Gov. Inuwa’s community project:-
Poverty reducing is a key aspect of governance especially in countries or states were poverty threatens the fundamental human right to decent living and livelihood in the overall interest of the wellbeing of people. One of the key indices of measuring development by governments and other Non-profit organisations is the ability of relevant bodies and agencies to eradicate poverty especially in rural areas. This has been an aspect leveraged by government to create wealth in rural areas and in Gombe State under Gov. Inuwa within the last one year, Gombe State Agency for Community and Social Development (GMCDSP) has initiated striking projects to impact rural dwellers. Our correspondent had an interview with the General Manager of GMCDSP, Alhaji Abubakar Ardo Kumo to help us understand this impact within the last one year.
How has the last one year been in terms of project implementation by your agency?
We have not seen a revolution so massive in community project implementations like we have witnessed within the last one year. We have a budget circle which is suppose to end in June 2020 but all the projects within our plans have been executed to 98 per cent completion and the testimonies are massive.
Women groups are being empowered, widows, orphans have been empowered, youths have been trained, we have implemented several projects touching various sectors such as education, health, water, socio-economic, rural roads, electricity, environment and Gender and Vulnerable; and I can tell you with all honesty money budgeted were released just in time for all these projects. In fact, in the last one year under the people’s Governor, His Excellency Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya, we have spent N600 million on 252 projects while training over 2,500 persons.
How impacting are these projects?
You need to go to these villages and communities for you to appreciate the level of impact of these projects. Projects will make impact if and only if it meets the need of the people and because we involve the communities in virtually every process we undergo in the process of project initiation to implementation. Since the community determines what priority project they need and also contribute 10 per cent of the money while government provides the remaining, there is this sense of ownership from the communities and that is why they often sustain the project as a communal asset.
Through this approach, we have been able to build bridges to link communities, build blocks of classrooms, train widows and orphans, youths, giving several solar electrification projects and dug hundreds of boreholes which are still being used in several communities in the 11 Local Government Areas. With the above, pupils no longer sit under trees to learn, that’s impact; women now access our primary health facilities, that’s impact and in some communities, rural dwellers now get clean borehole water in their communities as against the long trekking just to get a gallon of water, in fact to that boy or girl who wakes up early to walk long distances just to get water, the impact is unimaginable.
Do you think these projects will accelerate poverty reduction in Gombe?
Yes! Absolutely, what’s poverty? The state of being extremely poor or being inferior in quality; when a person does not get enough of those things that will make live easy for him or her, such a person is also poor. Under this administration we have been able to impact the lives of citizens through our numerous projects which have reduce the vulnerability of these people to poverty and that’s the starting point. You cannot uplift people from poverty without empowering them and also reducing their vulnerability to poverty. For a farmer who earns little and spends very high just to get water after walking long distances, the best way to reduce his or her hardship is to bring water close to him or her at affordable rates like N5 or N10 and in some communities may not pay a dime, you have reduced his vulnerability while giving room to save for other things to improve his or her household. This is our mission and we are grateful we have a governor that is passionate in that regard to ensure that we remove the barriers that make our people to continue to get poor.
Funding is always a challenge in terms of implementing projects like these; tell us your challenge in this regard?
Yea that’s true but our case is now better. We get supports from the World Bank- the International Donor Agency (IDA) and the State Government. Like I noted earlier, we are now in a different administration and so far it has been good. Our funding has been impressive and that’s why all projects for our fiscal year have reached 98 per cent completion with over a month to run base on our budget. For this year, funding has not been a challenge I can tell you that.
What is your advice to communities that have benefitted from GMCDSP projects?
Simple, maintenance and sustainability; because in this time of scarce resource especially with the current pandemic, the best is to maintain projects in their domains so that we don’t come back to do a project we had earlier done. Such resources could be channelled into other useful projects and my agency takes serious the issue of sustainability especially when communities approach us for intervention. If you cannot maintain what you have been given, how then do you convince the Government to do more?
Gov. Inuwa’s community project