The mHub, Malawi’s first ever technology hub has developed an ICT platform to foster engagement between citizens, elected officials and service providers in addressing social economic problems the citizenry face.
The platform dubbed ‘Mzinda’ combines sound methodology with mobile phones to increase meaningful citizen participation with local government, elected counselors and service providers.
Speaking during orientation workshop for councilors and Parliamentarians in Blantyre on Thursday, mHub Community Manager, Vincent Kumwenda said Mzinda would facilitate evidenced based citizen engagement to enhance accountability and improve service delivery.
“We noted lack of efficient mechanisms for direct engagement between citizens, elected councillors, local government and service providers; and there is no accountable service delivery that meets people’s most pressing needs,” pointed out Kumwenda.
He said through Mzinda, the country’s citizenry would be able to engage elected leaders and service providers in finding solutions to their challenges, adding there has always been very minimal engagement between citizens, elected leaders and local government after elections.
“ICT has the potential to enhance citizen engagement transparency and accountability apart from enabling vulnerable groups to participate in development initiatives.”
Mzinda platform is expected to enable citizens to engage with elected councillors, local government and service providers using free SMS on mobile phones; facilitates evidence based engagement; engage the media to distil citizens’ reports and follow up with stakeholders, and creates a platform for stakeholders to engage with citizens.
Blantyre City Council Director of Administrative Services, Alfred Nyengo hailed the initiative, saying it will improve the interaction of citizens and elected officials.
“Those elected in public positions will be able to know challenges their electorates face and be able to find solutions that benefit communities. The citizens themselves will able be able torate the responses from stakeholders,” said Nyengo.
Mzinda is supported by Story Workshop and Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (Osisa) among others.