Pastoralists are assigned a series of tasks to collect data using smartphones and upload it into the KAZNET app.
ILRI/Kabir Dhanji

Data by pastoralists, for pastoralists

Pastoralist communities in northern Kenya suffer the highest levels of food insecurity and poverty in the country. Here's how a crowdsourcing platform for data collection and information dissemination is helping to address that.

KAZNET – a portmanteau of the Swahili words kazi (work), net (internet) and kaskazini (north) – is a digital crowd sourcing platform designed by a team scientists from International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) leveraging on the digital connectivity among pastoralist communities to collect data about specific indicators.

KAZNET started in 2017 as pilot program for collecting livestock markets information under the  ILRI-led Index Based Livestock Insurance (IBLI) project. It also becoming a useful tool for ground truthing pasture conditions which is the primary index used for the livestock insurance. KAZNET works by micro-tasking pastoralists to take pictures and enter specific information into an app on their smartphones and feed into the platform for use and analysis.

AICCRA is helping KAZNET grow

KAZNET is expanding its operations within northern Kenya under the World Bank-funded Accelerating Impact of CGIAR Climate Research in Africa program (AICCRA) to collect data on markets, effect of drought on livelihoods, which can provide insights on climate trends and use information that could help in adaptation for communities in Northern Kenya.

Data gathered by KAZNET has helped pastoralists to make informed decision before selling or buying livestock in markets of Isiolo and Marsabit. KAZNET is also providing feedback to pastoralists and their families, helping them, for example, to avoid issues related to poor nutrition.

At the national level, the results of KAZNET data collection led to the creation of a Technical Working Group, involving the State Department for Livestock, the University of Nairobi, Kenya Livestock Marketing Council (KLMC) and others with an interest in gathering market data.

KAZNET is working with 8 contributors spread across 2 counties and covering 32 households. The platform is projected to grow to 600 contributors covering 2,400 households with an indirect reach to 24,000 other households when the platform is scaled to other areas.