Rightly or wrongly, elections sit firmly at the centre of modern-day democracies. But how many of us are truly informed? What access do we enjoy to really impartial content that is not trying to spin us a particular line or get us behind one party or another? Ghana is no stranger to this problem and it’s something that local NGO, PenPlusBytes recognise. We are supporting them with a grant of £10,862 to help them develop several tools and projects aimed at improving the quality of debate and information around Ghana’s upcoming November elections. The project consists of three main components:
- Ghana Elections Record: Based on the existing African Elections tool, this platform will track campaign promises made by candidates and allow citizens to comment on their merits and discuss their priorities. In addition, the tool will track current campaign promises against historical performance of the party. In this way, voters will be able to tell if these promises have been made before, whether the party in question has a good track record on the issue and how likely it is that they will keep their promises if they get in to power.
- Youth Participation: All too often, young people are ill informed about politics or simply not interested. It’s a narrative many people hear whenever an election comes around. PenPlusBytes will develop and distribute content via social media aimed at informing and empowering young and first-time voters.
- Issues-based journalism: By creating infographics and press-friendly pieces, PenPluBytes hope to improve the quality of journalistic coverage of the elections. Rather than focusing on the trivialities of personal lives and mudslinging, PenPlusBytes will work with different media outlets to increase the number of stories and programmes focused on real issues and not distractions.
With the elections just a few weeks away, PenPlusBytes have their work cut out, but we believe that they have the skills and knowledge to make a real difference in the elections.