Star-Ghana Trains Anti-corruption Gate Keepers for Northern Ghana
Star-Ghana is training community members and duty bearers in northern Ghana to adopt and use SMS in a broad spectrum platform to give alerts on cases of suspected corruption within their operational areas.
The SMS platform for Anti-Corruption gives participants the opportunity to use appropriate channels to give alerts on cases of suspected corruption which will be placed on the Star-Ghana anti-corruption operating system.
The operating system will also be hooked with the various anti-corruption groups, and monitor some key vulnerable government subsidized regimes, especially on its starred projects.
Mr Daniel Kwame Ampofo Adjei, SMS Voices Manager at STAR-Ghana who facilitated the training in Tamale in the Northern Region, told the participants that the training was meant to help them to influence decisions at the community level and to enable them as citizens assist in reducing incidences of corruption which had become a social canker.
He explained that the SMS was a digital platform that enabled trained citizen representatives open instant dialogues with local government officials via SMS and said the project had been piloted in the Western, Northern, and Greater Accra through key state institutions including the Ghana Police Service, the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), and the Electoral Commission (EC) as prelude to the 2016 general elections in Ghana.
Mr Adjei said the platform would among other benefits generate evidence of citizens’ engagements and proof of responsiveness, serve as alternative to verify information shared on social media and give the partners opportunity to clarify responsibilities, increase level of awareness of issues and events, as well as participants getting the opportunities to transmit bulk documents to the core recipient hub at Star-Ghana.
He said as reporters they were to act as a bridge between their communities and their local authority, to use community meetings and social spaces to record issues affecting the people’s lives and avoid claiming to be journalists because they were not, and urged them to deal with the issues as they see them.
He told them to avoid sensationalism in their reports and deal with the problems of corruption confronting the communities, because a swift reaction by reporting the incidences of corruption helps the appropriate bodies to address the problems.
The SMS Manager advised the participants to avoid displaying their phones unprotected in public places, use their phones security lock codes or personal identification numbers (PINs) to keep them secret and unknown to others as well as take out all memory cards and Sims as well as sensitive messages to avoid copying of the information by repairers.
The three day training attracted 36 participants drawn from the Upper East, Upper West and the Northern Regions who are volunteering to serve as reporters for their communities, institutions and security personnel under major STAR-Ghana funded projects on anti-corruption implemented by Non-Governmental Organisations, Civil Society Organisations and Community Based Organisation working in the three regions.