Action for transparency, a project aimed at strengthening transparency and accountability in Kenya, is working on launching a mobile application that will enable Kenyans keep track of the government’s expenditure, gauge the services provided, monitor and report corruption cases within the government both at national and county level.
The app is centered mainly on the education and health sector which are the most sensitive and also the highest recipients of government funding. Given the numerous complains on poor service delivery as well as corruption in the two sectors and an answered questions on the government’s expenditure, this app may be a game changer.
The app will allow citizens to view the resources allocated, when they were allocated and how the resources were utilized in both public hospitals and schools.
The app will also have a map that will help people locate both public schools and health facilities near them. Through the app people will also have access to sites for schools that will provide both pupil and teacher population and the teacher to students ratio. For hospitals the app will provide data on the available staff and services offered.
On launching, the app will be available on both android and iOs, catering to a majority and will have no charges whatsoever.
It is the agency’s belief that by providing citizens with the right information and platform they will be better equipped to fight corruption. Responses on the services provided in government facilities will also ensure provision of better and improved services. Tracking the government’s expenditure will see that funds are properly appropriated and any irregularities may easily be traced.
The government embracing ICT has taken a long time but the efforts are nonetheless commendable. The app is a brilliant idea as accountability and transparency is needed from the government now more than ever given the launch of devolution.
Illiteracy is however still very high in Kenya and much so computer illiteracy. The app may be genius but it may not benefit those intended, particularly the rural Kenya. Given the high poverty rates in better parts of the country, affording a smart phone to access the app may be very difficult.
The app may be away to improve transparency but it is not to say that it may not fall victim to the very corruption it seeks to fight. It is very easy to doctor information on the sites and it would be very interesting to know how the agency and the government plans to deal with this as well as any other loopholes that could be on the app.
It will also be better if the app included the criterion used by the government in allocating resources to the various sectors, those in charge and data on the government’s previous expenditure.
The app being Kenyan is impressive as it means that many more people are embracing app development. This is also job creation for those that have been tasked with developing and maintaining the app and the sites and thus a good effort by the government to reduce unemployment and support innovation.
Really looking forward to giving the app a try and hopefully it will meet the high expectations that have been put forth. I believe this is one app that may revolutionize the country if used as envisioned and is definitely a must have for every Kenyan.