Thursday, January 15, 2015

Penplusbytes set to Deepen Democracy in Africa through New Digital Technologies in 2015

In 2014, the International Institute of ICT Journalism, Penplusbytes, leveraged on the advantages of technology application to remarkably execute a number of key projects aimed at enhancing the efficiency of hundreds of Journalists and Civil Society Organization, while opening up governments across the African continent for greater participation by citizens.

Last year, Penplusbytes successfully championed a series of events and training programs that included the Data Journalism training programme for the staff of Graphic Communications, Social media training on news generation for Multi TV staff whiles selected Journalists in the Volta region also received training in data Journalism under the “Open Ghana: Data Journalism for improved Maternal Health” project.

Penplusbytes in partnership with other civil society organizations launched the Civil Society platform on the International Monetary Fund bailout ( in 2014; an initiative to promote accountability. In furtherance of its purpose, the project will continue to keep tabs on government dealings with the IMF at all stages going in 2015 and beyond.

In ensuring good governance in the exploitation and management of Ghana’s nascent oil and gas sector, the organisation took selected Journalists through courses on effective reporting on oil, gas and mining.

“We plan on consolidating our gains from the past year into recording greater success going forward by introducing innovative, cutting edge programmes and events aimed at equipping the media and other stakeholders,” said Kwami Ahiabenu, II, President of Penplusbytes.

Forecasting into 2015, Penplusbytes’ GOVERNANCE and TECHNOLOGY focus will seek to create more public awareness on Government assurances; engaging them on and about the various digital platforms created to boost citizen based advocacy on service delivery. Through the “Providing Effective Feedback to Parliament through Digital Technologies” project, citizens at all levels are now able participate in the governance process by tracking and monitoring Government assurances (

The organisation will engage with its partners where necessary and other appropriate agencies in deploying the use of ICT tools in monitoring the upcoming elections on the African continent in the year 2015. According to Razak Musah, Coordinator of Penplusbytes’ African Elections project (AEP), “This is important as it gauges the role of technology in creating transparency and fairness through the utilization of new media.”

On OIL, GAS, AND MINING, rolling out newer programmes such as the “Drilling down: Ghana extractives data dive” training event in collaboration with the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI), will in 2015 add onto the progress of the “Strengthening Media Oversight of the Extractive Sectors” project (

Under the NEW MEDIA AND INNOVATIONS thematic area, Penplusbytes will hold series of training programmes at its ultra-modern New Media Hub facility; the first of which is the “Strategic briefing for Newsroom Online editors” course tailored to focus on trends and new developments in online news platform management in February.

According to Mr. Ahiabenu, II, "with a growing membership of over 1,000 persons spread across the globe, Penplusbytes is positioned to serve its audience in an effective way by making a change in our 3 key areas of work. At the end of the day we believe our work will ensure citizens gain tangible benefits from democracy."


Established in 2001, Penplusbytes is a leading organization in Africa working in 3 areas: governance and accountability, new media and innovations as well as oil, gas and mining.

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