Right of Access to Information, Open Governance and Accountability Training in Africa
Arusha & Kampala. October 7, 2020. The MS Training Centre for Development Cooperation (MS TCDC) and Africa Freedom of Information Centre (AFIC) has today signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will see the two institutions provide training on Citizens' Right of Access to Information, Open Governance and Accountability.
The capacity-building program that will run at MS TCDC campus in Arusha, will enhance the capacity of citizens and expertise of African civil society actors to promote access to information, open governance, and demand accountability of public information that will address corruption and help to improve service delivery.
"This partnership allows us to look at access to information as part of development. How do we make information, not only a right but also a development issue, an issue that will influence how development looks like across Africa," said MS TCDC Executive Director Richard Ssewakiryanga during the virtual signing of the MoU Wednesday morning.
Executive Director AFIC Gilbert Sendugwa said, "part of the problem is that the public servants and authorities lack information, some of them don't even know or understand the laws. So, our collaboration will help bridge this knowledge and capacity gap, train both public officials to implement the law but also the demand side civil society organization and journalists so that they understand this framework and promote them in their work."
The training program is tailored to suit the needs of civil society, media practitioners, public officials, and researchers.
This collaboration will also see the two entities jointly undertake and publish research and policy briefs on political governance across the continent and provide space for students' internships in the program.
While 25 African countries have adopted access to information laws, citizens lack knowledge of their right to information and use it to demand transparency and accountability.
"The African Union has come up with various treaties and laws to ensure that governments are accountable and that resources are used to develop the continent and its people. The story has not changed; there is a gap between these treaties, laws, and policies on the one hand and realities on the ground on the other. There is a gap between actualizing and ensuring people have the information they need to make informed decisions and choices and hold government and leaders accountable so that resources can be meaningfully used to impact people's lives. The collaboration serves to fill this gap," said Gilbert Sendugwa, Executive Director AFIC.
Citizens' right of access to information is recognized in six treaties of the African Union: Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, African Union Convention against Corruption, the African Union Youth Charter and the African Charter on Values and Principles of Public Service and Administration.
About the co-creators
About MS TCDC MS: TCDC is a highly regarded African and international capacity building institution in Arusha - northern Tanzania. The Centre provides specialist capacity building, research, and think-tank services primarily to civil society organizations with a view of enhancing the quality of civic engagement, organizational capacity, and effectiveness of implementation. MS TCDC caters to a variety of civil society organizations, movements, and networks based on the organization's vision: "Citizens actively engaging in popular struggles for a transformed, just, democratic and sustainable world."
Africa Freedom of Information Centre (AFIC): The Africa Freedom of Information Centre is a Pan-African non-for profit organization based in Kampala, Uganda, membership civil society organization and resource centre that promotes the right of access to information and freedom of expression across Africa through comparative research, capacity strengthening, technical support to national advocacy as well as leading continental and global advocacy, monitoring treaty compliance and implementation, facilitating information-sharing and network development.