Visualising census and electoral data – Wazimap and Census Reporter

Wazimap is a Django application for exploring census and other similar data. It makes it easy to understand a place through the eyes of the data, and to explore data across a range of places. It is most suited for census data but can easily be used with other data that is similarly focused on places in a country.

Wazimap is a fork of the Census Reporter project which was funded by a Knight News Challenge grant. You can also find Censusreporter on GitHub.

Wazimap builds on Census Reporter and makes it easier to re-use. Wazimap was originally built by Code for South Africa with the support of Media Monitoring Africa. It is maintained by Code for South Africa.

Other deployments can be found for Nepal, India and Kenya.

Video conference brings virtual courts to Kenya

KENYA’S judiciary has launched the country’s first ever video conferencing solution for the hearing of cases in a partnership between Cisco, Safaricom, and the judiciary.

The first case was televised from Mombasa city where the Court of Appeal heard three cases via video conference where the bench sat in Nairobi while the respective lawyers were in Mombasa.

Launching the Judiciary ICT Policy and Strategic plan at the Nairobi High Court, Chief Justice Evan Gicheru said the adoption of technology would speed up the delivery of justice.

“Virtual courts have the potential to transform how the justice system deals with cases. They are vital in the drive to deliver swift justice, resolving cases faster and improving service given to victims, witnesses and defendants,” said Gicheru.

Video conferencing is among other ICT initiatives to be adopted by the courts in the next three years including digitalisation of court records and electronic recording of proceedings.

via Video conference brings virtual courts to Kenya.

New public health laboratory network for East Africa

The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved US$63.66 million to create a unique regional network of 25 public health laboratories across Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Rwanda. This network will operate across country borders, improving access to diagnostic services to vulnerable populations in cross border areas and making optimal use of internet and mobile communications to improve public health.

Laboratories are currently the weakest link in the region’s public health defenses, seriously hindering each country’s ability to confirm and respond in a coordinated manner to disease outbreaks. By bolstering diagnostic and surveillance capacities, the new multi-country laboratory network will help to identify potentially devastating disease outbreaks at an early stage, enabling countries to act quickly to prevent the rapid spread of diseases across borders. Communicating outbreak-related information across national borders in real time is more important than ever before, as labor mobility is likely to increase shortly with the establishment of the East African Community common market and with growing global travel.

The network will also support the roll-out of new technology for drug resistance monitoring and more efficient tuberculosis diagnosis, most notably for people living with HIV/AIDS. Greater access to diagnostic services is expected to significantly contribute to improved health outcomes, and ultimately to attaining the Millennium Development Goals.

via World Bank Press Release, 25 May 2010

Ethiopian commodity marketing system attracts interest

Kenya is one of three countries that are eyeing software developed by the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) to market and sell agricultural products through an internet portal. The others are Zimbabwe and Tanzania who believe the tool that can improve farmer’s earnings. This was announced by ECX chief executive Dr Eleni Gadri-Madhini said at the seventh African Fine Coffee Conference and Exhibition held in Mombasa last week.

The software serves farmers, traders, processors, exporters and consumers. It provides a secure and reliable system of handling, grading, and storing commodities, matching offers and bids for commodity transactions, and a risk-free payment and goods delivery system. Once adopted, farmers will have increased access to market information and be able to trade coffee directly.

IHP+Results site monitors health aid effectiveness

IHP+Results is an excellent site leading the way in transparent reporting on aid effectiveness in the health sector. It is maintained by an independent consortium contracted to monitor the progress of the  International Health Partnership and Related Initiatives (IHP+).

Launched in September 2007, the IHP+ aims to better harmonize donor funding commitments, and improve the way international agencies, donors and developing countries work together to develop and implement national health plans. It has four main objectives consistent with the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness:

  • Develop ‘country compacts’ that commit development partners to provide sustained and predictable funding and increase harmonization and alignment in support of results orientated national plans and strategies that also tackle health system constraints.
  • Generate and disseminate knowledge, guidance, and tools in specific technical areas related to strengthening health systems and services.
  • Enhance coordination and efficiency as well as leverage predictable and sustained aid delivery for health.
  • Ensure mutual accountability and monitoring of performance

The IHP+Results process covers the second phase of the IHP+ from 2009 to 2011.  It will focus primarily on monitoring and evaluating the implementation of commitments set out in IHP+ global compact and in IHP+ country compacts.  The IHP+Results process will be run through an independent North-South Consortium (the IHP+Results Consortium) of research and advocacy organizations, led by Responsible Action, part of the Human|Scale Development Group.

The site currently reports on developments in Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria and Zambia. It also tracks the performance of development partners and provides commentary and discussions on the Results Areas it uses to monitor commitments.

Kenya endorses International Computer Driving Licence

Kenya’s Information and Communications minister Samuel Poghisio has amended ICT policy guidelines to endorse the International Computer Driving Licence (ICDL) certification. This is a globally recognised certification designed to standardise end-user computer skills. Although a compliance deadline is yet to be issued, to remain in business, computer colleges will now have to offer courses leading to this certification, effectively joining other 31 African countries that have given a thumbs up to this premier certification.

Kenya launches food security website

Kenya has launched an online food and agriculture statistical database as part of an ongoing project by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Dubbed CountrySTAT, the database aims at helping the country to effectively operate and maintain agricultural information systems. Agriculture Permanent Secretary Romano Kiome said the new system would help officials to plan agricultural development in Kenya. “This information is mainly targeted to policy makers and planners in the agricultural sector. It will help us make informed decisions,” Dr Kiome said, explaining that the government would be able to closely monitor availability of food, areas with the most produce as well as incorporate the price of commodities across Kenya.

CountrySTAT is a statistical framework and applied information system for analysis and policy-making designed in order to organise, integrate and disseminate statistical data and metadata on food and agriculture coming from different sources. The project is being implemented in 17 African countries through a $56 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. Kenya is the first English speaking country to implement the system and third in Africa after Mali and Burkina Faso. Cote D’Ivoire’s site has also been launched.

via Michael Karanja at Capital FM Kenya

Conference focuses on access to legal information

The 10th International “Law via the Internet” Conference, concludes today in Durban. Its theme is Global Free Access to Law and Developing Countries: Impact, Challenges and Networks.

It is an initiative of the Legal Information Institutes worldwide that constitute the Free Access to Law Movement whose principles are enshrined in the Montreal Declaration on Free Access to Law.

African members of the movement who already provide public services include the Southern African Legal Information Institute, Kenya Law Reports, JuriBurkina and JuriNiger.

via Christine Kirchberger @ iinek-law’s blog.

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