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Citizen-generated data and sustainable development

Date added: April 19, 2017

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The development data and information landscape in Kenya and Uganda has changed significantly over recent years. Officials, civil society and the private sector are stepping up efforts to harness existing and new data sources to support decision-making and accountability for sustainable development. Some proponents of citizen-generated data see it as a key element in the emerging data revolution, ensuring citizen engagement, government responsiveness and impact at the local level, while helping fill important gaps in official data.

There is, however, a need for stronger evidence on how citizen-generated data initiatives contribute to change in the development context. This report, based on two case studies from Kenya and Uganda aims to help build that evidence.

The Uganda case study focuses on the work of 'community resource trackers', a group of volunteers in five post-conflict districts of Eastern and Northern Uganda. The Kenya case study looks at the School Report Card initiative, an effort to increase parent participation in schooling of their children.

Main findings:

  • The case studies demonstrate that citizens - individuals and communities - are important agents in the data revolution as active users, producers and intermediaries of development data and information
  • In both cases, citizen-generated data initiatives have contributed to improvements in the delivery of development-related projects accessibility and/or quality of public services
  • Both initiatives contributed to empowerment and participation of local actors in accountability efforts
  • The Kenyan initiative saw policy-level uptake
  • There is a need for a differentiated approach when considering the wider potential of citizen-generated data.
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