By Tafadzwa Muranganwa| A Nigerian-based civic tech organization, Connected Development (CODE)’s FollowTheMoney initiative has launched its grassroots-based mobilization tool in 6 different languages which is targeting 7 million people.
The social accountability platform was created in Nigeria since in 2017 and will be hosted on Web, Android and IOS Apps is set to be upscaled and launched here(Zimbabwe), Gambia, Malawi, Cameroon, Liberia, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Cape Verde.
The civic engagement platform will run in 6 languages ; Arabic, French, Amharic, Swahili, Portuguese, and English which are the mostly widely spoken languages across these countries.
In a press release, CODE says the platform will be an upgraded version of the iFollowTheMoney (IFTM), a data-driven online platform. It will host courses that will empower youths with the knowledge and skills to initiate budget tracking ,citizen engagement, policy formulation, advocacy, and execution in their local dialect. The mobilization tool is designed to benefit countries that share the similar challenges of a dearth of good governance, misappropriation of funds, lack of accountability and transparency at all levels of governance structure.
The CODE, CEO, Hamzat Lawal believes that the platform will empower youths to demand accountability from their governments and promote democracy.
“Our goal is to ensure that citizens in 9 countries have the capacity and knowledge to drive accountability and transparency in public governance. We want citizens to enjoy the dividends of democracy and this tool is designed to foster participation in public space and discourse in indigenous languages, ”he said.
According to CODE, programme officer, Pearl Utuk the FTM platform would draw lessons from Nigeria to advance accountability in the public sector, in other countries.
“The civic tech tools which has proven effective in Nigeria will be tested across the 9 countries, and learnings garnered will aid future upscaling across Africa. The African Union Civic Tech Fund (AUCTF) which supported the upscaling of this platform shows effective problem analysis on the continent.
“The Fund challenges other stakeholders to support similar developments as well as the need for collaborations between civil society organisations working to drive social accountability in Africa,” she said.
A local organization, Wedza Residents Development Initiative Trust (WERDIT) director George Makoni said his organisation will be ready to welcome such a tool in its advocacy work on corruption and accountability.
“It will be very ideal for us to engage with CODE and see how we can be able to roll out such a tool which can enhance our work in budget tracking to help out in curbing corruption and improving accountability especially in the public sector, ”said WERDIT boss George Makoni.
The FTM platform will build and empower an online community of passionate citizens to actively participate in governance and hold their government accountable for effective governance and quality service delivery in Africa.
It is a grassroots-based mobilization tool that provides unique value to citizens by ensuring social inclusion, quality service delivery, and social justice through tracking budgetary allocations and funds expended to provide quality education, healthcare facilities and water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructures, thereby triggering and hosting conversations that create ripple effects on awareness, citizens can hold their elected representatives to account thereby ensuring a strengthened democracy .