In three and a half years, Mambayya House with four of its sub-grantees has used behavioral change approaches to build the capacity of over 500 organizations in their work on anti-corruption across Nigeria from 2018 to 2020.
The Project Director, Promoting Accountability and Anti-corruption Using Behavioral Change Approaches, Prof. Ismaila Zango made the disclosure in a press conference aimed at disseminating the success stories of the project on Wednesday in Kano.
According to Prof. Zango, they 500 organizations have been cascading the required skills as well as carrying out other complementary actions, including the use of behavioral change approaches, in their work on anti-corruption.
“We adopted the interfaith and community-based approaches to change the nonchalant attitude of Nigerians and encouraged them to imbibe the culture of close monitoring of their entitlements with regards to public service delivery and use of redress mechanism in case of defaulting services.”
“The project mobilized and educated citizens to actively engage in activities that will strengthen social accountability and improve service delivery in local communities.
“We worked with civil society organizations, faith-based organizations, students’ associations, and government agencies as the ‘voice actors’ of the behavioral change for citizens to be able to recognize, speak out, resist and report any corrupt behavior they encounter,” he added.
The ultimate goal of the project is to establish a robust, self-sustaining accountability ecosystem in Nigeria, that could over time, embolden citizens to take action to prevent, reject and prosecute corruption as well as improve transparency and accountability to the barest minimum.
Prof. Zango said the project has covered the 19 states of northern Nigeria and some selected states in southwest, south-south, and south-east zones including Lagos, Rivers, Cross Rivers, Enugu, Ebonyi, Abia, Imo, and Anambra states.
Outlining other success stories of the project, he said: “We equipped and empowered both Muslim and Christian clerics with requisite information on the dangers of corruption and how to speak against it using divine injunctions and the influence they have on their congregation.
“We facilitated 12 state-wide anti-corruption coalitions of CSOs across seven states of the northwest zone and supported them to conduct copious activities including workshops, media sensitization, town hall meetings, and advocacy visits to establish a robust working synergy with non-state actors to support government anti-corruption efforts.
“In line with ‘catch them young’ strategy, thousands of primary school pupils, and students in secondary schools and tertiary institutions were trained in leadership skills, which resulted in the establishment of functional anti-corruption clubs in 40 secondary schools and 27 tertiary institutions across the three geo-political zones of northern Nigeria.
“The US Consulate in Lagos in collaboration with our sub-grantee, ICACN recently launched an anti-corruption reporting website called ‘Report Mago-Mago’ – designed to help Nigerians amplify voices on corruption and report same to the appropriate government agencies through the platform.
“Another achievement of the project is our exemplary leader’s series, a book project which was designed to celebrate and document the lives and times of incorruptible leaders and anti-corruption role models for younger generations to emulate.
“So far, three books (social and political ideas of Mallam Aminu Kano, Mallam Aminu Kano: A Freedom Fighter for the Talakawa and Yusuf Maitama Sule: A Paragon of Wisdom and Statesmanship) have been published and distributed to public libraries, schools, and individuals free of charge.”
Following the successful completion of the first phase of the project, Mambayya House was regranted funds to implement the second phase for another three years, 2021 to 2024.
Prof. Ismaila said: “To further consolidate the partnership drive of the project, in February 2021 Mambayya House signed a Memorandum of Understanding with another grantee of MacArthur Foundation on Nigeria Project 2.0 and 2.1 – the Just Foundation, Al-Habibiyya Islamic Society.
“We have already lined up activities that could amplify and re-echo anti-corruption messages across the country.”
The Project Director hopes that at the end of 2024, there will be an increased number of communities demanding social services and accountability using the available mechanism to seek redress when they are short-changed.
He thanked the media and all the subgrantees for their tireless support during the first phase of the project.
Earlier, in his welcome address, the Project Officer, Prof. Moses Aluaigba said Mambayya House felt that it is important to carry the public along by disseminating the project’s successes and challenges through a bi-annual press conference.
He said the major challenge the project encountered was that of mindset as in most reported cases or circumstances, individuals and organizations charged with the responsibility of fighting corruption are found wanting.
The Promoting Accountability and Anti-corruption Using Behavioral Change Approaches Project which is supported by John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has Mambayya House as the grantee with the Interfaith Network Against Corruption (INAC), Kano.
Others are the Interfaith Mediation Center (IMC), Kaduna, the Inter-religious Coalition Against Corruption in Nigeria (ICACN), Lagos, and the University of Nigeria Nsukka Muslim Community (UNNMC), Nsukka as sub-grantees.