To enhance the public’s knowledge about Ghana’s Right to Information (RTI) Law, and amplify their voices to effectively monitor and hold government to account, the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) has set up the Citizens Access to Information Support Centre.
The Centre will provide support to applicants who are using Ghana’s RTI law to request information from public institutions either at the local, regional or national levels. It will also provide guidance on how the public, particularly, the vulnerable and marginalized in society, can request information or appeal a decision using the law. General questions about the right to information law, including the processes and requirements, will also be answered when applicants reach out to the Support Centre.
The Centre will be open on weekdays from Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm. RTI applicants can call or send WhatsApp via 0531323225. Alternatively, applicants can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In line with the above, the MFWA is rolling out a massive training programme for citizens across the country. The training workshops are aimed at increasing citizens’ knowledge of Ghana’s RTI law and empowering them with the skillsets to utilise the law to seek information held by public institutions, particularly on development issues and the utilisation of public funds.
Already, an initial 400 citizens across Greater Accra and Ashanti regions who expressed interest in such training opportunities are currently participating in a series of RTI training workshops. This will be expanded to cover other regions in the country.
“The RTI law is critical for national development. However, since it became functional in 2020, citizens knowledge and utilisation of the law are still low. The capacity building workshops are MFWA’s way of raising awareness and empowering the public to participate in accountable governance processes and hold those in power in check” Adizatu Moro Maiga, Programme Officer, MFWA said.
Since 2019, the MFWA has implemented several interventions including bootcamps for journalists, seminars for Chief Executives Officers (MMDCEs) of Metropolitan Municipal and District assemblies across the country, community durbars, and forums as well as the creation of citizen groups in some MMDAs. The organisation has also produced and disseminated RTI Guidebooks to media and the general public. The MFWA has developed answers to FAQs as well as a study on the level of compliance with the law by public officials at some of Ghana’s MMDAs.