In a bid to provide African citizens with access to evidence on COVID-19 resources, leading social accountability initiatives, Follow The Money and BudgIT, with learning partners Global Integrity, launched a comprehensive user-friendly COVID-19 Fund Africa website as part of the COVID-19 Transparency & Accountability Project (CTAP).
The COVID Africa Tracking website has flexible navigation and functionality that allows visitors to access all data on COVID in Africa, including intervention resources, funds allocations, palliative distributions, accurate number of cases, data on COVID funds, vaccine management and government’s responsiveness.
The COVID tracking site also featured COVID analysis and research resources for seven focus countries: Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Cameroon and Nigeria. It highlights COVID status in these countries and also features knowledge centers on human angle stories curated from citizens across the countries. Built with a focus on user’s experience, the one-stop website (https://www.covidfund.africa/) has some of these attributes;
- Live Updates on COVID data on a daily basis from all over Africa:
- Data Display to provide face-level information on the total number of COVID fund allocation to Africa and COVID cases.
- Resource Filters which allows citizens to easily narrow down to the country or specific resource portfolio by clicking the African country they would like data on.
- Research and Papers on COVID tracking and government’s responsiveness in Africa.
- Rapid Response Functionality allowing the site to be compatible with all browsers and mobile devices.
All of these have allowed us a window of opportunity to engage with governments from all our focus countries, as this gives us opportunity to make informed decisions and ask the right questions from the concerned government officials across board. We believe we have led the way, we expect more citizens to take action with the information they now have access to.
Covidfund.africa harnesses all data gathered from our work across Africa. The process that went into this included all partners submitting relevant data sets from in country, most especially our focus country, this was because, we understood some of these donations will not be on the world wide web because they were private donations, for example, Nigeria was able to raise over N20bn from private individuals across the country when COVID-19 hit the country, it was important to capture data sets like this, as this allowed us to know the full story concerning both cash and material donations. CTAP project leads in Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Cameroon were able to provide data sets of private donors from the country.
All the gathered data needs to tell stories that can be related to by individuals and stakeholders across Africa. We also wanted the policy makers and leaders across all our focus countries to understand that we are aware and we are mapping out and implementing informed strategies to aid the reduction of corruption in the system of administering the funds received by individual countries.
The platform does not only tell stories of data gathered, it’s also a repository of knowledge gathered across our focus countries, this includes, the research documents, human angle stories across Africa, Infographics, efforts to track in real time COVID-19 cases across africa and also tell stories as to how our focus countries are mitigating the effects of the pandemic in their respective countries. The platform has also allowed people to tell their stories and share challenges which they ordinarily will be afraid of sharing due to the consequences that follow such actions.
In the past year, the website has had over 5,000,000 unique visits across the globe, this indicates that we are doing something right and we have also got some feedback to help improve the platform to better serve the needs of Africans and provide the best accountability platform everyone can trust. Our hope is that this platform actually gives every African the opportunity to hold their leaders accountable and give the insight to ask the right questions that will spur actions.
The CTAP project needed to not only speak about the funds and donations coming into all African countries, we also wanted a platform where everyone who wants information concerning these funds can log into and get information. The success recorded by CTAP in all our focus countries largely sits on the back of the data we were able to collect from all open source platforms available to us. Bilateral, multilateral and private donors were the largest contributors to these funds across all African countries, we made sure not to only put our focus on Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Kenya and Malawi, we also spread our lens across all African countries. We know combing the internet for information is quite a task, however, we seek to make that easy by putting all verified information into the platform we have developed.