Friday, October 11, 2013

Penplusbytes launches “Open Ghana: Data Journalism Project”

The international Institute of ICT Journalism (Penplusbytes) with funding and technical support from STAR-Ghana has launched a 2-year “Open Ghana – Data Journalism for Improved Maternal Healthcare Delivery” project.

The project aims at equipping selected journalists in four districts in the Volta region (Ho Municipal, Hohoe Municipal, Kpando and South Dayi districts) to harness innovations in data-driven journalism to tell impactful stories on maternal healthcare.

The key objective is to stimulate open expenditure on maternal healthcare by improving the coverage of maternal health stories using data journalism techniques to better inform and empower citizens, Community-based organizations (CBOs), and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) as they work to demand prudential maternal healthcare spending.

According to Mr. Maxwell Adu Gyamfi, Project Coordinator at Penplusbytes, “The Volta Region was selected as a pilot for the project based on a recent Ghana Health Service report which indicated that the Volta region was among 3 regions in Ghana which were struggling to attain the 50% target for skilled delivery set by the GHS under MDG5 which aims to reduce maternal mortality by three quarters by 2015.”

He added that “the project will embark on activities geared towards improving citizens’ engagements in demanding responsiveness from the district, regional and national health officials on maternal healthcare budgets especially opening up expenditure information for greater public scrutiny.”

Over the course of the project, Penplusbytes will develop interactive cutting edge online resources that will enable journalists, citizens and CSOs access and publish data on maternal healthcare delivery for a concerted advocacy work, undertake face-face forums that will bring stakeholders together to demand accountability from duty bearers and also issue regular SMS alerts to inform subscribers on the state of maternal healthcare delivery in the Volta region.

Penplusbytes is a not-for-profit organization established in 2001 that seeks to empower the media through the use of Information and Communications Technology to advance better journalism in the coverage of governance and accountability, new media and innovations, and mining, oil and gas sectors.

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