Our Work

At the Open Institute, we see a future with an open society that is managed by informed fact-driven citizens, featuring a responsive and accountable government that delivers the services its citizens need at the level of service they deserve. Through collaboration with Governments, Civil Society Organisations, Citizen Groups and Private Sector companies we find innovative ways to achieve Sustainable Development.

Over the years, we have created programmes as well as tools, some of which are highlighted below:



Sabasi is an open-source web and mobile application that aids in creating surveys for data collection. Sabasi is ideal for all types of researchers, including private and public organisations, communities and individuals, given its ease of use and other features such as offline data collection and compatibility with any Android device.

The tool has been used in 8 African countries by Community Health Workers under AMREF in collaboration with the Africa Union’s Centre for Disease Control to collect COVID-19 data. The tool is also currently in use at the Lake Tanganyika Floating Health Clinic (LTFHC) in the DRC.

Ability Programme

The Ability Programme was set out to record what we believe are the most basic barriers to accessing public buildings and public infrastructure for persons with disabilities (PWDs). In Nairobi, we trained and equipped a team of volunteer mappers to collect accurate data inside and outside every building within Nairobi’s Central Business District, and this data was visualised in an OpenStreetMap.

We have since conducted a successful mapping of Nakuru and Malindi towns (including initial discourse with the policymakers at national and subnational Levels) with the aim of making the problem evident and concise to drive engagement with relevant stakeholders toward implementing the concepts of universal design in our public spaces.

Decent Work Initiative

The Decent Work Initiative was inspired by Martin Wairegi, a young man who posted a thread on Twitter, in which he detailed how he got a job through an agency to be a Machine Operator in Industrial Area, in Nairobi. We aimed to highlight the plight of factory workers’ working conditions which often include long hours and little pay. 

Together with our team, Wairegi and 20 trained volunteer enumerators, covered the length of Entreprise Road (Industrial Area, Nairobi) and its tributary streets to explore these issues.

Global Goals for Local Impact (GGLI)

Global Goals for Local Impact is an initiative that aims to domesticate the SDGs and demonstrate to the local citizens that the SDGs are meant to drive development at a very local level.  The project makes use of data and data literacy to catalyze active citizenship that leads to responsive government. 

In this project, the following citizen engagement tools have been implemented:

The GGLI Dashboard – which captures the methodology and presents data and analysis of community data in the following dashboards:

  1. Lanet-Umoja Dashboard
  2. Nakuru North Sub-County Farmers Data


The CensusKe project was undertaken after the 2019 Kenya census by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) to scrap the data released by the Bureau in PDF format, therefore making it difficult for it to be reused for visualisations. The census.ke platform simplified and eased access and usage of data to create insights, in the hope that they could be used in triggering solutions to Kenya’s development challenges.

The Open County Initiative

The Open County Initiative seeks to promote open government at the grassroots. Through this local focus, the OC Initiative provides a framework through which county-level engagement between county government, private sector and civil society is initiated and sustained. It also ensures citizens are given a seat at the table through public participation in governance processes such as service delivery, county budgets and the use of devolved funds which are critical to the improvement of their livelihoods.  

The Open County initiative comprises components which include: 

The Open County Portal is a set of dashboards that guide county management teams to manage development results more effectively and provide a platform for engaging citizens.

DevolutionHub is a one-stop repository for all devolution documents in Kenya that is an easy-to-use platform where the body of knowledge that is developed on devolution can be accessed.

data desk is envisaged to be a (both offline and online) platform through which users can obtain relevant and actionable data about the county free of charge.

Our Reports

We have released various reports around our work in citizen generated data, exploring findings on national, sub-national and local levels, in the different programmes at the Open Institute, across different sectors where we work.

A Study On National And Subnational Data Practices In Kenya

The Study on National and Sub-National Data Practices in Kenya examines national and subnational practices that currently exist through a sampling of  5 counties (Makueni, Taita Taveta, Kilifi, Vihiga and Bomet) through the lens of both Access to Information and Data Protection. Perceptions from citizens sampled and participating in focus group discussions and county government officials through key informant interviews informed the findings of the report. 

Read the report

Jonah’s Miners: A Situational Analysis of COVID-19 Impacts on Kenya’s Artisanal Small Scale Miners

Our Extractives Programme was led by the late Jonah Mngola, who led the work advocating for artisanal small-scale miners (ASMs) to receive fair incomes and work with dignity and safety. In the report, we explore the results of the scoping exercise undertaken in Migori, Taita Taveta and Kakamega counties aimed at gaining a better understanding of how we could use data to make every ASM in Kenya visible. 

Read the report

The Data Desk Manual

The data desk manual outlines the process of setting up data desks. A data desk is envisaged to be a (both offline and online) platform through which users can obtain relevant and actionable data about the county. Such data may include, spatial data, population, sectoral performance, policy targets, budgets, business services and public services.

Read the manual

Global Goals for Local Impact

The Global Goals for Local Impact position paper makes the argument that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can best be achieved when citizens are involved at Local Levels.

Read the report