Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Social Intervention Programs Need Clearer Indicators

Social Intervention Programs Need Clearer Indicators

The programmes director of Penplusbytes, Jerry Sam has indicated that for the various social intervention programs such as the LEAP Programme and the Ghana School Feeding Programme to have the needed impact, there is the need for a paradigm shift.

He explains that once the focus of a social policy is on increase in enrollment numbers for instance, rather than the quality of services being provided, standards will be compromised. After a year of implementing Penplusbytes’ “Tech Driven Social Accountability for Results” project, citizens’ reports from the two beneficiary districts show that the implementation of the policies is flawed. For example, hot meals are not being served in some schools and LEAP benefits are insufficient for beneficiaries.

Penplusbytes in collaboration with CDD Ghana and SEND Ghana organized a one-day Social Accountability Clearing Platform Forum on August 11 to validate reports from citizens in the two project districts (Ellembelle in the Western Region and Ashaiman in the Greater Accra Region).
Outlining recommendations from the reports, Jerry Sam underscored the need for the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to strengthen collaboration among various stakeholders as well as ensure clear and measurable indicators for social policies. He further advised the Ministry to facilitate the coordination and networking of civil society groups working the area of social accountability.

Penplusbytes with funding support from OSIWA is implementing the 2-year “Tech Driven Social Accountability for Results” project, which seeks to equip ordinary citizens with usable information via online platforms mashed-up with social media and mobile based platforms (www.platformafrica.net ) to promote purposeful participation in demanding accountability and responsiveness from duty bearers for effective public service delivery.

Mr. Sam is of the view that government should facilitate the creation of such platforms for social intervention policies which would enable citizens to monitor and report on their implementation and thereby foster accountability and transparency.

He said social accountability projects were most effective when citizens were supported to understand what services they were entitled to through awareness creation.

The Forum was attended by heads of civil society organisations, state actors and donor organisations.


Thursday, August 03, 2017

Featured Member for the Month of August: Narkwor Kwabla

On air, she uses the name Narkwor Kwabla but her full name is Veronica Narkwor Kwabla, an award winning journalist currently with AfricaNews, the 24-hour African news channel of EuroNews Group broadcasting in English and French. She is a Sub Editor of the English team comprising anchors, broadcast journalists and online journalists.

Narkwor won the Health And Medical category of the CNN African journalist of the Year 2016 for coverage of stories on Ebola in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

She was a finalist in the 2015 Mohammed Amin Africa Media Awards, Best TV News Category for her story titled 'BUSH ALLOWANCE' and a recipient of the 2014 Best TV feature story award at the Ghana Journalist Awards ceremony my documentary titled: ‘BORN DIFFERENT’.

In 2013, Narkwor won the World Press Institute Fellowship to the United States. Whilst in the US she presented a paper on: Journalism in Ghana, Democracy and GMO introduction in Ghana at the Communications Department at Carroll College in Helena, Montana.

She had earlier worked with TV3 in Ghana, as a News Anchor and Reporter and Producer.  Prior to that, Narkwor was a Senior Reporter with TV Africa also in Accra and reported from the Presidency from July 2009 to July 2010.

She has covered news stories and events of national and international interest including the outbreak of Ebola in Sierra Leone and Liberia, the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government summit on Ebola, held in Accra on November 6, 2014, the presidential reception for US President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama’s visit to Ghana in 2009, the 12th United Nations Conference on Trade and Development(UNCTAD XII) in Accra, Ghana in 2008 and the Grand debate on 'Union Government Summit' of the African Union in Accra, Ghana in July, 2017 among others.

Narkwor is an alumnus of the Reuters Foundation and a fellow of Radio Netherlands Training Centre, RNTC, in the Netherlands. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Linguistics and Psychology from the University of Ghana.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Penplusbytes’ SMTC featured on DW Akademie Digital Innovation Library

Penplusbytes’ SMTC featured on DW Akademie Digital Innovation Library

Penplusbytes’ Social Media Tracking Centre (SMTC) has been featured on the Deustche Welle Akademie Digital Innovations Library as part of 15 other projects in Africa. The library is an online platform that showcases projects from across Africa, Asia, Middle East and Latin America which are using digital technologies to advance freedom of expression and access to information.

Penplusbytes’ Social Media Tracking Centre (SMTC) was established in the lead up to the 2016 general elections in Ghana. The centre which run for 72-hours non-stop (6th-8th December 2016) significantly contributed to closing the feedback loop between Ghanaian voters and the election management bodies.

Through the SMTC, Penplusbytes was able to provide factual information and ensure that there was transparency in the information shared between the electorate and the electoral commission in Ghana. In the process of collecting data, SMTC equally managed to flag incidents of misconduct, violence, fraud during the voting and thus build in more confidence in the voting.

Local and international election observers commended the center and its technology as an innovative tool for policing social media.

Innovation is usually meant to be a new idea, process or product that, when implemented, leads to positive change. Digital innovation is therefore about using digital technologies as tools for positive change.

However, Digital innovation, according the DW Akademie digital library, does not necessarily have to be a sophisticated invention but an innovation that simply adds valuable elements which are new to a respective media environment. Thus, a project could be a copy of an existing project that simply highlights an innovative element of another. In the media development context, DW Akademie sees digital innovation as something that adds value to freedom of expression and access to information within a specific context.

The Digital Innovation Library identifies six topics that are relevant to the project’s goal and are broad enough to incorporate the main objectives of many development projects, namely: accountability, community empowerment, environment, healthcare, violence and transparency.
Projects featured on the library are projects that use digital technologies in a new way to improve access to information but are not necessarily a media project and also highlights one of the six topics. 

Visit the library here.