“How Is Technology Influencing Youth Activism and Accountable Governance”
written form delivery at the IMANI Africa Youth Forum
It’s glaring to every critical observer that countries with fast and consistent growth rates, enviable democracies, accountable governance and buoyant positive youth activism, have a common factor which is the effective appreciation and employment of technological innovations and versatility to their pursuits. Whilst accountable governance is the fundamental need of every human society today, youth activism can also be identified as a major policing catalyst to achieve this reality today.
Obviously the youth being the major part of the productive populace in every society, are the most affected by the kind of governance at play in the society.
It is important to note that the youth however are the major influencers in every society’s democratic process and governance where their voices are heard and they are likewise privy to resourceful information. In this light, a society without positive youthful activism is deprived of the opportunity to have a more refined democracy and accountable governance.
* Common factors which have a history of frustrating the existence and growth of youth activism include press censorship, bureaucracy and also manhunt in some cases.
In an age where Information communication technology plays a major role to expose flaws in budgetary allocations, exposing malpractices, putting the real issues on the table and pushing for change in policies and decision making, Governments must not overlook these contributions made by the youth and must provide an enabling environment where active youth activism promotes good and accountable governance in a tech savvy society.
Technology offers the youths with innovative and multi-faceted ways to:
1. Voice out their opinions on government policies and issues of concern to their target audience through multifaceted social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Blogs etc. Good examples would be the “Bring back out Girls campaign” and many others.
2. Test government efficacy by making all elements and information associated to governance and government decisions. accessible to both the government and citizenry such as figures and technical related to public projects
3. Facilitate accountable governance in data collection and record keeping through data management systems
4. Simplify and make all elements and information associated to governance and government decisions accessible to both the government and citizenry through interactive websites and mobile applications.
Examples of How Technology is Influencing Youth Activism and Accountable Governance in Africa
BudgIT – Facilitating Social change and Development by using Technology to simplify a Country’s State/Regional and National Budget.
yourbudgit.com (Subsites for other countries Ghana: http://budgitghana.com , Sierra Leone: http://budgitsl.com ) The website targets the urban youth, Civil Society Organizations and government institutions to:
1. Track Government approved Projects, eliminate corruption and also identify cases of abandoned government projects within their States.
2. Present abridged State and National budgets in the form of infographics, interactive application, Videos and quick data access on all government projects to enable a citizen to ask clear and relevant questions pertaining to Government spending.
3. Publish bi-annual policy document that for improving budget processes, institutions and encouraging transparency.
Social Media Tools
Using dynamism to effect Social and Political change, a lot of African Youth are resorting to Facebook, Twitter etc… to mobilize and create awareness on issues. The most popular approach to attracting attention is the use of the Hashtag, campaign creation of specific issues pertaining to the freedom of individuals and the call to address issues
Jessica Agbanu : Marketing and Product Manager EDEL Technology Consulting
Ethel Cofie : CEO EDEL Technology Consulting