How can US$ 48.9 million dollars help to reduce the many rural women that die every year as a result of cooking with firewood in Nigeria? The Federal Executive Council of the government of Nigeria has approved that amount to procure and distribute 750,000 clean cookstoves and 18,000 Wonderbags to help reduce these deaths. While the media reports that this has been “approved” or the funds “released” if you ask women in these rural communities they will answer – “we have not seen any stove”.
Consequently, we at the Follow The Money team have launched a campaign that monitors the process of making sure that rural women get the promised clean technologies. As part of this, we have already created a web platform where stakeholders and citizens can get updates on activities around the campaign. We have started a social media outrage, a traditional media campaign and have sent FOI requests to the Federal Ministry of Environment (the government ministry responsible for this project), the Federal Ministry of Special Duties, and to the contractor of the project, Messrs Integra Renewable Energy Services Limited.
The Freedom of Information Act of Nigeria has been used several times by activists and campaigners as a credible means of getting data, and also validating data from government institutions, although in many cases it has not implemented as stipulated in the law. However, the Follow The Money team and a network that has now grown to over 250 NGOs and journalists, believe the Government Ministries and Agencies (MDAs) should respond within 7 days from the submission of their letters.
Also, as part of engaging stakeholders, the team will be having several meetings to engage key stakeholders, and also advocacy visits to some government institutions and the contractors as well, in order to make sure exact units are made available at the end of the stipulated 12 weeks. Likewise, the team will engage beneficiaries as part of their community outreach and “ground truthing” activities.
Perhaps, this might steer another evidence based advocacy for the 3.2 million people across the globe that picked “an honest and accountable government “ as part of their top five priorities for the upcoming Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the MY World Survey, and also provide lessons for the Global Alliance for Cookstoves pledges which has about US$413 million for clean cookstove technologies worldwide.