Projects officer for Mzinda platform, Blessings Chavula says, over 401 verified reports in various service delivery have been posted on Mzinda platform since inception almost 10 months ago.
Mzinda is an online citizen platform, created by Mhub with sponsorship from Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) that proposed the use of a mobile technology platform as a tool to enhance citizen engagement.
Speaking in Mzuzu during a meeting whos’ objective was to create more awareness on the role citizens have in fostering change within communities, Chavula said the project was driven by documented
evidence that there is minimal engagement between citizens and their elected political leaders, the local government as well as utility service providers.
“Under the project, a web platform called Mzinda was developed through which citizens are able to send in reports on the status of service delivery in their respective areas through Short Messages (SMS) and or by signing up on the web platform. The reports are forwarded to respective councilors, city councils and or utility service providers who respond accordingly,” he said
Chavula further said, the verified reports are in various categories including; water, electricity and waste collection among others, and that citizens can send in reports through SMS on 0888 242 063 or sign
up at www.mzinda.com.
“This is encouraging to note that duty bearers are embracing the platform and have been responsive to citizens reports. Utility service providers like the Lilongwe Water Board have also been using the
platform to share notifications such as water rationing schedules thereby expanding means through which they can reach out with messages to their customers,” he added.
Councilor for Masasa ward in Mzuzu, Yona Mkandawire, said the platform is a welcome development and said that through the platform he has been able to take note of reports and take action, citing construction of a foot-pass bridge at Chideso in his ward in response to reports that citizens sent through the platform last year in November.
The project is being piloted in Lilongwe, Blantyre and Mzuzu cities. It is being implemented by Mhub in partnership with the Malawi Local Government Association (MALGA), the Story Workshop Educational Trust (SWET) and Citizens for Justice.