The “Improving Service Delivery In Rural Communities Through Technology” panel session highlighted how Budeshi.ng and Tracka have been used to enhance implementation, tracking and red flagging of contractors and projects in over 20 states and 1,200 projects.
Budeshi (which is Hausa for “Open it”) is a site that links budget and procurement data to various public services. The data is accessible to the public.
Speaking at the event, Gift Omoidedia, Budeshi Program Director at Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC), noted that tracking budgets, projects and procurement is cumbersome and this makes it difficult for citizens to gather data on projects using the freedom of information act. Budeshi gives projects unique codes that are trackable and red flags undelivered projects in rural communities.
Tracka is a social platform of/for active citizens who are interested in monitoring budgets and public projects in their communities. Layered on Open Data and integrated with existing social media tools, this platform is intended to bring people together to share photos, videos, documents and also post comments on existing projects.
According to Uadamen Ilevbaoje, Tracka Lead at BUDGIT, most often, rural dwellers do not have a voice because they are unaware of the right communication channels to harness. But Tracka makes the process of project implementation easier for rural dwellers.
Juliet Ibekaku – Nwagwu, LL.M, Coordinator of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), also shared insights from her experience of enhancing service delivery in rural communities. Part of what the OGP does in Nigeria includes investigation of projects and contractors, black-listing noncompliant contractors, linking budget and procurement for transparent disbursement of funds as well as simplifying the process of bidding for contracts.
It is important for every Nigerian to get involved in government, explore technological tools like Budeshi and Tracka and help amplify the plights of rural community dwellers in order to improve service delivery in these areas.