“Google: The right information at the right time in the hands of people has enormous power.”:http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/10/information-poverty.html
bq.. Despite hundreds of millions of dollars spent each year on providing basic public services like primary education, health, water, and sanitation to poor communities, poverty in much of Sub-Saharan Africa persists. *Where does this money go, who gets it, and what are the results of the resources invested?* That’s where we find a big black hole of information and a lack of basic accountability. *How do inputs (dollars spent) turn into outputs (schools, clinics, and wells), and, more importantly, how do outputs translate into results (literate and healthy children, clean water, etc.)?*
We simply don’t know the answers to most of these basic questions. But what if we could? What if a mother could find out how much money was budgeted for her daughter’s school each year and how much of it was received? What if she and other parents could report how often teachers are absent from school or whether health clinics have the medicines they are supposed to carry? What if citizens could access and report on basic information to determine value for money as tax payers?
The work of The Social Development Network (SODNET) in Kenya is illustrative. They are developing a simple budget-tracking tool that allows citizens to track the allocation, use, and ultimate result of government funds earmarked for infrastructure projects in their districts. *The tool is intended to create transparency in the use of tax revenues and answer the simple question: Are resources reaching their intended beneficiaries?* Using tools like maps, they are able to overlay information that begins to tell a compelling story.