Daily Archives: January 26, 2017

Leading Nigerian Government Transparency Organization, BudgIT, Secures New $1.5 Million Grant from Omidyar Network

REDWOOD CITY, California, Jan. 26, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Omidyar Network announced today it is renewing and expanding its investment in the Lagos-based government transparency organization BudgIT. The new up to $1.5 million, three-year grant follows an initial grant from the Omidyar Network in 2014, and will be focused on enabling BudgIT to grow its organizational capacity, especially at state level, and to expand its work with government and institutional stakeholders into Abuja.

Since its inception in 2011, BudgIT has established itself as a premier government transparency organization in Nigeria through its work to make the budget more accessible to ordinary citizens, and to empower citizens to track public projects. Using a mix of both online and offline strategies, BudgIT has helped more than one million Nigerian citizens understand how their federal and state budgets are spent and what role they can play in ensuring this money is allocated correctly.

BudgIT has also played an instrumental role in the Nigerian government joining the Open Government Partnership (OGP) working through the Open Alliance.

Ory Okolloh, director, Investments, Omidyar Network comments, “BudgIT stands out as a great example of an organization that is deeply committed to ensuring that citizens have the information they need to hold their government accountable. Oluseun and his team stand out as individuals who are working tirelessly to ensure that the government works for citizens rather than the other way around.  We are delighted to support them on their next phase of growth and impact.”

Central to BudgIT’s success, and subsequent growth, is its unique ability to connect citizens with information about budgets and public projects that affect them, and to work with all levels of government to improve their ability to transparently serve their constituents. In addition, BudgIT plays an important role in supporting civil society organizations, media, and multi-sector initiatives like the Open Government Partnership as they advance their governance agenda.

“This investment in BudgIT by Omidyar Network is highly welcome as we work to scale access to information across all levels of education and socio-economic class on matters related to use of public funds. Systemic changes through the Open Government Partnership mechanism are also crucial to our work. We are glad Omidyar Network and other partners see this opportunity at this phase of our organization,” says Oluseun Onigbinde, Co-Founder, BudgIT.

About Omidyar Network

Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm dedicated to harnessing the power of markets to create opportunity for people to improve their lives. Established in 2004 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam, the organization invests in and helps scale innovative organizations to catalyze economic and social change. Omidyar Network has committed more than $1 billion to for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations that foster economic advancement and encourage individual participation across multiple initiatives, including Education, Emerging Tech, Financial Inclusion, Governance & Citizen Engagement, and Property Rights. To learn more, visit www.omidyar.com, and follow on Twitter @omidyarnetwork #PositiveReturns.

South Sudanese Refugees in Kampala Learn How to Make a Living

JUBA � South Sudanese urban refugees living in Kampala, Uganda, say they are learning new skills so they can fend for themselves and their families amid worsening financial conditions back home.

Loved ones in South Sudan stopped sending financial support for school fees, rent and other expenses years ago, shortly after the conflict between government and opposition forces erupted in late 2013.

Isidoro Magda, a widow who fled South Sudan three years ago, becomes sad when she thinks of how things were when she made her way to Kampala. She could not find a way to feed or clothe her children, nor could she pay rent or school fees.

Then a friend told her about the American-funded Refuge and Hope International Vocational School where she learned how to sew.

Isidoro Magda makes a dress in her shop at the Kampala suburb of Kisugu, Uganda. Magda says learning how to sew and setting up her own business put her on her way to financial independence. (Simon Peter Apiku/VOA)

Isidoro Magda makes a dress in her shop at the Kampala suburb of Kisugu, Uganda. Magda says learning how to sew and setting up her own business put her on her way to financial independence. (Simon Peter Apiku/VOA)

The 32-year-old widow said she enrolled in sewing classes immediately, and for the next 18 months constructed dresses and women’s clothing. Magda proudly declares that she has been financially independent for some time.

“They have given me a machine to start with, she said, so I went home with my machine. I started making clothes. I make clothes, [I get] money, I go and buy food, feed my children.”

Magda said as her small business grew, she decided to rent a shop in the Kampala suburb of Kisugu. She now has two sewing machines and displays some of her dresses, skirts and other handmade items in her shop windows.

“The shop is not big because I do not have money to buy many things there, but I thank God,” said Magda. “Before I opened, I don’t have these things, but now I think I have some clothes in my shop.”

Although business has slowed in recent weeks, Magda said she is grateful for whatever work she gets and remains hopeful that business will pick up soon.

“These days, you know, there is no money,” she told South Sudan in Focus. “And sometimes, people bring to me just to repair clothes; that’s every day you will get something for repairing clothes. But now everyone is crying because of money. So this week, I have, like, two clothes only.”

Magda said enrolling at the Refuge and Hope International Vocational School changed her life as a refugee because she no longer has to struggle to make ends meet in Uganda.

The mother of three is urging fellow South Sudanese refugee women to stop depending on handouts and start learning skills that would enable them to become self-reliant.

“If life is difficult, you have to struggle and look for something to do,” Magda said, adding, “you are not supposed to just sit down and wait for someone to give it to you.”

Magda said she is proud that she can feed and clothe her children and send them to school without relying on anyone else.

“Now I feel my life is better than the last time because in the beginning, I [was] just sitting. I didn’t know what to do. But now, I am thinking I want to make something to do ahead,” Magda said.

Source: Voice of America

SOUTH AFRICA: NO DEPORTATION OF UNDOCUMENTED MIGRANTS

South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs has dismissed reports that it has ordered the immediate deportation of undocumented migrants in the country.

The message, which has been circulating via social media networks and SMS, alleges that the deportation of undocumented migrants began on Monday.

In a statement, the department said no such statement was made or issued by the department or any official.

Home Affairs acts consistently within the confines of the Constitution of the Republic and seeks at all times to uphold the rule of law. It would run contrary to the laws of our country to instruct citizens, as purported in the malicious messages, to take the law into their hands and to close companies down without due process.

The department said it is through Immigration Services and its inspectorate that the department enforces immigration legislation, manages the immigration system and effects deportations, in terms of the Immigration Act 13 of 2002 and regulations.

The inspectorate has a duty to ensure that persons in South Africa are correctly documented, reside in the country on a lawful basis and acquire documents and status lawfully.

It has standardised systems relating to the detection, detention and deportation of illegal foreign nationals in South Africa, the department said.

It urged citizens and all other persons in the country to ignore this false alarm that is seemingly seeking to fuel tensions in the country.

It is in the best interest of the country for government and citizens to do all in their power together to work for stability and peace, while combating illegal migration and other crimes through lawful means.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

Higher Education ready to take on 2017

Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande says the sector is ready for the 2017 academic year.

We are not saying that there aren’t any glitches, but we are ready to absorb the numbers that we [have capacity] to take, said Minister Nzimande on Thursday.

He was briefing the media on the outcomes of engagements with higher education stakeholders to discuss preparations for the 2017 academic year.

The Minister held the meetings between 17 and 24 January 2017 with a range of higher education stakeholders, including university student leaders, university vice chancellors as well as the Executive of the South African College Principals’ Organization representing Principals of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges, and the Technical Vocational Education and Training College Governors Council (TVETCGC) representing TVET College Councils.

During the engagements, stakeholders discussed the need for the country to ensure, over the medium to long term, that Post-School Education and Training (PSET) is funded at an appropriate level, and that sufficient financial aid is made available to support all academically deserving, financially-needy university and college students, through loans, grants and bursaries, while keeping student fees affordable.

Significant progress made for the poor

Minister Nzimande said significant progress has been made in expanding access to higher education for the poor through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), with more than 1.7 million students funded since 1994.

Last year alone, NSFAS supported about 480 000 poor undergraduate students to access TVET colleges and universities, disbursing loans and bursaries totalling R14 billion. This figure will rise to R15.2 billion this year.

As stated in the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement, government will provide an additional R9 billion for NSFAS over the three-year period ahead.

NSFAS will be funding more than 200 000 first-time and continuing students at TVET colleges in 2017.

However, the Minister acknowledged that money alone is not going to solve the problems, as there were many issues raised by students during the summit held in Durban in 2015.

Speaking to SAnews, the CEO of Universities SA, Ahmed Bawa, said the stakeholders are happy that government has stepped in and they have arrived at a common understanding on how to deal with the issue of historic debt relating to NSFAS students.

He said the universities will work closely with the students and families to ensure that the successful students are given an opportunity to continue with their studies.

We are very happy that there’s such a lot of progress made with regards to NSFAS students. That’s a huge advance, and we are all hoping that over a period of time, the facility would be expanded to include students from the missing middle, Bawa told SAnews.

Hellen Ntlatleng, the President of South African Colleges Principals’ Organisation, also acknowledged the serious improvement and interventions by government since 2009.

We have increased pass rates at colleges and have even increased our interaction with industries. They take us more seriously than before. A lot of government institutions are now partnering with us, and we have moved from job seekers to job creators.

With the Department of Small Business Development, we have created Centres for Entrepreneurship in nine provinces. We are building incubation centres where we are teaching our students how to become entrepreneurs.

For me, that’s excellent and shows great improvement, said Ntlatleng, who is also a principal at Ekurhuleni West TVET College.

She also reassured parents that TVET colleges are ready for the 2017 academic year and that the students will get excellent service all the time.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Northern Cape Transport on training scam alert

Traffic Officers training scam alert

Members of the public are warned of an online scam for the recruitment of Traffic Officers using a photo of our Provincial Traffics.

Hopeful job seekers are advised not to fall prey to the scam as the advertisers are also requesting for a cash/application fee. We will never request job-seekers for cash or an application fee.

Currently, there are no posts that we as the Northern Cape Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison are advertising nor do we ever use recruitment agencies for the recruitment of traffic officers.

Please be warned that Traffic Officers are only trained at government colleges gazetted by the National Department of Transport and the Road Traffic Management Corporation and no private training colleges are used.

Should posts be available, we will make use of reliable local and national newspapers, official Northern Cape Provincial Government websites and national sister-departments such as the Department of Transport and Road Traffic Management Corporation.

Source: Government of South Africa