Can an app help stop corruption? In the project “Action for Transparency” an app plays an important role in making it possible for citizens to report suspected corruption. This can indeed be a way to ensure that money for primary schools and health care centers for the inhabitants of Nairobi, Kenya, are not lost on the way.
To speak out and report about corruption can be dangerous in Kenya – even though corruption is viewed as one of the major problems this country faces. In addition, the lack of access to information about the disbursement of public funds makes it practically impossible to follow the money, especially by citizens. This makes public funds very vulnerable to corruption and misuse.
Action for Transparency (A4T) empowers citizens, journalists, civil servants, civil society activists and government employees to report on suspected corruption experienced in their everyday lives. Using a mobile phone or a computer with Internet access, anyone is able to check the amount of government money pledged to a number of schools and health clinics in Nairobi – and the amount actually received and spent. One can also submit more general reports concerning for example illegal fees or tuitions, lack of teachers, nurses or doctors or if there are other services that are not being delivered. By exposing which institutions and individuals are involved in corruption and providing the data to journalists and activist groups, corruption becomes less attractive. Information about the app/web and a toll-free Kenyan phone number (0800720721) is being spread through a public awareness campaign.
Fact: Health centres are reimbursed by the government for the deliveries they facilitate on a quarterly basis through the Maternity programme. However, in the Nairobi sub-county Embakasi, health centres experience delays of up to 1 year, forcing expectant mothers to pay for some of their delivery costs.
Kenyan journalists and human rights activists have generally little knowledge of how to access, assess and communicate information about government budgets. 2,000 journalists, civil society activists and civil servants in in Nairobi will be trained to access, assess and communicate information on government budgeting. Special training and grants are being offered to journalists in these subjects.
Action for Transparency is in this way fighting corruption and mismanagement of government funds by putting the power to change in the hands of citizens. The four-year programme started in April 2015 and is financed by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).
Fact: The Ministry of Education makes disbursements directly to school accounts every term. All disbursements are made on average, 6 weeks late (i.e. after schools open) and this affects the ability of the schools to provide education services as required, especially the purchase of textbooks and exercise books.