A two-day capacity training on the use of mobile communication technology to strengthen citizens participation in local governance has ended in Tamale.
The training marks the beginning of the implementation of a mobile platform aimed to provide Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs) an opportunity to easily communicate development plans and strategies to their citizens at a distance.
The beneficiary districts are; Central Gonja, Tolon, Kumbungu, Sagnerigu and Gushiegu all in the Northern Region of Ghana.
Savana Signatures designed the mobile platform to provide an opportunity for marginalized persons including women, youth and people with disability to participate in local governance.
Known as Citizens Interactive Platform (CIP), the mobile platform is an effective communication pathway for citizens to communicate with the local assemblies to aid district development planning and decision-making processes.
CIP is being implemented under the Mobile for Social Inclusive Governance (MSIG) Project which sought to broaden the assemblies scope of reach and engagement at the local level.
“The project also provides Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (DAs) an opportunity to use a mobile-based platform to facilitate communication with their citizens. The overall outcome of the project aims to increase the participation of women, youth, and PWDs in local governance, especially in the provision of public goods and services”, said, Muhammed Yakubu, the project officer.
For effective implementation of CIP, about 10 staff from the beneficiary district assemblies were recently trained in the use of the mobile platform. “we trained them on how to identify and register beneficiary groups on to the platform and the use of the mobile platform to send and receive information and conduct mobile surveys”, the officer said.
The platform he said was a new technology, simple and cost effective that aid Assemblies and institutions at large to reach target groups of persons at a distance.
The platform was designed in response to complaints by the assemblies about financial, logistical and human resource constraints which often hinder them from carrying out certain activities such as citizen’s engagement, sending and receiving information from a cross section of citizens to inform decision-making processes and actions.
The officer said CIP will bridge the governance gap between District Assemblies and the marginalized at the district level if effectively deployed.
He urged the assemblies to adopt the platform to reduce the cost of citizens engagement, conducting surveys and sending and receiving information as well as hiring consultants to collect and analyze survey data among other things.
The participating Assemblies staff were happy after CIP training and demonstration. They said the platform would indeed reduce the cost of running the assemblies’ activities if effectively deployed. They urged other assemblies to adopt the platform to reduce cost and as a way to overcome financial, logistical and human resource constraints facing them.
They believed the CIP platform would help improve citizens engagement and bridged the communication gap between Assemblies and citizens.