iHub Research's M-Governance project launched in September 2011 and aims to evaluate how mobile phones technology can be used to improve Kenyan governance, especially in enhancing transparency through access to water information, service charters and effective communication amongst the different stakeholders.
Our research is thematically focused on water, with the aim to create a replicable framework that can be used to study the potential of mobile phone applications in various sectors including education, health, and infrastructure.
The research will result in a comprehensive electronic report to be submitted to the tech community, governance NGOs, and relevant Kenyan ministries, thereby ensuring that the study provides real benefits and recommendations to those involved. A key aspect of the research is the identification of the gaps in water governance transparency.
A component of our project includes hosting workshops and a hackathon event to find possible solutions around the identified water governance issues. The aim of our research is to create new knowledge for the implementation of successful solutions on the ground including the involvement of different stakeholders to create a sustainable approach towards approaching governance issues.
ICT Hubs (in House)ongoing
iHub Research is initiating a research series that will disaggregate the unique factors that make up ICT hubs in Africa (Afrilabs). The series will have a special focus on the role of ICT hubs in fostering innovative entrepreneurship.
iHub Research will use mixed methods to engage with active members within each hub space around Africa, including focus groups, open workshops and e-surveys. For more information contact Hilda Moraa at: firstname.lastname@example.org
In this project, iHub would like to effectively assess the intended long-term impact of open data technologies and the extent to which they achieve the goals of increasing the consumption of open data and affect governance issues in Kenya. The study will follow the post-implementation process of the applications developed in Code4Kenya as well as other open data applications that have been developed in the past two years. The study will try and distinguishing the different successes of these applications and of the KODI platform itself. At the same time, the study will seek to identify best practices for the implementation of local Open Data technologies for the general public and grassroots communities. For more information please visit the dedicated project page.
The Kenya Open Data Pre-Incubator is a six-month experiment to help accelerate the public's ability to make sense of data and to galvanize engagement around critical public issues. The experiment, conducted by a consortium consisting of AMI, Open Institute, @iLab Africa, iHub Research, the World Bank and the Kenya ICT Board, is to test a model that will be put to use in a broader two-year Incubator effort, endorsed and supported by the highest levels of government led by public mobilization agents with support from the technological community.
Currently, four Open Data Fellows have been embedded in civil society and media organizations (the Star , the Standard Group , Nation Media Group and Twaweza ) and will each work to build an application or service or platform around key thematic issues. They are supported by a team of four experienced developers who will support in the creation of these services, platforms or applications.
The focus themes that have been selected for this pre-incubator are water, education and health, with cross-cutting issues based on counties/local government data. Host organizations and fellows are to conduct a close consultation process with issue-expert working groups who will provide insight into specific use cases and technical insight into available data resources.
The specific goals of the pre-incubator process are to:
- 1. Create one app or service or platform per team that is used at scale across Kenyan society and drastically increases the use of open data,
- 2. Develop use cases, recommendations, toolkits and a critical analysis of the pre-incubation process, and
- 3. Create an Advisory Board to work on how to formalize the incubation process over a two-year period.
The iHub Research Team is responsible for documenting the process of building and running the open data pre-incubator; critically analyzing the entire process; and delivering use cases and recommendations that can be used for actionable planning.
The specific goals of the research process are to:
- 1. Document the Open Data Outreach process in order for it to be replicable in other communities and countries,
- 2. Use evaluation mechanisms and the documentation to understand how to make the Open Data Outreach initiative sustainable and scalable.
Based on this, iHub Research will be able to create a toolkit and draw out a more accurate action plan and model to be used when the actual incubator comes into force.
iHub Research is also training and mentoring in design thinking approaches, which the fellows will use to amalgamate the insights from experts with extensive end-user research and their technical expertise to create applications that will try and solve the issues raised.
Outcomes of this research are expected to be published in December 2012.
Internews Ghana complete
Studied impact of Ghanaian NGO, EPAWA's SMS Helpline Network, a project to use Short Message Service (SMS) to connect a network of professionals who can respond in a human trafficking crisis.
Monitoring and evaluating the pilot project by NGO, CEHRD in Nigeria which is providing mesh-casting technology (voice and data transfer over WiFi/ Bluetooth) for a group of activists, citizen journalists, and human rights monitors working in the Niger Delta region.
Internews Kenya complete
Assessed the impact of WANAKONNECT, an Internews pilot project marrying mobile money and voice response to increase revenue and community participation in local radio stations in Kenya.
Link- A Mobile Tool Evaluation- blog post - http://www.ihub.co.ke/blog/2012/05/refugee-united-a-mobile-tool-evaluation/]
In 2010 alone, there were over 43.7 million refugees in the world. This was one of the highest figures of refugees recorded over the past 15 years, according to a UNHCR report released in 2010. These refugees had been forcibly displaced from their homes by conflict or persecution. Refugees and IDPs are vulnerable economically, socially, psychologically and politically.
Uprooted from their homes, having lost access to their accustomed livelihoods, resented by their hosts and often viewed as a burden or as opponents by governments responsible for their protection… (El-Bushra and Kish, Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons)
The Refugee United tool is a family tracing and search mobile-based tool, which connects missing family and friends.
The Refugee United (RU) tool has an estimated 50,000 profiles. However, only a very small percentage of these profiles are active users. Over the period of January 2012 and May 2012, iHub Research conducted surveys and field research that included direct observation, focus-group discussions, and in-depth interviews.
The research will feed into ensuring that the new RU mobile application and sign-up process becomes a success in creating users, securing a high conversion rate (from sign-ups to users of the RU platform) and ultimately leading to digital reconnection of missing family and friends.
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