Making it easier to interact with public service providers

By Thozi Ngeju: Makana Coordinator

2017 is dawning. With that, the test to see if our hard work has paid off.

We’ve had a few workshops with some choice Makana Municipality personnel. Their input was wonderful.

When we deal with civic organisations, I’ve noticed they are more relevant and in tune with what could work or not with our application. One participant observed during the MobiSAM Training Evaluation Workshop (on 28th and 29th September):

“It was very informative. I read current affairs a lot, but I had no idea of the relevant Makana documents, and the content covered, that were supposed to be accessible to the public.”

Another response on the question “What do you hope to change as a result of this training?”

“Afford the NGO’s that I work with the information that I have obtained in the workshop even with my immediate social groups as they are not aware of their rights as citizens of Makana.”

So far, I have noticed the people we had to talk to are receptive of the digital world. This means when we explain the workings of our application they are willing to teach those they are close to to also come to terms with how this will help them have a ticket, a receipt so to speak, to track when they have made an inquiry.

As recently as last week, we met with Umthathi Training Project; the enthusiasm – priceless. When we train their champions, we’ll have worked with another motivated partner who not only sees MobiSAM as just another fancy application on a cellular phone but a convenient tool of reaching, monitoring the powers that be, and getting results & value for the trust entrusted to those in charge of our service delivery.

MobiSAM 1.0 had the challenge of working with an administration that was in turmoil. That meant we were threading a thin line. Beginning of MobiSAM 2.0 we had a very motivated Municipal Manager who we could trust to motivate her team. With her departure we had to learn the new one. But indications are that he is as motivated.

What does MobiSAM’s future hold? Time will tell. This is like dominos. Each stakeholder is dependent on the ones on either side of it. It is up to each to make sure we work together. Otherwise the whole thing will not work.

Not to pat ourselves at the back, but I promise you so far we have done a sterling job. May the people working at the Makana Communications not change. They have been our window into the current administration.

Lastly, may the citizens understand that MobiSAM is not here to change the way things have been done but to enhance it. May they grab this opportunity of using their phones. May they understand that being digital, it makes it easier for them to interact with their public service providers.

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