VANUATU HAS REACHED another milestone as the Vanuatu Government pushes for more inclusiveness in the sharing and access of public information. Today, the 27th of September, the Vanuatu Right To Information (RTI) Accessibility Guidelines was launched by the Governments Chief Information Officer, Mr. Gerard Metsan, on behalf of the government.
Information provided by the Governments Right To Information (RTI) Unit states that;
The RTI Vanuatu Accessibility Project is a short term project to develop web accessibility guidelines for use by Government agencies in collaboration with the Office of Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO). The project has also tested use of Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software to make scanned documents accessible for people with disability.
The project aims to ensure that the Government Right to Information and Universal Access policies
encompass all peoples of Vanuatu, regardless of ability. The project will assist the Government to achieve its target of 98% population access to broad and narrow access by January 2018.
The project has been undertaken with participation by the Vanuatu Civil Society Disability Network (VCSDN) and Oxfam in Vanuatu. The purpose of the VCSDN is to provide a forum for civil society organisations working towards disability inclusion to share ideas and strategies m learn together, support each other and reduce duplication of effort.
Funding for the project was provided by the Australian Government through the Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID) Disability Initiative Grants, administered by Scope Global.
This means that people that live with disability will have their right to access information made physically possible with the help of technological tools. This is a huge step for Vanuatu, and it leaps Vanuatu forward from other island nations in this respect.
Transparency International Vanuatu has spent the last year promoting the Right To Information, and consulting with communities, and gathering opinions on the Right To Information Bill which had been listed twice for debate in Parliament but had unfortunately been withdrawn for various reasons. This RTI Campaign Tours was made possible through financial assistance provided by the Pacific Leadership Program (PLP).
The Right To Information is seen as a key ingredient for good governance because it strengthens accountability and ensures that transparency exists across all public sectors. And now with the launch of the RTI Accessibility Guidelines the percentage of the population that can access information has just increased to a higher percent.