Open Government Data for Effective Public Participation: Findings of a Case Study Research Investigating the Kenya's Open Data Initiative in Urban Slums and Rural Settlements

April 16, 2014 by Zacharia Chiliswa

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Access to information, freedom of media and citizen participation in governance processes are some of the main pillars of the Kenyan Constitution. Therefore, the open data initiative holds the potential for increased engagement between the government and the public. Evans & Campos (2012) note that greater citizen empowerment could be achieved through more concerted approaches that consider and provide contextual information. This research sought to understand how this relationship has evolved over the years since the initiative’s inception, and to address potential areas of improvement to allow for greater utilization of government information by the communities. More speci cally, the study sought to: a) Investigate the impact of the Kenyan Government’s open data initiative and to see whether, and if so how, it is assisting marginalized communities and groups in accessing key social services and information such as health and education;11 b) Understand the way people use the information provided by the Open Data Initiative; c) Identify people’s trust in the information and how it can assist their day-to-day lives; d) Examine ways in which the public wish for the open data initiative to improve, particularly in relation to governance and service delivery