In 2011, the Kenyan government launched the Kenya Open data project. The Open data project was meant to release important data to the public domain. Most of the data was previously accessible to the government and its departments for use in planning, resource allocation and other tasks for the running of government.
Despite launching in high gear, the uptake of the project was slow. Some of the successes from the Open data projects include initiatives by media houses and civil society organizations developing an online portal that visualized data on the 2013 elections, urban crime, education and health information. At one point, the opendata.go.ke domain expired only to be renewed later.
Keen on reviving the project, the Kenya ICT Authority is set to relaunch the project in July this year. Once completed, it will offer a more robust, user-friendly and intuitive Open Data portal. The Authority has created a team comprising of data experts in Geographic Information Systems, analytics and coordinators working towards ensuring the portal achieves its objectives. The team is currently conducting a survey of the government geared at ascertaining the availability of data as well as the readiness of various government departments in opening up data.
The Open data project will go a long way in actualizing clauses of the data protection bill currently in Parliament. The Bill is part of the ‘Connected Kenya Master Plan (2012-2017)’, seeking to make Kenya a competitive knowledge-based economy with ICT business development as the core. It is being pushed through alongside the Access to Information Bill, aimed at effecting Article 35 of the Kenyan Constitution which provides for citizens’ right to access to information held by the country.