Web-based Digital Advocacy Platforms (WBDAPs) for Social Accountability on Health sector on COVID 19 funds.

Grassroots Development Initiatives Foundation-Kenya (GRADIF-K) is a Public National Community Development Foundation founded in 2006 and legally registered with relevant authorities in 2007. The organisation supports sustainable development by working with grassroots structures at community level to improve the life of vulnerable and marginalized groups in selected age-appropriate, rights-based, gender-sensitive, culturally responsive, poverty-stricken, and resource-scarce regions in Kenya.
To facilitate the work, GRADIF-K works with organized, legally registered community groups, including Women & Youth groups, Community Based organizations (CBOs), Faith-Based organizations (FBOs), and related grassroots structures. They also engage County, National Government ministries, research, and institutions of learning in community mobilization, sensitization, capacity development, policy advocacy to actively participate in sustainable development guided by equal opportunities for all. The critical broad thematic areas of GRADIF’s work include Democracy, Citizens Participation and Governance, Economic Livelihoods, Social Protection, and Organizational Capacity Development.

The web-based Digital Advocacy Platforms (WBDAPs) for Social Accountability on Health sector COVID-19 funds project facilitates access to information to citizens in Kenya. This enables them to scrutinize the utilization of public funds and raise the alarm in the case of embezzlement of COVID-19 funds. The platform aims to connect citizens to reliable information that allows them to monitor the performance of their governments in public expenditure. To facilitate an issue-based and people-centred project, citizens can select critical areas to prioritize. This project relates to the 2020/21 Social Innovation Challenge theme of Government Accountability & Transparency.

Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) reported a 7.5 billion Kenyan shillings (USD 62 million) loss in COVID-19 funds. Corruption and fraudulent practices in the procurement of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies were prevalent, with alleged misuse of funds earmarked for personal protective clothing (PPE) for health workers countrywide. This loss negatively transformed the country’s COVID-19 response, with poor people disproportionately affected.
GRADIF-K is leveraging technology to facilitate citizens’ access to information and involvement in demanding accountability. This allows citizens to understand the resource allocation processes, raise their level of civic awareness, and ultimately promote public engagement in government projects.

According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (2019), approximately 20.6 million Kenyans own a mobile phone. Mobile technologies play a vital facilitating role in encouraging citizens to get involved in political action by opening new communication channels between people and governments, potentially offering greater access to public information and essential services.

GRADIF-K created a platform prototype to promote social accountability in the Health sector around COVID-19 funds. Some key features are below.

  • Login Credentials for CSOs with a unique identifier
  • List of health projects supported by County government
  • List for Capital Projects and Non-Capital projects
  • Stakeholder Feedback
  • Interface Meeting Reports and Action Plans
  • Calls to action encourage visitors to do more, e.g., sign a petition.

5. Long-term Expected project results
Access to information will enable citizens to scrutinize the utilization of public funds and raise the alarm in case of embezzlement of the COVID-19 funds. It will also allow citizens to identify key areas they would like prioritized, making an issue-based and people-centred budget. Citizens have a chance to understand the resource allocation processes and improve their oversight of health governance.
Citizens will raise their civic awareness level, thus promoting public engagement in government issues through e-governance on projects