In Transparency International’s recent Corruption Perceptions Index, Nigeria was rated 143rd out of 183 countries. Given this fact, we’re delighted to announce a grant of £5,000 to iWatchLive, a web application that not only allows citizens to access Nigerian government budget data, but also allows them to report back on incidences of corruption and poor service delivery, thereby highlighting the areas in which government is failing to live up to its promises.
The site, which is in its early stages and is being supported by the great team at Co-Creation Hub, collects together budget data from various ministries in Nigeria, as well as specific government promises, such as a pledge to build a new factory, overhaul the education system or renovate run-down hospitals. Using the plans, projects, programmes, and promises made by the government as milestones, iWatchLive will measure and highlight how effective government has been in each sector of the economy in terms of achieving the promised growth and development. Citizens will be able to use the site to report back on how much progress has been made towards achieving these goals in their local areas. Using this data, activists will be able to build up a comprehensive picture of the state of service delivery and inefficiency across Nigeria and to hold government to account.
As well as holding government to account, the site’s creator hopes that it will be used to engage ordinary citizens in politics, stimulate debate and lead to long-lasting change in Nigeria. Clearly, the scale of the problem is immense and it will take a great deal of effort on both the part of government and civil society to change not only the perception of corruption, but also the grim, everyday reality. iWatchLive is certainly a step in the right direction and, we hope, just the first in a series of projects that use technology to hold those in power to account.
iWatch was one of the tech tools showcased at the African Civil Society and Governance Assessment Conference which held in Dakar from Nov 10-12 2011. To read more, click here.