Kenya: Elgeyo-Marakwet Becomes First County to Set Up Open Data Desk

16 October 2019

Elgeyo-Marakwet has become the first county in Kenya to set up a data desk supported by the Open Institute and the World Bank in a bid to boost service delivery to the people.

The data desk is a function which has been established within the county governments to help out in collection, analysis and dissemination of departmental data.

Speaking during the launch in Iten Tuesday, Governor Alex Tolgos said the data desk will help in eliminating bias in development and ensure equitable distribution of resources and boost project prioritisation.

CITIZEN PARTICIPATION

"We want to embrace open data initiative and govern together with our citizens. Their participation is paramount to our success. That is why our data desk is designed to publish data freely on our website," said Mr Tolgos.

The desk will publish data on the county's website for the public to freely engage and give their recommendations and views on the state of the county government's projects.

County Assembly Speaker Kiplagat Sabulei said all information on House business will also be found on the website.

"All the motions will be published and active members of the county assembly will be known by the public," said Mr Sabulei.

GIVE CORRECT DATA

Open Institute Chief Executive Officer Al Kags said for the data desk to be successful, all county governments must cooperate and provide the correct data.

"Every county government must plan, but planning alone is not enough if not backed up by accurate data. The desk will allow counties to plan sustainably with data they have collected, hence they will be more targeted in the developments they pursue," said Mr Kags.

He further outlined the importance of the data desk in terms of the relationship between county governments and their citizens.

"A framework like data desk allows both the county government and citizens to win. It will promote the county's capacity to accurately plan and allocate resources. Citizens will get services that are most relevant to their needs because it is from them that data will be collected," added Mr Kags.

OTHER COUNTIES

According to Open Institute, counties that will follow after Elgeyo-Marakwet in launching the desk include Baringo, Makueni, Kilifi and Taita Taveta.

"We are happy to work with counties to strengthen their systems for transparency and accountability," said Mr Philip Jaspersen, a senior specialist at the World Bank.

Mr Jaspersen added that Elgeyo-Marakwet becomes the first county to launch the data desk because it has successfully gone through the robust process of establishing it sustainably.

Open Institute is a non-profit organisation based in Nairobi that works with county governments, civil societies, citizen groups and private companies to improve development.

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