Building Open Data Infrastructure and Strategies for Effective Citizen Engagement

By Leo Mutuku
Data Science Lab
  Published 28 Apr 2014
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Building Open Data Infrastructure and Strategies for Effective Citizen Engagement
The Kenya Open Data Initiative (KODI) was launched in July 2011 and now hosts more than 400 government datasets on the portal. This has since received hundreds of thousands of views and thousands of datasets downloads.Over the past year, *iHub_ Research and Jesuit Hakimani Centre have been studying the impacts of Open Data on Kenyan grassroots communities as part of a multi-country, multi-year study supported by the World Wide Web Foundation and Canada’s International Development Research Center (IDRC) to understand how open data is being put to use in different countries and contexts across the developing world. iHub Research explored open data technology intermediaries and the role that they play in facilitating impacts from open data, through an assessment of the value of these interventions in increasing the use of open data and affecting governance issues in Kenya. This study followed the post-implementation process of several Kenyan open data applications, including those created under the Code4Kenya program, an outreach initiative supporting intermediaries to work with datasets and to develop applications and services that make data more accessible and that promote transparency, accountability, citizen engagement and improved public service delivery. Our colleagues over at Jesuit Hakimani Centre studied how far the KODI initiative has been able to reach people in urban slums and rural settlements. In particular, this study focused on how much the national open data initiative has increased public access to information on key social policies and services. Through user surveys, impact interviews and focus group discussions the project explored the various successes of the initiative, and where there are areas to improve its impact on marginalised communities in Kenya. In collaboration with the World Wide Web Foundation and Open Data Research Network, our organisations would like to invite our community members to attend a breakfast event and debate, “Building Open Data Infrastructure and Strategies for Effective Citizen Engagement”. The session will bring together, key government officials, the technology community, media, academia, and practitioners to discuss and debate on key results and common findings from these two yearlong case studies on the impact of open data on society in Kenya. The event will take place on Wednesday, 30th April 2014 from 8:00 am to 11:00 am at iHub – 4th Floor, Bishop Magua Building - George Padmore road, off Ngong Road. Kindly note that we have limited space available so register hereto attend by Tuesday, 29th of April 2014.
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