Liberia: COS Increases Focus On Accountability, Transparency - As OSIWA, IREX, LMC Form Partnership

Civil society organizations in the country are heightening their focus on transparency and accountability related issues as a way of buttressing efforts aimed at curtailing abuse of public funds and at the same time encouraging accountability and transparency.

The Liberia Media Center (LMC), IREX and OSDIWA are three civil society organizations that have committed themselves to working together in a concerted effort toward fostering increased transparency, particularly in government and other sectors of the society.

LMC Executive Director Lawrence Randall, in his remarks at the program, said such amalgamation seeks to deliver a platform on which citizens can receive information on various budgetary allocations and monitor service delivery at all levels, as it is also designed to support the government of Liberia recently launched "Open Government and Open Budget Initiative".

He said constituency communication platform (CCP) is a platform through which citizens can share information on socio-economic as well as political issues via SMS at no cost to individuals, and added "it also has an opinion polling feature and a project-tracking component which is being supported by IREX with funding from the United States Aid for International Development (USAID)."

The LMC boss indicated that while the two-way automated response SMS system is a open budget platform designed to transmit current expenditures including information at district, county, municipal, national and even sectional levels via SMS on demand that will be supported by OSIWA and implemented by LMC and IREX.

He added that the two technological systems (two-way automated response SMS and constituency communication platform CCP) will jointly be operated as one, named SMS transparency and public engagement.

Also speaking, the Country Director of OSIWA Massa Crayton described the two systems as a way of bringing transparent expenditures and other activities of the government to the citizens, and added "the pilot phase of the project is expected to last for 18 months with data centers established in four highly populated counties including Lofa, Grand Bassa, Bomi and Nimba counties."

The OSIWA country Director said the cost for implementing such project for the first 18 months is US$159, 000 which will be provided by OSIWA.

In a remark, IREX Media Program Officer Patmilia Doe Jlah said the system would help develop a tracking record system in the government, civil society organizations, as well as creating a system of dialogue between stakeholders and citizens on the use of natural resources.

She disclosed that IREX as partner will coordinate at various local radio stations in the selected counties to ensure that data collected will properly be use to inform the citizens.

Madam Crayton used the occasion to call on the government and citizens to form partnership with them in order to fight corruption in the society in a fast and reliable way.

The two-way automated response SMS and constituency communication platform (CCP) launching took place at Market Place on Carey Street on Wednesday 20, February 2013.

The three organizations include, Liberia Media Center (LMC), Open Society Institute for West Africa (OSIWA) and the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX).

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