May 9, 2023

Building the Data Ecosystem in Kenya: The Data Leaders Fellowship for CSOs

Discover how the CSO Data Fellowship empowers grassroots Civil Society Organizations to use data for positive change. Learn how this 6-week program is bridging the gap and helping CSOs strengthen their advocacy using data and evidence to make better decisions about important issues.

Why Grassroots Organizations need to use data

As organizations increasingly rely on data to make decisions, it’s becoming more important than ever to ensure that data management and governance is robust and efficient. 

Grassroots Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) play a vital role in promoting citizen participation and accountability. However, the topic of data governance is not well understood at the subnational level, as many CSOs prioritize sectoral issues such as health, agriculture and water. As a result, there are few discussions on data governance topics in the grassroots community.

We developed the CSO Data Fellowship is a 6-week program that aims to bridge this gap by bringing together selected CSOs working at the subnational level. In the program, our aim is to help these organizations identify and harness knowledge and resources to strengthen their advocacy using data and evidence. 

With 37 participants from 19 CSOs across 11 counties – we have begun the journey towards enabling the CSOs to be change makers in the organizations. Over the course of six weeks, CSO’s will learn about how data is collected, managed, and used, and how it can be used to make better decisions. After completing the programme, the CSOs will work on projects in their own communities for another 6 months, using what they’ve learned to make real impact.

Citizen-Generated Data and the data ecosystem

The Open Institute has been working since 2015 to institutionalize Citizen-Generated Data as part of the National Statistical System (NSS) in Kenya. The Technical Working Group on Citizen Generated Data has been instrumental in this effort, reinforcing commitments to improved and strengthened data disaggregation. We believe that CGD can provide valuable insights into citizens’ needs and priorities, which can then be used to inform policy-making and support decision-making. Our work with communities in Nakuru North Sub-County, Elgeyo Marakwet County and various other places to collect household data that sheds light on the needs and priorities of citizens is a testament to the our commitment to building the data ecosystem in Kenya through citizen-generated data. We are excited to engage with CSO leaders, who are expressing interest in learning more about the process of incorporating alternative data sources into official statistics. 

Highlights from the Technical Working Group on Citizen-Generated Data, with the Open Institute, KNBS, and others

Citizen-Generated Data is an essential component of the data ecosystem, and through the CSOs Data Leaders Fellowship Programme, we hope to shed more light on the processes and requirements for CSOs to to produce and manage their data, in order to contribute to Kenya’s data ecosystem.

The more data there is, the better for the world!

Al Kags, Executive Director

Objectives of the programme

As we get to the middle of the fellowship, we hope that  participating CSOs will have the capacity to use the right tools and techniques at the subnational level to promote data and digital rights. We are hopeful that the knowledge they gain will help them understand the use of data and evidence to demand accountability. 

We are hoping to achieve this through:

  • Capacity Building on data and information rights at the county level
  • Strengthening social accountability to improve the use of data and evidence in advocacy
  • Forging new synergies between government (official statistical systems), civil society and other stakeholders for data collection, analysis and use.
  • Strengthening citizen engagement practices within the county and sharing of good practices across participating counties

The Data Leaders Fellowship Programme for CSOs demonstrates our commitment to amplifying the citizen’s influence in shaping their society’s future. We continue to work towards an Open Society, managed by informed, fact-driven citizens!

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