The portal for government transparency: Aiding public awareness through infographics
Olatawura Ladipo-Ajayi, Lagos Community Manager
Lagos, 5 March 2015
The culture of impunity, the closed governance style, and lack of transparency are common issues in Nigeria. The passage of the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill has provided some form of leverage for demanding transparency and shared information with the public. However, this received and shared information is often tedious to absorb and assimilate. In response to this challenge, BudgIt was launched, at the Lagos Co-Creation Hub. The Lagos-based organization was created based on the belief that it is the "right of every citizen to have access and also understand public budgets. We also believe budgets must be efficiently implemented for the good of the people."
The organization focuses mainly on sharing information about public budgets. While this service is provided for various cities and levels of government ranging from national to local, it has consistently helped improve the accountability and transparency of Lagos city public affairs as they relate to the city state's budget.
Information is shared and disseminated through an open platform available to any interested citizen with a connection to the internet, via infographics for easy to comprehend content, traditional data forms, and videos. This is much more digestible, as reading a budget is typically a fairly tiresome task. Initially, the organization started out with information about budgets only; now, however, it provides information regarding national programs, the subsidy re-investment scheme, and the national election, in order to keep people informed about a variety of issues. Information shared is important for inciting and informing cogent discussion about city and national issues. The organization's site also allows for data requests.
The organization's efforts have made data easily digestible to the population, and their ability to share information is a welcome addition to the accountability and government transparency movement. However, two things are striking; first, the organization's work is primarily targeted to an elite sector of the population — those with Internet access. Newspapers feature extended access to data, but only occasionally. Second, one has to be particularly interested in seeking this information in order to get informed.
Photo: Open Knowledge