Code for Ghana, one of Mobile Web Ghana’s currently running projects has been selected as winner of the FIRE Award 2015 (e-Development Category). This award was received by Florence Toffa, Director of Mobile Web Ghana on behalf of the Code for Ghana team. Code for Ghana is a project being implemented by Mobile Web Ghana with funding from Making All Voices Count and technical support from the Web Foundation. The goal of the project is to deepen Ghana’s democracy and enhance effective citizen engagement with the government by harnessing the power of open data and technology. On her part, Madam Florence Toffa was very thankful to her team at Code for Ghana for their relentless support. She also added that the project is looking to rapidly scale its impact beyond the newsrooms into other relevant areas of local governance.

The  Fire Africa Awards provides funds for projects, initiatives, tools and platforms that harness the power of the Internet to empower the local and regional community to solve the region’s unique online communications problems. It began operation in 2007 with a pilot project to identify innovative ICT solutions to the challenges faced by local communities. Since then, Fire Africa has grown into a fully-fledged programme that has been of immense help to over 30 initiatives in 16 countries over the last 8 years.  

The Awards ceremony was held in Joao Pessoa in Brazil this year. It was a week long conference which was well attended by Internet lovers and users from all over the world. The award ceremony itself took place on Wednesday, 11th November, 2015. We submitted the Code for Ghana project as one of the entries for this year’s awards. After the initial proposal stage we were asked to send a short video capturing the entire purpose of the project and why we deem the project worth funding. It is a great honor bestowed on us to be selected as one of the three winners of the award this year.

 

Code for Ghana has been actively involved in the process of establishing a data-journalism culture in Ghanaian newsrooms in the past few months. As such, we embedded data fellows in three media houses as a pilot project. Their duties there as data experts was to train journalists in data driven journalism – specifically how to come up with data stories and design visualizations to make the stories more interesting and compelling. We did this in partnership with the following media houses: Graphic Communications Group Limited, Citi Fm and Ghana News Agency. In all, the data fellows did a great job in introducing the newsroom staffs in the various media houses to data driven journalism tools that they can also use to enhance the stories they tell.

 

The Code for Ghana project wasn’t the only winner of the award; two other projects won awards. These are: Malisanté and and Cote Na Tshombo. “Malisante is a medical information platform for the people of Mali. To achieve its goal, Malisanté uses web and mobile technology. The available information includes medical facilities’ addresses, and healthcare professionals contact details”. Côte na Tshombo is also a software solution which integrates an SMS Gateway application, a database server and a Web portal. The purpose of this information system is to enable Professors at local Universities throughout the country, DR Congo, to publish students’ exam marks so that they may enquire the system to get their results.

 

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Lexis Ntiamoah Ayisi

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