In a bid to empower citizens to demand accountability from elected officials in public service delivery using new digital tools, Penplusbytes with funding from the Open Society lnitiative for West Africa (OSIWA) is delivering the 2-year “Tech Driven Social Accountability for Results” project.
Social accountability under this project is defined as a process in which the ordinary citizen participates directly in demanding accountability and responsiveness of decision makers: Government (local, district and national); Parliament; and other groups that deliver public goods and services.
There are a number of mechanisms for ensuring citizens are empowered to participate in efficient public service delivery, albeit inadequate, especially with the use of ICTs at the grassroots level.
Evidence suggests ICTs can create a cost effective and efficient interface to engage multiple stakeholders, including social intermediaries, interest groups, citizens and even governments to demand greater accountability especially in service delivery.
According to the executive director of Penplusbytes, Kwami Ahiabenu II, “Our proposed solution to this problem is to equip citizens with usable information, methods, online and mobile based platform which will enable them to monitor health and education sector policies, indicators and programs while actively engaging duty-bearers to demand for better service delivery. It will also ensure that citizens hold public officials to account pushing them to deliver high quality public goods and services.”
The project will be focusing on three government social intervention programs which are the Labour Intensive Public Works (LIPW), the Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty (LEAP) and the Ghana School Feeding Program (GSFP).
As part of project activities, 9-member community monitoring groups have been formed in the two project districts, Ellembele District in the Western region and Ashaiman Municipality in the Greater Accra Region.
On Thursday February 9th, the Ellembele District Community Monitoring Group will be inaugurated in Nkroful, the district capital.
The Community-based Monitoring approach is centered on drawing in, activating, motivating, educating and enabling community members to directly give feedback, suggestions and recommendations about the functioning of public services through active monitoring.
Emphasis will be laid on the developmental spirit of participatory monitoring, and ‘feedback for improvement’ rather than ‘fault finding’. Their core mandate would be to monitor delivery of the three government policies in their districts and report which would be transmitted to program managers and policy makers both at local and national levels.
The project has a long term objective to create a culture where citizens are equipped to actively engage in policy implementation and demand accountability.
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 media oversight for effective utilization of mining, oil and gas revenue and resources.
The Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) is active in 10 countries in the region (Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sierra Leone) and focuses on law, justice and human rights, and economic and political governance. The initiative pursues the development of open societies by supporting and building partnerships with local and regional groups that promote inclusive democratic governance, transparency and accountability, and active citizenship.