Tech Solutions for Covid-19

My thoughts are related to awareness creation and information
provision. Various technologies can be used to promote each citizen’s right
to accurate and timely information, accountable leadership, and responsible
use of public resources. Some ideas:

1. I echo Stephen Machua’s call for an open data portal that provides
centralized information in English and Swahili on the areas he suggested.
The Open Data portal was promoted in the previous administration but seems
to have lapsed under this one. In addition to the areas that were proposed
for what can be on the Open Data portal, here are a few others:

a. Criteria for testing for COVID-19

b. How many test kits are available, by county

c. How many people tested at any given time, by county

d. Relevant policies/laws related to COVID-19

e. County-specific information related to COVID-19 e.g. measures
taken to address the matter (hand-washing points), medical centres for
testing and treatment, hotlines to call in the event of an emergency, etc.

2. Use digital technologies to encourage devolved communication
between citizens and government down to location/sub-location level. Chief
Kariuki in Lanet Location, Nakuru County effectively used to send texts to
residents through Twitter. This service has since been discontinued but the
Committee could look into reviving it so as to allow chiefs/subchiefs to:

a. provide national updates and information in their areas.

b. Provide County-specific updates and information

Residents can also use such platforms to:

c. raise concerns particular to their needs/area through their
chiefs/subchiefs, which can then be escalated upwards.

d. propose solutions for particular needs in their community

3. Authorities should provide frequent, accurate updates in different
languages on multiple platforms – e.g. social media, mainstream media,
trusted community leaders – from credible sources. This would also a more
effective way to curb misinformation rather than resorting to threats of
arrests, etc.

4. Government can also partner with telcos and local developers in
deploying technology (apps, mobile phones) to enable information exchange
across counties (e.g. about food availability) without violating rights to
privacy.

5. A final thought for the committee is that nations such as Germany are on
lockdown with no incidences of policy brutality or citizen outcry. Citizen
compliance can be achieved if authorities can do the following:

a) show empathy/understanding of citizens’ needs (e.g. not everyone is able
to stay at home for days on end working remotely so provide
options/alternatives)

b) treat all citizens with respect

c) acknowledge that digital access is not equally available to all, so
ensure that everyone has access to similar COVID-related information

d) be accountable for the resources that are generated through taxpayer
money (why an Open Data portal becomes useful).

e) be willing to take responsibility for mistakes made, and to show how the
errors are being addressed.

f) be willing to explain tough decisions

g) be willing to do their jobs as they should. E.g. Legislators should
develop far-reaching policies and laws that will revitalize national/county
economies and institutions, not just buy self-branded soaps.

Thanks.

WW

On Tue, Apr 7, 2020 at 11:59 AM Barrack Otieno via kictanet <
kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke> wrote:

> Dear Liz,
>
> My Feedback inline,
>
>
>
> On Sun, Apr 5, 2020 at 11:04 PM Liz Orembo via kictanet <
> kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke> wrote:
>
>> Thank you Stephen,
>>
>> I like your idea of an open data portal and a single webpage for all
>> sorts of communications and statistics regarding covid 19. Can
>> covid-19.ke resemble that of John hopkins?
>>
> *BO : It is worth noting that open Data is not a new concept in Kenya. We
> had an Open Data Portal during His Excellency Kibaki’s regime. I guess
> priorities may have shifted. I know there are open data Champions on this
> list, it could help if they can give an an expert opinion on where we are
> as a country and the challenges we are facing that can hamper the use of
> Open Data. When all is said and done what is coming out clearly is
> technology has to be backed by strong digital literacy.*
>
>>
>> I also know we have various community network projects driven by some of
>> our members on this list. How can they coordinate with the ministry of
>> health to provide content in the local languages and in forms that are
>> easily consumed in the areas where the community networks serve?
>>
>
> *BO : Community Networks are playing their part, got some inspiring
> feedback from @Josephine Miliza <josephine.miliza@gmail.com> on some
> initiatives they are carrying out at Tunapanda Networks in Kibra to
> provide support in Kibra where implementing preventive measures such as
> social distancing has been a challenge. They are working with teachers in
> the local school to upload content on the e-learning platforms (Soma
> -e-learning platform) which will be availed to learners through the
> Community Network. They are also Customizing COVID-Related information to
> fit the local context by creating Videos and memes to demistify COVID-19.
> Some of the Connected Centres are also making masks for the Community. I am
> sure @Josephine Miliza <josephine.miliza@gmail.com> can share more. I am
> involved with a Community Network hosted by CISS <cisskisumu.org>
> which operates in Homabay, Kisumu and Siaya County supporting over 200
> women and youth groups in the rural communities from the three counties. We
> are actively engaging them through Whatsapp to understand the challenges
> they are facing as well as convey reliable information about COVID-19.
> Together with partners we are also working on Videos aimed at informing
> educating and influencing behavior change which will be uploaded on our
> infrastructure at the Community Centre’s and which can be accessed for
> free. @Rapudo Hawi <rapudohawi@gmail.com> is also spearheading a Community
> Initiative <kijijiyeetu.co.ke> which is documenting various
> initiatives taking place kwa ground. *
> *Finally Community Radio is also playing a critical role. I watched a
> feature on NTV over the weekend where a Community Radio run by a Church in
> Homabay is the only source of information on COVID-19.*
> *I agree with you that we need to step up collaborative efforts to share
> content which can then be passed on to the Communities.*
>
>>
>> On Sun, Apr 5, 2020 at 12:09 PM Stephen Machua <stephenmachua@gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>
>>> Good Morning Liz,
>>>
>>> I see an opportunity for Open Data to boost transparency+future
>>> preparedness, e.g. a portal/site where Kenyans and interested parties can
>>> track progress on;
>>>
>>> a) Donations received and their allocations (Monetary + in-kind) e.g.
>>> World Bank has already given $50M, Danish Government $3.2M
>>> b) Medical supplies (produced + donated) and their allocations
>>> c) Average spending per patient until recovery in different hospitals
>>> across the country – might inform future preparedness
>>>
>>> Basically, trying to capture as much data as we can and learn from this
>>> process.
>>>
>>> Hoping to hear what other listers think, especially those in open data.
>>>
>>> Regards,
>>> Stephen Machua
>>>
>>> On Sat, Apr 4, 2020 at 12:59 AM Liz Orembo via kictanet <
>>> kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke> wrote:
>>>
>>>> Good morning listers,
>>>>
>>>> The senate has established an ad-hoc committee that will oversee the
>>>> responses of the national and county governments to the covid 19 pandemic.
>>>> The committee has issued a call for submissions on the following themes.
>>>>
>>>> 1. *Health *- includes community health, testing centers, mental
>>>> health, role and engagement of county governments.
>>>> 2. *Economic and Finance Issues – *Includes macro economic effects,
>>>> measures that the government can take to cushion SMEs and borrowers.
>>>> 3. *Social, Public order and Human Rights – * Includes protection
>>>> of vulnerable groups, and enforcement of curfews
>>>> 4. *Access to Food, Water and other basic commodities *Includes
>>>> measures to support continuous production and supply of essential services
>>>> at affordable prices. Food, water etc
>>>> 5. *Support services and cross cutting issues – *Includes awareness
>>>> creation, how to combat stigmatization and network access across the
>>>> country.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Listers, what are your views? How can ICTs help in these 5 areas? and
>>>> how can the government improve its communication and network connectivity
>>>> across the country?
>>>>
>>>> Please find attached the call for public participation with more
>>>> details. The deadline for submission is 8th April.
>>>> —
>>>>
>>>> Best regards.
>>>> Liz.
>>>>
>>>> PGP ID: 0x1F3488BF
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>>>
>>
>> —
>>
>> Best regards.
>> Liz.
>>
>> PGP ID: 0x1F3488BF
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>> The Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet) is a multi-stakeholder platform
>> for people and institutions interested and involved in ICT policy and
>> regulation. The network aims to act as a catalyst for reform in the ICT
>> sector in support of the national aim of ICT enabled growth and development.
>>
>> KICTANetiquette : Adhere to the same standards of acceptable behaviors
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>>
>
>
> —
> Barrack O. Otieno
> +254721325277
> +254733206359
> Skype: barrack.otieno
> PGP ID: 0x2611D86A
>
>
>
>
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> The Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet) is a multi-stakeholder platform
> for people and institutions interested and involved in ICT policy and
> regulation. The network aims to act as a catalyst for reform in the ICT
> sector in support of the national aim of ICT enabled growth and development.
>
> KICTANetiquette : Adhere to the same standards of acceptable behaviors
> online that you follow in real life: respect people’s times and bandwidth,
> share knowledge, don’t flame or abuse or personalize, respect privacy, do
> not spam, do not market your wares or qualifications.
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