To address gaps in information dissemination and the sheer volume of information disorder the Covid-19 pandemic has brought about in Ghana, Penplusbytes in collaboration with other civil society partners is launching a citizens-focused feedback and information hub that is designed to give continuous updates on various government interventions intended to reduce the socio-economic impact of the pandemic on Ghanaians.
The platform www.covid19infogh.org is the first of its kind to be built by a Civil Society Organization to complement government’s effort in responding to the information needs of citizens towards flattening the curve in the spread of COVID-19. The platform also has the functionalities of providing updates on coronavirus cases and case management in Ghana, debunking popular myths and misinformation about the coronavirus and its adverse impact on the vulnerable in all regions of the country
The Covid-19 information for all hub provides audiences with trusted journalism from regional reporters all over Ghana in audio and visually engaging formats that is mobile-friendly.
The platform hosts an automated feedback gathering mechanism which collates tweets, comments and posts on social media using the hashtag #CSOcovid19 and other key words on Covid-19 and government’s responses to the pandemic.
Executive Director of Penplusbytes, Juliet Amoah explained the uniqueness of this site saying: “this platform is not static; it’s very dynamic so just as the virus, it adjusts to changing contexts at a fast pace. The vulnerable and rural populations are our focus as they are the most unreached with information on government’s efforts against the pandemic.”
The platform also interacts with its audiences who want to verify information and check for facts on the virus using both WhatsApp and SMS, complementing similar government interventions.
Bearing in mind that not all citizens are literate and privileged to have access to the internet, the platform will be complemented with community radio engagements, using audio and messages translated into some local languages. Impactful and uniquely told news reports from all over Ghana will be transcribed and translated as podcasts in 5 local languages on the platform. Persons with visual disabilities will also be accessing this platform using the text to speech feature built into the platform.
Penplusbytes’ STAR Ghana Foundation funded “Info-for-all” project is premised on the fact that information empowers and disinformation disempowers which endangers lives and leads to confusion and discord. Therefore, an access to accurate, timely and reliable information by all persons will be a key panacea to adhering to government directives and guidelines by health officials to help curtail the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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 enhancing oversight for effective utilisation of mining, oil and gas revenue and resources.