About Data Governance

Data Governance is an important component of enabling our mission because we believe that while the world needs better quality and more granular data to achieve its development goals, people’s rights must also be protected zealously.

 

In partnership with Amnesty International, the Open Institute aims to bring together expertise in data for human rights  and data for development towards strengthening data governance in Kenya and Africa as a whole. 

Building on the momentum created by an event dubbed #RestoreDataRights, which ended with calls from African civil society organisations and academic representatives for policy tools and frameworks that could help to ensure that sensitive personal data used as part of the pandemic response is used responsibly, the project will work to ensure responsible data use and protect people’s data rights.

The Challenge

Less than 40% of Kenyans understand the value of their personal data according to UNCTAD. Considerably fewer understand how to protect their privacy or how to use data to inform policy-making and hold the Government of Kenya accountable. Most Kenyans probably missed the passing of the Data Protection Act after two years of sitting in the Kenyan National Assembly. 

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, digital, data-driven technologies have been utilised in the response to facilitate contact-tracing, generate epidemiological models to predict resource needs, and even towards surveillance of whole populations to enforce economic and social lockdowns.

This presents a situation that raises the question of what role different kinds of data should play in the response and how they should be handled, accessed, shared and used — in a word: governed.

Advocacy

Our primary goal is to collaborate to bring the data protection for human rights and data for development communities together to learn from and work closely with each other in order to strengthen advocacy around data governance issues in Kenya. A common belief shared between the two agencies is that mass data without policy regulation and citizens oversight is dangerous and that mass data that does not drive evidence-based policies and programs is wasteful. We also seek to leverage this significant development in the Kenyan context to convene continental civil society organisations and key Government agencies to discuss and make recommendations for best practice policy regimes under the African Union.

Public Awareness & Engagement

Through public education, alliance-building and structured policy dialogues, the project seeks to support the implementation of the Data Protection Act for data-driven and rights-based development. Public engagement will inform the development of guidelines, budgets and policies that will aid in the structuring of non-intrusive data so that it is effectively used for civil, social and economic rights.

Outcomes that we hope for

We are determined to ensure that CSOs are heard in a constructive manner and contribute to a continent-wide debate on data use that also helps to generate an expectation of responsible data use in Africa.

We jointly seek four distinct outcomes:

  1. To bring together the Data for Development constituency of organisations and the Data for Human Rights constituency, with a view to strengthening collaborations and a unity of messaging in advocacy relating to data governance. 
  2. That Kenya operationalises a human rights compliant Data Protection Act through citizen responsive guidelines, budgets and policies with enhanced citizen awareness of their rights and state accountability using a data-driven approach.
  3. That subnational governments, business, mass media and civic organisations in ten counties are informed on the opportunities of the Data Protection Act for data-driven policymaking and public accountability.
  4. That a continental movement is created on data governance that is actively engaging governments and regional bodies.

 

Data Governance Team

People who work tirelessly in making data secure

I am a marketing and communications expert, serial entrepreneur and consummate champion of government openness through data. My life embodies ‘big picture thinking’ and living for a higher purpose.

Al Kags

Executive Director

I have been responsible for establishing the Data scraping and wrangling division at the Open Institute, as well as contributed to the creation of grass-roots data literacy training modules. I believe that an informed person makes better choices.

Benjamin Charagu

Operations & Programme Director

 

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