Praised platform holds the President accountable
Diakonia’s digital platform in Burkina Faso received first prize by Transparency International for improving citizen engagement. The Présimètre monitors how the government is implementing its commitments and is a tool for citizens to hold the government accountable.
When Transparency International last week announced the ”Digital Award for Transparency” Diakonia’s digital platform the Présimètre won the category of citizen engagement for being an effective tool allowing citizens to monitor public policies and fight corruption. The prize is initiated by the French Foreign Ministry. The platform is managed by Diakonia but is a collaboration between 14 different civil society organizations. It is funded by the European Union and the Swedish Embassy.
Civil society’s role in peaceful elections
In 2015 Burkina Faso held its first democratic elections in half a century. The people had ousted an authoritarian leader and were ready for a democratic leadership. Civil society organizations throughout the country mobilized themselves for the elections, and many created the coalition Codel. Codel, with the support of Diakonia, played an important role before, after and during the elections, including by doing a parallel vote count. The fact that the results tallied with the official results reduced suspicions of vote rigging and prevented violence.
Web-based platform holds the President accountable
Free elections are only a small part of a democratic culture. Therefore civil society, with support from Diakonia, decided to hold the new President accountable for his election promises through increased transparency and public accountability. The Présimètre programme was born. Apart from the web portal it also includes other activities to increase the dialogue between citizens and decision makers.
The President answered questions on live TV
29 April 2016 the first ‘citizen dialogue’ was held on live TV, where President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré answered questions from the people on his first 100 days in power. It was the first time that the citizens could hold their leader accountable in such a straightforward way. Since then, several other similar dialogues have taken place with Ministers and other government staff. Public discussions have also been organized outside of the capital Ouagadougou, where local leaders have answered questions from their people. This has led to greater transparency of the leadership in the country and increased citizen engagement.
Increased transparency and knowledge
The Burkinabe’s have learned more about public policy and been able to comment on and influence priorities through the web platform. Central parts of the government’s development plan have been selected and are monitored closely. For example, users can see how specific objectives of the country’s education plan are implemented and comment on whether they think that the Government is keeping its promises.