Thursday, March 29, 2007

Interview with Jonnie Akakpo

Jonnie Akakpo, chairman of GINKS, presented the results of an action-research on political mobilisation of ICTs in Ghana during the African e-gov conference in Accra. The action research took place in two communities in Northern Region as part of the Log-in Africa program of the UNDP. It departs from the idea that there are opportunities for changing modes of governance through ICTs. These opportunities will remain unexploited if the citizenry is not capacitated to use those opportunities. The video is almost 4 minutes. A summary is presented here in text:

What were the most surprising results of your action research in two communities in the Northern Region of Ghana?

There were no real surprises because we know the communities already. The most surprising thing was the attitude of the leaders, the inability of our leaders to engage with projects trying to improve their systems. They were never there and were a little hostile.

What innovative approaches do you have in mind, given the challenges in the Northern Region?

We thought about internet access points where people can engage parliament or the castle in real time, but we realized this was going to be more expensive than anticipated. Given the constraints, we are not thinking of purposely collecting information from the communities and making this information available to government.

We identified a large mass of illiterate people, who can engage with a medium like radio. We think that they should have a feel of computers too. So we thought about an information kiosk, which is not an innovation in itself. As a first step the project will provide computers and internet access with capacity building for community members so that they can start engaging with their parliamentarians.

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