JOHANNESBURG and REDWOOD CITY, Calif., (30 September, 2014) – Omidyar Network announced today a grant of up to USD $400k to BudgIT, a Lagos-based nonprofit that promotes civic participation and fiscal transparency in Nigeria. The two-year grant will be used to expand the amount of budget and procurement information available to the public, stimulate its use in participatory governance, and promote media awareness of open-source tools available to aid in the reporting about public budgets, procurement, and spending.
BudgIT works to ensure that Nigerian citizens can exercise their right to access government data by providing the information in a usable format and providing tools that enable constructive debate about the use of public resources. BudgIT has also demonstrated the ability to forge partnerships and positive relationships with the government and assist in shaping public policy by linking the budget with resource-based planning.
Omidyar Network’s grant comes through the philanthropic investment firm’s Government Transparency initiative, which works to build stronger and more open societies by increasing government responsiveness and citizen participation.
“Greater transparency of budget, procurement, and spending data will lead to greater government accountability and serve as a deterrent to corruption,” said Ory Okolloh, director, investments, Omidyar Network. “BudgIT plays a vital role in enabling access and use of such critical information and fostering greater participatory governance. Omidyar Network is proud to support BudgIT and its mission.”
The idea for BudgIT was conceptualized during the February 2011 Tech-In-Governance event, a 48-hour gathering organized by the Co-Creation Hub, another Omidyar Network grantee in Lagos. Since its launch, BudgIT’s website has been visited by hundreds of thousands of unique visitors, and the organization has fielded more than 4,000 data requests and produced more than 60 infographics created to simplify public data for citizens. Its work led Forbes to recognize it as one of the top five African startups to watch in 2013.
“The support from Omidyar Network is a major leap in our drive to deepen impact in regards to public finance transparency, accountability, and citizen engagement,” said Oluseun Onigbinde, lead partner of BudgIT. “We believe that linking budgets and procurement is crucial in our push to ‘Follow the Money’ and ensure efficient service delivery for citizens”