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#Hack4Citizens Enables Better Watchdog Role for Beninese Civil Society Groups


Technology has become one major tool of communication all over Africa and globally. The two days #Hack4Citizens in Cotonou, Benin saw a display of the technological expertise of participants, derived from civil society groups and software developers from Benin and Togo.

The different working groups have, from 27th to 28th of September, been working on applications than can help bridge the gap between citizens and duty bearers as well as react with pertinent feedbacks.

The hackathon, organized by Penplusbytes with support from OSIWA, was intended to bring together working groups to build digital solutions similar to Kakum, Penplusbytes’ innovative application already famous in Ghana.

The groups presented their innovations including web, mobile and offline platforms. At the end, the application Xo kanbio, which offers education monitoring in local councils and towns, won the first prize, followed by Society scientist, which enhances civic participation and transparency, and Œil du citoyen, which was built purposefully to monitor projects.

“Another aim of this hackathon is to build these applications and make them useful to citizens immediately after further enhancements”, Jerry Sam from Penplusbytes said.

Civil society groups were amused by the event and further elated that it had come to ease their struggle.

“We are often interested in ICTs, without really looking at the opportunities we can gain from them. This two-day event is very important for us, to help us achieve our goals”, Joël Atayi-Guedegbe said.

“A very beneficial opportunity” qualified Pascaline Cha-Cha from Rifonga-Bénin, “I would really like to attend another one.”

Penplusbytes invites all interested civil society organisations within the sub region to a partnership in deploying such innovative digital tools.