The Programmes Director of Penplusbytes, Jerry Sam has indicated that, for the various social intervention programs such as the LEAP Programme and the Ghana School Feeding Programme to have the needed impact, there is the need for a paradigm shift.
He explained that once the focus of a social policy is on increase in enrollment numbers, for instance, rather than the quality of services being provided, standards will be compromised. After a year of implementing Penplusbytes’ “Tech Driven Social Accountability for Results” project, citizens’ reports from the two beneficiary districts show that the implementation of the policies is flawed. For example, hot meals are not being served in some schools and LEAP grants are insufficient for most beneficiaries.
Penplusbytes in collaboration with CDD Ghana and SEND Ghana organized a one-day Social Accountability Clearing Platform Forum on August 11 to validate reports from citizens in the two project districts (Ellembelle in the Western Region and Ashaiman in the Greater Accra Region).
Outlining recommendations from the reports, Jerry Sam underscored the need for the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to strengthen collaboration among various stakeholders as well as ensure clear and measurable indicators for social policies. He further advised the Ministry to facilitate the coordination and networking of civil society groups working in the area of social accountability.
Penplusbytes with funding support from OSIWA is implementing the 2-year “Tech Driven Social Accountability for Results” project, which seeks to equip ordinary citizens with usable information via online platforms mashed-up with social media and mobile based platforms (www.platformafrica.net ) to promote purposeful participation in demanding accountability and responsiveness from duty bearers for effective public service delivery.
Mr. Sam is of the view that government should facilitate the creation of such platforms for social intervention policies which would enable citizens to monitor and report on their implementation and thereby foster accountability and transparency.
He said social accountability projects were most effective when citizens were supported to understand what services they were entitled to through awareness creation.
The Forum was attended by heads of civil society organisations, state actors and donor organisations.
Credit: GoldStreet Business