Conversations with Local Government Officials on thier participation in the Consortium Project: Lessons Learnt

Summary of findings
This end of project assessment is report as conversations with LGA officials to capture the complex and diverse experience of project

implementation in 3 LGAs of the project. Findings suggest that given the realities of low levels of LGA autonomy over planning and budgeting for girls’ education the project’s expectations and performance indicators may have been too ambitious. Even where LGAs did make budgets for education as in the case of Giwa LGA in Kaduna state, sums allocated doubled between 2013 the baseline year of the project and 2014 when project activities were in full operation. However, the budget for 2015 was only half that of the 2014. Data on releases is not readily available. This feature of girls’ education planning and budgeting at the local level suggests that more emphasis should have been placed on advocacy at the state level for increased funding and project sustainability. This feature also suggests that there has been a missed opportunity for the NGOs to target LGAs, building their capacity to plan, budget and mobilize communities to change attitudes to early marriage and support education as an alternative.

The development Research and Projects Centre (dRPC) is currently supporting the Consortium of 4 indigenous Nigeria non-governmental organizations working to delay early marriage in Kaduna and Kano states under the rubric of the project – Building Collaboration, Partnerships and Political Commitment to Delay Early Marriage and the Onset of Childbearing in Northern Nigeria. One of the key aims of this project is that of collaboration between local government and the NGOs to build concrete political and financial commitments for delaying early marriage. To do so the project document stated that:

“coalition partners will work with local government to scale-up girls clubs and empowerment camps, two of the best practices featured in the Early Marriage in West Africa report. Each partner will collaborate with one LGA to adapt and implement the proven components of the on-going community engagement, provision of school fees and books, and mentored tutoring and support in safe space girls clubs and camps. After discussions with officials at Ministry of Education and Local Government Areas, each organization will work closely with one employee from each Local Government Education Authority (LGEA) to serve as the local implementing partner. They will be the project desk officer at the local government level. The implementing partner will work closely with the one of the consortium partner’s outreach officers, and together they will coordinate the program in the LGEA.

At the state level, the implementing partners will work closely with the government officials, through the State Ministry of Education, the State Universal Basic Education (SUBEB) and the State Ministry of Women Affairs. The partners at the state level and representative of these three agencies and the community will have a periodic meeting that will serve as a State Implementation Committee (SIC). The SIC will serve as the steering committee for the state level implementation and give some level of involvement and power to the government, which will allow for government to take quick actions that will help achieve the advocacy work of the project and in the long run, part of the sustainability of this initiative.

Key indicator for tracking this important cluster of activities are – Number of new policies focused on child marriage prevention; and % increase in resources allocated by local government for child marriage prevention in cash and kind”