Africa’s leading anti-corruption and social accountability initiative, ‘Follow The Money,’ has emerged winner of the 2019 Council of Europe’s Democracy Innovation Award.
The award, which recognised Follow The Money as one of the leading ground-breaking initiatives in the world promoting democratic principles, was received by the Initiative’s chief communications officer, Kevwe Oghide, at the closing plenary of the Council of Europe’s World Forum for Democracy 2019, recently concluded in Strasbourg, France.
The chief executive officer and founder of Follow The Money, Hamzat Lawal, expressed delight, saying that the award comes with the responsibility to intensify their commitment to promote transparency and accountability in governance and to amplify the voices of the marginalised as a way to accelerate social change.
He stressed the need for more African countries to adopt Follow The Money as a tool to build stronger institutions. “This would place African countries on the pathway to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and the African ucan Union Agenda 2063.
“The Democracy Innovation Award comes at a time when Follow The Money is celebrating seven years of leading citizens campaigns at the grassroots and have successfully tracked over $10 million and directly impacted over 4 million lives with over 6,000 dedicated volunteers using technology tools to bring voices to the front burner,” he said.
Ms Oghide, who presented the initiative alongside over 27 brilliant initiatives from across the world, stated, “it is incredible that we won knowing that Nigeria is not even a member state of the Council of Europe. Nigeria, Poland and France emerged finalists, yet delegates at the Council’s Hemicycle voted for Follow The Money to win the Democratic Innovation award. This evidently shows democracy at work.”
The secretary general of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić, in her remark, noted that Follow The Money has shown exemplary leadership in advancing democratic governance. She added that the internet, social media and Artificial Intelligence have all democratised access to information and given millions of people their voice. The challenge is to ensure that information contributes to democracy, which Follow The Money is doing.