Your Community's Action plans for the new Government!

by Rev. Uche Dr. Obodoechina

The Justice, Development Peace and Caritas Commission (JDPC) of Nsukka diocese calls on all communities of Enugu state Nigeria, Religious leaders of communities, Town Unions Executives, Igwe Cabinets of all communities, Major and minor stakeholders of communities, institutions and organisations of duty bearers, to rise and evolve forthwith the action plans of its own very communities containing the developmental needs of its people.

The new government of Enugu state and indeed any government anywhere that wishes to serve its people, must need its action plan organized by the people themselves. It is like giving the government a road map of its needs. It is a bold step in the community- government engagement dynamics. In fact, this process is at the root of what it means to engage the government to be responsive to the needs of the people.

This form of engagement is in the context of the People's Charter of Demands. Charter of Demand is a document of needs of the community, articulated and endorsed by the community stakeholders as an expression of understanding between the citizens and the public service providers with respect to quantity and quality of service delivered to the people. Charters of Demands are engagement tools that help to create a bond between community members, duty bearers and aspiring public office holders at all levels of governance. It draws the attention of duty-bearers to the actual developmental needs of the people.

Charters of Demands set out also the parameters of evaluation for the services rendered to the people by the government. Through monitoring and evaluation of actual services rendered against the backdrop of the charters, the performances of such governments would have been assessed. It is useful as a developmental index for service analysis and evaluation. But how does this charter work? We shall demonstrate the operations of the charters with the educational and health needs of a community.

In the first place, the Community must articulate its Score Cards (CSC), namely assess its stage of development, analyse the service delivery of subsequent governments, and evaluate its current areas of actual developmental needs.

For instance, the educational needs of the community would require looking into the following areas and asking the following questions namely, how many primary and secondary schools exist in the community, and what are the situations of those schools in terms of their buildings and structures, equiprnents for teaching and learning, library and laboratory facilities, Staff strength, Students enrolments, other facilities like sports, security, water and waste management systems?

If the situations in these schools do not meet reasonable standards, as is often the case in most of our public schools in Enugu state, the Stakeholders of the affected communities would engage the relevant government ministry and parastatal and draw their attention to such oddity. In which case, the actual educational needs of such a community would not be to build another secondary school, but to pay close "attention to the already existing ones with a view to refurbishing and renovating them for effective teaching and learning processes.

In considering the health needs of another community for instance, the same processes are required, namely, to ask whether the community has at least a Health post, or a Health centre or even a Hospital. If yes, what is the nature of the buildings of such a centre or hospital; are they sufficient and in good conditions?

What of the equipments' and medical provisions for integral health services, the availability of genuine drugs, the presence of trained personnel, availability of electricity and water services. What of mobility around the area and good network of roads that can facilitate a rapid response mechanism in moments of emergency etc. The community -government engagement for good governance is today an imperative!

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