We wanted to know more about how data generated by citizens is being used in Kenya and Tanzania: what difference is it making?
So, we commissioned a research team (Elizabeth Maina, Linda Oduor-Noah and Crystal Simeoni) to explore the impact of five different citizen-generated data initiatives:
- Kwale Youth Governance Consortium (Kwale, Kenya)
- Centre for Advocacy and Research Development (Turkana, Kenya)
- Ground Truth Initiative (Kenya-Tanzania)
- Ma3Route (Nairobi, Kenya)
- Sauti za Wananchi (Tanzania)
Here’s a selection of their findings to start you off:
- There are some limited signs that politicians and policy-makers are beginning to use data from citizen-generated data initiatives to inform their work. Local Kenyan MPs used Map Kibera data to address pressing issues in public schools in Kibera, while data collected by CARD was used to get more teachers allocated to schools in Turkana.
- However, most local or national state actors at local or national level were suspicious of citizen-generated data created by these initiatives, and only used it to a minimal extent. In some cases, there was active resistance: CARD was asked to stop monitoring teacher absenteeism after it highlighted inefficiencies and corruption, while Twaweza’s work in Tanzania was hampered by the government’s efforts to paint it as seditious.
- The data from many small, localised citizen-generated data initiatives can’t be generalised across the whole country or compared with other countries, but it is having positive impacts in other ways. In some cases, citizen-generated data initiatives allowed communities to articulate their needs from their own perspective and portray themselves in a more positive light, countering their feelings that their communities were misunderstood.
- The projects rarely connected their work to larger narratives like the Sustainable Development Goals or the sustainable cities narrative – but their work was often directly connected to them. The Millennium Development Goals were perceived as very top-down: people at local levels never really hearing about them let alone understanding them.
There’s much more on this in the full report! To read on: