In the earlier post, we discussed e-governance platforms in Kenya, their shortcomings and tabled recommendations for responsive platforms. Responsive platforms are flexible and adaptable to the digital needs of the consumer, which requires a good infrastructure, evolving content, consistent feedback and constant reevaluation. Reevaluation is the process put in place to improve digital technologies. If we evaluate and measure up Kenya’s most used e-government digital platforms (eCitizen, MyGov, Nexus, Immigration, iTax, Huduma)against these factors, would they hold?
Good infrastructure Yes
There are numerous platforms set up to ease public service delivery
The platforms are not accessibility compliant and some are difficult to use e.g.,iTax
Content Yes and no, tending to no
The platforms are rarely updated
Feedback Yes and no
Some of the feedback channels set up are rarely looked into, and citizens have to use an offline approach to get help (either through intermediaries or by themselves)
Reevaluation Yes and no, tending to no
These platforms have very minimal changes
Systems are developed to be used by citizens, therefore, it is very important to first identify your consumer, and build her profile (usage of digital platforms, demographic). It is important to know her digital prowess and design systems with your clientele in mind. So, what is the profile of a Kenyan citizen? The Communication Authority of Kenya report on Internet subscription states the Internet penetration rate is 112.7%, with mobile subscription contributing 99%, with over 30.8 million subscriptions. There is need for research to surface insights on the level of actual data usage in smaller towns (the number is actually less than reported). This statistic does not tell the story of a rigorous internet user, but one who accesses the internet for social and non professional networking purposes, majorly through Whatsapp and Facebook. This leaves out internet use for accessing e-government services, generating revenue, educational purposes and professional building opportunities that would further impact the digital economy positively.
Phase 2 of this research brought a divergent view, especially from citizens in semi-urban towns, for instance Nakuru and Mombasa. Citizens do not have sufficient skills to use tools adopted and often require an intermediary, a role, that Huduma plays very well. I wonder, how long will citizens rely on intermediaries? Will we ever morph into digital nation (Fully utilising digital tools)? Having citizens with the knowledge and skill to use and access ICT platforms. Therefore tools created should be simple to use, adaptable to available devices and accessibility compliant for all citizens. Two things are key in a responsive system 1) a literate community and 2) an adaptable system.
So where do we come in? iHub, enabled by the ICT4Dem Network, will conduct a series of digital literacy workshops in 3 counties and have design sprints with government representatives, software developers and citizens to design an ‘ideal digital platform’ that is simple to use and localised to the Kenyan context. We envision a citizenry armed with digital skills, who are more responsive and now demand for better services. We also envision, systems that are easy to use, have no interruptions or backlog, provide instant feedback, allow for customisation and with more advanced digital security measures.
Join us in this incredible journey towards designing an inclusive and responsive e-governance platform.