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Learnings from the MIT &
Mzalendo Research
Jessica Musila
Executive Director, Mzalendo Trust, info.mzalendo.com
The Impact...
The Opportunity
Leah’s research proposal was opportune for us in many ways:
• Explored possibilities of public participati...
Practical Challenges
• Researcher’s low understanding of the context – Assumptions corrected;
• Contextual reading and sha...
The Findings
• Older men take action versus the young – was not strange as it validates
other civic research that older me...
Unintended Benefits
• The adverts had an audience reach of over 1,000,000 Kenyans which
was great for Mzalendo’s visibilit...
Questions?
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Learnings from the MIT & Mzalendo Research by Jessica Musila (Mzalendo)

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Jessica (Executive Director of Mzalendo Trust) presented a keynote session at The Impacts of Civic Technology Conference (TICTeC 2015) on 25 March 2015 in London.

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Learnings from the MIT & Mzalendo Research by Jessica Musila (Mzalendo)

  1. 1. Learnings from the MIT & Mzalendo Research Jessica Musila Executive Director, Mzalendo Trust, info.mzalendo.com The Impact of Civic Tech Conference convened by mySociety, 25th March 2015 in London, UK
  2. 2. The Opportunity Leah’s research proposal was opportune for us in many ways: • Explored possibilities of public participation in governance through issue framing; • Met our need to grow our Facebook audience; • Opened our eyes to an opportunity to connect with two key constituencies – the Parliament Secretariat Commission and Parliamentarians; • Met a felt need by indirectly providing a ‘free’ advertising budget for us to capitalize on for publicity; • Provided research expertise to inform our work at minimal expense to us.
  3. 3. Practical Challenges • Researcher’s low understanding of the context – Assumptions corrected; • Contextual reading and sharing; • Identifying a political issue with public interest but relatively low political risk to Mzalendo team; • Ever changing Parliamentary agenda – made it hard to efficiently plan around another issue; • Tech team far removed from context is not always responsive to Mzalendo needs as they arise. {Campaigns are crucial to PMOs lives in democracies in transition unlike established ones like the UK and US.} • Delay in sharing research findings rendered them time barred & therefore not useful to share with the Leader of Majority in the Senate as proposed; • Oversight – we did not post a blog about the research: This would have been useful content to tell opinion leaders what citizens are thinking;
  4. 4. The Findings • Older men take action versus the young – was not strange as it validates other civic research that older men tend to be more vocal on politics than youth and women; • The County Development Fund issue was far removed from the youth as older men still control the means of power and wealth in Kenya; • The Band-wagonning frame is more likely to gain traction in political contexts like ours where people tend to be drawn to the collective and ethnic vote rather than the individual; • That Kenyans wanted more resources allocated to development work in their county was not in doubt. • Information/issue was too far removed from people, it needed to “sting“ at the personal level to push them take responsibility; Financial figures were far removed from the individual level of understanding (day to day life) so level of interest was generally be lower
  5. 5. Unintended Benefits • The adverts had an audience reach of over 1,000,000 Kenyans which was great for Mzalendo’s visibility; • Mzalendo gained about 12000 new followers who have remained with us to date and are interested in political issues; • The research findings have informed Mzalendo’s strategic direction in terms of: i) Distilling the value proposition we can offer Parliamentarians and the Parliamentary Secretariat Commission in public participation; ii) Issues framing possibilities to attract public attention; iii) Gauging user interest and identifying touch points we could capitalise to reach them e.g. Religion, family members and friends
  6. 6. Questions?

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