Citizens for Justice (CFJ) as it continues to conduct evidence-based advocacy and lobbying in advancing good governance and socio-economic justice realizing the right for vulnerable and marginalized Malawians has partnered with mHub, Malawi’s first technology hub and the Story Workshop Education Trust. With the help of funding from Open Society Initiative for Southern (OSISA), we are carrying out a civic technology project that aims to fill the gap that exists of a lack of efficient mechanisms for citizens to engage with their elected Councilors, Members of Parliament, City Councils and service providers like the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) and theWater Board.
Under the project, mHub developed and deployed a citizen engagement platform www.mzinda.com. Citizens can send an SMS or sign up on the platform and report on an issue in their area. The leaders and service providers can retrieve reports within their mandate and respond accordingly.
The project takes advantage of the rapid mobile penetration rate and the use of a mobile technology platform as a tool to enhance citizen engagement. On 25th July 2016, the City Councilors of Lilongwe were trained on the platform. The response was great, some councilors tested the platform and were excited for such an initiative. The Mayor of Lilongwe City who was present at the training welcomed the idea and said it has always been difficult to know what is happening in different areas and recommended that this platform will help them a lot to keep in contact with their people.
Mr. Mwangonde the Executive Director of CFJ, present at the training, made a significant presentation about the right to development and the role of councilors in this realising this constitutional right. The councilors were reminded of their duty and the fact that citizens whom they serve have a right to development. The developer Mr. Hara demonstrated how to use of the platform and councilors were able to try it out. The guest of honor at the event, the Lilongwe City Mayor, Mr. Chapondera, also made remarks in his speech he welcomed the idea and urged that such platforms will help to hear from people, and recommended the great initiative that has come up to consider the councilors.
See mHub’s post on the same launch here.