While Ghana has been lauded for electoral success in times past, there are challenges with participatory, transparent and accountable governance which have accounted for poor public service delivery especially at the grassroots level.
Penplusbytes, in its quest to help to promote citizens’ participation at the grassroots level of governance, is implementing the Canadian Fund for Local Initiative (CFLI) funded project “Enhancing Grassroots Civic Participation in Governance Using New Digital Tools”.
The project has an overall aim of empowering citizens through digital tools to effectively participate in the local governance decision making process and to promote better public service delivery especially in health and education.
To achieve this aim, Penplusbytes will train selected journalists to acquire the necessary skills and understanding of the local governance process and how to simplify and report on the district assembly’ budget and development plans to create awareness, inform and educate citizens. They will also be taken through courses on advocacy and how to hold duty bearers to account and facilitating citizens’ engagement with duty bearers
The 2 day training, slated for 21-22 November, is scheduled to take place at Penplusbytes’ New Media Hub and bringing together 15 selected journalists whose work focuses on governance activities in the Ashaiman Municipal Assembly. The Participants will be taken through how the online portal designed for the project works www.opengov.org.gh/ashaiman.
The training is aimed at increasing the understanding of these persons in closing feedback loop in citizens’ engagement at the grassroots level of governance and in equipping them with the requisite tools to tell compelling stories that will enable citizens participate in the local government process and provide an opportunity for the Assembly officials to effectively collaborate with the media in securing the buy-in of citizens in the Assembly’s projects.
Jerry Sam, Programmes Director at Penplusbytes said, “We expect this training to produce journalists who are interested in the happenings within their localities and are well equipped with ICT tools to disseminate such news in an appealing manner to audiences. Penplusbytes as an organization is poised to deliver innovative training for media persons. We have done it over the years, it’s nothing new to us.”
The project will help close the existing interface and institutional capacity gaps by transforming the relationship between actors at the local level by creating awareness amongst citizens on allocated budgets and development plans.
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.