We are coming to the end of our pilot exercise for the Global Goals for Local Impact project in Lanet Umoja location. Data was collected successfully by the community leaders in conjunction with volunteer youth from the same location. Data entry was also done by a group of youth from the location. This meeting was held last Saturday to paint a picture of Lanet location to the community leaders with the data collected and analysed so far.
Citizens care about data when it is directly relevant to their conveniences and livelihoods. This was one of the lessons that we as Open Institute learnt as we started working with citizens at the local level. The data collected for Lanet Umoja location shows a picture of the community that would not be easily seen at a glance. The group of youth that carried out the data entry, and now call themselves Lanet Transformers, went through the data analytics themselves and came up with a story to tell the community leaders. Lanet Umoja location chose five Sustainable Development Goals to work on for the next two years, in addition to security which is the major objective of the Nyumba Kumi initiative. The SDGs they chose were:
The Lanet Transformers went further to collect information on different amenities linked to each goal so that in addition to the household data collected, they may be able to paint a clearer picture of the community. For example, they showcased data on health by disease, causes of diseases and health amenities. On water and sanitation, they showcased sources of drinking and washing water as well as water points in the community. This goes to show that with household data collected, amenities should also be mapped to gauge quantity and quality resource allocation.
When citizens know, life improves. This has been one of Open Institute’s mantras. The citizens are empowered when they get information from accurate and reliable data. The meeting was attended by the Member of County Assembly (MCA) for Lanet Umoja ward which is the same geographically as the Lanet Umoja location. Wards are the equivalent of locations in the contexts of county governments – the smallest division of the county. The community leaders questioned the MCA on a number of issues that they encountered in the community and now had data to show on the same. As a result, the MCA and the chief were able to address the issues according to each one’s area of jurisdiction. This was a great way to show the citizens how data can make them more confident about voicing out their concerns on service delivery, resource allocation and accountability among others.
As we move on with the data analysis, we are hopeful that the citizens of Lanet Umoja location will be able to find their voice as a community through data use to bring about development. Following emerging data gaps, The Open Institute will improve the data collection and analysis systems to enhance better decision making and advocacy efforts by the communities as the project scales up to more locations.