria that is nearest to the people at the grassroots. It is a structure that provides for goods and services needed by the people and also brings development and good governance to the local level. However, development has not thrived at the grassroots levels due to the paucity of the culture of accountability and transparency in the administration of local government in Nigeria. 

Between September 2019 and January 2020, Yiaga Africa through its Bounce Corruption trained 68 young changemakers cutting across 28 Local Government Areas in seven states on conducting social audits and demanding accountability via tracking budgets and its implementation at the Local Government level. The ongoing social audit, budget and implementation tracking in Bauchi, Nasarawa, Plateau, Kogi, Kaduna and Federal Capital territory have provided more information to citizens on the procedures,  code of conduct and government impact on citizens at Local Government level. This enabled citizens to also assess the impact of government on its constituents. These change-makers are living up to our expectations of taking leadership responsibility to demand government accountability at the local level and ensuring sustainable development in their communities.

During the second batch of evaluation workshop in Abuja, young changemakers shared success stories on how they have been demanding accountable leadership, increasing the awareness of budgeting at the local government levels and how it translates to community development and mobilizing their communities to take action and employ creativity in tracking the implementation of projects at the local government level.

For instance, changemakers in Jos South Local Government Area of Plateau State took on the perennial problem of government contractors abandoning projects by focusing on a vital road link that had been left uncompleted. The changemakers mobilized the community to exert pressure on local government officials to ensure the contractor returned to site, and have continued to play a role in monitoring the progress of the road construction.

Another group of changemakers in Nasarawa State engaged the Chairman of Akwanga local government on the need to have a primary school in the community renovated and adequate infrastructure for improved learning. The engagement worked and the primary school did not just get renovated but got additional classroom blocks and new school furniture. These among other success stories from other state representatives highlight the need for citizens to further get involved in activities that affect them and their communities. 

While lauding the effort of young Nigerians dusting the odds to demand accountability, Yiaga Africa’s Program Manager, Ibrahim Faruk said, it is also essential that their work is well-documented so that records exist, and their success stories told properly in order to inspire others to take similar leadership responsibility to demand government accountability in their communities. According to Faruk,  aimed to increase the capacity of the BC Changemakers to harvest outcomes from their activities and lessons learned also provided an opportunity for cross-learning among the changemakers as they shared the various challenges they encountered in their work and how they surmounted these challenges. 

During the Workshop, participants were trained on how to use the results of their work gathered through the monitoring and evaluation to develop stories that clearly communicate the work that they do and which audiences will find informative, relatable, and interesting.

The capacity training given to the change-makers through the Yiaga Africa Bounce Corruption project has clearly made an impact in enabling them to conduct a social audit, budget tracking, and implementation. Together with the creativity and commitment of the change-makers, young people are being mainstreamed in ensuring open and accountable governance as part of the fight against corruption.

Through this retreat, the enthusiasm of the changemakers has increased as they are eager to continue with conducting social audits and tracking budgets and project implementation in their local government areas while also properly documenting the work that they do and turning them into inspiring stories that will motivate other people to be a part of this movement of young people in the fight for accountable governance from the grassroots level.