REPORT: Launch of "Grassroots Open Government Using New Digital Tools" in Ada East District Assemby
The programme started at exactly 11:00am after a prayer was said by one community member of Angonya and Dogwam. The MC; Mr. Gjagbletey, station coordinator of Radio Ada led the group of visitors to establish the traditional greetings with the members of the community.
Mr. Odoi Julius of Radio Ada took turn to introduce the invited guest to the gathering. Some of the invited guest includes;
- Asafoatse Glorgo - Traditional ruler in charge of Angonya
- Naana Balekie I - Queen mother
- Mr. Solomon Dzidzor - District Dir. NCCE
- Miss. Mawusi - Ghana Health service, Ada-East
- Miss. Freda Sokro - Environmental Health Service- Ada-East
- Mr. Edward Adjei - Ghana National Fire Service, Ada-East
- Togbe G.Y Gadzekpo - District Coordinating Director of Ada –East
Mr. Jerry Sam; project manager from Penplusbytes took turn to deliver the purpose of the gathering. He explained that, Penplusbytes is a non-governmental organization which is interested in grassroots participation in decision making at the district assembly level. He added that, in view of this, the organization has introduced mechanisms to bridge the gap between the district assemblies and community members in the various villages and towns. The project he said is named “Grassroots Open Governance Using New Digital Tools”. The project shall make use of I.C.T and modern digital tools to engage and establish a new kind of communication and relationship between the citizens and their district assemblies. He added that the digital tools to be use for the project includes SMS, websites and the community radio.
Mr. Jerry Sam took time to explain how each of the digital tools shall be use one after the other. He mentioned that, the modern social media platform WhatsApp shall be use and the numbers to be use are 0241995734 / 0279848444. The SMS toll free number for MTN is 7000 and 1904 for all other networks. He stressed that the messages coming from Ada should always be prefix with “GOV”. He encouraged the gathering to often listen to Radio Ada where they shall be allowed to call in to programmes that shall be organized around the various three themes. These themes are; Health, Education and Sanitation.
During the question time, a number of the community members took turns to ask questions around various topics. Most of the community members asked questions and complained about toilet facilities and the number of times they have contacted the district assembly for one but to no avail. Other questions were about bad road network, portable water, electricity and educational facilities.
Mr. Solomon Dzidzor of the NCCE took time to respond to some of the questions and empowered the community to elect good assembly members in the upcoming district assembly and unit committee elections to ensure that their plights are registered at the assembly and included in the assembly’s development plans.
In his speech, Togbe G.Y Gadzekpo, the District Coordinating Director of Ada-East District expressed much delight in the work of Penplusbytes and said it is an innovative way to help the assembly explained to the citizens through the various digital tools what the taxes of the people are being used for. He added that the district assembly stands to gain much from this project since it shall create a new form or medium of communication between citizens and the district assembly. He stress that the district assembly belongs to the people and the district assembly only implement the wishes and aspirations of the people. He also encouraged them to fully participate in the upcoming district assembly elections to vote for good people in other to enhance the quality of debate in the assembly to bring about the development they want to see. He extended the warm regards of the District Chief Executive who could not attend the programme to the gathering and then launch the project “Grassroots Open Government Using New Digital Tools”.
He further stated that, “We have not quite gotten nearer to the level Ghana wants to reach as afar as local government is concern but we are still making the effort. The challenge seriously lies on those at the grassroots level to make sure that their voices are heard and are part and parcel of how they are governed.”
The queen mother Naana Balekie took the opportunity to advice the women to be hard working in other to bring development to their lives. He advised them not to over depend on their husbands for everything.
Asafoatse Glorgo, the chief of the village thanked Radio Ada and Penplusbytes for bringing the programme to his community and advised the community members to be circumspective in registering their demands with the authorities.
Closing prayer was made by a community member and the programme was brought to an end at 01:15 pm