By Esther Njagi
We are excited to announce Nuru (Kiswahili for light), a tool that is designed to empower citizen community monitoring to crowdsource observations about how they are coping in the exceptionally difficult circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the aim of inspiring engagement with civil society, governments and other stakeholders to take action and effect change in their communities.
Why we built Nuru
The tool was designed with two intentions:
- Empower citizens by giving them a tool in their hands to report their circumstances and inspire action
- Enable governments, civil society and other partners to have data and information that they can act upon
We hope that when citizens use the tool, the information they collect will provide stakeholders with actionable information to provide essential services, testing facilities, security and any other needs that the citizens may have. In addition, the availability of this information will aid in formulating policies and solutions to fight COVID-19.
It is our hope that, even after the pandemic ends, this tool can be used by citizen monitors all over the world for other issues and inspire action from their leaders for their communities.
What we hope to achieve
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a great socio-economic crisis, affecting citizens’ economic activities and access to key services. Various measures and restrictions undertaken by governments to control the spread of the disease have also affected citizens, bringing up security concerns, issues of increased domestic violence, food and water scarcity among other issues.
We hope that Nuru can be a tool to combat these problems. We envision citizens having a channel through which they can share, in real-time, the challenges they are encountering within their communities. Through written reports, tagging, capturing live images and sharing their location, this report can easily be visualised on a map, further inspiring the access to assistance, services and other actions. By targeting the information using tags, the relevant “agent of change” is able to access the relevant information and provide assistance to the communities and individuals.
This crowdsourcing approach provides a way to bridge the information gap between citizens and governments, civil society organisations and other stakeholders. By providing real-time information, timely interventions can be provided to aid the affected communities, leading to better outcomes for the countries and communities affected by this, and other future crises.
Partner with us
We have been working with a number of Civil Society Organisations in Kenya and a few other countries to test and modify the tool. Now that it is live, we invite Civil Society Organisations to partner with us to incentivise their partners on the ground to become Citizen monitors using Nuru. We would love to work with them to organise the data that would be gathered by the community monitors into easily actionable information to be consumed by their initiatives and other stakeholders.
We hope that the information that is gathered from communities will help governments to serve their communities at their points of need.
To partner with the Open Institute email [email protected]