Thursday, September 03, 2015

Penplusbytes Enable Citizens Participation at Grassroots Level Using Technology

Without citizens participation in the local governance system, decision making process is left in the sole hands of few elected and unelected leaders. The absence of such a participatory approach is the bane for development and progress in society. In order to provide an effective solution to this challenge, Penplusbytes with support from Making All Voices Count (MAVC), is rolling out the “Grassroots Open Government Using New Digital Tools” project in the Ada East district of the Greater Accra region and in the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly.

To ensure greater uptake and buy-in by citizens, Penplusbytes will on 10th September, 2015 launch this project in Tamale, in the presence of Alhaji A.B.A Fuseini (MP), deputy regional minister; Abdul Hanan Gundado, Mayor of Tamale, and other dignitaries. The launch will also bring together members of parliament, assembly members, community members, opinion leaders, community based organisations (CBOs) and stakeholders in health, sanitation and education from the Tamale Metropolitan area. The launch comes in the heels of successful launch in Ada last August.

Penplusbytes through this project will make use of an integrated set of tested tools that include an interactive online platform, integrated with Mobile app, SMS via Short codes 7000 for MTN and 1904 for all other networks (with each text preceded by GOV), Social media via Facebook and Twitter using #OpenGovgh hashtag, traditional media, and an information and knowledge management tool to enhance interaction between the local people and their authorities. Through these technologies, combined with face-to-face interventions such as public forums and community radio, the project is putting citizens at the center of the developmental process.

The project running from May 1st, 2015 to April 30th, 2016, is intended to enhance communication and information sharing between citizens and local government in two local government assemblies of Ghana; focusing on public service delivery; health, education and sanitation through a collaborative and integrated approach.

Part of the project’s implementation would see the simplifying of the development plan and budget of the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly; highlighting service delivery on health, sanitation and education as means to giving opportunity to citizens to participate in how resources are allocated for development are prudently utilized.

According to Director of Programs at Penplusbytes, Jerry Sam “This intervention will deliver on an Improved and well informed government actors on the nature, depth and quality of information demanded by citizens, using appropriate technology to achieve better communication and monitoring between them” He added that, the project will strengthen the engagement frameworks between citizens and governments in order for citizens to be at the center stage of effective monitoring of development projects and budget thereby closing the feedback loop.

Penplusbytes is a not-for-profit organization driving change through innovations in three key areas: using new digital technologies to enable good governance and accountability, new media and innovations, and driving oversight for effective utilisation of mining, oil and gas revenue and resources.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Featured Member for the Month of September: Ruth Abla Adjorlolo

ruthlyn6Ms. Ruth Abla Adjorlolo is a professional journalist with the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), entering the organisation in 1979 as a library assistant at the Gram Library in the music department of the corporation where she rose through the ranks.

Currently the online editor of the GBC, (, Ruth graduated from the African Institute of Journalism and Communication (AIJC), now African University College of Communication (AUCC) and also studied IT with knowledge in Lotus 123, MS-Dos, and MS Excel from the Management Consultant Enterprise.

Ms. Adjorlolo is a member of Ghana Journalist Association (GJA) and the Online Editors Association of Ghana (OEAG), and holds a passion of striving hard to make GBC’s online web portal a success story and thus, stays relentless in her efforts to keep pace with new trends with her IT background and profession being enough to keep her updated on emerging web technologies and providing ideas to transform GBC’s news sites.

Ruth enjoys reading, playing lawn tennis and browsing. She was a regional champion in 400 metres in 1974.

In her own words, “life has been full of ups and downs but for me, to have no errors would be life without meaning. No struggle means no joy and I’m grateful to GOD”.