In a bid to provide African citizens with access to evidence on COVID resources, three civil society organisations (CSOs) and leading social accountability initiatives, Follow The Money and BudgIT, with learning partners Global Integrity, have launched a comprehensive user-friendly COVID-19 Fund Africa website as part of the COVID-19 Transparency & Accountability Project (CTAP).
The COVID Africa Tracking website has flexible navigation and functionality that allows visitors to access all data on COVID in Africa, including intervention resources, funds allocations, palliative distributions, accurate number of cases, data on COVID funds, vaccine management and government’s responsiveness.
According to Follow The Money Founder, Hamzat Lawal, “Our primary goal for designing the website is to improve citizens’ use of data for advocacy and government engagement in a manner that promotes transparency, accountability and open
The website currently displays information on $51.05billion resources committed to COVID-19 across
Africa, $5.08billion In-Kind Donation, as well as over 2,532 COVID Datasets across Africa.
Published resources featured on the website analyse post-COVID economic environment and its impact on
While speaking, BudgIT’s Executive
Director, Seun Onigbinde said, “In tracking government’s level of responsiveness, we have shown, through data on the CTAP website, overarching issues such as discrepancies in palliatives and cash transfer distributions, substandard healthcare compounded by the pandemic, disintegration of COVID data, vague procurement processes and blatant corruption by government officials.”
The COVID tracking site also featured COVID analysis and research resources for seven focus countries: Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Cameroon and Nigeria.
It highlights COVID status in these countries and also features knowledge centres on human angle stories
curated from citizens across the countries.
Built with a focus on user’s experience, the one-stop website (https://www.covidfund.africa/) has some unique attributes as follows;
Live Updates on COVID data on a daily basis from all over Africa; data display to provide face-level information on the total number of COVID fund allocation to Africa and COVID cases; resource filters which allow citizens to easily narrow down to the country or specific resource portfolio by clicking the African country they would like data on.
Some other distinctive attributes include, research and papers on COVID tracking and government’s responsiveness in Africa and Rapid Response Functionality allowing the site to be compatible with all browsers and mobile devices.
Under CTAP, the three CSOs seek to advocate and collaborate with governments in Africa to provide
and institute proper accountability measures for all financial and material donations received.
Since it kicked off eight months ago, the project has inspired increased citizens’ engagement with issues of government’s transparency and accountability and a zero-tolerance for corruption in some countries. A case in point is the termination of public officials in Liberia for misappropriation of COVID funds.
Some overarching insights are as follows: weak transparency and poor government accountability, which impede the implementation of standard policies. This is evident in the inability of social accountability activists to access accurate data of funds received and disbursed by their government to tackle the pandemic;
Citizens’ apathy as a result of distrust in government. Citizen participation could have augmented the impact of certain relief packages such as food packages which could have targeted the most vulnerable in society, including women, the disabled and the aged. Several sources at the local assembly level revealed to the CTAP team that the very poorest in their communities did not benefit from initiatives that were broadly
As a result of leveraging the media to amplify discoveries of misappropriations, embezzlements, and lack of preparedness by the government and institutions, there was an increased response to citizens’ demands for accountability.
In view of these highlights, the CSOs urge citizens to utilise the new COVIDAfrica platform to access data that they need to engage with their governments.
“We believe this is also an opportunity for African governments to improve communication with citizens and adopt progressive governance mechanisms in advancing transparency, accountability and regaining citizens’ trust,” Onigbinde added.
Social Accountability CSOs in these countries are aligning in their mission to hold their respective governments to account, mobilise citizens for social change, counter fake news and
misinformation, while using digital tools to engage with government accountability issues.
Follow The Money is currently the largest social mobilisation & accountability movement in Africa that has advocated, visualized and tracked over $15 million for social development across African grassroots communities, directly impacting over 4,000,000 lives.
BudgIT is a foremost civic-tech leading the advocacy for transparency and accountability in public finance across four African countries including Nigeria.
BudgIT’s innovation within the public circle demystifies government data, especially on public finance, by either presenting them in simple tweets,
interactive formats or infographic displays.
Global Integrity is a non-profit organisation that works with government and civil society partners in countries and communities around the world, supporting their efforts to address complex challenges relating to corruption, use of resources and delivery of public services.
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