Penplusbytes in collaboration with the Committee on Government Assurances of the Parliament of Ghana (CGA) is organising a one-day workshop on Wednesday April 17th 2019 in Accra; where CSOs within the governance landscape would deliberate with the leadership of the Committee on how to collaborate to effectively track assurances and hold the Executive branch of Government accountable.
This intervention is under the second phase of the OSIWA funded project dubbed “Connecting Citizens to Parliament”. With this project, Penplusbytes, from a civic tech and civil society point of view, seeks to continue to empower citizens to be active participants in the development process by deploying resources and technology to allow citizens monitor how services are delivered by the Executive and report to Parliament through the Committee on Government Assurance (CGA). The CGA and legislature will then be better informed and more equipped to perform their oversight responsibilities to hold the Executive to account for assurances made on the floor of parliament in delivering projects and public services.
The CGA is a special committee in Parliament established in 1998 to pursue all government assurances, promises and undertakings given by cabinet Ministers and report to the House of Parliament on the extent to which such assurances have been carried out.
Recognizing that interaction between citizens and their representatives (MPS) enhances the work of parliament, Penplusbytes in 2014 with support from STAR-Ghana built an interactive tech platform, which incorporated social media and effectively linked citizens with Parliament. The initiative was able to overcome the limitations of citizens accessing and interfacing with parliament and the executive. In 2015 with support from OSIWA, this work was scaled-up by employ all available tools, including new media and mobile technologies, to provide citizens with improved access to the work of the CGA and means of participation in the political dialogue and also holding government to account. Nearly 5 million Ghanaians were engaged through online tools, mainstream media and face-to-face engagement during these periods
This phase of the project seeks to institutionalise some for the approaches by civil society in engaging citizens in the governance landscape, adopting and integrating in the workflow of parliament the use of digital technologies as a cost-effective way to reach citizens in various geographic locations or who lack the means to participate in-person and empower citizens to be the eyes of Parliament in playing its oversight role .
According to the Executive Director of Penplusbytes, Juliet Amoah, “It is for this reason that Penplusbytes has decided on gathering thoughts of likeminded organisations during this one-day workshop. We believe using a concerted and inclusive approach would achieve a greater impact than previously.”
At the end of the one-day workshop, best approaches in enabling citizens feedback into the work of the CGA would be documented as well as best practices and innovations adopted.
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.