By Mwakwaya Raymond
Civil societies in Mombasa are working on modalities of enhancing public access and use of open data produced by State actors.
The Program seeks to bring together state actors and CSOs to a round table and agree on principles to share open data for the public to enable them make informed decisions.
The program which is being implemented by two CSOs in Mombasa – that is Local Empowerment for Good Governance (LENGGO) and the Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI) is one of its kind. It intends to address the push and pull between county officials and CSOs that has been witnessed for years.
LENGGO executive director Lucas Fondo says access to open data will enhance accountability amongst public servants and service delivery.
Mr Fondo points out that since the inception of the devolved governance, county governments have been withholding crucial data making it quite hard for the public to fully monitor or compare the sequence of data released in various annual budgets.
The executive director stressed that state actors cannot continue operating in such a manner and that lasting solution has now been found.
He says the open data program seeks to end such scenarios and formulate a more collaborative way of sharing data by both state actors and the civil societies.
Open data and public participation
“The three-year program seeks to strengthen CSOs network for engagement with County officials to improve the translation and use of data for greater transparency and accountability,” Mr Fondo told a conference in Mombasa on September 27.
He added that the use of open data was bound to enhance people’s participation in good governance and resource mobilization.
The program, he added, would create a conducive atmosphere for the state actors to be well equipped to engage with CSOs to address county challenges.
The Media will also have an upper hand in knowledge and skills in data generation, access, processing, use and response to address County challenges, he further submitted.
Mombasa County government officials in attendance admitted that they had not been cooperative enough in furnishing CSOs with relevant information.
The felt the program was long overdue and were optimistic that the initiative would address the bad blood between between the two sectors.
“Indeed there has been a subversion of laws that seriously weakened the effectiveness of County governments programs” said the chair for Health Committee Kibwana Swaleh Baya.
Kibwana cited weaknesses in institutional data disclosure and mechanism thus the need to strengthen the collaborative relationship between the actors in order to address accountability and service delivery challenges.
The program activities include conducting multi actor dialogue forums on barriers of data. Others are capacity building for county government officials and county assembly on access and utility of data in the devolution of service and women empowerment.
It also entails carrying out mapping of data ecosystem to determine data usage; simplification of county budget and health data, and capacity development on access, analysis and utility of data.
This program is being implemented in two counties namely Kisumu and Mombasa.