With funding from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), the two-year project, would inform policy formulation and implementation for equitable access to health and education in the two countries.
Briefing the Ghana News Agency on the project in Accra, Ms. Juliet Amoah, Executive Director, Penplusbytes, said the H.E.R.E. and Now project would be focusing on social protection policies and issues within the health and education sectors in the two countries, while improving citizens’ access to affordable, quality community health care in the African sub-region.
“This will be as a result of the research outputs that the project will share with a wide group of actors in West Africa.”
The project is the first in a series of steps that Penplusbytes was taking to ensure that citizens across West Africa were mobilised properly to get governments to set aside budgets and resources to improve the quality of teaching, and building classroom spaces that were conducive for learning, especially at the basic levels of education and providing healthcare that prolonged life expectancy.
Ms Amoah said: “we believe health and education serve as pillars to national development, thus contributing to the proper formulation and implementation of policies within these sectors is a worthwhile cause”.
Explaining why the project was being implemented in Mali as well, Ms. Amoah said “it will offer a strategic opportunity to analyse and compare factors that create an enabling environment or drawbacks in the two countries’ efforts in making and implementing social protection policies that seeks to improve the livelihoods of the people in anglophone and francophone countries”.
“The H.E.R.E. and Now project, is a citizen-oriented project as it seeks to leverage the Right to Information provisions that exist in Ghana and Mali, which enable citizens to understand more fully what their governments were doing or should be doing for them in the two sectors of health and education,” she said.
She explained that as part of the activities, Penplusbytes intended to mobilise and empower the citizens of both countries to demand for better public service delivery in the two sectors, within the framework of political and social accountability.
To do this effectively, the project would deploy an App called “Short-changed” which would be backed by offline interventions such as story-telling, blogging and effective media messaging campaigns, to ignite and sustain public attention and interest on social protection policies in health and education.
Some key outcomes of the project would be its focus on monitoring the actions and inactions of public office holders, challenging institutional policies and practices at the local government level, as well as countering popular beliefs and practices that hinder the effective delivery of services in the two policy areas, so as to make long-lasting changes. Read Full Story