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The Citizens’ Report Initiative (CRI) is a citizen-driven initiative to monitor SDGs implementation in Africa. It is a 3-year programme with a strong presence at the local, national and regional level.
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) had, between the year 2000 and 2015, set the tone for global poverty reduction and the fight against hunger and preventable diseases. Although the experience of the MDGs charted the way for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it became imperative that the SDGs must include citizen participation in order to effectively actualize all 17 goals which ride on the need for a more sustainable future for all.
Therefore, the SDGs, also referred to as the global goals, are a continuation of the MDGs but are different in that they are broader in their scope of eradicating all forms of poverty by calling for action by all countries, rich and poor, to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. More than 150 countries have pledged to mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities, and tackle climate change while ensuring that no one is left behind.
Since adoption in 2015, African countries have faced numerous challenges in the implementation of these new goals. The challenges include, but are not limited to, lack of real-time demand-driven data about the state of development on the continent as well as the non-inclusion of citizens, especially youths in the implementation process. Given, the huge human capital in the continent, it is imperative to begin to leverage upon citizen and youth participation in data generation, use, monitoring and review in order to tackle the complex challenges of sustainable development and the fight against poverty, hunger, and disease in Africa.
Citizens Report! was, therefore, launched by African monitor, a South African civil society organisation and set up to effectively capture the voices and realities of the average African citizen to provide Citizen-Generated Data (CGD) on SDGs implementation in Africa. The essence of this is to produce demand-driven data (produced by citizens) focused on specific goals and needs of the people to complement already existing but limited data which often comprise supply-driven data (produced by governments). This will help narrow down specific areas of developmental needs of the people, thus allowing governments to begin to make policy changes which are directly informed by these needs.
This initiative is based on citizen-driven monitoring of the SDGs in seven African countries; Nigeria, Ghana, Zambia, Botswana, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Malawi, with a focus on 6 of its goals (Goals 1, 4, 5, 8, 10, 16), to drive policy changes for the development of Africa as a whole.
Therefore, in Nigeria, the project will use CGD, working with citizens’ groups and youth champions to engage decision makers to demand delivery and accelerate policy change. The project will support citizen-driven monitoring for policy change, where citizen-generated data informs SDG implementation, strengthens national and regional SDG review processes, and supports civic action for policy change at the national level.
In addition, the project will support a regional civil society advocacy platform on SDGs, where the Africa CSO Working Group engages with and effectively shapes the agenda (policies, plans, and monitoring) for the implementation of the SDGS in Africa and globally.
The goal of the Citizens Report! is to work with African citizens; in Nigeria, specific civil society organisations resident in identified areas and civil society to monitor SDG implementation in Africa for them to better demand delivery of commitments, to improve results and to improve policy responses.
The project’s theory of change is that when citizens effectively hold their governments accountable for delivery, democracy is strengthened, development outcomes improve significantly for the poor, and citizens gain confidence to claim their rights and solve local problems.
Through various activities, the Citizens Report Initiative will ensure that: