Ghana on Thursday initiated a development information portal, “www.tsoboi.com”, to shore up efforts to access and share local relevant development information.
The Ghana Information Development Portal (GDIP) platform would serve as a one-stop online shop for accessing locally relevant development content to improve knowledge management and information access to ensure the availability of information as a key development resource.
The GDIP, which was a programme developed under the Sustainable Rural Livelihood Project (SRLP) was currently linked to the Government of Ghana Portal, www.ghana.gov.gh and the interface managed by the National Information Services Department (ISD) under the Ministry of Information would also support better coordination and harmonization of development activities nationwide.
At the media launch of the product in Accra, Mr Ernest Attu Quaye Armah, Deputy Minister of Communication, said the content of the portal was expected to feed into Community Information Centres established by the Ministry of Communications across the length and breadth of the country.
He further explained that the GDIP would use mobile phone applications such as SMS to provide information to citizens who had no access to laptops, desktop computers or related connectivity.
He said the Ministry recognized that the deployment and exploitation of ICTs could facilitate the sustainable rural livelihoods in deprived communities, adding “with Ghana enjoying a tremendous growth in the Telecommunication market coupled with the extensive investments in network rolled out across the country, I am informed that one of your products uses SMS platform for relaying information of foodstuffs on the GDIP”.
He said this would facilitate the creation of wealth for farmers especially at the deprived communities and also at a relatively low overhead cost.
Mr Armah also hinted that the GDIP initiative had already commenced discussions with the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC), which was pursuing programmes to ensure that rural communities had access to ICT tools to facilitate their contributions to national development.
The initiative which was spearheaded by Africa 2000 Network Ghana in collaboration with the Ministry of Communication and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) under the SRLP would ensure that Ghanaians shared and had continuous access to relevant development information to facilitate accelerated poverty reduction and the protection of the vulnerable as well as the excluded within a decentralized democratic environment.
Mr Armah said access to information had become very important as a result of globalization and consequently strategies such as the right-based approach to development where community members were empowered through education on their rights in respect of what Government and its decentralized duty bearers were expected to do for them, had become the trend.
He commended the initiators of the product and explained that the idea was premised on addressing the current situation where citizens and development practitioners working in different parts of the country found it difficult to access information on resources and support that could contribute to resolving development related challenges that they were tackling.
He however recommended constant monitoring and evaluation of the initiative as well as flexibility in the implementation particularly considering that the level of ICT literacy in rural communities might be a bit lower.
He stressed that the Ministry was glad to be associated with the initiative which was a call for action on information sharing and encouraged all development related information institutions, agencies and practitioners to contribute to providing relevant content and updating their content on GDIP as regular as possible as well as patronize the empowering information that would be found on the portal.
Mr Charles Nii Ayiku Ayiku, Representative of the Technical Team, ISD, the Department was actively involved especially in the area of content management and had started receiving data and other information from some of the Officers in the various regions from their various communities to enhance the portal.