Connected Development: Building Community Development Programs in West Africa

In the past three years, NGOsource has received over 2,100 requests for equivalency determination (ED) for organizations in over 110 countries around the world. For over 1,300 NGOs, our EDs have facilitated grant funding that expands their capacity to achieve their missions and benefit their communities. One of these NGOs, Connected Development (CODE), recently shared their experience with us.

Increasing Access to Information and Creating Change

CODE was founded in 2012 in Nigeria with the mission to implement sustainable and effective community development programs in West Africa. CODE builds tools that inform the public about various aspects of their communities — from social justice and environmental issues to disaster response — and provide civilians with opportunities to get involved. CODE's local workshops and public events about particular issues serve to inform the government on public opinion so that it can take action to benefit the people.

The Role of NGOsource

In 2015, CODE completed NGOsource’s ED process. As a result, it received a grant from Omidyar Network and experienced major growth. The Omidyar grant was CODE's largest grant up to then, and it allowed the organization to grow from 2 staff members to 8 staff, 4 consultants, and 52 volunteers. CODE was able to impact 20,000 more citizens through its programming as a result. Moreover, the ED process helped CODE formulate a long-term financing strategy to support its growth.
Oludotun Babayemi, CODE's co-founder, says, "After we completed the ED, we found out that our credibility with funders increased and that all our submitted data (financial and organizational) became standardized and could be used for other prospective donors." Among the many benefits that NGOsource's ED process provides, Babayemi found that it reduced "the burden and time in doing this all the time."

Michael Etta and Chinwe Nwosu documenting government intervention in Gutsura Zamfara state.

CODE Expands Its Reach

With the support of grant funding facilitated by NGOsource, CODE continues to grow and find wide success through its many initiatives. One example is CODE's Follow the Money Campaign, which provides local communities with information on international aid and government spending that historically was not directly communicated to the public. By making this information transparent, CODE helps funders allocate their support to groups in need. Through the campaign, CODE successfully initiated and tracked the release of $800,000 to treat 500 children suffering from lead poisoning in the Nigerian state of Niger. CODE additionally advocated for the creation of a classroom for 115 students in the state of Kogi who had previously been learning outdoors.
As part of its commitment to human rights, CODE feels that positive change is possible only when people assume responsibility for finding a unique role and improving the world. CODE has developed participatory tools such as Uzabe, a crowdmap that individuals can use to report oil spills. Through projects like these, CODE encourages participation in governance and conflict resolution in the communities it serves.
Read more about NGOsource's equivalency determination process and the benefits it provides for NGOs.

Top photo: Hamzat Lawal and Oludotun Babayemi brief the head of community in Shikira Niger state on proposed government spending for the community.

All images used with permission of Connected Development ©2016.

This post was written by Gabby Sharaga, a New Sector Alliance RISE Fellow working as the Marketing and Communications Associate on the NGOsource team.