Those of us who follow my undoings know that I am very close to my dad and that we like to spend time talking about all sorts of intelligent crazy things. This weekend, we had such pleasure to spend some time together and we spent it looking at the situation in the country, politics, health, leadership, counties etc.
Of the more interesting conversations was Turkana county, whether the media is portraying a real image of what is happening or not, the famine, floods and its leadership. Of importance, is the list below of a brainstorm that we had on how people in Turkana (and other parts of the country) can be saved from all the hardship they are going through.
Food for work
The Turkana county has been endowed with many valuable resources and top among those are oil and water. The local communities should be given employment in return for food. Now, don’t look at this surprised thinking how will the poor malnourished weak people manage to work! If given sufficient and continuous food, you and I know that they will gain strength capacity to work, I mean, don’t we all? #motivation
More Information on the County
One of the things that is ailing the county is the lack of information. We have seen mixed pictures of people in Turkana living in green well cultivated areas as others are still in the depth of suffering. There should be more information collected and made public about which areas of Turkana are really suffering, which ones have great capacity and which ones have resources that can be tapped to contribute to the entire county. As should other regions of the country.
A better focus for NGO work
Growing up, i read a tale about young boys who were tasked with ensuring that rats did not invade the family maize granaries. Every evening, these boys are said to have gone to the granaries with clubs to kill the rats but when they got there, they only killed the big rats and spared the young ones “for next time” they said.
The NGO sector (not the whole entire sector) but in a lot of the work that i have seen and talked to people about has become a business. The sector is failing in coming up with sustainable solutions for those suffering but have instead turned and become like the boys at the granaries. They are providing just enough food, just enough water to ensure survival until next time. This keeps development work relevant.
There are very few NGOs working in poverty afflicted regions that have focused on sustainable solutions for the locals. finding ways that will ensure that the locals are not dependent on them for eternity. Projects in Agriculture and trade.
Increase water points
The people in the Northern parts of Kenya have for a long time been known as patralists. Now, from my primary school education, pastralists are always moving from one point to another in search of water and pasture for the animals. To ensure sustained development, there should be more bore holes dug to supply water that would limit the movement of the herders, provide water for irrigation and ensure the availability of labor to focus on other economic activities in the county. This is not rocket science!
An added point to this is that it will allow the communities with deep cultural believes in animal raring realize that they do not have to abandon their animals, but that they can do both animals and plants.
We have all been put under the illusion that agriculture can only be done in areas that have predictable rainfall. On the contrary, there are some crops that do well in dry seasons and that probably only need a few days of rainfall. Sorghum is one such plant. This can be easily used both as a food crop and as a cash crop to the breweries for beer manufacturing. If enough research is done, I am sure there is gonna be a longer list of such plants.
Another option to farming is going back to the old days of barter trade. People in Turkana can grow drought resistant crops that can be exchanged for other items in other communities, or even the government and manufacturers.
These, people, are some of the things that we think if implemented, could see a more prosperous northern region of Kenya because:
“No matter where you are from, your dreams are valid” – Lupita Nyong’o.
Busia County is located in the Western part of Kenya, and its boundaries mark the Kenya/Uganda boarders. It goes without saying that Busia county stands in a good position for cross country trade and economic activities.
The Governor of Busia County is Sospeter Odeke Ojaamong (ODM).
According to KNBS’ census 2009, Busia had a total population of 743,946 with a male to female ratio of 1:1.1
This post aims at mapping out a few social demographic facts about the county, in relation to the population.
Access To Education:
People With Disability In The County:
County Age Groups:
Happy valentines day to you! Ok, happy post valentines day. As the world marked this annual event of flower sharing, the #dataScience team was busy looking into the flower farming business in Kenya.
Kenya’s economy largely relies on the agriculture sector which contributes:
Kenya’s GDP stands at 37.23 billion US dollars. Of this, horticulture as one of the top foreign exchange earners for the country generates approximately US$ 1 billion annually.
The amount in tons of Cut Flower Exports have seen a great increase over the years:
While the main areas where flower farming are around Lake Naivasha, Mt. Kenya, Nairobi, Thika, Kiambu, Athi River, Kajiado, Kitale, Nakuru, Kericho, Nyandarua, Trans Nzoia, Uasin Gichu and Eastern Kenya; the main export markets for the flower industry in Kenya are in Europe, including Holland, United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Switzerland; with new growing destinations for flower demands including Japan, Russia and USA.
The main flower types grown for export in the floriculture industry include:
The flower industry has been a great source of employment to the local people in the areas the cultivation takes place but also to people with different expertise from other regions within the country and internationally.
It is estimated that there are over 90,000 employees (directly or indirectly) in the flower farm industry and about 500,000 other people who depend on the industry.
The government of Kenya launched its Open Data Initiative in 2011, making it the 2nd country in Africa to launch an Open Data movement in Africa after the Morocco government. in 2012, Tunisia followed, and most recently, Nigeria also launched its Open Data Initiative – These are all government led initiatives.
The World Bank was a pioneer in opening up data and the African Development Bank followed on shortly after with its Open Data for Africa portal (another very rich data source!). More governments in the global northern countries (the west) have released data portal than African countries have and carrying the reputation that Africans generally like to follow what the “west” is doing, got me thinking about why more African countries are not releasing their data portals.
Having attended Open Data conferences both in Africa and in Europe and America, I noticed a big difference in the way the Open Data message is communicated to these groups that i can group to two – Africa and the “West.”
In the “West”, the open data message has been branded as that of development, citizen access and business development. Governments are encouraged to release train route data and time so that developers can make apps that allow better access to schedules. In Finland, there is an app that shows you when traffic builds up and when it slows down (working economies). There are very many examples to this like in the US where open data on gangs and arrests has been used to inform citizens on safe neighborhoods, corners and times. There was one project where open data allowed planners see the neighborhoods that did not have water supply which turned out to predominantly be black neighborhoods. You get the point. Now which government does not want its people to be served better?
In Africa on the other hand, Open data has become the “Let us fight corruption” project. Don’t get me wrong. While i am definitely of the opinion that open data can help do this, I feel that this is the wrong approach to getting the project running. As human beings, our first reaction under attack is to guard ourselves. People that work in government are no different. As soon as the only message we take out there about the benefits of open data is that it helps fight corruption, the corrupt government officials (who more often are top ranked) will definitely resist the implementation of the project.
My advice to open data evangelists is to choose a different approach when requesting governments to open up data, let us focus on the bigger picture of the benefits of open data. The citizens for example and how better their lives will be when they access the data, the planners and how resources will be better allocated, the entrepreneurs and how the GDP will be improved etc. While corruption is case that can be solved, a focus on corruption alone will only get open data into the trouble of resistance.
During my time at the Kenya Open Data Initiative, we worked very hard to make sure that we had the right technologies in place to steer the initiative. From the very nice Socrata platform to great partnerships with many private sector players and development partners.
Over the past couple of weeks, I have seen discussions around how liberating data would be so great for developers and all the technical peoples. Well, this is something I have known for over 2 years now. The importance, the pros and cons. Not very much seems to change.
What caught my eyes though, what this post is about, is the forgotten group of non technical data holders. Beyond having the best technologies, Open Data is very much a mindset problem than it is the platforms on which we put this data on. The people who refuse to give data have deep organizational and cultural backgrounds of a NO DATA SHARING policy. The silo mentality in government institutions, the competitive edge mentality in private sector, the private data mentality among individuals. All these contribute to a group of people who do not care about technology but who are actually more afraid of their data being shared especially on platforms they do not control.
I met one data provider this week, who could not get information from a colleague in the same ministry but from different departments as “they had not received an order from above.” This is so frustrating and this is what we need to change.
I was fortunate enough to sit in the committee that was curating Kenya’s Access to information bill and at the time, while I was pushing that there should be a clause requiring all government institutions to make their data public and in open standard recognized formats, someone reminded me that that would take way longer to happen as most government infrastructure could not allow the people to do their work and at the same time work on making the data available in those open formats. Now I appreciate what that wisdom meant.
So even as we all crowd in making technological platforms to solve open data issues, let us take a minute to remember that open data is more about releasing data, having the pro-active drive to making data openly and publicly available whether on books, PDF, files, csv etc. Let us start with what we can get.
And, as we campaign for data solutions, let us remember to campaign for data to be released without putting in place stringent measures on the data holders. I guess the data business is the only place where you don’t create supply of new versions by killing demand of older versions. We need to demand the books and PDFs, to create the supply for open formats like CSV and xls.
Have you ever wondered where the World Bank disburses money to? Well, wonder no more!
The map below shows where the Bank gives money to and how much.
Yes, yes, I would have also loved to know which of it is loans, grants etc but this is what we have for now so, enjoy!!
Turkana county – Governor Josphat Nanok Koli, has always been in the news for all the wrong reasons. Poverty, death, hunger etc and although there is this “glimpse” of hope on the discovery of water and oil reserves, this has been more of better news for the country’s image than it has to the people of Turkana who continue to face harsh times that are leaving them helpless and unable to compete at national level.
This project aims to bring to light some facts you probably did not know about Turkana county. The main source is the government statistics from the Kenya Open Data Initiative.
The Turkana age groups pyramid according to the National Census 2009
They account for 855,399, or 2.5% of the Kenyan population (with more males than females)
According to KIHBS, in 2005/2006, the population of Turkana county was 538,949 and the number of poor people was 500,662 which is about 93% of the population. Now, while 2006 is a very long time, looking at the other statistical indicators, its easy to see that not much of that has changed for the better.
With about 148 health facilities in Turkana county (as per the Master Facility List of MOH),Turkana has the following distribution of medical practitioners according to the county distribution of medical practitioners report:
Turkana county also has the largest population of donkeys in Kenya (census 2009) at 558,187 donkeys (about 1 donkey for every 2 people)
Turkana is not only rich in oil and water but was also rich in cattle as shown on the cattle distribution map below. Click on any of the circles to see the location and livestock population distribution. Note the light green large circles:
Despite its challenges, Turkana county is performing averagely when it comes to access to education, especially at primary and pre-primary levels as shown below.
During this time when our fellow citizens in Turkana County are struggling with hunger, there have been more questions asked than answered, especially when the county intends to spend 450,000,000 on the governor’s office (Story for another day) while people go for days without food.
There is a lot of talk about food security and all but today I wanna share a small analysis of how much a meal would cost you at wholesale price, if you were to consume this meal at KG quantities of all the ingredients that are used to make that meal. Please note that these are typical Kenyan meals, and some ingredients like oil and water have been excluded and the assumption is that these meals are ready hence no need for cooking heat.
The table below is a representation of the various ingredient costs per Kg (as literal divisions of wholesale prices at larger quantities (so this could be a little higher.))
Top 10 counties 2012/2013 Quarter 4
Bottom 10 counties Quarter 1 financial year 2013/2014
Bottom 10 counties Quarter 4 financial year 2012/2013
Bottom 10 counties Q1 financial year 2013/2014