App to empower youths to track budgets, demand better from govts

African youths

FollowTheMoney, a civic engagement platform and flagship initiative of Connected Development (CODE), has launched its grassroot-based mobilisation tool in six different languages.

The tool which encourages social inclusion, quality service delivery and social justice through tracking budgetary allocations and funds expended to provide quality education, healthcare facilities and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene infrastructures.

To be hosted on Web, Android & IOS Apps, the initiative is set to be up-scaled and launched in Kenya, Gambia, Malawi, Cameroon, Liberia, Zimbabwe, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Cape Verde.

According to a press release, the platform will run in six languages of Arabic, French, Amharic, Swahili, Portuguese and English, which are the most widely spoken languages across these countries.

“The platform will be an upgraded version of the iFollowTheMoney (iFTM); a data-driven online platform. It will host courses that will empower youths with the knowledge and skills to initiate budget tracking, citizen engagement, policy formulation, advocacy, and execution in their local dialect.

"A platform is designed to benefit countries that share similar challenges of a death of good governance, misappropriation of funds, and lack of accountability and transparency at all levels of governance structure,” reads the statement.

Lawal: We want citizens to enjoy the dividends of democracy

Hamzat Lawal, the Chief Executive of Connected Development acknowledged the platform will empower youths with the right tools to seek and demand better from the government and advance democracy.

“Our goal is to ensure that citizens in nine countries have the capacity and knowledge to drive accountability and transparency in public governance. We want citizens to enjoy the dividends of democracy and this tool is designed to foster participation in public space and public discourse in indigenous languages,”

Program Officer at CODE, Pearl Utuk, stated that the FTM platform would take lessons from Nigeria to advance accountability in the public sector, in other African countries.

The Follow the Money initiative during its launch in Malawi in this file photo 

“This civic tech tool which has proven effective in Nigeria will be tested across the nine countries, and learnings garnered will aid future up scaling across Africa. The African Union Civic Tech Fund (AUCTF) which supported the up scaling of this platform shows effective problem analysis on the continent. The Fund challenges other stakeholders to support similar developments as well as the need for collaborations between civil society organisations working to drive social accountability in Africa,” she said.

The FTM platform is expected to build and empower an online community of passionate citizens to actively participate in governance and hold their government accountable for effective governance and quality service delivery in Africa.

With the sectors involved it is projected to trigger and host conversations that create ripple effects on awareness, citizens can hold their elected representatives to account, thereby ensuring a strengthened democracy.