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Group to monitor spending of World Bank’s $611m grant for Nigeria’s out-of-school kids

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A civil society organisation, Connected Development (CODE) says it will monitor the spending of the $611 million (N221 billion) World Bank grant to the Nigerian government to get as many out-of-school children as possible into classrooms across the country.

The idea is being carried out through the Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA) programme and is expected to reduce the number of children who are not able to go to school across Nigeria, either as a result of crisis or poverty.

Nigeria currently has about 10.5 million out-of-school children according to the United Nations Children (Education) Fund, UNICEF.

The Chief Executive of CODE, Hamzat Lawal commended the World Bank for investing in Nigeria’s education sector to enable the country meet its sustainable development goals on universal basic education for all.

Lawal, however, stressed that there is the need for transparency, “particularly in providing salient information on how these funds are expended, so that citizens can hold government accountable; as well as ensure sustainable investments by elected governments to meet Nigeria’s education needs, especially basic education”.

CODE, through one of its projects tagged “follow the money” model, has afforded citizens across the country with the opportunity to monitor government projects in their areas and to report progress or otherwise of such projects using different online and offline platforms. By so doing, the group hopes to close the feedback loop between citizens and the government to enhance social contracting and accountability.

Among the many government policies whose implementation CODE has monitored through its “follow the money” programme, are the N569.5 million ($1.5 million) Universal Basic Education funding across 20 communities in Kaduna State, as well as the N12 billion UBE funding for 597 projects across 18 Local Government Areas in Ondo State.

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The World Bank announced the $611 million grant to Nigeria in the first quarter of 2016, with the  bank’s education specialist and consultant, Adebayo Solomon, saying the gesture is to support the federal and state governments in their efforts to foster inclusive education and revive growth, in line with the country’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).

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