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Make public data accessible — CSOs

The Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) and Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) Ghana have urged state organisations to make public data easily accessible to the entire citizenry.

The Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) and Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) Ghana have urged state organisations to make public data easily accessible to the entire citizenry.

The two civil society organisations, opined that that would enhance accountability and promote effective public service delivery at both the national and local levels.

A Research Officer at CDD Ghana, Awal Mohammed made the call in Accra yesterday on behalf of the two organisations during an interaction with the media on the GACC’s “I Am Aware (IAA) Project.”

The project is a two-year programme being implemented by the GACC in collaboration with CDD Ghana in 33 districts in seven regions of the country.

Funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the objective of the project is to make available to the public, state funded data on education, health, sanitation, security, water, agriculture, and road in a user-friendly manner.

Mr Mohammed said it was difficult for the citizens to access basic information on education and health service delivery in their respective localities.

For instance, he said residents at the local level who demanded for information on how textbooks and teachers were distributed in their districts were often asked to seek clearance letter from Accra before such information could be released to them.

Mr Mohammed therefore, entreated Parliament to pass the Freedom of Information Bill into law to make it obligatory for state funded data to be made public.

Bright Sowu, Senior Research Officer of GACC in a presentation on the IAA Project said, persons interviewed in the districts in which the project was being implemented indicated that public service delivery at the local level was not “satisfactory.”

For instance on education, he said lack of qualified teachers at the lower level, teacher absenteeism, and exposure of school children to foreign movies were some of the issues raised under the project.

Among some recommendations, Mr Sowu said the district assemblies must prioritise service delivery provisons, and exercise effective supervisory roles over service providers within their districts to ensure that they do effective work to the benefit of the citizenry.

Mr Sowu also said, “Data collected at district levels should not be the preserve of the government only, but should be made available to the citizenry and stressed that would enable the citizens to track development in their areas, and effectively engage duty-bearers and service providers.

The Executive Secretary of GACC, Beauty Emefa Narteh said the IAA Project was to breakdown public data in a manner that would make it easy for the public to understand and use.

She said, when the public was furnished with the right data, they could demand accountability from duty-bearers.

By Kingsley Asare


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