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Kenya Open Data Quest Intensifies with Portals Launch
Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/Tech/-/1017288/1017288/-/11stk4e/-/index.html
Source Date: Thursday, January 24, 2013
Country: Kenya
Created: Jan 24, 2013

Launched officially in Nairobi on Thursday, the portals are packaged with information in user friendly format complete with visualisations that help readers make sense of complicated data.

Some of the data used is available on the Kenya Open Data portal (opedata.go.ke).

Dubbed Code4Kenya, the pilot project was implemented over six months through support from World Bank, the Africa Media Initiative (AMI) and the Open Institute.

The four open data projects are already open for public consumption. The Nation's election maps are available at http://elections.nation.co.ke.

Ministry of Information permanent secretary Bitange Ndemo urged universities, hospitals and other Kenyan institutions sitting on large data sets to release them for public use saying the move would promote Kenya's quest to be a knowledge economy.

Dr Ndemo said the government is in the process of recruiting data scientists to help break down data to a level usable by consumers.

Verifiable data

He said leaders should make development decisions based on verifiable data to ensure they are tackling real and not imagined problems.

World Bank Senior Social Development Specialist, Chris Finch said Code4Kenya is one of the institution's sustained efforts in Africa to make use of open data to inform development decisions.

He said the model of embedding developers in into organisations rather than incubating them in hubs is already working in the United States and World Bank hopes to replicate the success in Africa.

He said media has critical role in turning data into knowledge and solutions arguing that open data open data does not easily translate into usable applications despite presence of advanced technologies.

“Traditional media has a key role in making raw data useful for masses,” said Mr Finch.

Jessica Colaco, Research Director, ihub urged stakeholders to invest in data as it citizens power and tools to start actively participating in development issues.

Code4Kenya was a six-month experiment to help accelerate the ability for the public to make sense of data and to galvanize engagement around critical public issues.

The program was funded by AMI through their Digital Projects Division and the World Bank's Innovation Fund and Governance Partnership Facility.

The Open Initiative was the implementing Organisation for the project. Other stakeholders were the Kenya ICT Board, ilabAfrica and ihub Research.

In the projects, four fellows were embedded in the host institutions and worked closely with app developers to identify the opportunities for innovation with open data.

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