The original version of this article, by Deborah Mesce, appeared on PRB’s Behind the Numbers blog.
The Kenya government took a bold step toward transparency a few weeks ago when it fired up its Open Data
website and posted loads of data in a format that makes the information easily understood by the average person. The data sets include national census statistics as well as government spending, and the government promises more data to come. This is a boon for journalists willing to wade into the numbers to examine what’s going on in their country and hold their government accountable. I’m waiting now to see how they will use this new tool.
We always hear that information is power, but that works only if the information is used. Lots of information begins as numbers, statistics, and data sets, with lots of good stories tucked away in there to be found by the journalist willing to go the extra mile, examine the numbers, and do the math. In many developing countries, the information – numbers, statistics, data sets – isn’t easily accessible, if it is available at all. Governments keep a tight hold on it, or if it’s made available, the average person would be hard pressed to make heads or tails out of it.
Continue reading on Behind the Numbers.
Image Credit: Open Data.