Blogpost_MDGS

An example of Social Accountability

In Chawama Constituency , the Community Action Groups (CAGs) – platforms for dialogue between the community and the Ward Development Committee (WDC) members – were created. The community members questioned the WDC officials about how they had used the Ward Development Fund (WDF). Unfortunately, it was discovered that the WDF implementation had been decided upon by councillors without the participation of the WDC. The meetings led to more dialogue between the CAGs and the WDC officials on how in future they would together ensure that budgets as allocated by the Lusaka City Council would be implemented.

SAY it with ICT

 

SAY_CAFE_ICT imageICT-enabled communication is becoming more prevalent in Zambia driven by the sheer number of mobile phone subscribers. Recent figures from the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) estimate that 64.5% of Zambians have mobile phone access with 13.5% of phone owners having smartphones. According to the survey, the majority of those with smartphones use them to access applications such as WhatsApp, Viber, Facebook, Skype and Twitter for communication using instant messaging or voice calling. ZICTA also found that the percentage of people reporting that they knew how to use the internet nearly doubled in two years from 4.8% in 2013 to 8.8% in 2015.

ICT has changed our lives and plays a major role in the following ways:

  • Information – It has changed the way we access information from people who govern us and how we interact with them by using various technology mediums e.g. websites, social media or electronic newspapers. Furthermore, ICT can help us to report, discuss and share issues affecting our society.
  • Communication – it has allowed commonly used social media words such as ‘tweet’, ‘Whatsapp’ and ‘blog’ to become part of our everyday vocabulary.
  • Technology – It has changed the way we bank and learn by using portable gadgets such as smartphones and tablets.

Electronic governance (E-governance) was identified by the Government of the Republic of Zambia as a priority area with the launch of the e-governance statistical data portal in December 2014 and the creation of the e-governance Division in 2015. Therefore, ICT has influenced the way public resources are managed through the Integrated Financial Management Information System [IFMIS]. It has also changed public agencies on how to communicate with citizens, for example service alerts are sent via SMS from ZESCO. This is type of a systematic service where government is using ICT-enabled solutions to handle its daily work will only become more popular. This brings us to an important question: is there an opportunity for citizens to use ICT based platforms to produce better governance outcomes? What would such platforms look like and where could the links with duty bearers be made?

This question brings us to the theme of the next SAY Cafe: ‘SAY it with ICT: can ICT enable citizen voice in Zambia?

SAY has had some experience engaging with citizens on a variety of policy and social issues since its inception in 2014. During this time the SAY Team has come across various initiatives using ICT to better report social issues like gender based violence, create direct connections between citizens and elected officials and to even share laws. These organisations will participate in the SAY Cafe and share their applications and the challenges and opportunities available in the Zambian context. The panel includes

The SAY Cafe is free and is  targeted towards people with an interest in citizen-led governance interventions, those with an interest in ICT and those who are broadly interested in policy and development.

When: 12:00hrs  31st March 2015 

Where: Room 123 ZCAS Campus

Follow the hash tag #SAYCafe for updates on the event.

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