ACCRA (Ghana) – The Parliament of Ghana is today, launching the “Connecting Citizens to Parliament” www.assurances.gov.gh digital platform project in Accra.
The project is to help Parliament’s Committee of Government Assurances (CGA) to undertake its mandate of monitoring all assurances and promises made by the executive arm of government.
The project is in collaboration with Penplusbytes, with support from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).
“Connecting Citizens to Parliament” which started as a pilot last year with funding from STAR-Ghana is now scaled up to reach more citizens with technical and financial support from OSIWA.
In this second more wider reaching phase, Penplusbytes has delivered well-developed digital platforms that enhance interaction between the CGA, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), citizens and other stakeholder to better track and monitor assurances and projects promised by government.
The “Connecting Citizens to Parliament” project is set to boost the capacity of the CGA on one hand and citizens on the other by increasing and closing feedback loops via SMS web-platform, mobile app as well as social media tools.
According Kwasi Bedzrah, Chairman of the CGA “Citizen Engagement is vital to the survival of democracy in current democratic dispensation, the case of the Arab Spring, i.e Tunisia and Egypt where governments were removed through the use of social media. “Any government that wants to survive its mandate must engage those who elected them.”
The launch will provide an avenue to announce the modalities of the committee’s work; making known all the available platforms and how they can be utilized as purposed.
”It will bring together stakeholders such as Members of Parliament, government officials, ordinary citizens, CSOs, and the media to the table using digital platform with the hope that we will have fruitful deliberations on how collectively we can make democracy work for Ghana through closing the feedback loop” Jerry Sam, Project Director at Penplusbytes said, the “connecting citizens to parliament” project has successfully enabled CGA and key stakeholders to actively keep track of key government promises in the last year.
“We hope to consolidate the vitality of the interactions between Parliament, CBO/CSOs and citizens; with more effective tracking of assurances that will be followed up by the committee to provide feedback to citizens.
“Happily we have expanded the array of avenues that citizens can engage using shortcode 9030, web-platform www.assurances.gov.gh , mobile app admin.assurances.gov.gh/mobile, as well as social media tools such as Facebook www.facebook.com/govassurancesgh and Twitter @govassurance.”