"With this program, I have now seen the possibility of purposeful leadership in the Niger Delta in particular and Nigeria in general [...]
The Leadership Empowerment and Development (LEAD) program is a partnership initiative designed to boost local government service delivery and improve services in Akuku Toru, Khana and Okrika Local Government Councils in Rivers State. This program is an initiative of PIND Foundation and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which is implemented by Research Triangle Institute (RTI). Previously based only in the northern states of Bauchi and Sokoto, LEAD came to the Niger Delta through PIND’s influence, and its specific objectives are to: strengthen local government capacity; increase local government fiscal management and transparency; increase capacity of local organizations; and improve service delivery.
Setting Budget Priorities
LEAD worked to help set priorities for the 2014 annual budget of three LEAD Local Government Councils (LGCs). Local government officials from each of the three LEAD LGCs met with 429 of their community members to set priorities for the budget. This was followed by a mapping exercise of over 100 state and local government-level civil society organizations in all three local governments, and engagement of 75 in training on public expenditure tracking who have helped in tracking the implementation of the budget.
Boosting Internally-Generated Revenue
To improve the local governments’ tax base records and mobilization of internally-generated revenue, the LEAD team trained the local government officials in a LGA Tax Consultative Forum, the end result of which was the development of revenue improvement plans. Additionally, LEAD worked with the local government officials to inaugurate teams for the improvement of service delivery, particularly in the area of women’s access to water and sanitation, following the passing of the budget.
Incorporating Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
LEAD partnered with the Rivers State Waste Management Agency (RIWAMA) to build capacity of LGC representatives, community representatives, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Committee executives on community waste management. The team held a Waste Management workshop in Port Harcourt with 24 male and 6 female participants helped communities to understand their roles and responsibilities and to work together in managing waste in communities. The workshop ended with the development of an action plan for effective waste management in communities. Commitment towards implementing actions in the plan will be monitored by LEAD in 2015.
"... LEAD’s most impressive achievement is its bringing together communities and their governments to improve public service delivery.[...]