Penplusbytes with support from the Canadian Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) will on Thursday, January 19, 2017, engage citizens, local representatives, Civil Society Organizations and the media in a one-day forum at Ashaiman in Accra.

The forum forms part of a number of activities under the implementation scheme of the “Enhancing Grassroots Civic Participation in Governance Using New Digital Tools” project which aims at using online and offline platforms such as this to reverse the exclusion of citizens in the local governance process.

Penplusbytes officially launched this innovative project last year in the Ashaiman Municipality to empower citizens through digital tools to effectively participate in the local government decision making processes and promote better public service delivery especially in health and education.

While Ghana is lauded for its electoral successes, citizens’ participation in the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of government policies and programs have remained generally weak due either to the limited or complete lack of attention in mobilizing citizens for this end or the lack of requisite knowledge and skills to carry out same.

These, according to Jerry Sam, Programmes Director at Penplusbytes, has “culminated into poor public service delivery,”

He said, “Penplusbytes is presently utilizing, under this project, some innovative and integrative mechanisms to close the existing loophole and institutional capacity gaps by transforming the relationship between state and non-state actors at the local level.”

Thus, this citizens’ forum will provide an avenue for awareness creation amongst citizens on issues such as allocated budgets and development plans which would arm them with the requisite knowledge about the Ashaiman Municipality and thereby contribute meaningfully to the effective management of their resources for the benefit of all.