Code 4 Kenya October Updates

By Rhoda Omenya
  Published 24 Oct 2012
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The Kenya Open Data Pre-Incubator is a six-month experiment to help accelerate the public's ability to make sense of data and to galvanize engagement around critical public issues. The experiment, conducted by a consortium consisting of AMI, Open Institute, @iLab Africa, iHub Research, the World Bank and the Kenya ICT Board, is to test a model that will be put to use in a broader two-year Incubator effort, endorsed and supported by the highest levels of government led by public mobilization agents with support from the technological community.

The focus themes that have been selected for this pre-incubator are water, education and health, with crosscutting issues based on counties/local government data.

The specific goals of the pre-incubator process are to:

1. Create one app or service or platform per team that is used at scale across Kenyan society and drastically increases the use of open data,

2. Develop use cases, recommendations, toolkits and a critical analysis of the pre-incubation process, and

3. Create an Advisory Board to work on how to formalize the incubation process over a two-year period.


In this update report we are specifically focusing on the Code4Kenya process, in order to give an exposé on the fellows and developers who are working towards moving the open data to open information and building the host organization’s capacity to not only use this information but to also empower citizens to use it.

Towards this end, theCode4Kenya team is faced with the task of changing the existing practices within their respective organizations to improve the manner in which they handle data and cultivate a data driven culture.

Delving deeper into the each fellow’s work this far, we begin with Muchiri Nyaggah, the lead fellow who is embedded in Twaweza is a citizen centered civil society organization that has been in existence for the past ten years, focusing on large-scale change in East Africa. Twaweza seeks to expand opportunities through which millions of people can get information and make change happen in their own communities and by holding government to account. Together they are working on the education challenge of creating an easier way of parents to be able to search for schools depending on the transitional level their child is in either primary or secondary. He has created a solution called ‘FindMySchool’  that will ease the burden on parents by enabling them locate a school for their children based on their grades. This solution also gives the particular school’s details in terms of composition of students, teachers, and how well the school has faired when levelled against others. To this end he has met the necessary persons who are the data holders, he has acquired the datasets necessary and working on the actual solution.


Simeon Oriko is the second fellow who is embedded at The Standard Newspapers where they are addressing the counties challenge narrowed down to the theme of crime. Their solutions is to avail crim data in a format that can be analyzed to inform concerned parties on action to take concerning the trends identified e.g. informing public policies on safety measures, etc. The fellow has met with key Standard staff who will aide him in the project, crime journalists, acquired the datasets necessary from the Kenya Police website and created a business model that will be used to actualize the project.

    The health challenge is a lack of a dearth of sufficient public information on the location and contacts of health care facilities in the grassroots communities and a lack of an open central source of information on existing specialized treatment. This is being addressed my Madi Jimba the third fellow who is embedded at The Star Newspaper. The fellow is building an online tool that that will increase health awareness to the citizens by mapping out all the health facilities with additional information on diseases and outbreaks and county centric news in visualizations.   The final fellow is Jude Mwenda who is embedded at Nation Newspapers, working on the election challenge of turning election coverage from political rhetoric to pertinent issues affecting the citizens. Thus the solution is to create a platform where citizens have access to past performance of candidates and also create an avenue for feedback on pertinent issues initially around education, health, jobs, infrastructure and the economy. Jude will actualize this solution through a data repository of election datasets for journalists, a SIASA API on past election details and a data story component that provides journalists with tools of publishing data-driven stories. He has acquired data on past elections and identified journalists who will act as data champions for the various electoral issues. The fellows are not only focusing on creating solutions for the nation but they are are also working towards building the capacities of their host organizations through creation of data desks that will serve as the focal points for data and through this process, the staff will benefit from tools on how to maximize on data usage. In addition to creating first hand solutions for citizens, the long term effect of the solutions is that they will affect policy making with regards to the thematic areas. The host organizations too accorded their support for this project by creating the environment for the fellows to achieve their goals by accepting to host them, granting them access to their data and granting them personnel and other technical resources (creation of data domains) to help them attain their goal of create working solutions. To read the detailed version of the Code 4 Kenya report to date, click here.
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