Mr.Kwami Ahiabenu II, founder and president of the International Institute for ICT Journalism, an Accra-based organization that promotes journalistic innovation and professionalism across Africa through the effective use of information communication technologies (ICT) has been awarded a Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellowship by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in Washington, D.C. NED is a private, nonprofit foundation dedicated to the growth and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world with funding from the USA Congress.
Named in honor of the two principal founders of NED, former USA President Ronald Reagan and the late congressman Dante Fascell, the Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows Program enables democracy activists, practitioners, scholars, and journalists from around the world to deepen their understanding of democracy and enhance their ability to promote democratic change.
Under Mr. Ahiabenu’s leadership, Penplusbytes established the African Elections Project, which seeks to enhance the ability of mainstream media and citizen journalists to harness the power of ICT technologies to provide timely, relevant, and impartial election coverage and analysis. One of Ghana’s foremost experts on information technology and democracy, Mr. Ahiabenu has conducted numerous ICT trainings for African journalists and has written extensively on the political uses of information technology, including mobile phones and development, micro-blogging, community radio, and social media. He is also involved in accountability projects aimed at strengthening the media’s monitoring role over the extractive sector in Ghana and Uganda.
Mr. Ahiabenu also serves on the board of the USA-based Center for Media and Peace Initiative (CMPI), an independent international nonprofit organization dedicated to the highest standards in journalism. He is Co-Chair of African Media Forum for Geographic Information System (AMFGIS) which seeks to promote collaboration, information and knowledge sharing on geospatial information, science and technology issues and its impact on a country’s socio-economic development under the auspices United Nations Commission for Africa (UNECA) and has recently been appointed as governing council member of the African University College of Communication (AUCC). He is also a recipient of Steve Biko Fellowship and Foster Davis Fellowship for African Journalists.
During this fellowship, Mr. Ahiabenu plans to develop guidelines for enabling ordinary citizens use information technology to track local government expenditure and ensure that public funds are being used for their intended purposes.