iWatch Africa has launched its maiden project aimed at putting the spotlight on government’s promises to Ghanaians in four key areas; education, health, education, job creation and government expenditure.
Volunteers drawn from the 10 regions of Ghana converged on the New Media Hub in Accra over the weekend and were equipped with data journalism and multimedia storytelling skills, to enable them track government’s performance in these four areas.
Their findings will be published in the media and also on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
The iWatch Africa project, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting transparency and accountability, is spear-headed by six members of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) in Ghana and is aimed at getting citizens to be more involved in governance and to hold their leaders accountable.
The six are Nana Boakye-Yiadom, Gideon Sarpong, Philip Banini, Moro Seidu, Henry Kyeremeh and Justice Kumordzi.
In a statement issued to the GNA, Mr Jacob Tetteh Ahuno, Programme Officer of the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), urged the volunteers to discharge their duties diligently; devoid of party politics and biases.
He urged them to also focus on the relevance of government interventions to the citizenry and general expenditure of government projects, since it was essential in fighting corruption.
The statement noted that citizens now trusted the media to expose and fight corruption, more than the state mandated institutions and commended the creators of the iWatch project for taking the initiative to promote accountability and transparency.
“Don’t let the focus be on what they said they’d do alone. Even if they said they’d build one school, the fact is how much is going into that one school? We’ve realized that, 17% of our GDP is actually spent on procurement issues and that is where the irregularities come in. Focus on who wins the contract, how much the building is supposed to cost, how much they say it actually costs, that comparison should be done,” he added.
Mr Ahuno also urged the volunteers to collaborate with local citizen groups in their various districts to augment their work in advocating and educating the citizenry.
“I would want you to also know the reporting mechanisms and avenues in Ghana so that in case people start reporting corrupt cases to you, you know which channel to direct them to and do follow up,” he said.
Mr Philip Kwasi Banini, a Co-Founder and Director of Research and Communications of iWatch, explained that a citizenry that could not ask its leaders to account to them would certainly not get what they deserved thus the need to ask the right questions based on the right information.
“…. you cannot ask the right question of your leaders if you don’t have access to the right information. This is exactly what the project seeks to do, equip the citizens with the right information so they can ask the right question. That automatically means people will now have informed discussions about the governance process which will inure to the benefit of everybody,” he stated.