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It matters who produces data: reflections on two citizen-generated data initiatives

Date added: June 8, 2017

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Development Initiatives (DI) and Development Research and Training (DRT) received a Making All Voices Count practitioner research and learning grant to examine the purpose, use and users of citizen-generated data in two case studies.

One case study examined how citizen-generated data on the quality of schools and schooling was channelled to the Ministry of Education in Kenya. The other case study looked at the work of community resource trackers in five communities in Uganda, and their role in providing unsolicited feedback to local government actors and other development partners.

This paper documents a conversation between DI’s Regional Technical Lead Karen Rono-Bett and IDS Research Officer Ciana-Marie Pegus. It describes: DI and DRT’s interest in and involvement with citizen-generated data initiatives; the questions they sought to answer through the research; how they went about getting answers; what the research showed and the implications of these findings; and recommendations and the way forward for DI and DRT.

By reflecting on and contextualising the findings of the practitioner research, this Practice Paper highlights:

  • the evolution of the open data movement in Kenya and Uganda, and the growth of citizen-generated data initiatives
  • the advantages and disadvantages of formal feedback structures
  • the importance of barazas as spaces for accountability - barazas are public fora to which members of the public are invited to participate in monitoring the delivery and use of public resources and services
  • the need for demonstrating the value of participating in social accountability mechanisms to citizens
  • the challenges of scaling up citizen-generated data initiatives.
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