There is always something exciting about carrying out a pilot exercise. It’s results show you whether the hard work you have been putting in was in vain or was worth it. You learn where the strengths and weaknesses in a project lie. You find what needs to be changed, to be improved, to be left out, or what is working just fine. It gets even more exciting when you have a team like the community leaders of Lanet Umoja Location who are able and willing to be the change that needs to be seen, to be part of a new system that brings about development and a new wave of leadership that will positively change how things are done.
The second day of Buntwani Locally at Lanet Umoja Location started out with data collection. In the morning, the community leaders went from homestead to homestead, collecting household data on the mobile based data collection app developed by Open Institute. During the data collection process, Chief Kariuki and the Open Institute team went round checking on the work the leaders were doing and assisting where necessary.
Given this was the first of such an exercise to ever be done, the process had quite a number of challenges ranging from no power in the phones to some deleting their forms accidentally, to some not being able to remember how to use the form. Some of the major challenges to this exercise were not getting sufficient data from the area members and facing resistance from other members who felt their privacy was being violated by such an exercise due to the nature of information being collected. Chief Kariuki and his assistant chief were able to assist to assuage the fears of those community members and then promised to hold meetings to reassure them of his office’s intentions with the data.
In the afternoon the leaders assembled back at the Lanet Umoja Primary School where the Open Institute demonstrated the dashboard and how much easier analytics could be done using the visualisations. The Dashboard would enable the chief to have a directory of every household and be able to visualise the issues illustrated by the data and act on them.
On the first day, the community leaders were educated on the Sustainable Development Goals and there were discussions about how they would achieve them locally. Today, there were animated discussions with the chief and together, the leaders agreed to give priority to five Sustainable Development Goals in their area, which would be measured according to the data collected. The goals are:
- Goal 1: no poverty. It was agreed that the youth should be the champions of this goal. They were encouraged to be innovative, entrepreneurial and hard working.
- Goal 3: good health. With the data collected, they will know how to better their health services and facilities. The data will help them know which seasons various diseases occur and in accordance to that, do the necessary to reduce or eradicate the number of affected patients. It will also aid in planning of acquiring better equipment and supplies for different health centers.
- Goal 4: quality education. Chief Kariuki assured that he would follow up with teachers to see how they can better the quality of education as his office ensures that the school structures and feeding programs are made better. The community leaders also discussed how they would participate in such activities as improving the school facilities in the area
- Goal 5: gender equality. Chief Kariuki put a lot of emphasis on this goal. “We cannot achieve all of our goals without strong empowered women. This is the time for all of us to pull together,” he said. He also stated that the men should not be left behind because a community cannot be upheld by only one gender. All genders should be given equal opportunity so that the community can grow as one without leaving a marginalized group behind.
- Goal 6: clean water and sanitation. There is already a program in place providing water filters so this community is well on its way to achieve this goal within the stipulated time. They are in the process of building boreholes that will provide piped water to the households.
Lanet Umoja Location has decided that for the above 5 goals, they shall be evaluating themselves after every three months by collecting data and reviewing it. Their target is to achieve these goals in two years.
Day 2 marked the end of this process and it was a success. It was commendable to see the community itself coming together to make sure that this training was a success. As their name Umoja means unity, it is clear that there is actual umoja in Umoja. As Open Institute, we were honored to be work with an amazing team of leaders and look forward to continue walking with them in this journey of achieving the SDGs, thinking global and acting local.
We thank our partners and supporters who enabled this Buntwani Locally be a success.
- The World Bank’s Data Literacy for Good Governance program (led by Craig Hammer and Sandra Moscoso) for the data literacy training material.
- The MCC–PEPFAR Partnership for technical and financial support.
- Development Initiative’s Davis Adieno for facilitating some of the discussions on the SDGs
- Thellesi Media for helping with the documentation.
- and the Lanet Umoja community members who managed all logistics for the event.
Here’s a snapshot of how yesterday went.