Report: “Grassroots Open Government Using Digital Tools” Project Launch at Modern City Hotel, Tamale.
The programme started at 10:00am after an opening prayer by Mr. Abdulbaaki, a community member of the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly and a Programmes’ Assistant at Radio Savannah-GBC. Mr. Murtala Issah, of Radio Savannah served as the MC for the occasion and took turn to introduce some of the invited guest.
The chairman, Mr. Richard Kambootah, the Deputy Director of the ILGS, Tamale Campus was introduced by the MC who in a brief introductory speech accepted the charge to chair the programme.
The Executive Director of Penplusbytes, Mr. Kwami Ahiabenu II was handed the baton after the chairman. He introduced Penplusbytes as an organization to the guest gathered, and the reason behind the launch of the project. He spoke on the importance of improving transparency, accountability and civic participation at the grassroots level. He maintained that the “Grassroots Open Government Using New Digital Tools” projects is being implemented with a focus on District Assemblies so as to promote transparency and accountability at the community level as well as promote effective, responsive and responsible governance at the grassroots level. He stressed on the importance of the participation of all those gathered in the project so as to help the Assembly in their work as well as keep them on their toes.
After Kwami’s presentation, the Regional Director of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Alhaji Abdul-Razak Saani officially launched the Tamale section of the “Grassroots Open Government Using New Digital Tools”. The project focuses on simplifying the development plans and budget allocations of the selected District Assemblies and makes these available on the project’s website: www.opengov.org.gh. It also tracks the various projects and development programmes the Tamale Assembly is undertaking in the areas of Education, Health and Sanitation and display this on the said website.
Ms. Francisca Darfour, the Governance/Political Analyst at Penplusbytes after the project launch, explained the website of the project in detail and helped guest present understand how they can search for particular information on the website. She explained that the developmental projects and breakdown of budgets found on the website is in respect to the 2014 budget year.
The floor was later opened for audiences to ask questions concerning Penplusbytes and the grassroots open government project. Participants from all walks of life endorsed the project as a way of ensuring transparency and accountability on local governance.
The launch of the “Grassroots Open Government Using New Digital Tools” brought together Assembly Members, Unit Committee Members, Community Members, Opinion Leaders, Political Party Representatives, Community Based Organizations (CBOs), and stakeholders in health, sanitation and education from the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly in the Northern Region.
Below are some key CBOs, Institutions, and organizations etc. that were represented during the launch of the “Grassroots Open Government Using Digital Tools”:
- Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana)
- Economic Growth Office (EGO-Ghana)
- Esinam Life Care Foundation
- Northern Network for Education Development (NNED)
- Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS)
- Savannah Signatures
- Youth Empowerment for Life (YEFL)
- National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE)
- Blessed Hope
At the end of the programme, participants were directed to access the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly section of the project online at www.opengov.org.gh and contribute to making the District Assembly transparent and accountable. They were also educated on the free short codes: prefixing their SMS with GOV to 7000 on MTN and 1904 on all other networks. They were also given mobile numbers: 024 199 5737 and 0279848444 through which they can WhatsApp to Penplusbytes with their comments, contributions and recommendations.