Ten (10) community radio journalists in Wa in the Upper west region of Ghana constitute the final batch of journalists to be trained by Penplusbytes on using data journalism skills to report their local assemblies’ budgets and development plans.
These journalists from WFM and Radio Progress were from the 10th to 12th of October 2018 trained on basic data journalism skills and the use of excel for reporting the facts from figures.
Penplusbytes with support from DW Akademie is undertaking this training as part of activities under its project- “Access to Information- Open Gov”. Building on gains from the pilot phase of the project in 2015, Penplusbytes, for the Phase II of the project, seeks to use new digital tools to connect ordinary citizens to duty-bearers at the local government levels (in selected districts in the Upper West, Greater Accra, Central and the Western Regions of Ghana) with a focus on building the capacity of selected journalists in the project districts to use data journalism skills to better report on District Assembly budgets and development plans.
The project which is aimed at enhancing information and knowledge sharing in the districts will also involve updating the OpenGov platform (www.opengov.org.gh) with the current development plans and budgets from the 4 project districts (Tema Municipal Assembly, Twifo Atti-Morkwa District Assembly, Ellembelle District Assembly and Wa Municipal Assembly) and consistently using SMS to engage citizens and duty bearers. This will accumulate in the overall sharing of usable information that citizens can use to monitor and engage duty-bearers on the district’s development plans and budgets.
Lead trainer and the executive director of Penplusbytes, Mr. Kwami Ahiabenu II, said “we envision the skills taught these community radio journalists would be effectively used in their day-to-day reportage as well. New media tools in journalism should not be limited to reporters in the urban areas only. And this project seeks to bridge that gap.”
The community journalists would be oriented on the opengov platform as well as given hands on practical lessons on how to use basic data journalism skills to engage their listeners and audiences.
Penplusbytes is a not-for-profit organization driving change through innovations in three key areas: using new digital technologies to enable good governance and accountability, new media and innovations, and driving oversight for effective utilisation of mining, oil and gas revenue and resources.