OFFICERS FROM TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL VANUATU will be visiting the island of Ambrym from the 18th to the 23rd of this month, September, to continue with the Right To Information (RTI) Bill Community Awareness Program.
The RTI bill is a new initiative being undertaken to allow citizens to have an easier to accessing information that they need from public offices. The RTI policy was launched in 2013 and it commits the government to release information to the public. Currently, the RTI Bill is ready to be discussed in parliament.
In brief, the right to information seeks to promote openness, transparency and accountability in
The functioning of every public authority. It supports and protects human rights and makes citizens a part of decision making. And most importantly it is a tool that can be legally utilized to reduce corruption in Vanuatu.
The team will begin the awareness campaign at Ulei at the south eastern part of the island and will finish next week on Friday at Craigcove before they return to Port Vila. This campaign to the island of Ambrym would be the eight of its kind to be conducted by Transparency International Vanuatu in Vanuatu.
According to the Vanuatu National Statistics Office, in 2009 the island of Ambrym has a population of just over seven thousand people. These means that if the campaign team visits several villages and manages to talk with roughly a thousand people then that would mean that about fifteen percent of the population would be aware of the RTI by the end of next week.
And given our love for ‘storian’ the RTI message should reach over half of the people that live on the island by a month or so. Our main goals at Transparency International Vanuatu are to share information on the reasons why we need to have a Right To Information law, and secondly to gather people’s opinion and to present it to the public, and to the lawmakers as supportive and actual information so that they can make the right decision when the time comes.
Information is power – but 20 to 30 years ago, such power was focused only in the hands of an exclusive few.
With grassroots campaigns and high-level advocacy, the Transparency International Secretariat (based in Berlin, Germany) has called on leaders around the world to prove they have got nothing to hide. Today, freedom of information is enshrined in the legal codes of more than 100 countries.
In countries where the right to information is already a law the Transparency International Secretariat (TIS) is working to find new and better ways to make it useful. With innovative tools and training’s, TIS is helping turn government information into citizen power.
Transparency International Vanuatu wants to ensure this trend continues in Vanuatu.
While the officers are on Ambrym community leaders who wish to have the RTI awareness conducted in their community can conduct Transparency International Vanuatu (Tel: 25715) to identify their locations so that the team can visit them to share information on the contents of the Right To Information Bill.
This RTI campaign tours are funded by the Pacific Leadership Program (PLP) who supports Transparency International Vanuatu’s work with the Government’s Right to Information (RTI) Unit to raise awareness and promote public interest in the RTI Policy and Bill. PLP’s support has enabled TIV to campaign in communities and schools and host public forums on the RTI Policy and Bill, using its strong networks in the provinces.
This process has built the public’s knowledge and understanding of the principles of good leadership and the importance of government transparency and given the RTI Unit insights into how the Policy can be effectively implemented.
The Pacific Leadership Program (PLP) is a regional initiative of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade that recognises the pivotal role of leadership in development. PLP builds, applies and shares knowledge on developmental leadership (i.e. individuals, organisations and other stakeholders working together on inclusive policy and institutional change for the public good).