Learner’s Submission: An Online Public Service I Used in Botswana, and How it Works

09/07/2013

“1.0. INTRODUCTION

I have used an online public service in Botswana, my home country. The online public service I used is referred to as the Integrated Procurement Management System (IPMS). The Integrated Procurement Management System (IPMS) is an initiative of the Botswana Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board, a Parastatal body here in Botswana. The primary objective of the IPMS is to improve the public procurement process by automating procurement system. The automation of the procurement system of the PPADB also envisages improving service delivery of the PPADB.

IPMS is a web-based application on the Microsoft Platform with MW SQC as data base and accessible through the internet through web browser. The production servers are hosted at the Main Site at PPADB and Disaster Recovery Servers which are hosted by the Department of Information Technology.

2.0. WHAT I USED

I once used the Contractor registration Module of the Integrated Procurement Management System. The Contactor registration module is a Web-based platform where all contractors intending to do business with the Procurement Entities of the Republic of Botswana are required to use. This module helps in facilitating online registration of Contractors on IPMS.

3.0.HOW IT WORKS

3.1. The Contractor Registration Module.

All contactors intending to do business with the Procurement Entities of the Republic of Botswana are required to register with PPADB. This Module facilitates online registration of contractors on the IPMS.

3.2. Accessing CRM

Remember that IPMS is Web-based PCs on a network. To access IPMS, you open a web browser and in the address bar of the browser, enter the portal web address or IP address of the server where application is deployed to create a space for IPMS login screen to appear.

4.0. CRATING A LOGIN

Here the contractor enters the login details. If you are new, it is mandatory to provide the following login details, Field name, User ID, Password, Confirm password, Security question, Answers.

4.1. Login.

After contractor fills and save the new User Registration page, system sends an E-Mail to the primary contact E-Mail address mentioning his/her login information. Using those credentials he/she can login into IPMS.

4.2. Filling up Basic Profile.

The contractor will, after login, click on Basic profile. The basic profile form opens on the screen, where the contractor will follow the screen commands.

4.3. Selection of Division (Works/Service/Supplies).

Once the basic registration is completed, then the user can start contractor registration process for specific category and division. The contractor then clicks the Add New Application button to create new application. This screen also displays the list of registration application created by the user with the current status. The system displays the page to select the Division. The registration process page will display list of the Division/Discipline under the Process Selection. User has to enter the registration reference number and select the Division/Discipline and Click on the Proceed button to initiate the process.

4.3.1.      Selection of Business Type.

This form displays selection of Business Type. Based on the selection of the option on this page, the relevant form appears to the user in the next screen to fill. From there the user selects the option from the drop down box and clicks on the save button. Then click on the Proceed to next Task button to proceed to filling up relevant forms.

4.4. COMPANY REGISTRATION FORM.

If the contractor has selected the type of business as Company then he/she has to fill the company registration form as it appears on the screen. After filling the form, the contractor clicks on save/update to proceed.

4.5. REGISRATION OF TRADE FORM.

If the contractor selects business type as trade then he/she has to fill the Trade registration form as it appears on the screen. After filling the form on the screen, click save/update to proceed.

5.0. FILLING DIVISION/DISCIPLENE SPECIFIC FORMS.

5.1. Filling Division Specific Forms.

If the user selects contractor at the time of filling basic profile then he/she will get the forms for contractor in line with Division/Discipline selection. The contractor then fills the details as instructed by the form appearing on the screen.

6.0. CONCLUSION

After going through the necessary steps of registering online, the user has to click on the button “Submit Contractor Registration Application” to complete the registration process. The Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board will then assess the application and accordingly respond online. ” – Mpho Kasoka – Ghanzi, Botswana


Learner’s Submission: Social Media Channels Used by the Government of Botswana

08/07/2013

“Introduction

‘’Social Media refers to internet services and mobile phone applications used for general dissemination, discussion of information in visual, audio, textual or pictorial formats’’.  The information super highway has been manufactured to allow the human race to communicate and interact more effectively and efficiently, using electronic gadgets or gizmos.

The use of Social Media Channels in Botswana is still at an infant stage. The general populace has been using Social Media Channel in significant numbers for the past five to seven years. The use of Social Media Channels by the Botswana Government is recent and considerably limited. The government is however committed to full implementation The National E-Government Strategy 2011-2016 which will apparently integrate the use of Social Media Networks in governance. Currently a few departments within government ministries are using Facebook and Twitter.

His Excellency the President of the Republic of Botswana Lt. General Seretse Khama Ian Khama is quoted in his foreword to The Working Paper on The National E-Government Strategy 2011-2016 as saying ‘’I will be a regular user of e-Government services. I encourage everyone to join me online.’’ I can therefore confirm to everyone that the president and a few of his ministers are either on Facebook or Twitter.

Why Social Media Channels are Important

Social Media Channels are important since they can be used to gather information from potential beneficiaries of services provided by the governments. Customers of government services are able to provide timely feedback to various service providers within government and even the private sector. Service providers are therefore able to evaluate their processes and come up with effective strategic decisions to overcome their challenges and become more innovateive.

Social Media Channels are also important socio-digital instruments as governments can easily and effectively gather information from potential suppliers. This can help in making it easy for procurement processes to take place.

The government can provide necessary information to potential suppliers. For instance the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) a parastatal organisation in Botswana can advertise and invite companies to bid for government tenders using Social Media Networks. Companies can respond to the invitations using the same media. Through the use of Social Media Networks, the government can easily disseminate information to its citizens. Government policy and announcement of important events and activities can be spread to the general public using various Social Media Channels.

Social Media Channels are important because they can promote participatory decision making processes. Members of the public can just log in to Facebook or any channel and present their issues for public debate. The government can therefore make policy decisions based on common issue raised by citizens through Social Media Channels. As a result of that inclusive decision making will be achieved.

The government can through the use of the Social Media Channels stay up to date and closer to the people. Electronic or digital social interaction reduces the void which exists between the common citizen and the leadership of the country. The government may as such be aware and as well understand the feelings, interests, expectations and aspirations of its people. Relevant and appropriate solutions to people’s problems might be implemented.

The other importance of Social Media Channels is that it create a conducive platform for sharing of knowledge among staff of the public service. This makes it easier for knowledge codification to take place within various organisations of the public service. In other words, Social Media Channels can help transform tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge. Social Media can therefore create a value for the government’s intangible assets, more especially the human capital.

Since we live in a complex society, it is necessary to employ Social Media Channels in various aspects of life. When people interact digitally there will be a strong sense of belonging. A highly complex and cosmopolitan society in which we live can definitely be rendered microscopic in form and in substance.

Conclusion

This paper has indicated and confirmed that Social Media Channels are used by the government of Botswana. However the usage of this media is considerably limited and it is still at an infant stage. The paper has also affirmed that Social Media Channels are of fundamental significance, more especially in promoting good governance and improving service delivery within government. So governments and their citizens should adopt and fully utilise Social Media Channel in various spheres of life.” – Mpho Kasoka – Ghanzi, Botswana


Learner’s Submission: How to Increase Demand for RBME

04/08/2011

“M. Adil Khan of UNDESA defines results-based monitoring and evaluation as “an exercise to assess the performance of and institution and/or a programme or project on the basis of impacts and benefits that the institution and/or the programme/project is expected to produce”.  RBME is therefore results oriented, pro-active rather than reactive.

RBME has become a fundamental approach to the achievement of organizational goals and objectives. It has nevertheless been observed that most learning organizations, based in developing countries fail to meet their aims because they focus mainly on reporting more on their activities and processes rather than reporting on results accomplished. This attitude therefore influences them to set ambiguous goals, which become difficult to achieve.

Some organizations have of recent decided to shift towards the use of RBME, after their governments have embraced the Millennium Development Goals. Botswana in one of those countries since most organizations here are now using this pro-active tool. However, user demand for RBME information is significantly limited. There is a need for user demand to  be increased considerably.

I will deploy the following strategies to increase user demand for RBME:

1. Stake-holder involvement; I will ensure that partners in the use of RBME are fully involved in the design, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of RBME and its information. Involvement of all partners in the RBME will promote support for the aims and objectives of the RBME, thereby facilitating its success and user demand for its information.

2. Establish appropriate mechanisms and modalities; I will put in place parameters on which appropriate technologies will be used to enhance the user demand for RBME. As a learning organization, my organization will have in place systems that will enable users of RBME information to effectively use information technology.

3. Create knowledge sharing atmosphere; I will devise a knowledge management strategy that will create knowledge sharing atmosphere and attitude among the current, potential and prospective users of RBME information. Those people who are knowledgeable about RMBE will be motivated to make their knowledge accessible to those who need it and those who want to use it. This is would involve codification of tacit knowledge so that it can be documented, manipulated and disseminated to the intended users of RBME information

4. Good policy decisions; I will help the organization to come up with policies that will entice users to demand RBME information. Policies may come in the form of use of friendly language instead of jargon, use of supportive technology and learning materials.

5. Align information to government activities; I will connect RMBE information to the principal government programmes, projects and activities in order to enhance its relevance and increase its user demand.

6. Capacity development; User demand for RBME will also be increased by organizing in-service training for the current, prospective and potential users of RBME information. If they have necessary skills and knowhow users are likely to demand more of the use of RBME information.

7. Rewards and incentives; I will increase user demand for RBME information through both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Users will be motivated to develop interest in the use of RBME.

8. Have a powerful RBME champion; The organization will identify and appoint champions who truly believe and have confidence on RBME information. Champions will be empowered to be at the forefront of enhancing the demand for the user of RBME information.

9. Participation of workers; To have a sense of ownership to the RBME information personnel will be involved in all stages of RBME creation. Workers will then fully utilize the RBME information since they were initially involved.

Conclusion

This submission has come up with eight strategies which I believe are appropriate to a developing organization, including mine. If the above strategies are fully implemented, I can assure you that user demand for RBME will tremendously increase.” – Mpho Kasoka – Ganzhi, Botswana


Learner’s Submission: Knowledge Management in Botswana

27/06/2011

“I personally think that data available in my country is to a very large extent not safe. The course material presented by UNPAN defines data as simple observations of state of the world. It has been a norm in our country to regard data, information and knowledge as one and the same concepts. Most academics, professionals including myself, as well as politicians in my country treat these three concepts as one. Having gone through this course I have been able to draw a distinction between these concepts. I have discovered that data becomes information only when it has relevance and purpose, whereas knowledge is information which is valuable and it is from the human mind. Having made this observation I maintain that data is of fundamental significance to the development information and knowledge and ultimately the development of the country.

As already mentioned from the beginning I am of the view that data in my country is not satisfactorily safe. Some of the reasons that I can put forward for saying that data in Botswana is not safe include interalia; types of databases used, corruption and dishonesty by government officials, an endeavor by the government to promote transparency, freedom of information act, the use of security intelligence agency, abuse of privileges by the ruling party.

Types of databases used

In Botswana, the data technologies used are susceptible to abuse and can easily be penetrated by intruders and unauthorized people. Personal Identification Numbers used by individuals in the workplace can easily be over passed. Anyone in the department that I work in can easily have access to my data. I can also have access to their data.

Corruption and dishonesty by government officials

Government officials in my country can disclose information to unauthorized people for a fee. Data about individuals is therefore exposed to unscrupulous people who can then use it to blackmail the victims.

An endeavor by the government to promote transparency

In its quest to make sure that people have access to information and are aware of what is going on is compelled to divulge even confidential information to the public.

Enactment of freedom of freedom of information act

The coming into being of this law forces the government to disclose information to the public.

The use of security intelligence

The security intelligence agency is used to spy on opponents by the ruling government and leaders. The security intelligence agency can force any individual to provide it with any information. People’s phones can be tapped any how any way.

Abuse of privileges by the ruling party

Politicians belonging to the ruling party can access data about members of the opposition parties whereas opposition parties are denied access to information. They use their positions to force their subordinates in government bureaucracy to divulge information.

In my country there is no comprehensive data protection law. In Botswana we only have policies adopted by various corporate bodies which try to protect their customers.

Conclusion

Ordinary citizens may be denied access to information in custody of government, but powerful individuals in government may have ready access to such information and use it to their advantage;

Third party service providers in insurance and the hospitality industries often gain access to personal data without their consent;

E-government implementation will enable data relating to people to be integrated into central databases without their consent;

Cyber security poses the greatest challenge.” – Mpho Kasoka – Ghanzi, Botswana


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