Our work in Kenya
Development Initiatives (DI) works in Kenya to improve the accessibility and use of data and evidence on people, poverty and resources by all actors working in development and crisis management.
At DI we believe that people living in poverty should share in the benefits of development efforts. In Kenya, planning and resource distribution is often not driven by the needs of the poorest people. The critical information needed for good decision-making – and to hold decision-makers to account – is sometimes unavailable. When it is available, it may be outdated, unfocused or unclear. Furthermore, many potential users lack the capacity to make the most of the data they have.
Our work in Kenya focuses on improving the evidence and data available to decision-makers, empowering key actors to access and use data effectively, and better measuring progress against key commitments. Our ultimate goal is to enable better informed planning, policymaking and reporting to reduce poverty and promote sustainable development.
We have a permanent office in Nairobi, Kenya, which forms the hub of all our activities across Africa. We have three major goals that we are working towards in Kenya:
- Increased commitment and much-needed investment towards improving poverty data and measurement of progress by advocating for disaggregated data and civil administration systems.
- Improved decision-making on the allocation of resources towards sectors that favour the poor through research and analysis.
- People empowered to use data effectively by helping and encouraging those who hold valuable information to make their data available, accessible and usable.
Training civil society organisations to analyse taxes
In partnership with the East African Tax and Governance Network and Tax Justice Network Africa, we facilitated training on poverty-responsive tax analysis to nine CSOs, of which four were then able to conduct a joint analysis on Finance Bill 2019. We then presented their recommendations and our own as part of a joint submission to the National Assembly of Kenya. Some of these recommendations were taken up by the Senate Budget Committee – including work to establish data on informal traders to understand the sector’s potential to increase tax revenue.
Spotlight on Kenya
In 2020 we redesigned our Spotlight on Kenya, first launched in November 2017. This online tool hosts comprehensive datasets on Kenya’s financial resource flows at the county level, alongside indicators on poverty, population, education, health, water and sanitation, and also allows side-by-side comparison of different regions. In addition to attracting the attention of (and being used by) a variety of stakeholders, the Spotlight on Kenya has been a key component of DI’s contribution to Kenya’s voluntary national review process through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Kenya Forum.Spotlight on Kenya
Supporting policymaking at county level
The success of the Spotlight on Kenya led to representatives from Kenya’s Elgeyo Marakwet county asking DI to input into their five-year Integrated Development Plan (2018–2022). Our suggestions and the analysis on which they are based were well received and led to changes to the county’s development priorities. We also strengthened our relationship with individual government departments and observed an increased appetite for data and evidence to support policy following this work.Technical support to subnational administrations in Kenya
Analysing national spending
Our annual pro-poor budget analysis looks at planned government spending and assesses its focus on the poorest people. Every year, DI’s work forms part of the budget analysis working group’s comprehensive joint submission of recommendations to Kenya’s parliamentary budget and appropriation committee. In recent years we have independently reported on resource allocation to pro-poor programmes including free maternity health services, free primary education, irrigation, droughts, and water and sanitation. Based on this evidence, we recently advocated successfully that the Kenyan government take measures to ensure that national and county efforts should be coordinated to help support the universal health care programme.Kenya’s 2019/20 budget and the big four agenda: a pro poor analysis
Assessing disaster risk and preparedness
Our work on disaster risk and preparedness has developed from our budget-tracking work. We have recently begun to analyse spending to disaster risk reduction and climate change mitigation in Kenya in greater detail, and we use this analysis to formulate action plans with stakeholders at the county level, including government offices. But we also look beyond spending to identify practical steps to mitigate disaster risk and build resilience in Africa – for example, in 2020 we worked with the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction to prepare their second Africa Status Report, which gives a complete overview of disaster risk on the continent.Tracking subnational government investments in disaster risk reduction in Kenya Highlights: Africa Regional Assessment Report 2020
Giving civil society a voice on Agenda 2030
Voluntary national reviews are an opportunity for countries to review progress towards the SDGs at the national and subnational level, and to reflect on and share both successes and challenges towards achieving Agenda 2030. For three years in a row, DI has supported the SDGs Kenya Forum to produce a report on progress in Kenya from civil society organisations. DI consolidates the reports submitted by more than 80 organisations into a submission to inform the country’s overall voluntary national review, which is presented at the High-Level Political Forum.The Second Progress Report on Implementation of SDGs in Kenya
Kenya’s Covid-19 budget: Funding for health and welfare
How the new budget will support Kenya's health and welfare systems as they deal with the impact of Covid-19 (coronavirus) and scale up universal health coverage
Socioeconomic impacts of Covid-19 in Kenya
How has coronavirus impacted housing, transport, food security and the labour force in Kenya? This paper looks at government measures initiated in these areas.