The Twin Cities of the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly (STMA) in Ghana are known for their vast forests and beautiful beaches. But following the discovery of oil and other natural resources, the Metropolitan Assembly experienced rapid urban growth. This increase in population led to high levels of corruption in acquiring land and development permits and increased illegal construction work.
To address these issues, civil society organizations partnered with the government to create a digital platform that informs citizens of infrastructure projects happening in the area. The platform, known as STMA360, completely digitizes the application process for development permits, allowing citizens to monitor these applications online, and reduces the chances of bribery and other forms of corruption when applying for permits. The platform has been very well received by government officials, civil society groups, and everyday citizens.
In the meantime, STMA360 also empowers citizens by giving them access to information on land use (commercial, residential, mining and agricultural) and development projects, including new buildings, schools, and houses. The platform will also allow users to report irregularities in land use back to the metropolitan government such as billboards built without permits or abandoned construction sites.
By the end of 2019, the government and civil society organizations will train more than two hundred local “community champions”, to enhance their understanding of public infrastructure information and ways to use it to demand greater accountability.