The Barrow-meter, an online platform that will allow citizens to be informed on yearly budgetary allocation and how the allocated budget is spent is about to be implemented in The Gambia.
The initiative is being championed by The Gambia YMCA Computer Training Centre and Digital Studio in partnership with Team GomSaBopa. The overall objective of the project is to hold all levels of government accountable to the citizenry of The Gambia in terms of service delivery under a transparent modus operandi within the context of the new democratic dispensation in The Gambia.
At a press briefing held on Wednesday, Baboucarr Ceesay of YMCA disclosed that the project shall question the measures in place to disallow misuse of public funds, and ensure that funds allocated are used for what they are earmarked.
He recalled that during the past 22 years of rule, Gambians were misled and misinformed about current affairs, adding that there were no proper accountability measures; the media was controlled and could not air public views that were constructive criticisms against the transparency of government spending on public funds.
He continued: ‘It is a web portal and mobile app where citizens can engage directly on what is happening within government, as well as a progress meter that’ll show advances made towards fulfilling these projects as part of our activity process, there will be a peer learning session, where we shall be inviting Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), who created the Buhari-meter and also the citizen engagement site (YoonuYokkute) of Senegal that monitors the performance of the President of Senegal.’
The teams from Senegal and Nigeria, he said, will have crosscutting seminar like sessions with the Gambian team and various advocacy stakeholder groups including parliamentarians during this peer review process activity.
For his part, Ali Cham widely known by his moniker KillaAce, said the overall idea of the project is to ensure that the population of the country safeguards the democracy that they voted for and that is through citizen engagement.
We know that there is a lot of civic awareness that needs to be done because if you don’t have a certain level of awareness, it would be hard to engage citizens. We are doing this in partnership with Y Plus, where we will go on tour throughout the six regions hopeful to engage the public on citizen’s responsibility’.
The nationwide campaign will the form of Town Hall Meetings, Workshops, Theatre, Door to Door Sensitization Campaign among others to send the message across.