The effectiveness and the efficiency of the Parliament can be more enhanced if the gap between members of parliament and the general citizenry is bridged through better information and knowledge sharing exchange, especially in the context of the important oversight role Parliament has to play over the executive. In order to facilitate a better interaction between members of Parliament and citizens, the International Institute of ICT Journalism (Penplusbytes), with funding and technical support from STAR-Ghana, is implementing a ground-breaking project entitled "Providing effective feedback for parliamentary work through new digital technologies and citizen engagement."
The project aims at supporting Parliament, through its Government Assurance Committee, play an effective oversight role over promises made by government on education and health. The key objective is to increase interaction between the Government Assurance Committee and Citizens in the area of public service delivery, especially health and education, using new digital technologies that enable easy and accessible feedback mechanism while leading to better service delivery.
According to Mr. Jerry Sam, Project Director at Penplusbytes, "The project will provide the select committee members with evidence-based information on selected assurances and promises made by government on health and education to effectively hold ministers accountable on promises made on the floor of parliament."
He added that "the cornerstone of 'Providing effective feedback for parliamentary work through new digital technologies and citizen engagement' project are online information and knowledge platform, two way SMS tool and a mobile app that will adequately inform and empower the public to meaningfully engage with their elected members of parliament."
There will also be face-to-face forums and media outreach to sensitize the public on the oversight responsibility of Parliament over government promises thereby stimulating citizen-based advocacy on service delivery.
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.
Star-Ghana is a multi-donor pooled funding mechanism (Funded by DFID, DANIDA, EU and USAID) to increase the influence of civil society and Parliament in the governance of public goods and service delivery, with the ultimate goal of improving the accountability and responsiveness of Ghana's government, traditional authorities and the private sector.