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25 February 2017

Moves to enhance public participation in governance

governance

Mr George Osei-Bimpeh (left) launching the platform. Those with him are Mr Jeremiah O. Ansah (2nd left), representative of the Ghana Education Service, Mr Daniel Degbotse (2nd right), representative of Ministry of Health, and Monica Tandoh, Representative of the Ministry of Education. Picture: EMMANUEL ASAMOAH ADDAI

A mobile network and internet communication platform has been created to enhance public participation in governance. This will also enhance interaction between the government and the public to improve on social accountability.

The platform, referred to as “the Social Accountability Platform”, allows the government  to share information with the public and gather feedback through interactive SMS or voice calls in six  local languages.

The initiative, which is expected to increase  public participation in governance,  was launched yesterday.

The Social Accountability Platform will give the public the opportunity to make inputs into government decisions;  seek for clarification on government decisions and projects; and give feedback on the government’s operations, particularly at the grass roots, to the relevant authorities.

It is an initiative of SEND-Ghana, a non-governmental organisation which focuses on promoting good governance  and gender equality.

SEND-Ghana developed the platform in collaboration with VOTO Mobile, an indigenous tech start-up  enterprise that develops technology to make it easy for businesses, governments and NGOs to share information with their stakeholders and gather feedback through interactive SMS or voice calls in local languages, using mobile technology to instantly reach across distance, language and literacy barriers.

The two institutions are collaborating with key government institutions and stakeholders to effectively operate the platform.

The initiative was supported financially  by the World Bank.

How to use the platform

To access the platform through voice, a person will have to flash the mobile number 0307082140, irrespective of the network and wait to receive a call.

The person will have to follow the voice instructions until the platform is created for him or her to make an input.

To text an input, a person will have to text “hello” to 0561113182. A reply will be sent, which is expected to be opened; follow the instruction in the SMS to access the platform and make the desired inputs.

To make an input through the Internet, a person will have to visit the URL www.haveasayghana.org, and depending on the area of interest select district, coordinating council or ministries.

The next is to click on “read more” under the earlier preference selected and then click on “feedback now” button.

To complete the process, the person selects a sector as demanded on the web page and follows the instructions until the opportunity is given to type in comment or input.

Launching

Launching the platform in Accra, the Country Director of SEND-Ghana, Mr George Osei-Bimpeh, urged the public to take advantage of the platform to contribute to national decisions that affected them.

He expressed the opinion that the maximisation of the platform by all stakeholders would enhance accountability and national development.

“Sometimes central government machinery such as the ministries in Accra cannot be on the ground at all times to ensure government projects are delivered to specifications and on time. They mostly depend on report from project coordinators, which can be a false representation of actual work progress,” he said.

 

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