Innovative Digital Right to Information tools launched


The University of The South Pacific (USP) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched the innovative Right to Information (RTI) solutions designed by the USP School of Information Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Physics (STEMP) – RTI team on Tuesday (July 25, 2023).

The RTI solutions were designed for Pacific Island countries with the objective of streamlining information accessibility and retrieval. An RTI e-course was also showcased, cementing the team’s effort to create awareness and advocacy of RTI.

RTI is imperative as it enables citizens to effectively retrieve information held by public bodies unless it is confidential for legitimate reasons. Realising its importance, the RTI team successfully developed two RTI tools (a mobile app and web application), an RTI e-Course, an extensive report (Stories of Change), and a Design Manual specifically designed for the South Pacific.

USP Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education and Vice President Professor Jito Vanualaila officiated the event at the USP Japan ICT Centre. In his remarks, he emphasised the importance of RTI.

“I would like to remind the audience again that RTI is not just about the government’s commitment and proactive actions but also about the empowerment of individuals to obtain the right information at the right time to make well-informed decisions that can aid businesses in reaching greater heights.”

Professor Vanualailai expressed his gratitude to the USP-UNDP RTI team for opening doors for the university through this collaboration.

“The USP- STEMP RTI team has worked tremendously hard to deliver to the people of the Pacific. I express my gratitude to the project coordinator, Professor Bibhya Sharma, for seeing through the project and also Dr Sonja Stefanovska-Trajanoska, the Anti-Corruption Adviser, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji, for believing in the USP team to do the needful.”

Giving an overview of the project, Professor Sharma, the coordinator for the RTI project, highlighted that the project had received an overwhelming response from three regional countries, and the journey of the RTI project has empowered a large group of people.

“This project is not limited to one cohort or one country. We are trying to reach as many people as possible, which means expanding our project beyond the doors of Fiji, Vanuatu and Tonga,” he said. “I believe that this is only the beginning. We still have a long way to go.”

He hopes that the project will be extended to Phase III.

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