The Right to Information Act passed in Yemen in July 2012 has granted citizens the right to seek information from government institutions. However, the law, which was strongly championed by civil society, hasn’t yet come into force.
Civil society organizations and anti-graft activists are optimistic that the law would go a long way towards curbing the mushrooming corruption in the public sectors of water, education, roads, and health, which took the brunt of the graft, which gobbles up more than one and a half billion dollars per annum.
Further, corruption directly impacts citizens’ access to services, given that the rate of Yemenis accessing potable water stands at only 35%. Most Yemeni cities lack paved roads linking population centers, and the majority of residents have no access to health care.
Therefore, the enhancement of transparency in such sectors by supporting the validation of the Act and enabling society to raise questions over sectoral projects serve as a significant opportunity to keep corruption in check and improve the services rendered to citizens.
The problem can be resolved by boosting transparency, including by empowering citizens to access information on basic services, including water, education, health and roads, as well as bolstering community oversight over the delivery of such services. Corruption usually disrupts sectoral projects, and results in violations of citizens’ rights in the areas where these services are rendered. Citizens are asked to pay illegal amounts of money, or are provided with shoddy services that never meet their needs.
Building platform to receive people’s inquiries on any information related to the services rendered to them by the institutions of water, education, health and road networks. Such queries would be transmitted online to the concerned authorities’ emails/posts. The entire process involves sending a phone text message on the sought-after information to the chief executives of such authorities, and information units’ officers; information applicants shall receive the sought-after data within a specific period.The pad shall provide accurate statistics on the number of questions addressed to each authority as well as the level of response to the citizenry’s inquiries. It shall be converted into a free-of-charge application that can be uploaded onto citizens’ mobile phone via Android & IOS apps. Once the application is uploaded, citizens can access the previous queries and replies, pose questions, raise issues, and report violations perpetrated in target sectors.