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iHub By Jessica Colaço / October 30, 2011

Governance Workshop at iHub Research

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iHub Research hosted a governance workshop on Thursday, October 27th, 2011, bringing together governance stakeholders from academia, government, civil society and the technology community. The purpose of the workshop was to identify important issues within Kenyan governance structures, especially looking at different stakeholder roles and relationships. The workshop also explored areas where technology may be able to facilitate and potentially enhance good governance.

The session was part of the SPIDER Governance project that iHub Research has recently embarked on, and was conceived of as a means to obtain a diverse, balanced view on what governance, and good governance in particular, is to different sectors of society. The participants were representative of all the sectors the workshop had intended to reach, and their  experience, outspokenness and creative ideas made the session that was moderated by iHub Research Strategist; Hilda Moraa –  lively, thought-provoking and insightful.

Hilda Moraa moderating the workshop

A point of consensus was that there is indeed failure in Kenyan governance, especially in accountability, transparency, civic participation and engagement and service delivery. Reasons cited for this lapse included:

  • an uninformed and misinformed citizens that are not aware of their basic rights and the power of the masses
  • an entrenched culture of corruption in both the citizens and the government where personal gain outweighs personal accountability
  • lack of structures to enforce good governance such as lifestyle audits for public servants, and socio-economic constraints, with many citizens too pre-occupied with the struggle to fulfill basic needs such as food to engage in governance discourse.

The participants were of the opinion that changing peoples’ attitudes and mindsets was the first and most important step towards the achievement of good governance. People have to start viewing governance as an issue they should be involved in and not a reserve of ivory-tower academics and civil society organisations. People also have to be made aware of the benefits they will reap from good governance, such as improved living standards. The next step is creation of avenues and structures through which people can engage in governance issues.

Participants putting down their views

ICT comes in handy as a tool to disseminate information and create awareness. An informed citizenry can make sound, informed decisions.  This can be achieved through education using ICTs. ICTs such as radio, mobile phones and other mass media can serve the purpose of educating citizens on their rights, provide channels of communication between citizens and the government, mobilise citizens to take action when services are not delivered as they should be and enable them to seek redress. The mobile phone was singled out as a potentially powerful tool due to its wide reach, with over 60% of citizens able to access mobile technology, and its personal, private nature which gives citizens an opportunity to engage in governance solutions in a discreet, personalised way, anytime, anywhere.

The Workshop Participants

A characteristic of a good brainstorm session is that it gives more food for thought. The workshop opened up new perspectives on governance matters and gave the research team food for thought. The session provided a forum for different stakeholders to network, fostering the possibility of working together in the future to realise the dream of good governance in Kenya.

Blogpost by Peggie Kalie, Governance Research Assistant at iHub Research

Author : Jessica Colaço

Jessica Colaço is currently the Director of Partnerships at iHub. She was the Founding Manager between 2010 and 2011 at iHub and Research Director between 2011 and 2013 at iHub Research. She is passionate about Innovation, Research, Mobile and Robotics Technology, Mentorship and Entrepreneurship in Kenya as she uses her position at iHub to court local, regional and international stakeholders to adopt Kenyan-made and African-made solutions. As an upcoming angel investor, she courts local and international investors to invest in great tech ideas and companies at idea and concept stage. She is also a Mobile and Robotics Tech Evangelist, Co-Founder of WMIAfrica and AkiraChix, ISOC-Kenya Chapter, Treasurer, ACM-W Nairobi Chapter Chair, TED Global Fellow 2009 and upcoming Guitarist. She was named one of the top 40 women under 40 years in Kenya's business scene by Business Daily on 2009, 2011 and 2012. Her endeavour is to put Kenya and Africa on the map for technology achievements and spur innovation within the country and continent! She blogs at:

1 comment
  • ICT for Democracy in East Africa: October News at 20:50:19PM Tuesday, December 13, 2011

    [...] could facilitate and potentially enhance good governance. Further information is available here. Expert interviews and pilot questionnaires are scheduled for November and [...]


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