Engaging Citizens in Governance With Open Data

May 32013

Citizens, writes development expert Jay Naidoo in The Guardian, always know better than the government or the market what works for them. “So why don't state officials and policymakers take us, the citizens, into their confidence?” he asks. “Can we begin to see citizens as the greatest ally for good governance? And if so, how do we pursue a partnership between government and citizens?”

“Part of the answer lies in open data,” Naidoo writes. He believes solutions lie in initiatives such as Code4Kenya, which he calls “one of the first sustained attempts in Africa focused on making open data relevant to and used by citizens.” The Code4Kenya program is managed by the Open Institute and funded by the World Bank and the Africa Media Initiative (AMI). ICFJ’s Justin Arenstein works with AMI and Code4Kenya as part of his Knight International Journalism Fellowship.

“What we need is the political will to co-create the tools with citizens and civil society,” Naidoo writes, “and to harness the expertise and technology of the marketplace to deliver the services to which our citizens have a right.”

Read Naidoo's piece for The Guardian here.

Learn more about ICFJ Knight International Journalism Fellow Justin Arenstein's work with the African Media Initiative, Code4Kenya and Code for Africa here.