ICIR Launches SPARK 2 Project to Enhance Public Accountability in Health, Agriculture Sectors

The International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) is thrilled to announce the commencement of its “Strengthening Public Accountability for Results and Knowledge (SPARK 2) Project,” supported by the International Budget Partnerships (IBP).

This initiative, according to the Programs Officer Ayisat Abiona, focuses on investigating the challenges impacting maternal healthcare and agricultural production by smallholder women farmers in Nigeria. The project employs a systems-level approach, considering gender intersectionality, and will concentrate its efforts in Oyo, Anambra, Niger, Jigawa, Nasarawa, Kano, and Ogun States.

In the agricultural sector, ICIR aims to shed light on the hurdles faced by smallholder women farmers, such as limited access to resources, credit, grants, farm inputs, land, and essential information. The goal is to address issues preventing these women from achieving commercially viable scales in their agricultural businesses.

For the health sector reporting, the project will delve into challenges within the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF) and the Midwives Service Scheme (MSS). These government interventions, though vital, have encountered obstacles such as inadequate budget allocations, fund misappropriation, and a deficient monitoring system.

Despite government reform measures, the delivery of basic healthcare services remains elusive, particularly in rural areas. ICIR notes the unreliability of the Nigerian healthcare delivery system, prompting even influential figures, including political leaders, to seek medical treatment abroad.

The project aims to empower journalists in the focal states to hold policymakers accountable through focused special and investigative reports. The selected journalists, representing various media outlets, include: Vincent Yusuf, Daily Trust; John Adams, The Sun Newspaper; Justina Asishana, Nation; Bawas khadija Ishaq, Liberty TV; Nasiru Yusuf Ibrahim, Abubakar Rimi TV; Ibukun Emiola, NAN; Akinwale Aboluwade, Oyo Reporters; Emma Elekwa, The Nation; Ikenna Obianeri, Punch and Alfred Ajayi of FRCN

Others are Nurudeen Akewushola,

ICIR; Lawrence Nwimo, Ikenga Online; Dan Atori, New Telegraph; Ibrahim Hamzat Abaga, Transcontinental Times; Omoniyi Busuyi Kolawole, Cool Fm, Wazobia Fm, Arewa Radio,

Kano; Stephen Enoch, Stallion Times; Oladejo Adebayo, Pharmanews; Royal Ibeh, Leadership Newspaper; Agboluaje Rotimi, The Guardian and Ojo Isaac Olufemi, Splash FM.

ICIR, as an independent, non-profit media organization, strives to promote good governance in Nigeria through investigative, data-driven reporting. The SPARK 2 Project aligns with this mission, building the capacity of journalists and fostering watchdog reporting in the country. The ICIR anticipates that the project’s outcomes will contribute valuable evidence and insights to address systemic challenges in the health and agriculture sectors across Nigeria.

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