With the proliferation of affordable ICT tools in Ghana in recent times, Penplusbytes, under its new project “Enhancing Grassroots Civic Participation in Governance Using New Digital Tools”, is exploring the myriad of new opportunities ICTs offer to empower citizens in the quest for more transparency and accountability from their local assembly.
The project which is being funded by the Canadian High Commission under their Canadian Fund for Local Initiatives has the overall aim of empowering citizens through digital tools to effectively participate in the local government decision making processes and promote better public service delivery especially in health and education.
As part of activities under this project, Penplusbytes will on Friday 7th October 2016, undertake a project outreach and interface capacity needs assessment with both citizens and the Ashaiman Municipal Assembly Officials.
This one-day briefing meeting will be organized for a targeted audience (women, youth and People with Disabilities) on the project and an assessment of the innovative digital tools to be deployed. This will be followed by a focused group discussion on community development issues combined with an assessment of the interface capacity assets and needs of the project district. It will involve interaction with a broad range of stakeholders, comprising local government officials, community-based groups, local NGOs, cooperative societies and unions, and private sector actors.
Jerry Sam, Programmes Director at Penplusbytes said, “Under this project, Penplusbytes will utilize innovative and integrative mechanisms to close the existing interface and institutional capacity gaps by transforming the relationship between state and non-state actors at the local level by creating awareness amongst citizens on allocated budgets and development plans which will enable the citizens of Ashaiman contribute effectively to how resources are managed for their benefit”
The project will use both online and offline platforms and will adopt an inclusive and integrated approach that will enable citizens’ participation in the governance process. The project will make use of an online platform mashed-up with mobile and social media as well as face-to-face activities including radio programming designed to promote citizens voices and ensure they are part of the decision making process at the grassroots especially in health and education.
It is expected that at the completion of the project, civic engagement in local governance processes will be improved, duty bearers and public officials will be more responsive to citizens’ needs and design policies and programmes that will address citizens specific concerns and the media playing an effective oversight role in holding duty bearers account in public service delivery.
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.