The retreat deliberated on Penplusbytes’ core thematic areas of work – Governance, New Media, and Oil, Gas and Mining - situational analysis, stakeholder analysis and environmental scan; addressing key issues facing it as well as defining its priorities to guide the next five years of its operations.
Penplusbytes’ recently launched “Connecting Citizens to Parliament” project platforms are allowing Parliament’s Committee on Government Assurances (CGA) on one hand and the “ordinary” Ghanaian on the other to collaborate on keeping track of assurances and promises made by government to the people; thus, providing an avenue for enhanced interaction between government, parliament, civil society and citizens.
Early this year, the organisation instituted a periodic Technology Salon series that draws participation from recognized bodies and individuals on a wide spectrum of topics from governance to technology with the last event focusing on “Drones for Development.” Penplusbytes has also through their ultra-modern New Media Hub, opened up new opportunities for CSOs, individuals and other organisations to leverage the advent of New Media tools in order to expand their presence online with well-designed training modules including how to write for the web and how to deploy social media platforms to boost an organisation’s efficiency in communication.
Also adding onto the progress of its “Strengthening Media Oversight of the Extractive Sectors” project, (www.reportingoilandgas.org) the institute in collaboration with the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI), rolled out the “Drilling down: Ghana extractives data dive” training event that handed down to participants the chance to fully explore the potential of open data in the extractive sector in Ghana.
During the strategic retreat, participants reviewed Penplusbytes previous 5 year strategy and suggested new vision, mission and strategic objectives areas the organisation can pursue in the coming years.
According to Bryan Pearson, Penplusbytes board chair, we spent a useful weekend with a rich crop of experts who provided insights and strategic options to Penplusbytes which can help the organisation grow both in terms of programming scope and geographic spread especially to key countries in Africa while at the same time ensuring technology is applied to strengthen good governance and democracy on the continent.
It is expected that at its next meeting, Penplusbytes board made up of Nnenna Nwakanma, Dr. Joseph Siegle, Ethan Zuckerman, Dr. Kwabena Riverson, Andrew Kwesi Kafe, Dan Gilmor, Kofi Mangesi, Charity Binka, Kwami Ahiabenu II and its chairman, Bryan Pearson, will discuss the draft strategic plan which is a direct outcome of the weekend retreat. Penplusbytes new strategic plan is expected to be ready by summer 2015.
Penplusbytes is a leading organization in Africa, established in 2001 and working in 3 areas: the use of technology to drive governance and accountability, new media and innovations as well as oil, gas and mining.