For Immediate Release: Call for Media Participation

The Code for Ghana project is calling for interested Media Houses that will like to use data to tell meaningful stories and bring technology innovation to their newsrooms to apply to be part of the initiative.

Code for Ghana is an initiative that aims to deepen citizen engagement and strengthen democracy through data-driven journalism, digital technology and the use of Open Data. As part of activities for the project, Code for Ghana will embed highly qualified data professionals in media houses who will work with Software Developers and User Experience/User Interface Designers at the Mobile Web Ghana Hub. These teams of Data Experts will serve as catalysts and enablers to help create the internal systems and resources necessary to entrench data as a critical component of the Ghanaian newsroom culture. They will also be responsible for the creation of Open Data platforms: avenues that afford citizens the privilege of direct access to useful and accurate data.

Every year, the Government, Development Organization’s, Civil Society Organisations and NGO’s release some data to the general public. Such data in their raw state are undecipherable. This phenomenon has also made it necessary to include data analysts to the team of experts who will be embedded in the media houses. Their main role will be to analyse available data and break it down for the layman to understand. Data could be represented in more friendly formats such as graphs, pie charts, maps, web and mobile applications etc. to ensure that the real state of the country is understandable to all.

Ample accurate information in the hands of citizens is a great weapon to fight corruption and make government transparent and accountable to citizens. According to Florence Toffa (Director of Mobile Web Ghana and the project coordinator), the project is largely about ‘the use of digital tools to redefine citizen engagement’. Citizens are in the best position to assess government institutions and identify priorities for reforms when they are well informed about the activities of those institutions. Essentially, that is the main focus of this project. When the project achieves its aim, it will improve the kind of discourses we hear on our airwaves and in private discussions. Citizens will become more data-conscious, hence there will be an upsurge of evidence-based discussions which will translate into collective-action against corrupt activities.

By supporting this noble cause, media houses get to lend a helping hand to the ordinary Ghanaian in a very innovative way. This is a fight against corruption (which is a menace stunting growth of African economies). It is a fight against that which affects us all, therefore we need all hands on deck.

###Expectations of Host Media Organization The expertise and experience of media men will really be needed to make the project a success. This project will depend on a great deal of commitment and resources from the Code for Ghana team. We expect an equal amount of commitment from our host media organizations. We are in search of media organisations that will be interested in working on open data projects to promote citizen engagement. The ideal media organisation should meet the following criteria:

  • Ability to host our team of data fellows in their newsroom for at least six months. Cost involved will be covered by Code for Ghana.
  • Ability to engage our fellows and support their work with your organisation without neglecting their requests
  • Selected media houses may be requested to send some journalists to be trained in data journalism and join other data journalism discussions.
  • Provide an interesting data-driven journalism project that you will be willing to collaborate with our fellows to execute. This could be in the form of a mobile app, website, a data portal or an SMS value added service.
  • Commit a dedicated team to the project. The success of individual projects can’t be achieved by our data fellows alone, it will require a lot of assistance from their host organizations.
  • The host media organisation should also be able to demonstrate ability to start its own open data initiatives, embed data fellows and show post project commitment. Our goal is to create sustainable projects that will have a long term impact on citizens.

Apply Now. Deadline for application is 23rd March, 2015 (Extended). CONTACT DETAILS: Florence Toffa 020 763 0718

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