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Ghana: Using mobile phones to conduct post-APRM monitoring surveys
In 2005 the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) conducted a Ghana Country Self-Assessment; which identified inadequate consultations between local authorities and civil society in addressing governance and service delivery challenges.
The Governing Council of the APRM as a result of the identified challenge mooted the concept of District APRM Oversight Committees to afford local actors the opportunity to jointly monitor progress in governance and service delivery and seek ways of addressing challenges. The District Governance Assessment Project therefore started in 2009 in 20 then 40 districts across the country with a participation as at 2011, of an average 11,000 citizens.
The project could not expand into more districts in subsequent assessments due to the high cost of printing, transporting and administering the governance and service delivery assessment instrument, the difficulty of the District Oversight Committee (DOC) members in analyzing the data collected on the citizens report cards as well as time constraints which was mainly associated with the cumbersome nature of using the citizen’s report cards.
APRM’s 2012 Governance assessment is being supported by UNDP regional office in Dakar and the Ghana Country office. Due to the difficulties associated with the use of the citizen’s report card as numerated above, UNDP’s regional office in Dakar supported a pilot initiative using mobile technology for data collection aspect of the assessment. The specific results the EpiSurvey mobile data collection software sought to achieve includes (1) a reduction in the cost of printing, transporting and administering the governance and service delivery assessment instrument, (2) an improvement in the quality of data collection, and (3) the completion and presentation of governance assessment reports within set time frames. The mobile data collection software was developed by Mobile Web Ghana with the requisite features for efficient data collection.
In general, the mobile technology has resulted in an improvement in the efficiency and accuracy of data and will be replicated to cover more districts in subsequent assessments. It is expected that this year’s governance assessments using mobile technology will involve the participation of about 15,000 citizens representing a 36% increase in the level of participation