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Use technology to enhance service delivery

By Isaac Kalua | September 20th 2015

At the Kenya Water Towers Agency where I serve as chairperson, we fancy ourselves as guardian angels of Kenya’s 25 water towers. Since these water towers often have their origins in forests like Mau and Mt Kenya, we recently undertook an unprecedented exercise of mapping out forest covers in each of our 47 counties. Nyeri County came out tops with a forest cover of 126,883 hectares, which constitutes 38 per cent of the total county area.

Our counties forest cover report was greatly enriched by a state-of-the-art infrastructure of digital tools that included unconventional ones like drones. We have fully embraced Geographic Information System (GIS) and Global Positioning System (GPS) technology in monitoring of degradation activities in the water towers.

We have equipped our Joint Enforcement Unit officers based at various water towers with Trimble Juno 3D mobile mapping devices and trained them on GPS navigation system, data collection recording of photographic evidence of illegal activities, use of interactive maps and data transfer.

Earlier this month, digital tools also came to the rescue of a global quest to appreciate the full extent of trees in the world. Using satellite images and ground research, researchers compiled a comprehensive report showing that the earth is home to 3.04 trillion trees. Such data would not have been possible without the use of digitally generated satellite images.

Digital tools can and should make a substantive positive difference in every sector of Africa. That is why we should not over politicise the student’s laptop project in Kenya. It is time to re-focus on the need for such digital tools in the educational sector.

In the agricultural sector, a venture like MbeguChoice seems quite promising. If it will indeed tap into its comprehensive digital database to advise Kenyans on which seeds are optimal for their respective geographical locations, then it will have employed digital means to realise agricultural and economic growth.

The security sector can follow suit by efficiently utilising digital tools already in place. In the same vein, Traffic Masters should take full advantage of Safaricom and Google’s Waze app, which offers motorists precise, real-time traffic information.

Indeed digital tools can only be as good as the way we employ them. Although divine intervention played a critical in the biblical David’s slaying of Goliath, David was a master wilder of the sling and had used it countless times as he took care of his father’s sheep. We must therefore perfect our knowledge and wielding of digital tools in our service delivery, whatever the area of service. J

ust like friends of Kaptagat forest, start by protecting the forest near you by sharing required action through social media platforms.

Think green, act green!   

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