For the past six weeks, iHub Research has been conducting an ongoing Monitoring and Evaluation study onthe impact of open data applications and technologies in promoting access to information. The focus for this study include technologies born out of the Code4Kenya (http://www.code4kenya.org/) pre-incubator initiative as well as those created by other Open Data start-ups in Kenya (https://opendata.go.ke/community-apps) pulling data from the open data portal and addressing issues in three thematic areas; Water, Health and Education.
The study is funded by the Canadian International Development Research Centre (through grant 107075) (http://www.idrc.ca/EN/Pages/default.aspx), and is managed by the World Wide Web Foundation.
In the early stages of the study, iHub Research has been conducting assessments of the political, legal, technical and social contexts in which the Open Data Movement in Kenya operates. This has been in preparation for a baseline survey and active deployment of sample Open Data applications from both the independent start-ups and the Code4Kenya initiatives in a controlled sample population. An initial quantitative analysis on access levels and existing impact will also be carried out before the deployments, and change in usage patterns monitored on the various Open data platforms over several months.
Most of the Code4Kenya applications (http://www.code4kenya.org/?page_id=8) have already been handed over to the host organizations for implementation. The sailing was however not easy for development teams and the fellows placed in the host organizations, as the initiative ran into numerous challenges including lack of readily usable data from the Kenya Open Data platform.
At the end of the study, iHub Research will investigate the change in the level of awareness of open data and the impact the perceived increase in access to information has had on the sample population.In particular, the questions that the study aims to answer include: How have the applications increased the population’s consumption of open data, and the type of information mostly consumed by the public and the change in governance settings as a result of this consumption of open data based information. iHub Research will also compare the data provided by the private institutions for public usage, in this case the Code4Kenya host organizations, and the government data sets provided on the Open data portal, and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of both data sources.
The final findings of this study are expected to be available by January 2014.