Civil Society Organisations and other implementing partners in Ebonyi State have commended the USAID-funded State Accountability, Transparency and Effectiveness Activity for engineering positive reforms in governance of the State.
The commendation was part of outcome of a quarterly project review meeting of the partners with State2State.
The review meeting was organized by USAID-State2State on Tuesday in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital.
Relating their success stories, the representatives of some of the CSO partners, including Chimezie Ude of Development and Integrity Intervention Goals Foundation; Lillian Ezenwa of Public Enlightenment Project; Adanaya Ene of Women and Children Health and Community Development; Franklin Nebo of the Widows and Orphans Environmental Organisation among others attributed their breakthroughs to State2State’s solid backing and resource support.
The CSO representatives noted that there has been tremendous improvement in citizens-government collaboration in driving governance policies in recent times in the State, owing to enlightenment brought to the citizens through S2S and partner projects at the State and local government levels.
They further emphasized that the S2S supported activities and engagements have combined to give CSOs better recognition as partners in progress by the government rather than viewed as antagonist.
The partners, however, identified delayed and sometimes outright non-release of approved budget for Social Sector Ministries, Departments and Agencies by the government as a major challenge to achieving desired results.
They also identified political crises, community level crises, insecurity, difficult terrains and lack of some basic amenities in the rural areas as impediments to their development activities.
They further lamented the negative effect of inflation and cost fluctuations between the times of their programme proposals and actual implementation.
Speaking on the objectives of the meeting, the Ebonyi State Citizens Engagement and Capacity Building Specialist for State2State, Dr. Ibiam Azu Agwu, explained that it would offer the Organisation and its partners opportunity to identify areas of strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats with a view to improving their engagements.
Agwu said: “The meeting would help them to review S2S activity implementation progress related to CSOs in general and CSO sub-grantees in particular.
“It is also an avenue to share experiences; discuss, collect and document results as well as lessons learned from CSOs activities’ implementation including how Gender Equality and Social Inclusion is mainstreamed in their activities’ implementation using the S2S GESI checklist.”
Agwu further stated that the meeting outcome would further strengthen collaboration and coordination among CSOs in Ebonyi State and equally mainstream, boost and promote citizens civic participation in governance and service delivery issues.
“It’s an opportunity to identify next steps and develop action plans for the next Fiscal Year 2023 activities,” Agwu added.
Agwu unveiled some key activities undertaken by Sate2State in Ebonyi State to including political economy assessment, conflict assessment, public financial management assessment and organisational capacity assessment.
He emphasised that S2S’s high-level engagements with relevant government departments and officials have produced baseline survey reports, budgetary reforms and development plans which has promoted effective governance in Ebonyi State and appreciated the State government for enabling environment.
The USAID-S2S projects are implemented in Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Ebonyi, Gombe and Sokoto States.
Its overall objective is to engender government accountability, transparency and effectiveness in the targeted states and local government areas.
In Ebonyi State, S2S projects cover three thematic sectors: Health, Education and Water Sanitation and Hygiene.